It’s not often I read a picture book that gives me goosebumps, but boy howdy, this was one of those times! The Babe and I, if you will pardon the pun,...moreIt’s not often I read a picture book that gives me goosebumps, but boy howdy, this was one of those times! The Babe and I, if you will pardon the pun, just hit the spot with me. Slightly abstracted illustrations accompany the text of this frankly, rather poignant picture book about a young boy whose birthday in 1932 falls in the midst of the Great Depression. He’s disappointed with his gift (a dime, and not a bicycle), but he knows his dad is lucky to have a job.
He and his friend Jacob go off on their own, walking through the Bronx…and come across the boy’s “employed” dad, selling apples along with the rest of unemployed. It’s a tough lesson for him, but Jacob proves true blue and helps him get a job as a newsie, selling papers to crowds at Yankee Stadium, and helping his family through the times. The morals of pride in one’s work, and the value of resourcefulness, come across loud and clear in this beautiful story. Excellent for teaching children both about those qualities, and about the Great Depression. (less)
I haven’t experienced this much of the Lone Star State in many a year! Jan Brett presents a fun story that brings both Texas and armadillos to life, a...moreI haven’t experienced this much of the Lone Star State in many a year! Jan Brett presents a fun story that brings both Texas and armadillos to life, and does so with her usual flair for detailed, engaging illustrations, and a lot of accurate vernacular to boot. (Pun intended.)
Bo the Armadillo has a habit of wandering away from the watchful eye of his mother, and when he mistakes a vivid red cowboy boot for a new armadillo friend, he decides to follow wherever armadillo-boot leads. He gets plenty of excitement from this boot, which is attached to the energetic girl Billie Jean, and she leads him unknowingly through a rodeo, a barbeque, and a square dance. It’s a fun book to read and pore over, and a great way to teach your kid a lot about the regional culture of Texas. (less)
It's kind of funny to think of all the coral reefs I have explored--in Mexico, and California, and Hawaii--and admired, but how little I understand ab...moreIt's kind of funny to think of all the coral reefs I have explored--in Mexico, and California, and Hawaii--and admired, but how little I understand about the science and biology behind their beauty. Thank goodness for National Geographic, is all I have to say, for this stunningly, gorgeously illustrated and highly educative book. I fully expected to just admire the lovely imagery, but they clearly knew what they were doing--the imagery draws you in, of course,but the corresponding text explains it all so perfectly and easily.
If you or your family are going to be going on any sort of tropical-like vacation, this is most definitely the perfect book to read before you go!(less)
At first the illustration style of this book put me off; it feels a bit two-dimensional and unsophisticated. However, interspersed with the drawings a...moreAt first the illustration style of this book put me off; it feels a bit two-dimensional and unsophisticated. However, interspersed with the drawings are photographic images collaged into the book, and it's a pretty clever addition. More to the point, the story and the characters soon sucked me in and charmed me!
Lola is a precocious and energetic little girl, and Charlie is her pretty cool and helpful older brother. He's well-aware of Lola's various flaws and weaknesses, and while he points them out, he helps her through them as well. Case in point: it's School Picture Day, and Lola is determined to be the cleanest, tidiest girl in school. This is kind of hard for her, however, because she's SO energetic and into everything. But she'll try, by golly, she'll try!
Her success is pretty predictable, but it's Charlie's way of helping to mitigate the (minor) damage that's the REALLY sweet part of this book. Charlie serves as a good role model for older siblings, and his endearing relationship with Lola makes me want to come back and read more in this series.(less)
The fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty, but without any of the fairies. Told through the voice of Elise, a humble farm girl of dubious ancestry who rises t...moreThe fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty, but without any of the fairies. Told through the voice of Elise, a humble farm girl of dubious ancestry who rises to the slightly-less-humble position of servant to the queen, the story initially unfolds in a somewhat predictable way: a barren king and queen are desperate for a child to continue their bloodline. Driven to desperate measures, the queen enlists the help of Lady Millicent, the king’s aunt. It’s unclear whether Millicent is truly evil, or just embittered and forever thwarted by the patriarchy, but the end result is still the same: when the longed-for princess is born, Millicent is spurned and so vengefully curses the king and his family. It’s ultimately up to faithful Elise to protect and preserve the king’s family against Millicent’s curse, but as the times grow dark and dangerous, this grows more and more difficult, and might be at the expense of Elise’s own life and happiness.
A mildly entertaining, but ultimately forgettable book. Definitely a good one for summer, but not one that will stick to your ribs in any fashion. (less)