Thursday, January 24, 2008

just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

Protector of the Small: First Test, by Tamora Pierce. This was a good story, and just right for the age group it's aimed at. The story of heroic girl breaking into the boy's world is not as relevant today as even a short few years ago. How often to today's preteens face exclusion or other results of sexism? I'm just not sure how that portion of the story will be received by young readers. Otherwise it was great.

Food for Though: The Complete Book of Concepts for Growing Minds, by Saxton Freymann. Hippos made out of tomatoes! Will someone please buy these books for me?

One Lonely Sea Horse, by Saxton Freymann. I just now am wondering if dolphins made out of bananas will make kids more or less reluctant to eat said fruit.
It's the expressions on every single character that I really love!: so, well, expressive.

Train to Somewhere
, by Eve Bunting; illustrated by Ronald Himler. This picture book is for slightly older children: there is a lot of text, and it's not a happy book. The subject, though serious, is well-handled, and I guess you could say the ending is happy-ish. The pictures are also a bit dark-ish, which don't add a happy feel, although they are totally appropriate.

Once a Mouse..., by Marcia Brown. The story is like an old fable, and I have little to report on that. I picked the book up because (1) it's a Caldecott winner, so at least worth looking at, and (2) the illustrations were done with woodcuts, which is interesting. What would be more interesting is learning how to do wood cuts, actually.

You Can't Take a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum, (story) by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman; illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. I absolutely love the use of color; pictures are black and white line drawings with a few characters colored in to draw attention to that part of the action. I also like how photos of pieces of art from the museum are included, and the poses are mimicked by the characters.

Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China, by Ed Young. I loved the drawings in this-- vague and cloudy, with few distinct lines, like they were done with spray paint, or more like that chalk sprayer by Crayola, since it has the softness of chalk drawings.

Saint George and the Dragon, by Margaret Hodges; illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman. This is a retelling of the Faerie Queen and, like the original, it doesn't always make sense. The adapter tries to stay true to the original in the language as well, so alot of younger children won't be comfortable with it. There is a ton of text opposite each picture.

Protector of the Small: Page, by Tamora Pierce. This was a terrible sequel! The author ran through three years to get to the exciting part at the end, but it was the everyday stuff in the first book that made me feel closer to the character and showed her true, um, character.
Just once, I would like to see a book about a girl not become a book about a girl and a boy. Because we were rushed through her preteen years, the character's new interest in boys seems out of character. She was mature for an 11-year-old, but we haven't seen any changes in this book. I'm really let down. I will have to read the next one to see if it was worth the hurry. I doubt it.

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