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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-11-07 07:09
Madeline and the Bad Hat by Ludwig Bemelmans
Madeline and the Bad Hat - Ludwig Bemelmans

Title:  Madeline and the Bad Hat

Author:  Ludwig Bemelmans

Genre:  France / Friendship / Manners 

Year Published: 1956

Year Read: 1993

Series:  Madeline #3

Publisher: The Viking Press

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 5+  (Some Mild Violence and Mischievous Behavior)

 

Bad

“Madeline and the Bad Hat” is another book created by Ludwig Bemelmans’ famous “Madeline” collection (and was also transformed into an episode for the “Madeline” cartoon series) that details Madeline’s adventures in France. This time, Madeline meets up with Pepito, the Bad Hat, who causes trouble for Madeline and the other girls. This book might be the darkest of all the “Madeline” books, but its exciting storyline and cute illustrations make up for that. 

Ludwig Bemelmans does an excellent job on both illustrations and writing Madeline’s newest adventure. Ludwig Bemelmans writes the story in a rhyming text, the most memorable lines being: 

“And lo and behold, the former Barbarian, 
turned into a vegetarian.” 


Ludwig Bemelmans chooses his words carefully to make sure that the story moves along smoothly without making the rhyming text sound like nonsense. Ludwig Bemelmans’ illustrations are also highlighted in this book as he draws the characters in simplistic yet colorful images. I especially like the way that he makes some of the images be shown in yellow and white coloring and some images where he uses all types of colors such as the image where he shows the landscape of Paris. 

Bad

Parents should know that there are some violent and sad scenes in this book. Children might see the scenes where Pepito cuts off the chickens’ heads and eats them (even though we do not see the chickens’ heads being cut off but we do see a guillotine and chickens being dragged by their necks towards the guillotine) and the scene where he is attacked by dogs (this is more graphic as we see dogs jumping on top of Pepito) as both sad and violent. Parents who do not want their children to be exposed to this type of violence might want to skip these pages to avoid any discomfort from the children. 

“Madeline and the Bad Hat” is one of the most deep and darkest of all the “Madeline” books, but is also a cute story about the consequences of being bad and how one can redeem his or herself if they have done horrible things to other people such as Pepito trying to make things right after his bad behavior. I would strongly recommend this book to children ages five and up due to the smaller children being a bit worried about the violent and sad scenes displayed in this book.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-09-28 06:48
Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
Tikki Tikki Tembo - Arlene Mosel,Blair Lent

Title:  Tikki Tikki Tembo

Author:  Arlene Mosel

Artist:  Blair Lent

Genre:  China / Family / Drama / Parental Favoritism


Year Published: 1968


Year Read:  1993

Publisher: 
 Holt, Rinehart and Winston

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 5+ (Some Intense Scenes and themes of Child Mistreatment)

 

 

 

Tikki

I actually first heart of this book on a Weston Woods video and I really enjoyed this story! “Tikki Tikki Tembo” is an old Chinese folktale retold by Arlene Mosel along with illustrations by Blair Lent and it is about how a young boy named Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruche-pip peri pembo (what a name!) gets into big trouble because of his long name. “Tikki Tikki Tembo” is certainly a great book for children who are fans of Chinese folklore!

I have always found this book extremely interesting to read, especially about the part where the first sons are given long and extravagant names, while the second sons are always given short names in Ancient China. Arlene Mosel has done an excellent job at retelling this ancient Chinese folktale as the story is cute and somewhat intense at the same time. I really loved the way that Arlene Mosel repeats Tikki tikki tembo’s long name (Tikki tikki tembo – no sa rembo - chari bari ruchi – pip peri pembo) over and over again in the book since it is a huge tongue twister to say fast! I also loved the close relationship between Tikki tikki tembo and his brother Chang as they loved to play with each other all the time and they are always willing to help each other out during their time of need. Blair Lent’s illustrations are simplistic since there are only yellow, blue, white, black, grey and green colors on each page, but the illustrations still make the story entertaining to read, especially as they capture the true essence of Ancient China and it was also interesting to see a big contrast in clothing between Tikki tikki tembo and Chang as Tikki tikki tembo is dressed in a blue royal looking outfit while Chang is always dressed in a yellow country styled outfit, which indicates to the audience about the importance of their names.

Tikki

The reason why I gave this book a four star rating instead of a five star rating is because of the way that Chang was treated in this book. Since Chang is the second born son of the family, his mother never really noticed him and they also seemed to lack any concern for when Chang fell into the well. Also, near the end of the story, it was unclear whether Chang was treated any better after the incident in the well. I usually do not approve of children being treated less kindly than their older or younger siblings, so this was a big issue for me in this book. Also, some children might feel like that their parents are paying more to their younger or older sibling and that might upset them, so parents should tell their children that they will always love all of their children equally.

All in all, “Tikki Tikki Tembo” is a great book for fans of Chinese folklore and for children who enjoy reading about some good sibling bonding! I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the scenes where the boys fall into the well might be too intense for smaller children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2016-09-03 01:19
A Story, a Story by Gail E. Haley
Story, a Story - Gail E. Haley

Genre: Africa / Folktale / Trickery / Storytelling

 
Year Published: 1970


Year Read:  1993

Publisher: Atheneum

 

 

Story

I have actually first watched “A Story, A Story” on a Weston Woods video (which was a children’s series I have grown up with for a many years) and I have enjoyed it ever since. “A Story A Story” is a Caldecott Medal award winning book by Gail E. Haley and it details the adventures of Ananse, the Spider Man and his attempts at obtaining the stories from Nyame, the Sky God. “A Story, A Story” is a clever book that fans of African folktales will definitely love!

This is the story about Ananse the Spider Man and the sky god named Nyame, who owns all the stories and keeps them in his golden box next to his royal stool. One day, Ananse decided to visit the Sky God and asked him if he could buy his stories and Nyame told Ananse that in order to get his stories, he must capture Mmboro the hornet who-stings-like-fire, Osebo the leopard of-the-terrible-teeth, and Mmoatia the fairy whom-men-never-see. So, Ananse sets out and tries to capture the three beings that Nyame wanted from him.

I have always loved reading different folktales from around the world and African folktales are my favorites! Gail E. Haley has done an excellent job at both illustrating and writing this ancient African folktale about Ananse the Spider Man. Gail E. Haley’s illustrations are truly creative and beautiful as the illustrations are woodcut and it gives the story a more traditional and creative vibe to the characters. My favorite illustrations were of Mmoatia the fairy-whom-no-man-sees as she is small and she wears a green grass skirt and a colorful red and white blouse shirt that truly made her look majestic. Gail E. Haley’s writing is cleverly creative as she incorporates various African sound effects like “yiridi, yiridi, yiridi” when Ananse was running through the jungle to make the characters’ movements have more meaning. I also loved the different ways that Ananse tricks each creature in the forest, especially the scene where Ananse uses a gum baby doll to trick Mmoatia the fairy as it was a reminiscent of the traditional “Brer Rabbit” tales with Brer Rabbit being tricked by the tar baby.

Story

Overall, “A Story, A Story” is a truly incredible tale for anyone who loves “Ananse” stories and also loves folktales that deal with tricksters. I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the African phrases might confuse smaller children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2016-04-18 00:04
The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack
The Story About Ping - Marjorie Flack,Kurt Wiese

Genre:  Animals / China / Family / Runaway


Year Published: 1933


Year Read:  1993

Publisher:   Grosset & Dunlap    


Ping

I actually first heard about his story years ago on a Weston Woods video. “The Story of Ping” is a Chinese story by Marjorie Flack and Kurt Wiese about how a young and beautiful duck named Ping gets lost in the Yangtze River after he tries to avoid punishment of being late. “The Story of Ping” is a cute story about showing the consequences of disobedience and the importance of family that children cannot resist!

Once there lived a beautiful young yellow duck named Ping who lived with his mother, his father, his two sisters, his three brothers, his eleven aunts, his seven uncles and his forty-two cousins in the wise-eyed boat on the Yangtze River. Every morning, the duck family would hunt for snails and fishes to eat, but in the evening, the master of the boat calls the duck family back to the boat and the last duck coming to the boat will be spanked. One afternoon however, Ping did not hear the call from his master because he was underwater and when he finally swam towards the boat, the last of his forty-two cousins crossed the bridge and Ping did not want to be spanked, so he hid in the grasses until the next morning and he set out into the Yangtze River to find his family.

This is one of those books that remind me about why I love reading about folktales from different cultures! Marjorie Flack and Kurt Wiese made a great team in both illustrating and writing this book! Marjorie Flack did a great job at pointing out the messages of this book about how being disobedient can get you into trouble and the importance of family as Ping traveled the river by himself to find his family. I also loved the Chinese influence that Marjorie Flack brought to the story as it made the story even more magical to read since it is like placing yourself in a faraway land! I also loved the way that Marjorie Flack made Ping into a brave little duck as he was tried to find his family by himself and faced dangerous obstacles by himself and children will be rooting for him throughout the book. Kurt Wiese’s illustrations are just simply beautiful, especially of the image of Ping himself as he is the only yellow duck in his entire family, which makes him truly stand out from all the other ducks. The images that I really enjoyed in this book were the images of Ping swimming in the river and you can see Ping’s beautiful reflection in the water.

Ping

Parents should know that this book focuses on Ping being separated from his family, so smaller children might be upset about Ping going out into the river by himself with danger lurking everywhere. Parents might want to read this book first to see if their children can handle Ping’s situation.

All in all, “The Story about Ping” is a fantastic book about the importance of family that many children will easily enjoy and learn from. I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the scene of Ping being separated from his family might scare smaller children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2016-01-01 01:00
Morris' Disappearing Bag by Rosemary Wells
Morris' Disappearing Bag - Rosemary Wells

Genre:  Magic / Family / Christmas / Humor

Year Published:1975

 

Year Read:  1993

 

Publisher:   Puffin Books

 

 

I have read many books by Rosemary Wells ever since I was a child and this book is no exception! “Morris’s Disappearing Bag” is a children’s book by Rosemary Wells that is about a young bunny named Morris who had received a teddy bear that none of his siblings wanted to play with, but later on finds a mysterious package under the tree. “Morris’s Disappearing Bag” is a really cute book that children everywhere will definitely love!

 

Oh my goodness! This book has always been an adorable treat for me for many years! Rosemary Wells had done an excellent job at both illustrating and writing this cute story about sharing and what I really loved about Rosemary Wells’ writing is that it is cute and creative, especially during the part where Morris receives a gift that no other child could ever receive! I also enjoyed the theme of this story as it portrays the importance of sharing and I thought that it was really cute about the way that Morris shared his gift with his siblings after he receives the special gift. Rosemary Wells’ illustrations are extremely cute, especially of the images of Morris himself as being the youngest rabbit in the family, he is drawn with Christmas styled overalls that have hollies all over it and I loved the way that the rabbits all have round bodies and short little ears that really make them look extremely cute!

 

 

Probably the only con in this book is that Morris’s siblings seem to snub Morris because of his gift, even though Morris is too young to play with their toys. However, I think this situation is redeemed towards the end, but it would be great to see Morris’s siblings try to make an attempt at sharing with Morris so that way Morris would not feel left out.

 

Overall, “Morris’s Disappearing Bag” is a truly cute and great book for kids who love Christmas books and learning about how to share with siblings. 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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