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review 2017-09-12 01:50
Swimmy by Leo Lionni
Swimmy - Leo Lionni

Title:  Swimmy

Author:  Leo Lionni

Genre:  Animals / Drama / Family / Danger


Year Published: 1963


Year Read:  2010

Publisher:  Alfred A. Knopf

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 5+ (Some Scary Scenes and Death of a Family Member)

 

 

Swimmy

I have have heard works from Dr. Seuss, Maurice Sendak, Marc Brown and David Wiesner, but I have finally stumbled upon some works that came from my childhood a long time ago and those works consist of Leo Lionni! “Swimmy” is a Caldecott Honor book by Leo Lionni and it is about how an unusual little fish named Swimmy, who survives a giant fish attack, tries to find another family to live with. “Swimmy” may have an intense scene with the big fish that might frighten small children, but I am pretty sure that most children will easily enjoy this book!

Once there lived a happy school of small fish who were all red except for one fish was black and his name was Swimmy. One terrible day however, a huge tuna fish came by and swallowed up all of the red fish except for Swimmy who had escape from the huge tuna. Swimmy, now the sole survivor of a tuna attack, then swims around in the deep watery world by himself in order to find a new family to be in.

Will Swimmy find a new family?

Read this book to find out!
 


Never have I read a children's book that has both effective drawings and a heartwarming story at the same time as Leo Lionni has made this book! Leo Lionni has done an excellent job at both illustrating and writing this book as it details the adventures of a unique black fish named Swimmy. Leo Lionni's illustrations might look a little bit simplistic, however, they are extremely effective and colorful, especially of the images of the underwater world where it seems that Leo Lionni took a piece of sponge and patted the background with the painted sponge, which really brings out the creativity of the images of the underwater world. The image that truly stood out the most for me was the image of Swimmy himself as he is shown to be the only black fish among a group of red fishes, who merely look like red outlines of fish. Leo Lionni has certainly made this book extremely intense yet heartwarming at the same time as I have felt sympathy for Swimmy after he lost his family to a tuna fish and I can understand how many children and adults will also sympathize with Swimmy's predicament, especially if they lost loved ones to an accident.

Swimmy

Parents should know that at the beginning of this book, Swimmy's family is eaten by a giant tuna fish and that might be too upsetting for smaller children to handle. On a side note, this scene strongly reminds me of a scene in “Finding Nemo” where Marlon's family except Nemo is also eaten by a huge fish and how Marlon has to cope with protecting his only son from anymore danger. Parents might want to discuss about death of a family member with their children before they read them this book.

Overall, “Swimmy” is a highly emotional and heartwarming book for children who have also lost their family members and how they can still find love among friends and other family members. I personally would recommend this book to anyone who loves Leo Lionni's works and learning about what it takes to be a true family. I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the scene where the big fish eats all the other fish might scare smaller children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-07-09 00:56
The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown
The Runaway Bunny - Margaret Wise Brown,Clement Hurd

Genre:  Family / Imagination / Adventure / Love


Year Published: 1942


Year Read:  2017

Publisher:  HarperCollins Publishers

Series: Over the Moon #1

 

Bunny


After I had read Margaret Wise Brown’s popular children’s book “Goodnight Moon,” I wanted to read more of Margaret Wise Brown’s works and I happened to stumbled upon another one of her popular works called “The Runaway Bunny,” along with artwork by Clement Hurd. “The Runaway Bunny” is a truly cute story about the love shared between a parent and child that children will enjoy!

The story starts off with a little bunny wanting to run away from home and when he told his mother about it, his mother just said that she will come running after him, no matter where the little bunny will run off to!

I must admit that I cannot believe that I waited this long to read this classic children’s story about a love shared between a parent and a child! Margaret Wise Brown had done a great job at conveying a mother bunny’s devotion to her child as she is always pledging to follow her child to the ends of the earth, whether the bunny wants to become a rock on a mountain or a sailboat to escape from his mother. I also enjoyed the soothing tone of this book as the story never felt too chaotic or intense when dealing with the little bunny’s desire to run away and I always felt good when the mother bunny tries to comfort her child by telling him that she will always love him no matter what. Clement Hurd’s artwork is truly gorgeous and creative to look at, especially when there are transitions between the black and white artwork and the colorful artwork. I loved the fact that the scenes where we get to see the imaginations of the little bunny running away from home in different and unique ways, is displayed in color as they make the situations stand out much more. My favorite image in the book would be the image of the mother bunny posing as the wind and blowing her child, who is a sailboat at this point, towards the destination she desires.

Bunny

The reason why I took off half a point from the rating was because even though the book is showing that the mother bunny truly does care for her child by following him to the ends of the earth whenever the little bunny runs away, I cannot help but feel like the mother bunny’s behavior comes off as a bit like a stalker as she would chase her child no matter where he goes. Just like Robert Munsch’s children’s book “Love You Forever,” while it is cute that the mother bunny cares enough for her child to chase him down across the earth, the whole “the mother bunny is going to catch her son no matter what” theme might be unsettling for some readers to handle.

Overall, “The Runaway Bunny” is a cute story about the power of love shared between a parent and their child that many children will enjoy for many years! I would recommend this book to children ages four and up, even though the stalker implications of the mother bunny might unsettle some readers.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-06-18 01:00
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
The Paper Bag Princess - Robert Munsch,Michael Martchenko

Genre:  Comedy / Royalty / Dragons / Feminism / Fantasy


Year Published: 1980


Year Read:  1994

Publisher:  Annick Press

 

 

Princess

I have been reading most of Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko’s works ever since I was a child and I have enjoyed most of their works! I have recently re-read a book from the popular duo that I had enjoyed during my childhood called “The Paper Bag Princess” and it is about how a princess is stripped down to wearing a plain paper bag when a dragon attacks her castle and she has to go rescue Prince Ronald, who has been kidnapped by the dragon. “The Paper Bag Princess” is definitely one of Robert Munsch’s and Michael Martchenko’s most hilarious books ever written!

Elizabeth was a beautiful princess who was going to marry Prince Ronald. One day, however, a dragon comes by and burns her castle to the ground and kidnaps Prince Ronald. With nothing left to wear except for a paper bag, Elizabeth decides to go after the dragon and save Ronald.

If you think that “Stephanie’s Ponytail” was one hilarious and creative book, you should really check this book out! Robert Munsch has truly done an awesome job at writing this story about how a princess loses everything but still wanted to save the love of her life. Robert Munsch’s writing is simple yet sassy and hilarious at the same time and what I really loved about this book was that Robert Munsch made the heroine, Elizabeth into a clever and brave girl and I loved the way that she tries to go and rescue the prince by herself even though she lost everything that she owned and the way that she beats the dragon at its own game is just truly hilarious! Michael Martchenko’s illustrations are creative and hilarious in this book, especially of the images of Elizabeth being in a paper bag throughout the book. The images in this book are a bit more simplistic in this book than in Robert Munsch’s and Michael Martchenko’s later books as the black outlines of the characters make the characters stand out much more. I also loved the images of the dragon itself as it is green, have red spikes down its back and always look more suave than terrifying to the readers.

Princess

All in all, “The Paper Bag Princess” is a brilliant book from the famous Munsch/Martchenko duo as it shows that true courage will always win the day. Although I would have preferred the ending to be a little longer so that way it would be more satisfying just knowing what happened to each character after the adventure is over, this was not a major con for me, so I would still recommend this book to children ages four and up, but because of the dragon scenes, I think children ages five and older might stand those scenes better and the children ages four and up will like the simplistic writing of this book.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-06-18 00:25
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? - Bill Martin Jr.,Eric Carle

Genre:  Animals / Colors / Children's / School


Year Published: 1967


Year Read:  2017

Publisher:  Henry Holt and Company

Series: Bill Martin's Bears #1

 

 

Bear

I have been an avid fan of Eric Carle’s works, especially of his well-known children’s book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and one of the books that Eric Carle had worked on that I did not get the chance to read when I was little was “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” which was also written by Bill Martin Jr. All in all, this was one children’s book that children should definitely check out!

Since this story is extremely short, the summary will be brief.
Basically, the plot of this book is about the reader seeing various animals comment on what other beings they are looking at that precise moment, while each animal states a variation of this quote:

“Brown Bear, Brown Bear,
What do you see?
I see a red bird looking at me.

Red Bird, Red Bird,
What do you see?
I see a yellow duck looking at me.”

Wow! I cannot believe that I waited this long to finally pick up this popular children’s book and it was definitely worth reading in the end! I loved the simplistic style that Bill Martin Jr. brought to this book as the plot is basically having readers see various animals in different colors popping up in the book and commenting on other animals they have seen. I loved the fact that each animal is a different color such as having a blue horse and a purple cat as it brings a unique spin to the storytelling of this book and I was quietly anticipating seeing what kind of animals we will see pop up in this book. Eric Carle’s artwork is as always, a delight to look at as all the characters are rendered in paper cut outs which gives the book a creative look and I really loved the images of the different animals that show up in this book, such as the purple cat and the blue horse!

Bear

Even though there is nothing wrong with this book, I have to wonder why it was banned in the first place? Well, it turns out that when it was banned, the person who banned the book made a mistake regarding the author of this book, who is Bill Martin Jr. and the person thought that it was the same Bill Martin who wrote the book “Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation.” Now, I have never read any of the “other” Bill Martin’s books, but this was the first instance where a book was mistakenly banned for the wrong reasons and that got me curious yet annoyed.

Overall, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” is a truly cute book for children who want to have fun with identifying animals and colors all wrapped up into one book! I would recommend this book to children ages three and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book.


Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-06-18 00:16
Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
Love You Forever - Robert Munsch,Sheila McGraw

Genre:  Family / Growth / Life / Childhood / Love


Year Published: 1986


Year Read:  2017

Publisher:  Firefly Books

 

 

 

Forever

I have another bookish confession to make: Even though I have been reading many of Robert Munsch’s books when I was little, I had never once read his most highly acclaimed book “Love You Forever” and I am still kicking myself in the rear for not reading this book sooner! “Love You Forever” is a heartwarming story written by Robert Munsch along with artwork by Sheila McGraw that is definitely worth checking out!

The story starts off with a mother holding her newborn baby boy in her arms and as she rocking the baby to sleep, she started singing a little song:

“I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
My baby you’ll be.”


We are then treated to the little boy growing up throughout the story as he started out as a troublemaking toddler to a teenager who likes to listen to strange music to a full grown adult man who eventually moved out of his mother’s house. One day however, the boy’s mother had gotten ill and…

What will the son do about this predicament and what will happen to the mother?

Read this book to find out!


Oh my gosh! How in the world could I not have read this book when I was little? I mean, I had read many of Robert Munsch’s other books including “The Paper Bag Princess” and “Stephanie’s Ponytail,” but this one seems to have fallen off the radar for me! Robert Munsch did a fantastic job at writing this story as we get to see how a mother witnesses the growth of her son throughout the story and how she still loves her son no matter how different her son becomes through looks and personalities. What made this book extremely unique in my eyes is how we get to see the positive and negative aspects of parenthood as while the boy occasionally got on his mother’s nerves whenever he got into trouble, we also see that the mother still loves her son no matter what the boy does and this aspect of the story made this book a truly heartwarming experience for me. I also loved the message of this book as it proves the importance of love by showing that the mother has always cared about her son no matter how much older she got and I think that children should read books that deals with the true meaning of family and shows that your family will always care about you through thick and thin. Sheila McGraw’s artwork is simply beautiful to look at as all the characters look realistic and I loved the images of both the mother and the little boy growing older with each progressive page. Probably my most favorite image in this book is of the son as a toddler sitting on the bathroom floor with toilet paper littering the floor and the boy holding a watch over the toilet!

[****SPOILER ALERT!!!!****

There is an infamous scene in this book where the mother ends up sneaking into her son’s house, who is at this point a full grown adult living on his own and this scene might be a bit unsettling for some readers to handle. Now, I can understand how this scene would be upsetting to some readers as the idea of a grown woman sneaking inside her adult son’s house without him knowing about it would cause a lot of uncomfortable mental images such as what if the old woman was actually a burglar in disguised and the son had no way of knowing this because he was asleep the whole time? For me personally, I was not really upset by this scene as I thought that it was an exaggerated show of affection that the mother shows her adult son and because these are fictional characters, I did not really take this scene that seriously. Now, if the mother sneaked into an unknown child’s bedroom late at night or someone got hurt in this scene, then I would have felt a bit differently about this scene.

****SPOILER ENDED!!!**** (hide spoiler)]


Forever

Overall, “Love You Forever” is a truly memorable and heartwarming book that children who wants to read books that shows the importance of love and family, will immediately enjoy! I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book.


Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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