This book, filled with double-page spreads is gorgeous. The beautiful art, by author/illustrator Kenard Pak is filled with the breath-taking colors ofThis book, filled with double-page spreads is gorgeous. The beautiful art, by author/illustrator Kenard Pak is filled with the breath-taking colors of autumn and Pak's style gives the book a slightly retro, mid-century feel. A young girl takes a walk on a late summer morning, and along the way greets the trees, the animals and the people she meets. She even greets the chill in the air, the puddles in the street and the falling leaves. In turn, she is greeted with the news of how each of them are getting ready for the coming change in seasons. This is a delightful book for teaching kids about the change of seasons and the weather and how those changes affect everyone. Whether it's animals preparing cozy nests for colder temperatures or people putting on warmer scarves and coats, Pak simply and beautifully gives readers a comfy look at a colorful time of year....more
A simple idea, beautifully executed. Frida and Bear love to draw but when one day, they can't think of anything to draw, Frida comes up with an idea.A simple idea, beautifully executed. Frida and Bear love to draw but when one day, they can't think of anything to draw, Frida comes up with an idea. She draws a simple shape, hands it to Bear and tells him "Try to turn this shape into something, Bear." And so it begins, a shared game that anyone reading along can play and one that will stretch the imaginations of anyone who gives it a try. By encouraging readers to find recognizable things in abstract shapes, this wonderful book will have kids (and adults too for that matter) looking at the world in new ways....more
Jonathan Stroud is an expert when it comes to writing suspenseful action scenes and delivering moments of mounting tension. Heroes of the Valley, fillJonathan Stroud is an expert when it comes to writing suspenseful action scenes and delivering moments of mounting tension. Heroes of the Valley, filled with adventurous cliff-hangers and set in what seems to be the Viking era, is no exception. The two main characters, Halli and Aud are well developed and refreshing in that they don’t conform to any stereotypes. Halli, a 15 year old boy, is not handsome like his older brother, but is described as being squat with short legs. Aud, a young girl of about the same age, is defiant, witty, brave and with her ability to fight, clearly comes from warrior stock. The two characters make a great team, and though Halli feels a need to protect Aud, she definitely can defend herself and doesn’t need his protection. They are portrayed as equals and Aud is shown as being as heroic as Halli, if not more so. This book had me looking forward to returning to it each night and the end of each chapter kept me wanting to read more.
If I have any complaint about this book it is that I felt the supernatural elements, which are for the most part absent until the book’s climax, could have been left out entirely. In some ways it seems like these elements provided the author with an easy way out. So much of the book seems rooted in the real world, that I found myself wishing the author hadn’t resorted to a supernatural climax. Earlier in the book, Aud is questioning the old tales that their people live by, proclaiming that the tales are nothing more than ways to keep people in line. “Deep down it’s all about rules, all about keeping everyone in their place,” she says to Halli, trying to convince him that the scary tales that keep people from leaving their valley are nothing more than hogwash. I enjoyed this bit of skepticism and wished it had been more thoroughly examined. Without giving too much away, Aud later realizes she was wrong and that the tales do have some truth to them, though that truth proves to be somewhat distorted from what has been handed down through the generations. When I originally read Aud’s proclamation of disbelief, I felt Stroud was trying to subtly teach readers to think critically and question what they have been mindlessly fed over generations of teachings. I had hoped that the ending of the book would prove Aud right, but unfortunately, because Stroud resorts to a climatic battle with supernatural forces, Aud’s skepticism gets diluted and ends up seeming wrongly placed. The message of questioning and not merely accepting things you’ve been taught is still there, but I think it could have been more powerful if Aud and Halli’s adventure had ended differently.
Still, this is a great read and kids who enjoy rousing adventures with just a hint of fantasy should enjoy this suspenseful and well-written tale. ...more
This epic tale of an alien invasion, originally published in weekly installments in the Buenos Aires newspaper Hora Cero from 1957-1959, reads like anThis epic tale of an alien invasion, originally published in weekly installments in the Buenos Aires newspaper Hora Cero from 1957-1959, reads like an Argentinian version of "The War of the Worlds," but with Cold War references thrown in. The story begins in the home of a comic book writer, who while working at his desk witnesses the appearance of a time traveler, a man who because he is fated to travel through eternity, refers to himself as The Eternaut. This man, trapped in time, soon begins to tell a terrifying tale of events set to take place on Earth in just a few years. We learn the man's real name is Juan Salvo and his story leading up to how he became a time traveler is a tale of a devastating alien invasion that begins one quiet night as he and his nerdy pals play a game of cards. The bulk of the story is a tale of resistance, of humanity's fight for survival and of a group of men who using their wits manage to fight back against an army of invaders who have enslaved other alien races and inducted them into their war of conquest on Earth. It's an episodic tale, which is to be expected in a work originally written as a weekly serial, and because of this, information is sometimes repeated (which I'm sure was so that an audience who might have joined the story late in progress, could jump in at any point and understand what was taking place). The black and white artwork is for the most part amazing and seems to improve as the story goes along. After finishing this, it's easy to understand how the character of Juan Salvo, the Eternaut, became a symbol of resistance in a country that has a dark history of repression under a military government. As revealed in this edition's preface, it's sad to realize that the author himself became a victim of Argentina's repressive regime and was one of the thousands of people who mysteriously disappeared after being taken into government custody in the late 1970s....more