Night Animals is the perfect marriage of text and illustration in a picture book.
Possum is hiding. Skunk, alarmed, joins him. Together they hide fromNight Animals is the perfect marriage of text and illustration in a picture book.
Possum is hiding. Skunk, alarmed, joins him. Together they hide from "night animals." To their surprise, Wolf, claiming to also be afraid of something bigger and scarier than himself is next to join. Then, to their shock, Bear has the same complaint! Bat reasonably puts an end to their fear frenzy by pointing out that they are all 'night animals'.
Using blacks, browns, whites and grays that seem to spring off each page, the characters are distinctively (and delightfully!) drawn. With each succeeding animal Possum's slapstick expressions and repeated 'playing possum' poses are hilariously and vividly brought to life.
Night Animals uses traditional comedic devices and story structure brilliantly. This is a perfect read-aloud in a primary or pre-school classroom or at home--particularly at bedtime....more
I had seen An Army of Frogs at the library. I had checked it out twice. It looked interesting. It looked fun. But I couldn't get into it. I groaned whI had seen An Army of Frogs at the library. I had checked it out twice. It looked interesting. It looked fun. But I couldn't get into it. I groaned when I saw it come up on the Lovelace nominee list for 2016-17. I was not looking forward to forcing myself to read it all the way through when I hadn't previously been able to get past the second chapter.
Now that I have done so I can absolutely say that I am glad I did. An Army of Frogs tells the story of Darel, a wood frog in Australia whose father was one of a great warrior frog species called the Kulipari. Kulipari frogs are brightly colored and actually possess poison with which to defeat their enemies. Because Darel is only HALF Kulipari he has neither of those distinctive traits. But ever since he can remember, Darel has wanted to BE a Kulipari. To make up for his lack of inherent Kulipari qualities Darel trains...and trains...and trains. He practices sparring and stealth, dragging his best friend Gee into the adventures with him--usually in the role of his mock opponent.
An Army of Frogs was a surprise to me in that, based on the first couple chapters, I thought it would be one battle description after another--but it is not. Readers watch Darel grow a great deal from the first to the final pages of his story. He learns the value of friendship, how easy it is to take a good friend for granted and that being a good friend often involves hard choices. He and his friends learn about the reality of courage and integrity, replacing their imagined fantasies about the glories of battle and war. In addition to these valuable insights--absolutely relevant in the lives of young readers--An Army of Frogs ends up being a really good story about magic, good and evil and young heroes in the making. The villains--the scorpion commander Lord Maramoo and the evil Spider Queen Jarrah are magnificently evil and easy to root against. A classic underdog story, the first in a trilogy, Trevor Pryce has created a fantastic new fantasy realm for upper elementary readers. The illustrations by Sanford Greene--a fantastic Marvel Comics artist--are stunning and in the tradition of the best comics and graphic novels.
Young readers who enjoy works like Star Wars, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Marvel & DC Universe, etc. will LOVE An Army of Frogs! I certainly did!...more
I was unenthusiastic about The Bear Ate Your Sandwich until the end. I thought it was boring during my first read-through. Because the narrator is inI was unenthusiastic about The Bear Ate Your Sandwich until the end. I thought it was boring during my first read-through. Because the narrator is in question it was ineffective as a story for me until the final pages. I have to say, though, that when the narrator is revealed the story takes on a different depth. Once I reached the end I went back and re-read the story again, enjoying it much more the second time--which is unusual, at least for me.
I am always in favor of a good "surprise" ending, but I'm not sure that the device works in this book for the reason I mentioned above. I'm not sure how it would play out for a young reader/listener and I plan to try it out with a young audience to see if their reaction is different from mine.
The pictures are striking and definitely keep your eyes on each page. Although the illustrations are done with acrylic paint and pencil outlines they have some of the fuzzy, indefinite feel of watercolors. The color palette of reds, greens, yellows and browns are remind me of The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear by Don Woods--although those illustrations are richer in tone. If your young readers like The Bear Ate Your Sandwich, I highly recommend The Little Mouse as well.
All in all this is an okay read-aloud/independent choice for young readers. If you have a reader who enjoys stories with bears as featured characters I would use The Bear Ate Your Sandwich as a stepping stone into the My Friend Bear stories by Jez Alborough....more
8 Class Pets is a great independent reading choice for the younger readers of Lovelace nominees in 2015-16. Vivian Vande Velde is a master of clear, d8 Class Pets is a great independent reading choice for the younger readers of Lovelace nominees in 2015-16. Vivian Vande Velde is a master of clear, direct dialogue and this is a huge advantage in this story of Twitch the Squirrel and his manic adventure through the school.
Looking for a way to escape a menacing owl, Twitch inadvertently runs over the nose of the principal's dog and into the empty elementary school. And so the madcap chase begins. Twitch runs from classroom to classroom inside the school, assisted by various class pets in his efforts to now avoid the dog, Cuddles, who is in pursuit.
Each new school location provides a new animal narrator and a new perspective on the situation. Some animals are extremely motivated to help Twitch, some need convincing, and some have their own reasons for taking part in the elaborate hide-and-seek between Twitch and Cuddles.
Twitch, a hamster, a rat and the Principal's dog--among others--all take a turn at narrating Twitch's unplanned adventure through the elementary school. In 8 Class Pets Ms Vande Velde expertly offers young readers a variety of narrators expressing different viewpoints. Although not extraordinary in plot or characters, the simple plot and clear language makes 8 Class Pets an excellent independent or read-aloud choice from the Lovelace nominees for a 3rd grade classroom at the beginning of the school year as a bridge to more complicated story structure. ...more