Tuesday, January 29, 2008

go me!

Squire, by Tamora Pierce. I am severely disappointed. Not only has the character (now 18) not grown in any way other than her height since her introduction at 11, but in addition, the author is picking up bad habits. We rush through another 4 years in this book, missing out on the daily opportunities to fall in love with the characters that we had in the first book. In the last book, the author started giving crappy physical descriptions with every character (re)introduction; those always feel so forced. They don't help paint a true picture of the character, since 1) it's a bombardment of every physical characteristic at once, and 2) one or two physical traits are not frequently repeated as would be appropriate. In this book, the author adopted a more traditional fantasy writing style. Like everything should sound a little romantic and stuffy. I didn't realize it at the time, but one of the great things about the first book was that it struck the perfect balance between good writing (no fragments, good punctuation, etc) and approachable writing (phrases that are common but not dated).
What I really disliked is how the author worked in an agenda. Don't preach at teeny-boppers through your fantastic fiction.

All about Arthur (an absolutely absurd ape), by Eric Carle. The title says it all: a few sentences of brilliant alliteration for each letter of the alphabet, each for a different animal. This is much longer, both page wise and word wise, than Carle's other works (on which I may now be considered something of an expert :p). The art is also very different. It's good, but it barely has any color, especially compared to all his other books. I'm not sure what's up with this.

Mister Seahorse, by Eric Carle. I didn't know there were so many male ocean creatures that have the main responsibility of tending the young. Cool! I loved-- and I'm sure kids will love-- the clear plastic pages that have different scenes on them. Before turning the page with the leaves, it hides the dangerous leaf fish; turn the page and it hides the seahorse from the predators. A great introduction to camouflage.

A House for Hermit Crab, by Eric Carle. Nothing different or more special about the art in this one. I wanted to note (1) the free-verse-poem-style information on hermit crabs in the front, and (2) the encyclopedia-style entries for the other mentioned sea animals in the back. Most excellently educational! Oh, also, the months of the year are presented sequentially, although the story doesn't really draw attention to them; they just kind of put them out there for kids to recognize and learn in an informal, easy setting.

The Grouchy Ladybug, by Eric Carle. Each hour of the day is shown on a small clock in a corner of the page on which the happenings for the hour are happening. I love the die-cuts that show the clock hand moving and the sun rising and setting across the pages. The print gets bigger as the animals the ladybug challenges get bigger.

My Apron, by Eric Carle. The collages in this book are very different: they are very blocky, and the characters and items have very thick black lines. The tissue doesn't always stay inside the lines, which I like. I'm not sure why he made it different.

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