Monday, May 28, 2018

Picture Book Monday with a review of Elmore

Soon after I started reviewing books I read the Poppy and Rye series written by Avi. In some of the books we meet Ereth, a foulmouthed, grumpy, and incredibly lovable porcupine. I adored Ereth and think of him every time I see a picture or a video of a porcupine. I was therefore naturally drawn to today's picture book. In the story we meet Elmore, a porcupine who has a very big and troubling problem.


Elmore
Holly Hobbie
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Random House, 2018, 978-1-5247-1863-3
Elmore is a porcupine and he lives in a big, old maple tree. He lives in the tree by himself, which is what porcupines do. One would think that he would be used to the solitary life by now, but the truth of the matter is that Elmore cannot help feeling a little lonely. 
   One day Elmore decides that he will try to get some friends. He puts up a sign that reads: “Friends Wanted.” He soon discovers that the other animals in the forest are reluctant to become his friends because he is just “too prickly.” If they come to close they are likely to get “needled, nettled, prickled,” which, not surprisingly, they are not too keen on.
   Elmore’s quills are proving to be a problem but they are there for a reason. They protect him, and his uncle reminds him that Elmore “wouldn’t be a porcupine without quills.” His quills are beautiful and he should value them.
   Elmore’s uncle’s kind words warm him, and they also give him an idea.
   So many people find it hard to fit in because they are different in some way. How do you get people to accept you when they won’t even give you a chance? What do you do when they write you off from the get go? This wonderful book explores how one determined porcupine finds a way to show the animals in his world what he is like on the inside. After all, that is the part of an animal, or a person, that really matters. Being prickly on the outside does not mean you are prickly all the way through.
   Readers who enjoyed the Puddle and Toot books are going to love this beautiful new title from Holly Hobbie.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Poetry Friday with a review of The Adventures of Piratess Tilly: Easter Island

When I first started reviewing poetry titles I was sent a book full of haiku poems. I fell in love with this poetry form and have made a point of seeking out haiku poetry books ever since. Today I bring you a review of a book that tells a delightful story using a series of haiku poems. The story describes an adventure that a girl and her friends take, and there are also natural history and environmental themes woven into the narrative.

The Adventures of Piratess Tilly: Easter Island
The Adventures of Piratess Tilly: Easter IslandElizabeth Lorayne
Illustrated by Karen Watson
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
White Wave Press, 2017, 978-0-997-90980-7
Piratess Tilly and her friends are setting sail on their beautiful ship, the Foster. This time they are going to Easter Island, and Tilly is hoping to continue to study nature so that she can become a “True Naturalist.”
   As they sail, Tilly and her koala friend Yuki make use of the books that line the walls of Tilly’s stateroom. They read, study, and sketch, following in the footsteps of Katherine Routledge, who also sailed to Easter Island in 1913.
   Eventually they arrive at their destination; Easter Island is in front of them with its majestic rocky shore and its stone statues. The travelers go ashore where they start to explore. Donning diving gear Tilly and Yuki enter an ocean wonderland where fish, sea turtles, and other creatures live.
   Next Tilly and her friends visit some ruins where horses “roam freely.” They have a picnic, enjoying being in such a beautiful place. Then they look out to sea from the highest place on the island and they discover that a pirate ship is headed their way. Tilly knows all too well that pirates cannot be trusted, and sure enough when the pirates come on land they steal the eggs that the sooty terns have laid on the ground. The birds can do nothing to rescue their precious eggs from the greedy poachers, but Tilly can.
   This delightful book takes young readers of a wonderful journey of exploration across the ocean to Easter Island. The tale is told using haiku poems, and it is accompanied by lovely artwork. At the back of the book readers will find further information about Tilly’s heroes: Charles Darwin, and Katherine Routledge.


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mother's Day

Wishing all the mothers who love and care for their children and their  animal companions a wonderful Mother's Day.

Image result for Mother's Day vintage

Monday, May 7, 2018

Picture Book Monday with a review of The Word Collector

There are certain authors and illustrators whom I follow with great interest. I review all their books, and I keep my copies close at hand so that I can look at them again and again. One of these author illustrators is Peter R. Reynolds. He creates books that explore big issues and that celebrate things like creativity, compassion, diversity, and now the power of words. Not surprisingly, considering what I do for a living, this book delighted me. Is explores the idea that words are powerful, beautiful things when used in the right way.

The word collector
Peter R. Reynolds
Picture Book
For ages 5 and up
Scholastic, 2018, 978-0-545-86502-9
All over the world there are people who collect things. They collect stamps, art, rocks, coins, baseball cards, and all kinds of objects. Jerome like to collects things too; he collects words. Every time he hears or reads a word that intrigues or delights him he writes it down on a piece of yellow paper. He collects words that are “Short and sweet,” and he also collects words that are longer. Some have so many syllables that they sound “like little songs.”
   Happily Jerome glues all the words he has collected into scrapbooks, and over time his collection grows so large that he starts to categorize the words.
   One day Jerome is carrying a huge pile of his scrapbooks when he slips and the books tumble to the floor. Pieces of paper covered with words go flying. Jerome begins to pick up the words, which are now all “jumbled” up. Big words are next to little words, and words that one would normally never put next to each other are side by side. Jerome begins to explore his words in a new way, stringing them together to create poems and songs, and to create sentences that are strong and “powerful.” One might think that doing this would be enough for any collector, but Jerome has a word idea that he wants to share with the world.
   Peter H. Reynolds has a gift for creating books that make you think. The ideas he shares with his readers are so meaningful that they persist in our minds and hearts long after the book has been closed.
   Like his stories Ish and Dot, The Word Collector, makes us pause in our busy day to consider the world around us. We are reminded of the fact that words have power; that they can make our world a richer and better place when they are used thoughtfully. Both children and adults alike will love this title, and they will appreciate the message that the author is sharing with us: love words and use them to make your life and the lives of others richer.
  

Friday, May 4, 2018

Poetry Friday with a review of Hidden City: Poems of Urban Wildlife

I cannot remember a time when I wasn't interested in animals. I can recall lying on my stomach and watching ants for hours while a garden party was going on around me. I had pet snails and beetles, tadpoles, and worms. I was over the moon when my aunt gave me a pet turtle, and devastated when the poor little thing had an unfortunate accident. The wonderful thing about animals is that they can be found just about anywhere, no matter where you live. Today's wonderful poetry title introduces us to some of the creatures found in cities and towns.

Hidden City: Poems of Urban Wildlife

Sarah Grace Tuttle
Illustrated by Amy Schimler-Safford
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Eerdmans, 2018, 978-0-8028-5459-9
If you live in a city or town you may think that your environment is devoid of nature but you would be wrong. There are animals and plants of all kinds living around you, and all you have to do to see them is a stop and look; listen, watch, and wait.
  In our homes there are busy little mice. If you are up late at night when all is quiet you might see a mother mouse running to and fro as she rips paper and scurries to her home only to return to get some more. She is building a nest for the babies that will probably soon be born.
   Outside, on a rainy day, you might spy sparrows huddled together. There they “chitter-cheep softly” while they wait for the rain to slow down and eventually cease altogether. The rain brings forth wonderful surprises too. Under a tree you might see a fairy ring of mushrooms grow. They appear seemingly overnight, a circle of delicate little pale cream umbrellas among the grass.
   By a fountain you might see some pigeons dipping, strutting, and cooing. The males flaunt their courtship dance, hoping that their performance will impress the watching female. In the park pond, ducks tip up, their tails in their air, their bills eagerly seeking food under the water. Busily they search until up they pop happily eating.
   On a warm summer night, beneath the glow of a street lamp, moths congregate. They flitter this way and that and then, out of nowhere, a bat swoops in and snatches one of the insects out of the air.
   In this wonderful book, multimedia illustrations are paired with delightful poems to show young readers that urban environments are full of wild plants and animals. The author and illustrator take us through the seasons so that we get a full and rich picture of nature’s annual cycle, and we get to meet all kinds of wonderful living things on the pages.
  



Tuesday, May 1, 2018

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