I'm always amazed when authors create stories out of only a handful of words, which is exactly what Ethan Long does in this book. Not only does he pre...moreI'm always amazed when authors create stories out of only a handful of words, which is exactly what Ethan Long does in this book. Not only does he present three different concepts (up, tall, and high), but he also creates stories that are funny and appealing to preschoolers. In the first story, we learn the concept of tall, but when the supposedly, "tall" bird turns out not to be "tall" at all, he proves that just because one is not tall, does not make one small. I love the way the illustrations clearly show what the words state in such delightful ways. The second story involves a bird helping his friend penguin fly. I love the problem-solving aspect of this story, how the bird uses a creative solution to do the seemingly impossible. A remarkably complex theme told very simply. The third story involves a bird pridefully stating that he is up. When the bird that is 'down' joins him and the tree collapses it beautifully demonstrates the theme of 'pride goeth before a fall' but also the value of having friends to help us up when we fall. Definitely worthy of the 2013 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award.(less)
I'll keep it simple, I LOVED IT! I enjoyed the characters, Egg is definitely a sympathetic character what with the abuse he suffers from his family bu...moreI'll keep it simple, I LOVED IT! I enjoyed the characters, Egg is definitely a sympathetic character what with the abuse he suffers from his family but his good nature despite it. Then when he finally does seem to find a good situation, it turns out to be an illusion and he ends up on the run having to fight for what it rightfully his. But through it all, Egg proves to have more brains and courage than he or anyone else would have thought. Millicent was quite an interesting character as well, spunky and clever and likeable but so adoring of her father that at first she doesn't see what he is capable of, not to mention completely prejudiced against her mother as a result. As for Guts, well, what an interesting character he proves to be. Millicent's father, who proves to be the villain in this story, is one of those characters that seems likeable and you want to like him, but you suspect him almost immediately of alterior motives. I liked the way that the author slowly revealed these motives without giving everything away immediately.
The writing was great, just detailed enough to clearly visualize who, where, and what is happening without bogging down the story. The story moves along at a nice clip, perfectly designed for those readers who like a quick-moving plot. There is plenty of action here involving cliffs, betrayals, pirates, and greedy, powerful men who are used to getting what they want. There are also plenty of ethical dilemmas here as well. This would make a great read-a-loud and I highly recommend it.(less)
A fascinating account of some intriguing and intricate robberies and the thieves who pulled them off. I had no idea that such well-planned and difficu...moreA fascinating account of some intriguing and intricate robberies and the thieves who pulled them off. I had no idea that such well-planned and difficult thefts had occurred. The story about the airplane hijacker was especially incredible, and yet after so much work, the supposed thief got away with so little. Some of these thieves stole for decades without getting caught. It's kind of sad though that these men who had such talents used their talents in such unfortunate ways and they all ended up paying for it in one way or another.
First, there's the Italian who stole the Mona Lisa and kept it hidden for two years, only to avoid a long prison sentence because the Italian's thought he was a folk hero for 'rescuing' the painting from the French. And who would imagine that forgetting to wash the dishes would catch an extremely thorough and careful bunch of bank thieves. And what about the thief who never carried a gun because someone could get hurt. There is quite a collection of individual stories in this book.
The illustrations provide a comic feel to the book and quite appealing. The book should be perfect for reluctant readers who like unusual topics. I agree with the author that these stories do indeed make for great reading. Full of humor, irony, and even heartbreak, these stories provided me with a very entertaining read and reminded me why being a thief is so not a good idea.(less)
I am delighted to see more and more picture book biographies being published. This makes it so much easier to share biographies with younger children....moreI am delighted to see more and more picture book biographies being published. This makes it so much easier to share biographies with younger children. At the same time, picture book biographies have to be carefully done in order to provide enough information without going overboard. I mean how do you provide just enough information to help the reader get an idea of what the person was like, without getting bogged down in details? I firmly believe that it is an art form. Picture books are an art in and of themselves, but picture book biographies require an even more careful hand because the characters are real. Audrey Vernick does a fantastic job of this in Brothers at Bat.
Vernick provides enough information to give the reader a taste of what the people are like, without losing her focus on a baseball team made up of only brothers. Sixteen children, twelve of whom were boys, I can only admire their parents. I appreciated the small touches that made the family seem so real, things like the slam, slam, slam of the door as the boys raced out to play. The sharing of beds, the individual portraits that show the familial similarity but also individual differences, all added to the story.
The illustrations are gorgeous and appealing. I'm always amazed when illustrators can create faces from a few lines and shapes. Salerno does a great job of this.
If you are looking for more great picture book biographies, I highly recommend this one.(less)
The minute I realized this book was illustrated by Demi, I knew it would be beautiful. And it is, very much so. I loved looking at the beautiful drawi...moreThe minute I realized this book was illustrated by Demi, I knew it would be beautiful. And it is, very much so. I loved looking at the beautiful drawings/paintings, the rich colors with the intricate borders are typical Demi. What amazed me about this was the detail. On the borders of drawing Demi shows the movements of a particular kind of bird. The time and effort this must have taken in learning how birds move and fly. Her illustrations are always so delicate looking, yet stunning, I almost wished the birds would hop from the page onto my hand so I could get a better look at them.
I loved the story as well. As the synopsis describes there are many themes shared in the story, like many folktales, and this one has a strong Christian feel to it, although God is referred to mostly as the King. I liked the fact that the birds had a leader, someone to follow. This reminded me that all of us need role models, young and old alike. I also appreciated the theme of sacrifice and how some of the birds had to sacrifice something in order to make the journey, whether it was a possession, an attitude, a bad habit, they had to go in order for the birds to make it to their destination safely. A beautiful story, beautifully told about the journey of life, especially appropriate for Christians, parents or children.(less)
Princesses are a topic that is always popular among little girls. But to be honest, I get sick of the Disney princess type, although they are getting...morePrincesses are a topic that is always popular among little girls. But to be honest, I get sick of the Disney princess type, although they are getting better, the type where the princess has to be rescued, is beautiful, etc. Because of this, I am glad that there are more princess books coming out involving girls that don't fit that image. The princess in Dangerously Ever After is very much her own person. She loves things that are dangerous. Things like her pet scorpion, a bike with no brakes, and a garden full of 'prickles and stickles and brambles and nettles.' When a prince shows up and wreaks havoc in her garden she is not pleased. And when he tries to fix the damage by giving her roses, she is even less pleased, until she sees the thorns. She loves the thorns and seeks some rose seeds of her own, but what she gets is not what she wanted and adventure results. I enjoyed the fairy tale feel to the story, the story is definitely unique and fun. I highly recommend this to those who want a fairy tale, but a untypical one.(less)
This book makes me laugh. Little Dragons antics remind me so much of a toddler, who loves to play but who doesn't like to get cleaned up. I seriously...moreThis book makes me laugh. Little Dragons antics remind me so much of a toddler, who loves to play but who doesn't like to get cleaned up. I seriously admire his mother's patience. The illustrations are delightful, full of color and life. The splashes of bright orange and red for the fire are impossible to ignore. This book is also perfect for helping children learn about solving problems. When Little Dragon's fire goes out at first he tries to solve the problem himself. When that doesn't work, he goes to his mother and she provides the help he needs. I also appreciate the ending where Little Dragon has learned the value of prevention. The ongoing refrain of "Oh, No" makes this perfect for an interactive storytime. I highly recommend this fun book.(less)
This is a tender story about family, love, and the miracles that can come with the Christmas season when we open our hearts. Christoph really misses h...moreThis is a tender story about family, love, and the miracles that can come with the Christmas season when we open our hearts. Christoph really misses his Grandma and her game of hiding presents in the Christmas tree. To make up for her abscence he hopes to get a Tony Hawk skateboard for Christmas. But when a couple of special surprises come his way, he is reminded about the most important gifts of all. I found this a sweet story, long enough to get the message across and short enough to be perfect for sharing.(less)
Giggle, giggle, snort. What a funny story of young love and misguided thinking. I mean seriously, stealing a penguin?! I would never have thought of s...moreGiggle, giggle, snort. What a funny story of young love and misguided thinking. I mean seriously, stealing a penguin?! I would never have thought of such a thing and I can't think of any other book on such a topic. Maybe that's one of the great things about reading literature that comes from other countries, the introduction of stories that are different and unusual. I personally really enjoy these kind of books and I'm glad I had a chance to read this one.
This story revolves around a teenage boy trying to impress his crush and find a way to go on his biology class field trip. With the help of some friends(?), he decides to steal/borrow a penguin from the local zoo. How he expected to hide the penguin from his mother is an interesting question, but then again, how many teenagers think things through completely before they act?
This book reminds me of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, although instead of comics it uses illustrations involving diagrams and notes from Marty's diary/notebook. This helps make the book especially kid-friendly. I found the book easy to read and it starts off with a bang as Marty faces the consequences of his choices. I highly recommend this book to kids who want something a little different and yet funny and relatable. (less)
There are a lot of books being published about bullying and the effects of it. What I loved about this one is the imagination involved and the extra t...moreThere are a lot of books being published about bullying and the effects of it. What I loved about this one is the imagination involved and the extra twist involving thinking one is better than someone else and how that can lead to a different kind of bullying, even among friends. Chad and his imaginary friend, Pingo, spend recess playing with their friends, Gary, Tiffany, and Dustin along with their imaginary friends. They avoid Jeremy though and his imaginary friend, Grunt, because he bullies them. One day though they get into a contest about which imaginary friend is better. I loved that Pingo points out that this is silly because each of them has things that they do especially well. I especially liked the fact that when Jeremy and Grunt step up to bully the kids and their friends, instead of fighting back or getting defensive, Pingo steps up and invites Jeremy and Grunt to play with them. In addition to liking the story line, I loved Brandon Dorman's illustrations, they are so bright and colorful and imaginative, they create a lot of things to talk about when sharing the book. (less)
I really enjoyed this book, it made for a light fun read but with a surprising amount of depth. Andrew is a good kid, but at twelve-years-old, life is...moreI really enjoyed this book, it made for a light fun read but with a surprising amount of depth. Andrew is a good kid, but at twelve-years-old, life is still a mystery, especially regarding his new standing as a deacon in the LDS Church (deacons quorums are made up of 12 and 13-year-old boys). His efforts to fit in with his quorum don't go as smoothly as he would like, but he is excited to go on his first camping trip with the other deacons and their two leaders. Things change dramatically though when one of the leaders gets hurt and the other has to go for help, leaving the six boys on their own. How can they possibly do this as 'weak and simple' as they are? I found the book delightful and very realistic (I've heard plenty of scouting/camping stories). I thought the relationships between the boys and their leaders were fantastic. I appreciated how the boys did their best but didn't make perfect decisions. The book does reference LDS (Mormon) beliefs and practices but not in an obtrusive way. I highly recommend this book especially for middle grade boys!(less)