I found the story clunky, although the message was fine. The lonely Prince must discover how to be true to himself, although there is not much acknowlI found the story clunky, although the message was fine. The lonely Prince must discover how to be true to himself, although there is not much acknowledgement of what must be sacrificed to do so (no mention of how the King had ignored his only son to presumably remain true to himself, for example).
The illustrations are glorious. My favorite spreads are the ones that take place after dark with the streetlamps lit. The glow from those streetlamps warms the whole oversize double-page spread in truly amazing fashion....more
I'm not a poetry person, so when a book of poems speaks to me, it usually speaks loudly and emphatically. This made the seasons come alive, and made mI'm not a poetry person, so when a book of poems speaks to me, it usually speaks loudly and emphatically. This made the seasons come alive, and made me want to go outside in the snow, and made me look forward to planting seeds in the spring and sitting out in the summer. The illustrations are muted and give just enough oomph to the text without overshadowing it....more
I found this funnier than I thought I was going to. The illustrations are stunningly dimensional, and rich. The combo of sculpture, paper art, and regI found this funnier than I thought I was going to. The illustrations are stunningly dimensional, and rich. The combo of sculpture, paper art, and regular old pictures is very cool to look at. My favorite illustration was the book waiting on the shelf - I thought a dog was climbing on the shelf to look at the book, but instead it was a beard. The book had grown a beard.
The text is semi-rhyming, full of subtle humor that swells into ridiculous hilarity, and then ebbs back into mildly funny. It's a good rhythm. The author/illustrator bios on the jacket are particularly hilarious, but only for readers who know how babies are made....more
Once upon a time I read the first - oh, probably 9 or 10 - books in the Redwall series. Several of them I read over and over again. This was one of thOnce upon a time I read the first - oh, probably 9 or 10 - books in the Redwall series. Several of them I read over and over again. This was one of them and I picked it up again to see if it still held my interest so many years later. I had forgotten the epic sweep of this series, the lengthy songs and descriptions of food (by the way, there is a Redwall Cookbook), the high flying ideals, and the complex characters.
In this installment, Redwall isn't built yet, and there is a vile slaver on the shores of the country. He builds his empire, but eventually meets with resistance led by the bold and brave Martin. For kids who enjoy adventure and battle, but who would benefit from a realistic look at the toll aggression takes on individuals and groups. What I always liked about the Redwall series is the balance that is struck between the violence and the joys of daily life. For every battle, there's a theater performance; every defiant struggle is matched with a really good meal; for every dictator or traitor or whiner there is a hopeful dreamer, a hard worker, a kind hand....more
The illustrations are stunning, with just the right amount of color that seems to convey hope among bland despair. Less a story than a poem, this bookThe illustrations are stunning, with just the right amount of color that seems to convey hope among bland despair. Less a story than a poem, this book manages to capture the feeling, the dream of hope for peace. A lovely picture poem that promotes unity and a search for understanding between cultures....more
I'm not what you would consider a "football person," and had no idea who Jim Thorpe was, so this story is new to me. Regardless of my normal disintereI'm not what you would consider a "football person," and had no idea who Jim Thorpe was, so this story is new to me. Regardless of my normal disinterest, I read this in one day. How could I not? Sheinkin's obvious enthusiasm for the topic was contagious: his hero-worship of Jim Thorpe occasionally had me wondering if everything was strictly true, but regardless, I was swept up in the story.
The main threads of the story include the life of Jim Thorpe, the history of the Carlisle Indian School, the beginnings of American Football as we know it, and relations between the United States government and members of the American Indian Sovereign Nations. All these threads intertwine to create a fascinating story that both inspired me and broke my heart. It's hard not to be uplifted by the Carlisle Indian School football team: they spawned so much of what is now modern football while being slammed with racist reporting and expectations. Individual athletes, among them Jim Thorpe, exemplified determination, hard work, and commitment to their teammates. At the same time, the treatment of this team and the existence of the school itself clearly exhibit all of the stereotypes and bigoted attitudes that remain on display today.
(view spoiler)[ I love the title. I spent the greater part of the book waiting for the undefeated season to come, only to have it never quite materialize. But then in the end, Sheinkin includes a fantastic quote from Carlisle halfback Frank Cayou, who claimed the team was undefeated nonetheless: "Our greatest glory consists not in never failing... but in rising every time we fall. Let that be our motto!" (222) Truly an inspiring philosophy that seems to exemplify not just Jim Thorpe, but also the entire Carlisle team. (hide spoiler)]
I would highly recommend Candace Fleming's Presenting Buffalo Bill: The Man Who Invented the Wild West as an equally engaging book that takes place during the same time frame as Undefeated, but provides additional context for the world as it was in the late nineteenth century. It was very interesting to have read these two back to back....more