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review 2014-09-11 09:32
How the Leopard Got His Spots by Rudyard Kipling
Rabbit Ears, How the Leopard Got His Spo... Rabbit Ears, How the Leopard Got His Spots - Microsoft Press

Genre: Africa / Changes / Friendship

Year Published: 1989

Year Read: 1994

Series: Storybook Classics

Publisher: Rabbit Ears Books



“How the Leopard Got His Spots” is the fourth of the “Just So Stories” to be introduced in the Rabbit Ears Storybook Classics Series. The story features narration from Danny Glover, African music from Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Lori Lohstoeter’s colorful and beautiful illustrations.

Danny Glover narrates the story with an African accent, making this story filled with an African culture feeling to the story. Also, Danny Glover’s narration is full of energy as he seems to be ecstatic about narrating this “Just So” story. Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s African influenced music is mostly filled with the vocal talents of each member and in perfect harmony, they create a soothing and energetic vocal sounding music that greatly enhances the African roots of the story. Lori Lohstoeter’s illustrations are beautiful and colorful as the illustrator masterfully illustrates each animal with vibrant colors, especially when they changed their colors. The illustrations that are the true highlights of this story are the images of the Leopard drawn as an extremely beautiful creature as he is mostly yellow at first and is more beautiful when his skin is full of purple and reddish spots. Also, the Ethiopian is drawn as a calm and chubby man and when he changes his colors, he becomes more vibrant as he gets darker.

The only problem I found with this story is that Danny Glover’s narration is a bit difficult to understand. Danny Glover sounds as if he has a sore throat when narrating this story as his voice tends to give out on him at certain times such as, when he was describing the animals in the High Veldt and you can barely hear the words “Eland” and “Hartebeest” since his voice gets soft at these words.

“How the Leopard Got His Spots” is another classic from the “Just So Stories” collection and is truly a memorizing story about going through changes in life. This story is probably the most energetic and attractive of the four “Just So Stories” introduced on Rabbit Ears and is surely to delight children ages eight and up.


Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog


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review 2014-09-11 09:22
Rabbit Ears Treasury of World Tales Volume 2: The White Cat and the Fool and the Flying Ship
Rabbit Ears Treasury of World Tales: Volume Two: The White Cat, Fool and the Flying Ship - Rabbit Ears,Emma Thompson,Robin McLaurim Williams

Genre: Fairy Tales / Folktales / Russia / France

Year Published: 2007

Year Read: 2008

Series: Rabbit Ears Treasury: World Tales #2



Publisher:  Listening Library (Audio)


Finally! Rabbit Ears have managed to put out audio CDs of their fantastic series after being gone from television for over nine years! “Rabbit Ears Treasury of World Tales: The White Cat and the Fool and the Flying Ship” is audio CD that contains two stories that came from around the world that are narrated by famous celebrities along with brilliant music from well known musicians and it will be an instant treat for both children and adults!

Since I already summarize these two stories in my past reviews, I will just briefly summarize each story:


The White Cat
Told by: Emma Thompson
Music by: Joe Jackson

In this tale, the youngest son of a king tries to complete several difficult tasks set out from his father in order to inherit the kingdom. Of course, along the way, he meets up with a beautiful white cat and the young prince’s adventures soon begin!


The Fool and the Flying Ship
Told by: Robin Williams
Music by: The Klezmer Conservatory Band

In this tale, a goofy country bumpkin along with his crew of superhuman companions go off to the Tsar’s palace in a flying ship in order to complete several difficult tasks ordered by the Tsar.

Oh my goodness! This is absolutely my most favorite audio CD out of the whole Rabbit Ears Treasury series! I loved this audio CD because the narrations on both stories are truly inventive and creative and both narrators, Emma Thompson and Robin Williams, both bring excitement and humor to the stories they each narrate. In “The White Cat,” Emma Thompson narrates the story with such elegance and grace that the story comes off as being extremely soothing for both children and adults to listen to and Emma Thompson also brings tension and drama to this story when she uses a raspy voice to voice out the evil troll. Joe Jackson’s music is truly elegant and beautiful and it greatly brings true elegance to the story. In contrast,” The Fool and the Flying Ship” has a more hilarious and raucous tone thanks to Robin Williams! Robin Williams gleefully narrates this story with such energy that children and adults will be rolling around laughing for ages! Robin Williams’ biggest highlight in his narration was when he was voicing the Fool himself as Robin Williams uses a Russian accent to voice out the high pitched voice of the Fool. The Klezmer Conservatory Band’s music goes well with Robin Williams’ raucous narration as they are both full of hilarity.

Overall, “Rabbit Ears Treasury of World Tales: The White Cat and the Fool and the Flying Ship” is a brilliant audio CD for children and adults who love listening to stories from around the world and who love the talents of Robin Williams and Emma Thompson. I would recommend this audio CD to children ages five and up due to the story “The Fool and the Flying Ship” having some jokes that might be aimed at older children.

*~A Little Side Note~*
There is no book to go with this audio CD and many people who grew up with the Rabbit Ears series might be a bit disappointed, even though the narration is still top notch in this audio CD.


Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog


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review 2014-05-13 22:22
Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco
Thank You, Mr. Falker - Patricia Polacco
Genre: Disabilities / Bullying / Teaching / Inspiration

Year Published: 1998

Year Read:  2010


Boy, am I on the roll with reading various by none other than Patricia Polacco herself!  This time, Patricia Polacco writes an autobiographical book called “Thank you, Mr. Falker” where it details the life of a young girl named Trisha who struggles with learning how to read and how an inspirational teacher named Mr. Falker tries to help her read.  “Thank you, Mr. Falker” is certainly one of the most memorable children’s books to be created for children who also have trouble learning how to read.

Oh my goodness! Imagine my surprise when I realized that this book is actually based on Patricia Polacco’s real life problems with learning how to read!  It was this aspect of this story that really drew me into this book!  I loved the way that Patricia Polacco (Trisha in this book) relates her own experiences to the audience since I felt like this would greatly help children who also have problems with reading and who were teased by this problem, which bullying is a big issue for many schools.  What I really loved about this book was the teacher Mr. Falker himself as he was a truly inspirational teacher who tried to do his best to help out Trisha and I believe that with teachers like Mr. Falker who try to help out students with their problems and try to give them confidence in themselves are the best kind to have in any school!  Patricia Polacco’s illustrations are just as gorgeous in this book as they were in her other books as the characters look extremely realistic, especially the characters’ facial expressions that convey their emotions.  The image that truly stood out the most for me was the image of Trisha crying after the kids started teasing her and Patricia Polacco had effectively illustrated Trisha’s face being slightly red and the way she covers her mouth to hide her sadness made this a truly emotional image.

Overall, “Thank you, Mr. Falker” is truly one of the most inspirational children’s books about children who have problems learning how to read that children will easily relate to.  I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the bullying scenes might too upsetting for smaller children.


Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog



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review 2014-05-13 22:14
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs retold by Randall Jarrell
Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs: A Tale from the Brothers Grimm (Sunburst Book) - Nancy Ekholm Burkert,Randall Jarrell
Genre: Fairy Tale / Classic / Friendship / Stepmothers

Year Published: 1972

Year Read:  2010

Square Fish
Snow White

“Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs” is a Caldecott Honor Book from the classic Brothers Grimm tale that is retold by Randall Jarrell along with illustrations by Nancy Ekholm Burkert and this book is easily one of the most beloved retellings of the classic fairy tale ever told.

Randall Jarrell has done an excellent job at retelling this classic Brothers Grimm tale, as the story is dramatic and intense at the same time.  Children will be thrilled with the amount of tension going on in this tale as Snow-White tries to escape from her wicked stepmother.  Also, children will love the elegant feel of the story as Snow-White is definitely a truly memorable character as she is shown to be an innocent girl trying to survive in a harsh world, which many children can easily relate to her as they might often find themselves in a world they are frightened of.  Nancy Ekholm Burkert’s illustrations are simply beautiful, especially of the front image of Snow-White herself as she is shown having black wavy hair, dark beautiful eyes and a beautiful blue dress.  Also, the images are set up in between the passages of the story, as there are two pages full of mainly words detailing the story and then the next two pages are full of illustrations detailing the story in a vivid way.

Parents should know that there are some intense scenes in this book including Snow-White’s wicked stepmother who tries desperately to kill Snow-White and get her lung and liver because she is more beautiful than the stepmother.  Many small children might get frightened at the idea that the stepmother trying to kill Snow-White because she is more beautiful than her and many children might get the impression that someone will kill them if they are more beautiful than the other person. 

“Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs” is a beautiful tale from the Brothers Grimm that children will enjoy for many years, even though this is probably the obscured version of the classic tale even though it was awarded the Caldecott Honor.  I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since smaller children will be frightened by the scenes of Snow-White’s stepmother trying to kill Snow-White.


Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog



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review 2014-05-13 22:04
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Chrysanthemum - Kevin Henkes
Genre: Bullying / Individuality / Animals

Year Published: 1991

Year Read:  2010

Greenwillow Books
“Chrysanthemum” is a cute tale from Kevin Henkes about how a young girl mouse named Chrysanthemum tries to appreciate her long and unusual name when she goes to school and is teased by her  classmates.  “Chrysanthemum” is a truly heartwarming story that children will easily enjoy for many years.

Kevin Henkes has done an excellent job at both writing and illustrating this book.  Kevin Henkes’ story about how Chrysanthemum starts to loathe her name because some kids teased her about her name is easily relatable to children who have also been teased about their names.  Also, the story does a great job at describing how much Chrysanthemum loves her name and even though she was teased about her name, she learns to accept her name and many children will learn that they should not let other kids tease them about their names and that they should accept who they are no matter what.  Kevin Henkes’ illustrations are cute as all the characters are mice that perform human activities such as dancing around on their hind legs.  The image that stood out the most was the image of Mrs. Twinkle herself as the text describes how amazing she is and the image strongly reinforces that by having Mrs. Twinkle look extremely beautiful and having a large stomach due to her being pregnant which is one of the few times I actually saw an image of a pregnant character in a children’s book.

“Chrysanthemum” is a wonderful book about accepting who you are no matter what other people say that children will easily relate to and enjoy.  I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since there is nothing inappropriate in the content of this book.
Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog
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