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review 2017-06-03 18:27
We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy by Maurice Sendak
We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy: Two Nursery Rhymes with Pictures - Maurice Sendak

Genre:  Homelessness / Friendship / Surrealism / Nursery Rhyme


Year Published: 1993


Year Read:  2008

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

 

 

Dumps

“We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy” (whew, long title name!) is a Mother Goose nursery rhyme along with illustrations by Maurice Sendak. This book tells the tale of two guys trying to save a kid and a lot of kittens from a band of shrewd rats. This book may not be a classic like “Where the Wild Things Are” and “In the Night Kitchen,” but it is still full of good humor and excitement!

The nursery rhyme is surreal yet creative to read because the characters themselves are not what you would expect from a normal nursery rhyme. The characters seem to be tough and even cruel to a certain extent but they are also brave and even friendly especially when Jack and Guy seem to hate the kid at the beginning of the book but they risk their lives to save the kid at the end. The moon is the most surreal character of all as it tortures anyone who harms the kittens and the kid such as when the rat bites the kid and the moon ended up carrying Jack and Guy towards the rye field and when Jack tried to hit the kid, the moon transformed into an intimidating looking cat. Maurice Sendak’s illustrations are truly surrealistic yet beautiful as he makes the main characters dress up in old rags and running around the streets with no shoes to wear. The moon’s image is surreal as it has a grumpy looking face throughout the whole book and looks menacing when it transforms into a cat that is white all over and has intense looking eyes.

Dumps

“We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy” may not have the comforting tone as “Where the Wild Things Are” or light humor like “In the Night Kitchen,” but it is certainly a truly unique and creative little book as it is in a nursery rhyme format. Many children ages five and up would greatly enjoy this book as soon as they get pass the violent images and understand the confusing plot.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-06-03 18:09
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble - William Steig

Genre: Family / Drama / Magic / Animals


Year Published: 1969


Year Read:  2008

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

 

 

Pebble

“Sylvester and the Magic Pebble” is one of William Steig’s earlier books and has proven to be the most emotional and heartwarming of all of his books. Also, this was William Steig’s first controversial book due to the image of the police being portrayed as pigs, even though I do not think that it is an issue because all the characters are animals, but it depends on how you view this issue. Anyway, William Steig’s dramatic storyline and illustrations has won this book a Caldecott Book Award and will surely be a treat to read.

William Steig has done an excellent job at beautifully detailing a young donkey’s attempts to change back to normal after a wish goes awry. Both children and adults will feel for Sylvester’s great sadness at not being able to tell his parents that he is still alive and his parents’ misery as they thought that their darling son was dead. William Steig’s illustrations are beautiful and detailed as he vividly draws the sad and happy emotions on Sylvester’s parents’ faces when they worried about their son, Sylvester. Also, the illustrations of the flowers and the trees and even the snow during the winter scene are memorizing as they provide a calm background the images.

***Small Rant:***

Alright, so everyone who has been browsing through various banned books knows that the reason why this book was banned was because of the image of the policemen being portrayed as pigs. First of all, I have an issue with this book being banned because of that reason. I mean, this is a book about TALKING ANIMALS, so what is wrong with the police being portrayed as pigs in a book about talking animals? Also, the main character is a DONKEY! So, that means that if the characters were switched and the main character was a pig and the policemen were donkeys, would that still be an issue? There were a couple of banned books where I do not agree with the reasons of it being banned (although, I never agree with any book being banned), but this was one of those books where I think the reason for it being banned was COMPLETELY unjustified.

***Rant Ended***

Pebble

Also, the scenes where Sylvester's parents worry about Sylvester's whereabouts might worry smaller children who might worry about whether or not Sylvester will ever transform back into himself again. Parents should reassure their children about the importance of staying safe if they wonder out into an unknown area.

“Sylvester and the Magic Pebble” is William Steig’s milestone children’s book as it discusses the love that Mr. and Mrs. Duncan have for their child, Sylvester, when he turns up missing and [how the spell of the magic pebble is broken when Mr. and Mrs. Duncan wished for their child’s return. (hide spoiler)] This book will be a cult favorite for both children and adults and is suitable for children ages five and up, even though it discusses the loss of a child.


Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

 

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review 2016-03-08 03:36
Sukey and the Mermaid by Robert D. San Souci
SUKEY AND THE MERMAID By ROBERT D. SAN SOUCI signed 1992 First American Edition - ROBERT D. SAN SOUC

Genre: Mermaids / Folktale / Fantasy / African American / Family

 

Year Published: 1992

 

Year Read: 2008

 

Publisher: Four Winds Press

 


“Sukey and the Mermaid” is an American folktale retold by Robet D. San Souci, along with beautiful illustrations from Brian Pinkney. This book won the Coretta Scott King Award and was also the first book that I have read that originated in South Carolina. This book is surely to be an instant treat for the entire family and is surely to be a favorite among American folktales.

 

Robert D. San Souci’s storytelling is magnificent as he narrates the story about a good-natured girl who finds a true friend in the mermaid. The storytelling is interesting because I have never heard a story come from South Carolina and this is definitely the first folktale that I have read that came from South Carolina. Another reason is that this story seems like to be a combination of “The Little Mermaid” and “Cinderella” as Sukey plays as an honest yet miserable girl who works hard to the bone and has a cruel step parent, in this case her step-pa and she finds a friend in a mermaid who lives in the sea. Brian Pinkney’s illustrations are vibrant and rough edged and they give the book a calm feel when Sukey goes to the sea and a mysterious feel, such as having Mister Jones always having his hat tilted to cover his eyes. The image that stood out from the rest of the images in the book was of the mermaid herself who has green and flourishing hair and a beautiful face to match. Seeing the mermaid just makes anyone who reads this book shows comfort for her as she is shown to be a reassuring and friendly character in this book.

 

 

“Sukey and the Mermaid” is a unique book about how true friendship can bring happiness to anyone and how dreams do come true if you believe in yourself. This book is certainly a special one that both adults and children will cherish because of its creative plot and because of its ingenious moral. I would recommend this book to children ages six years and older due to the book being considerably long and that might put off many young children who are not used to reading large books yet.

 

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

 

 

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review 2016-02-17 19:07
Princess Smartypants by Babette Cole
Princess Smartypants - Babette Cole

Genre:  Royalty / Feminism / Fantasy / Comedy


Year Published: 1986


Year Read:  2008

Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons

 

 

Babette Cole has written many children’s books that seem to feature rebellious children. “Princess Smartypants” is certainly no exception. Babette Cole’s princess story has everything that both an adult and child would gladly appreciate: great sense of humor and a beautiful message about being yourself and standing up for what you believe is right. 

 

Babette Cole did a marvelous job on both the story and the illustrations. The illustrations are as hilarious as they are exuberant. Babette Cole produces a more humorous touch on Princess Smartypants’ vicious pets as one image shows the two green dragons laughing at Prince Vertigo’s feeble attempt to climb Princess Smartypants’ glass tower. Also, the overall message of independence and confidence shines brightly in this story. Princess Smartypants enjoys doing activities that a civilized lady would not do such as, riding her motorbike over a pit of snakes and taking care of wild beasts and does not let anyone’s opinion about her doing these crazy stunts affect her. Then, when Prince Swashbuckle came and passed all of her impossible tasks, Princess Smartypants felt like her independence was being jeopardized as she would have to obey Prince Swashbuckle’s bidding if she marries him. Even though, most parents would think that her actions are somewhat vulgar to an extent, Princess Smartypants was only doing activities that satisfied her and that she was only trying to protect her state of being independent when Prince Swashbuckle passed all her tests. 

 

“Princess Smartypants” is probably one of Babette Cole’s greatest books ever created. This book is a creative story about a princess who just wanted to do the activities that she enjoys doing despite what her parents say. Also, Princess Smartypants is one of the few heroines who have lots of spunk and independence deep within themselves. “Princess Smartypants” is a perfect book for both kids and adults who enjoy messages about independence and confidence.

 

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

 

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review 2015-03-17 06:51
A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon
A Bad Case of Stripes - David Shannon

Genre: Family / Surrealism / Sickness / School

 

Year Published: 1998

 

Year Read: 2008

 

Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks

 

 

“A Bad Case of Stripes” is a story about how peer pressure literally can affect a person. David Shannon, author of the popular “David” series, has created a surreal yet enchanting tale that will gain attention from both kids and adults.

“A Bad Case of Stripes” has one of the most creative illustrations I have ever seen. David Shannon takes care in making each character as colorful as they can be and masterfully illustrates Camilla’s odd situation by adding vivid colors to each transformation that Camilla takes on. Also, the moral of the story about being yourself is greatly defined here when Camilla goes through more awkward transformations when she does not admit that she loves lima beans. The story teaches people that no matter what anyone says about you, you should always be yourself no matter what.

 

 

“A Bad Case of Stripes” is truly a book that can not be missed and the story’s heroine, Camilla, clearly defines the meaning of peer pressure sometimes having positive or negative influences on people. Of course, I would strongly advise parents to read this book first before they show it to children ages five or younger since it contains many frightening images that would not be suitable for children.

 

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

 

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