Archive for March, 2020

SIZING THINGS UP

Short or Tall Doesn’t Matter at All

Written by Asaf Rozanes

Mia is very short. This distresses her because her classmates often make fun of her and exclude her from activities.

Mia reveals her problem to her father. He tells her a fairytale about the sun and moon and how they became friends. One day a situation unfolds at school that proves to the other children there is value in being small. The other children learn an important lesson from Mia. They now understand she also has many special talents. Size does not matter.

This picture book is written in rhyme. It works, for the most part, but the story would have been just as effective if written in prose. Recommended especially for students in the six to ten age group but an important lesson for middle-school students as well.

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FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS

Celestina, the Astronaut Ballerina: A Kids Read Aloud Picture Book about Space, Astronauts and Following your Dreams

Written by Donald Jacobson

Illustrated by Graham Evans

Celestina is a little girl with big dreams. Her aspiration is to become an astronaut. Unfortunately, her friends at school belittle her and adults advise her to downsize her expectations. Why doesn’t she become a ballerina instead?

After a time, Celestina gives up on her dreams and settles in to learn ballet. That changes one day when a new teacher arrives. She counsels her class to dream big. Celestina returns to her real goal. Now she works hard and studies hard. Will she achieve her dream to become an astronaut.

This book includes lots of multicultural characters and vibrant illustrations that are appropriate for the elementary grade target audience. The book reinforces the image of a strong female role model and builds self-esteem in young girls.

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A MIXED BAG

A Family Dinner

Written and Illustrated by Cory Q, Tan

A Family Dinner by [Tan, Cory Q]

This picture book contains creative and beautifully done illustrations. The plot combines a few traditional fairytales that are given an unusual twist.

At the beginning of the story, the mother asks her husband to go to the store to buy carrots as she wants to make carrot and potato soup. She does not ask him to do so with a respectful tone. Dad obliges her but soon discovers the local grocery is closed. He continues to search for carrots and gets involved in a series of adventures.

Dad meets up with a cast of characters that involve humans and some animals with bad intentions. These adventures invoke shades of familiar fairytales. Will Dad give up or will he pursue his task? Will his wife be grateful for his efforts?

The twists and turns of this tale are interesting, but many children may become lost and confused in the message. This book will probably lead to lots of questions when reading to young children. I recommend that the book be read with adult supervision and guidance.

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