Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Book Reviews

Well - it's hard to narrow down our list of favorite books. We have many of them. Most of them are classics that are probably very well known. So rather than list reviews and opinions about books known to most, I figured I should try and pick some that might not be as well known. Here goes nothin'

Tomie dePaola is one of our very favorite all time authors. I'm sure that most have read Strega Nona. Our new favorite is The Art Lesson. This is the story of little Tommy who loves to draw. He draws and draws and draws, and is so excited when it's time to go to school because his big brother told him that he gets to have real art lessons once in school. In the end we find out that little Tommy is grown up and in fact the story is the story of Tomie dePaola himself. Sophia loved reaching the end to find out that this little boy grew up and was able to do exactly what he wanted to do his whole life. She looked at me with wide eyes and said "Mommy! He did it. He's a real artist." I think it is a wonderful story to show young children that they really can be whatever they want if they work hard at it.

Graeme Base is another favorite author of ours. I loved reading The 11th Hour as a kid, and loved solving the mystery of "who did it" - but at 3 true appreciation of the story is a bit above Sophia. Uno's Garden and The Water Hole are more on her level, and are both fantastic lessons about our world and how important it is to give back what we take.

Uno's Garden is about Uno, a man that travels to the jungle and loves it so much that he decides to stay. Over time more and more people come and build more and more buildings. As the buildings double, the animals and plants all but vanish until there are no more plants or animals left. Once all the people realize that there are no more trees they all leave and the city is abandoned - except for Uno and his garden and one long animal. Uno's children continue to tend to his little garden and over time the forest and it's animals start to come back. It takes many many years but eventually the balance is restored.

The Watering Hole is along the same lines, but it features animals from all over the world - many of which are endangered. It is the story of a "secret" water hole that the animals drink from, unaware that they are not the only animals aware of this "secret". Over time more animals come to drink and the water hole gets smaller and smaller until it is gone. Then it rains - and all the animals come together to drink once again. The story is nice, but our fun lay in finding the "hidden" animals within the artwork (how we love Base's illustrations!)

Alice the Fairy by David Shannon is great too. No, David! is also one of Sophia's favorites, but I think upon the discovery of Alice, poor David got tossed from the top of the list. The book is about a little girl who likes to pretend she's a fairy. She often causes a bit of mischief while being a fairy, but I'm willing to overlook that. Pat (DH), started reading it to her, but changed the name Alice to Sophia, and changes the parts of the book he didn't want to "encourage" - like the distaste for Broccoli. This is Soph's favorite thing to do now - I think we read that story on average of 5 times a day.

Outside Overthere by Maurice Sendak is definitely one of my least favorite books ever. I recalled while at the library that when I was a little girl I had received it as a gift and my mom read it and swiftly confiscated it. (I couldn't have been more than 5) Well I figured, how bad was this book really.... well - REALLY BAD. In my humble opinion. Something about little goblins stealing away a baby to marry her off just seems absolutely horrid. I am so sorry that I didn't pre-read that one, I usually do that. I was in a rush, there was Sophia-pressure... She was worried for the following 3 days that goblins were going to steal Brenna. NOT GOOD.

well, seeing how I started this post about a month ago, I didn't get much reviewing done, but I may as well post it now. I have a running list of books to write about - my mind and heart are just too heavy right now with the world. Between fires, flooding, and draught - it seems no matter where you look we're in peril - and that's just in the US! That doesn't even look at all the other countries that have it so much worse. *sigh* It makes my heart sad.

1 Questions, Comments, Concerns:

chanale said...

I really like Graeme Base, too! As you say, The 11th Hour mystery is over preschoolers' heads, but I sure enjoyed it. :) E enjoyed The Sign of the Seahorse along with me.