My children may be rubbing off on me. I nabbed this from the library to take home, but thought I'd just quick flip through it before tucking it in myMy children may be rubbing off on me. I nabbed this from the library to take home, but thought I'd just quick flip through it before tucking it in my bag. Instead I read every word, because how could I not? I laughed out loud at the insult thrown at the little apricot, and sure enough, that part echoed through our house all afternoon and evening after the kids got ahold of this. It also prompted a discussion about appropriate language and how not to spoil the best part of the book. The six-year-old understood, but the three-year-old just kept bursting out with "(view spoiler)[fuzzy butt (hide spoiler)]!" and then laughing.
The illustrations and text formatting combined to make some extraordinarily expressive objects. I will never look at dinosaur chicken nuggets or a paper jam the same way again. I remain skeptical about how paper beats rock, but otherwise I found this delightful.
Recommended for: fans of Bob Shea's Dinosaur Versus books who are looking for something with a little more text and wordplay; fans of The Book with No Pictures or pretty much any other silly story. ...more
I like David Wiesner best when he's not doing humans. So the illustrations here did not resonate as much as I was hoping because of the style. That saI like David Wiesner best when he's not doing humans. So the illustrations here did not resonate as much as I was hoping because of the style. That said, the spreads that focused more on the aquarium or the ocean were very appealing.
The story itself left more questions for me at the end. It is an unusual combination of realistic fiction and fantasy - and I admittedly had trouble figuring out exactly where that line was being drawn (view spoiler)[ for example, if Mira is really a mermaid, was Neptune really Neptune? or was he just a sad little man who stole a baby mermaid? (hide spoiler)].
I wanted to like this more than I did, but I also found myself thinking about this story for longer than usual after I finished....more
There were too many distractions while I was trying to read this, but overall I got the impression of a woman not to be put off from any challenge. AnThere were too many distractions while I was trying to read this, but overall I got the impression of a woman not to be put off from any challenge. And some lovely illustrations.
Would pair nicely with that Sophie Blackall book - A Voyage in the Clouds, because I believe that is about Sophie's husband. Not that her story *needs* a man. But one of my first thoughts when reading this was "hey, isn't that one of the ridiculous men from that Sophie Blackall book?" So....more
I loved this and immediately wanted to read it to a bigger group of kids at a time that wasn't bedtime. This isn't really fair to my own kids, who wilI loved this and immediately wanted to read it to a bigger group of kids at a time that wasn't bedtime. This isn't really fair to my own kids, who willingly participated in the bird calls, but I didn't really want to rile them up with all the actions that this book is just bursting with. The slightly larger format, simple text, and action - so much action - makes me want to use this at my next storytime, even though it would be completely disconnected from everything else.
These are lovely short tales, incorporating an impressive variety of styles, lengths, and types of stories. Truly, these remind me so strongly of theThese are lovely short tales, incorporating an impressive variety of styles, lengths, and types of stories. Truly, these remind me so strongly of the Redwall series, which I loved as a kid.
Note: the creator of Mouse Guard, and editor of these folk tale series lives in Michigan....more
This book succeeds at identifying its audience and delivering a product to satisfy. I found the story well-paced and relatively snappy: it didn't takeThis book succeeds at identifying its audience and delivering a product to satisfy. I found the story well-paced and relatively snappy: it didn't take long to make it through. Full disclosure: my expectations started extremely low, and with such a low bar it didn't take much to meet them. While I think some Christian families may find this series an engaging introduction to history, I have two main complaints.
The first is the over-simplification of events, in some cases leaving nothing but nonsense. As a white Christian man's story about United States history, it tells a - traditional - tale, one in which the Patriots are the Good Guys Fighting and Sacrificing for Freedom, and the Red Coats are Bad Guys. There is an utter lack of nuance that makes it pretty painful to read. This is a story that glorifies Paul Revere and makes the point there were multiple messengers that night, but nary a mention of Sybil Ludington. And perhaps her story was considered unverified. I might understand that approach, except for several repetitions of the idea that the Pilgrims established all 13 colonies and were not allowed to believe in God before coming to the colonies. This leaves the reader with the awkward impression that there were nothing but atheists in England, and that the Pilgrims managed to colonize the entire Eastern coast on their own. The story completely ignores the other religious groups - Catholics and Quakers - and the other business ventures that established themselves here as well. I found this maddening.
My second complaint rests on the quality of the writing and illustrations, neither of which were particularly satisfying to me. The illustrations fall into three categories: modern photos, historical portraits lifted from Wikimedia Commons, and computer-generated collage-looking creations. This last group of illustrations was quite jarring, particularly Rush Limbaugh's face pasted onto a tiny man. The horse, Liberty, had some great facial expressions, but most other characters were rendered very flat.
Overall, I feel there are other, better options for kids interested in reading about history that give a richer and more accurate experience....more
4.5 Stars, but I'll round up because I grew up loving the American Girls series. This is a sweet story, one I would normally classify as fluffy, excep4.5 Stars, but I'll round up because I grew up loving the American Girls series. This is a sweet story, one I would normally classify as fluffy, except for the tidily incorporated details about racism. Melody is a charming, sensitive girl with lovely friends and a supportive family. No one's flaws are too glaring, and most of the conflict is entirely personal (Melody has to overcome her own fears and anxieties to sing a solo in church). Melody stands up for what she believes in, but still doubts her own abilities.
No story will replace the spot in my heart that holds Kirsten, Samantha, Molly, Addy, and Felicity. Those five historical girl figures endured slavery, war, pioneer life, and fought child labor. After American Girl moved more into the present, and threw their efforts into making mirrors instead of windows for their customers, I lost interest. It didn't hurt that I was getting older and less interested in dolls and children's literature.
Melody's is the first American Girl story that has had an impact on me that comes even a little bit close to those five dolls from early on. I cried. I truly think that any reader would be affected with heightened empathy by this story, and not just about the events of 50 years ago, but also about current issues. It doesn't hurt that this is a Michigan story.
Someone else mentioned this might go well with The Watson's Go to Birmingham, and I completely agree. ...more