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Search tags: Talking-animals
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review 2017-03-17 18:25
Does lion rhyme with iron?
Frog on a Log? - Jim Field,Kes Gray

This is my favorite picture book of 2017 and that's saying quite a lot. I liked it so much in fact that I bought a copy for myself and a copy for my mom (if you know mom then you know why I did this). It's a hilarious, rhyming story about a frog who thinks that the rule that all frogs sit on logs (told to him by a wiseacre cat) is unfair because logs are uncomfortable. What follows is the cat informing the frog about the rules of where certain animals are allowed to sit. (Look out for the fleas and make sure you ask the little people you're reading with to find them for you.) If you're using this in a storytime, I encourage you to read with panache and infuse the cat with lots of exasperated attitude. It's a fantastically fun experience when you get your audience invested enough to be shocked by the ending (which is hysterical by the way). The illustrations are absolutely adorable (I'm going to be looking for more works by Jim Field I think) and create another layer of playfulness which I appreciated. I highly recommend this book for anyone and everyone (but especially those who work or live with small children). 10/10

 

Note: It seems that in the UK where this was originally published it was titled Oi Frog! which puzzles me mightily. Also, there's a sequel which is out and which I must get my hands on titled Oi Dog! (I don't get why they would change the name here in the US).

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-01-24 15:40
Moles in the city
Moletown - Torben Kuhlmann

I never knew that moles were adorable until I read Moletown by Torben Kuhlmann. (You may remember him from such posts as this one or this one.) I also had no idea that they would work as a perfect stand-in for humans. Kuhlmann once again knocks it right out of the park with this story of urbanization and industrialization. It's a sobering look at the way humanity has taken a seed of an idea which seemed perfectly innocent (or inevitable) and turned it into something suffocating and terrible. Yes, the advent of the modern age has done much to improve the lives of humans but it has also destroyed landscapes and wiped out entire species. Once again, this is a great way to open up a discussion with kids about a topic which they most likely only cover in relation to the atrocities inflicted upon Native Americans (if they even go into detail about that). It's so much more than that and I think it's important that kids start to think beyond their own small worlds. Of course, you have to decide if you think this is age appropriate but I think it would be good for second graders at the very least. 10/10 for awesome illustrations and a really awesome storyline that is sure to get little people (and the adults in their lives) thinking.

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-01-17 16:19
A Flight of Fancy
Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse - Torben Kuhlmann

I mentioned before that I went a little crazy over Torben Kuhlmann's books (go here for my review of Armstrong). So it should come as no surprise that I gobbled up Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse which as the title suggests is the story of the first solo flight across the Atlantic...by a mouse. This is kind of an alternate (and obviously fictional) historical account of aircraft engineering and one mouse's determination to be the forerunner in the field. Once again, the illustrations are sensational and evoke a sense of wonderment and delight. It's the end of Kuhlmann's books which I think are my favorite because he ties in the truth (Charles Lindbergh) to the fictional tale. He gives a brief history of flight which is a great way to get kids excited about an historical topic which might seem a bit 'old school' to them. The mouse must continue to persevere against all odds (there are dangers inherent to being a mouse on a mission) to achieve his dreams. This is a great message for all ages! Torben, you've reached the top 5 of my favorite graphic novelists. Congrats to you, sir. 10/10

 

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-01-10 15:37
Rocket mouse
Armstrong: A Mouse on the Moon - Torben Kuhlmann

Every year at the New York Public Library a list of the Best Books for Kids is crafted. I had a peek at this year's list and grabbed a few to read and review for the blog. Don't be surprised if you see a lot of picture books in the coming weeks. :-)

 

When I saw the illustration style of Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon by Torben Kuhlmann I knew that I had to get that book into my hands. By the time I got through the first couple of pages I was looking up the other books by him and requesting them to be sent my way. I understand that each person has a different idea of what is aesthetically pleasing to them and that not every person will find particular styles of illustration appealing. With that being said, I cannot see how someone could read anything by Kuhlmann and not instantly fall in love with his artistic technique and his unique storytelling style. His fascination with the way machines work and how industrialization has changed the course of history has led him to create fictional stories about real advances in technology using animals such as mice and moles. There's certainly an element of anthropomorphism being used here but the animals also exhibit those traits specific to them (the mice meet at a cheese shop for example). This is another author/illustrator whose work is so gorgeous that I want to hang it on my walls. This story specifically deals with a mouse who is mesmerized by the moon. He dreams of traveling there so that he can prove to the other mice that it is not made of cheese. There are obstacles to overcome not least of which is that it's dangerous to be a mice who wants to break the mold (and build a rocket that can actually get him into space). It's a story of perseverance, determination, and rocketry. I highly recommend this to little ones who are curious about how things work and that dream of one day being astronauts...or to people who just really love mice. 10/10

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2016-11-04 22:04
Complaining creatures
Penguin Problems - Jory John,Lane Smith

As you can imagine, I'm signed up to quite a few newsletters from various publishing houses and booksellers. A few weeks ago I got an email about newly published children's literature from Random House. I gave it a quick glance and one book in particular seemed to leap off of the screen at me. Penguin Problems is written by Jory John and illustrated by Lane Smith. The book is written in first person and the main character is a penguin with a lot of problems. He's cold, he doesn't like the snow, he looks like all the other penguins...you get the drift. I think my favorite thing about the book (and the reason I wanted to read it) are the illustrations. (Note: Lane Smith also illustrated The Stinky Cheese Man.) I felt like the space on each page was utilized and the minimal use of color really worked for the story. There are some chuckle-worthy moments in this book but I wouldn't go out on a limb and say it's a standout. It's not one that I'm itching to run out and add to my personal collection at any rate. However, if you get the chance to check it out of your local library then I suggest you do so. It's a quick, fun read that your little ones will probably enjoy. For me it was a 4/10.

 

photo source: Amazon.com

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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