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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 2017-05-14 00:03
Shadow by Marcia Brown
Shadow - Blaise Cendrars,Marcia Brown

Genre:  Fantasy / Africa ./ Folktale / Horror


Year Published: 1982

 

Year Read:  2010

 

Publisher:   Charles Scribner's Sons

 

 

Shadow

“Shadow” is a Caldecott Medal award winning book by Marcia Brown and it is about what shadows do around people and what they do when they are not looking. “Shadow” may be a bit scary for smaller children, but it is truly a mesmerizing book that children would enjoy for many years.

Marcia Brown has wonderfully given a vivid description of what shadows do and what they are like and put the description of shadows in a poetic format and Marcia Brown does a great job at making shadows seem so mysterious as they constantly follow people around in ghostly figures. Marcia Brown’s illustrations are truly eerie yet creative as the people in the book are drawn as black shadows while the shadows themselves are drawn as white ghostly figures following the shadowed characters, however, there are some shadows that are dark figures such as the shadow coming out of the ash from the fire. The images perfectly blend color and black and white to bring out a more effective look at the world of shadows such as putting shadowed figures against colorful mountainsides or forests.

Shadow

Parents should know that there are some scary images in this book which involves images of the shadows taking frightening shapes such as one shadow wearing a very frightening mask and another large shadow that has ash for eyes and is walking on four wobbly legs. Many small children would also be frighten about the idea that shadows can come to life when they least expect it and it might cause many small children to not go to sleep at night because they might be afraid of their shadows coming to life to get them. Parents need to explain to their children that shadows do not come alive and they are apart of people.

“Shadow” is a brilliant book that takes on the views of the mysterious world of shadows and it will have many children mesmerized for many years. I would recommend this book to children ages six and up since the images are truly frightening and smaller children might be frightened at the idea that shadows come to life in this book.


Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-04-08 15:11
Time of Wonder by Robert McCloskey
Time of Wonder - Robert McCloskey

Genre:  Family / Nature / Weather / Poetry / Exploration


Year Published: 1957


Year Read:  2010

Publisher: The Viking Press

 

 

Wonder

When I first read this book as a child, I did not really care for this book since I thought that this book was too boring to sit through. However, when I read this book later on as an adult, I realized that this book was a truly moving book. “Time of Wonder” is a Caldecott Medal award winning book from the great mind of Robert McCloskey and it is about how a family spends their time on the islands enjoying the beauties of the island. “Time of Wonder” may seem a bit too boring for smaller children, but it is truly one of Robert McCloskey’s most beautiful and moving books ever created!

Robert McCloskey has done a great job at making the story extremely dreamy and beautiful as he describes the girls’ adventures on the island in a dreamy and poetic fashion, giving the story a beautiful feeling, the type of feeling you get when you go to a wonderful place. Robert McCloskey’s illustrations are much different in this book than in his other books since the images are actually colored instead of the usual black and white images that he usually uses for most of his books. Robert McCloskey’s illustrations are truly realistic and beautiful as he shows images of the island showing its beauty towards the two girls. The images that stood out the most in this book are the images of the ferns growing and the images of the hurricane coming towards the island. The images with the ferns growing shows the ferns uncurling themselves from the ground, which is truly a beautiful sight and the images of the hurricane coming to the island shows the storm making a strong wind that violently blows at the family’s house and you can see the waves being blown so violently and the family being blown by the wind as the father tries desperately to close the door.

Wonder

Smaller children might be bored with this book since the beginning is a tad bit too slow and the action does not really come around until the scene of the hurricane coming to the island. Also, the length of this book is much longer than most picture books and many small children might become bored with this book. Parents might want to read one section of the book for the first day and then read the second section of the book the next day so that way children would not become so easily bored.

“Time of Wonder” is a beautiful and enchanting book about enjoying the true beauty of nature that will have many children respecting nature so much more. I would recommend this book to children ages five and up due to the slow beginning.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-03-14 00:31
Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
Kitten's First Full Moon - Kevin Henkes

Genre:  Animals / Humor / Bedtime / Adventure / Perseverance 


Year Published: 2004


Year Read:  2011

Publisher: Greenwillow Books      

 

 

Kitten

I have been reading Kevin Henkes’ works ever since I was a child and every one of his children’s books always featured mice as the main characters. Well, imagine my surprise when I finally found a book by Kevin Henkes that was about a cat! “Kitten’s First Full Moon” is a Caldecott Medal award winning book by Kevin Henkes and it is about a small kitten who tries to grab a bowl of milk in the sky (the moon!) “Kitten’s First Full Moon” is a truly cute book that every child would definitely love for many years!

I was really interested in how well crafted this book was! Kevin Henkes has done an excellent job at writing this story about a small kitten’s attempts to grab a “bowl of milk” in the sky. The writing is extremely simple yet cute at the same time and I loved all the creative ways that Kitten tries to get to the moon, like trying to lick at it, jump towards the moon and chase after the moon. It was also cute in how the kitten mistakes the full moon for being a bowl of milk as it strongly relates to any child’s first experiences with a certain object, like say a child mistakes a piece of chalk for candy and it was this experience that Kitten has that made this book extremely relatable to everyone who had mistaken objects for something else. Kevin Henkes’ illustrations are truly beautiful and adorable as Kevin Henkes draws the Kitten in an extremely cute manner that my heart literally melted whenever I keep seeing an image of the little white kitten! I also loved the background images in the story as they truly looking dazzling, especially the scene where Kitten is running through the fields and you can see flowers and tall grass as she approaches them. The black and white colorings of the images make this book extremely fascinating to look at as it made the images look both dramatic and effective at the same time!


Overall, “Kitten’s First Full Moon” is a truly cute book for children who love reading about cats and experiencing new things in life. I would recommend this book to children ages three and up since the format of this book is simple for smaller children to read.

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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