Posts from the ‘fiction’ Category

Gone, but not forgotten

The Yellow Suitcase

Written by Meera Sriram

Illustrated by Meera Sethi

Asha arrives at her grandmother’s house in India from California for her yearly visit, clutching her yellow suitcase. Each year Asha packs her suitcase with gifts for her grandmother and returns with little treasures that her grandmother has created for her. But this year the house is filled with relatives mourning her grandmother’s death. Asha struggles through her grief and becomes inconsolable until it is time to leave. She finds a wonderful gift that her grandmother has made for Asha just before she died.

This multicultural book is a colorful introduction to Indian culture and customs as well as a well-written book to help children understand the death of a close relative and the grieving process. Sethi’s hand-drawn illustrations are vivid and expressive. Perhaps the text could have been a bit larger, but the design of the book is clear and easy to read. Recommended for ages eight and older.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please subscribe by clicking on the word Follow or by hitting the orange RSS FEED button in the upper right-hand corner of this page.

LESSONS FROM THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

THE PARROT: Short lessons and fables for children: Fable Collection Volume #2

Written and Illustrated by Christy Astremsky

This book contains a collection of five animal fables that teach children lessons about themselves and others. In the first story, the parrot mouths words he has been taught over and over, but the words have little worth. When the parrot escapes from his owners, he can do nothing more than repeat those inane words, he finds that others think little of him. The second story features a zebra who gets lost and finds himself among others unlike himself. He discovers that it is okay to be different. The sparrow and the pigeon teach children what true friendship entails, while the tiger and jackal story teaches to beware of letting one’s guard down. The last story features a butterfly who has a habit of taking from others without ever giving something in return.

The rhyming stories are short and have a few illustrations so the collection might appeal to a beginning reader. Parents and teachers could use the fables on issues that they would like to open with children or students for discussion or intervention. I would especially recommend the book for ages seven through ten though older children who enjoy animal stories will find them appealing.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please subscribe by clicking on the word Follow or by hitting the orange RSS FEED button in the upper right-hand corner of this page.

BILLY AND BOB’S BLUNDERS

Lost in Lithuania and other funny stories

Written by Alex Goodwin

 

This is my first time reading a book in this series. Goodwin is a thirteen-year-old author with a wonderful imagination and a creative mind. Bob and Billy are two obese friends who decide that they must get in shape. They abruptly decide to enter a curling contest, even though they have no knowledge of the game. The friends discover a note that they have been fired from their jobs in San Francisco, so they hurry to board a plant to get back. Alas! Bob and Billy board the wrong plane and wind up in Lithuania. Now broke, they answer an ad for a job in a bakery for which they have no background and cannot speak the language. When the disgruntled patrons attack them, Bob and Billy flee for their lives and stumble across an abandoned castle where they become tour guides. The two tell a lot of lies, but they become quite adept at their profession. Determined to return home, at last, they are foiled when all their money falls through a hole in their baggage. So, they write to their uncle and secure employment, only to find they will be making aglets for shoelaces on an assembly line. And so, the stories go on… Will Billy and Bob ever make it back home to their jobs at the nuclear plant in Death Valley?

Goodwin writes crisp, catchy dialogue that is as hilarious as it is preposterous. He manages to weave a link between the short stories to create a cohesive plot. The tales are clean, good fun. Readers ages ten and older won’t stop laughing till the last line.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please subscribe by clicking on the word Follow or by hitting the orange RSS FEED button in the upper right-hand corner of this page.

WISHES + WORK = SUCCESS

Goodnight Wishes!

Written by Leea Baltes

Illustrated by Elia Glinski

A family of mice lived in a rickety old farmhouse that suited their needs perfectly. One day people came and began tearing their home down. Mama mouse placed her children and some food in a basket and ran down to the lake. She wished upon the stars and moon to help her find a way to solve her plight. Suddenly, she heard a screeching sound. A truck swerved to avoid hitting an animal, and a large box fell off the truck. The moonlight illuminated a hollow tree that would make a perfect home. Upon exploring the contents of the box, Mama finds all the materials she needs to furnish their new home. She urges her children to make a wish upon the heavens because when you make a wish and are willing to work hard good things will follow.

This tale teaches children that wishing alone is not enough, one must work hard to achieve success. Christian parents might explain the moral in a Christian contest. The illustrations are done in beautiful watercolors. The rhyming text is crisp and sharp. Recommended for primary grade children.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please subscribe by clicking on the word Follow or by hitting the orange RSS FEED button in the upper right-hand corner of this page.

BY THE LIGHT OF THE MOON

The Moth and the Moon

Written by David Kelley

 

This is an intriguing tale that is told in the first person by a newly hatched moth and the friends she makes on the windowsill of a garden shed. Upon opening her eyes, the moth is irresistibly drawn to the light from the moon shining through the window,

Readers follow her development as her friends name her Flutter. She learns quickly from her friends, Horsey the Wasp, her two ladybug friends, and Bumble, the bee. Flutter finds herself in trouble with their arch enemy, Sinister, the Spider. Flutter learns to develop trust and courage that she will one day find her moon.

There are many pitfalls along the way, and some of her friends will be lost to Spider. Will Flutter discover a way to achieve her dream and still retain her bonds with the friends who have nurtured and protected her?

This tale is written clearly and the story flows smoothly. Its length of approximately 100 pages is a bit long for a beginning reader even though the plot sustains interest. I would especially recommend it to middle-grade and young teens, but adults might enjoy it as well.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please subscribe by clicking on the word Follow or by hitting the orange RSS FEED button in the upper right-hand corner of this page.

A NECESSARY INGREDIENT

Nobody Loves Mustard

Written and Illustrated by Jeremy Ross

Poor mustard is depressed. As he observes people choosing condiments for their food, no one seems interested in using mustard. Victor and Gilly put ketchup on all their favorites like French fries. Mustard asks all the animals he encounters if they would like to put some mustard on their food, but none of them is interested. He becomes so depressed that he wanders off alone into the forest.

But one day, Mr. Fiddle decides to cook hot dogs. He cannot imagine eating one without embellishing it with mustard, so Mr. Fiddle enlists the aid of his to find mustard. At last, mustard realizes that he is needed. The author wants children to understand we are all loved even if we feel underappreciated at times.

This picture book with adorable illustrations and humor is appropriate for preschoolers and early elementary school age readers.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please subscribe by clicking on the word Follow or by hitting the orange RSS FEED button in the upper right-hand corner of this page.

FOUR FRIENDS SIT FOR A SPELL #HappyEaster #EarthDay

Cassie’s Coven: The Case of the six-legged frog (The Cassie Coven Series Book 1)

Written by Helen Allan

The first book in this middle-grade mystery series features four Australian girls. Cassie and Lolly share a love of horses and attend school together. One day Cassie buys an old book and discovers it is a magic book of spells. Shortly after Cassie finds a sickly fox kit and Lolly discovers a six-legged frog in a nearby creek. The book talks about a coven of four witches, yellow, black, white and green. Lolly and Cassie invite Charlotte and a new girl at school, Pia to join their group. Pia’s great-grandmother offers an old cottage on her property as a clubhouse. Soon the girls are using it to solve the mystery of why nearby animals and cattle are becoming sick and dying. Lolly and Cassie fall ill, and they show symptoms of poisoning.

The four girls decide that Mr. Larkin, a neighbor, seems too eager to scare them off his property and they vow to investigate why. They use the clubhouse to get close and are shocked to discover that the book of spells can help them to solve the mystery. This is the first book of the series that combines fun adventures of four ten-year-old friends, some magic, and issues related to the environment set in Australia. Recommended for readers ages ten and older.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please subscribe by clicking on the word Follow or by hitting the orange RSS FEED button in the upper right-hand corner of this page.

 

 

%d bloggers like this: