Posts tagged ‘lizards’

AN ACTIVE IMAGINATION

Ronan’s Dinosaur

Written by Nadishka Aloysius

Illustrated by Manoshi de Silva

This chapter book features a five-year-old boy named Ronan who is suddenly moved to join his parents at his Grandmother’s rural home in Sri Lanka. Ronan and his parents lived in the urban area of Colombo.

Ronan is an anxious, lonely boy who does not like change. His parents have moved in temporarily to help his ailing grandmother. Ronan’s parents are kind and caring parents who do their best to assuage his fears. One day while playing in the garden, Ronan finds a lizard named Scoot. Scoot can talk. He explains to Ronan that she is a dinosaur. Ronan is skeptical, but he learns to enjoy exploring with her and making friends with Tryx, her dinosaur friend who lives in the trees.

When Ronan’s parents hear him talking aloud, they think he is talking to himself and become concerned. So, they take him to visit a neighbor next door who has a dog named Spike. Ronan is afraid of the dog, until Scoot talks to the animal. Again, Ronan learns he has nothing to fear.

Ronan’s grandmother has a setback and must visit the hospital. There he confides in his grandmother and reveals his secret. She remembers her own youth spent with Scoot. The time has come to sell the house and move to a nursing home. Ronan is devastated. Will Ronan ever see Scoot again?

This is a wonderful book to share with children who like to be alone or who experience anxieties. It gently explains that change is not necessarily bad and that we grow from personal experiences both real and imaginary. Targeted for children ages seven and older. I would especially recommend it for ages nine through twelve as a portion of the vocabulary is challenging.

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DRAGON KIN

All My Relatives Are Dragons: Picture Book for Kids About Dragons

Written by Alice Cussler

The picture on the cover is a bit deceptive. It might give the reader the impression that this will be a fictional account of a little dragon. Rather, the author uses an interesting approach to teach children about dragons, reptiles, and lizards. Draco, the narrator, is a young dragon who has many relatives. He proceeds to trace its history by first going back to prehistoric times and the dinosaur epoch. He then moves on the discuss many of the myths centered around dragons including the European and Chinese Dragons. He travels around the world to show readers crocodiles, alligators, iguanas, and chameleons.

Cussler presents identifying characteristics and brief highlights of each and notes the habitat of each. There are photos that illustrate the points that are being discussed. The language is easy to read and understand. I do wish the photos were larger as some of the details are difficult to see.

I would recommend this book for elementary school age children. It is a good way to introduce nonfiction to children who love dragon stories. Teachers might use it as a starting point for a lesson about reptiles. Recommended especially for children ages five through ten.

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WE ALL NEED A FRIEND

The Royal Palm

Written by Mrs. D

Illustrated by Chanoa

RoyalPalm,pic

This story begins at its end with the protagonist, a stately Royal Palm, reflecting on her beautiful new home. Born on an island in the middle of an ocean that was often brushed with violent storms, she grew up in the shadows of short, plain palm trees who protected her while she was little. The Royal Palm dreamed of living in the garden of a majestic palace. As she grows older, the Royal Palm brags about her beauty and becomes snobby, refusing to play with her plain cousins. She admonishes the green parrots and lizards who mess up her hair and leaves. What she does not realize is that as she grows taller, she becomes weaker and more vulnerable. The day will come when the sun will parch her roots and violent winds will bend her limbs. How does she survive?

As is the case with Mrs. D’s other books, the language is lyrical and colorful. She describes the Royal Palm: “Glittering with playful diamonds, her silver dress waved in the air, filled with aroma and warmth.” In contrast, the plain palms are depicted as “dressed in dull brown dresses.” Mrs. D effectively employs the techniques of alliteration, personification and analogy to communicate her message. Chanoa’s illustrations filled with gorgeous pastel colors and animated facial expressions never fail to disappoint the reader.

This book is targeted for ages six through ten. Younger readers are able to follow the story while it is read aloud through the illustrations, while children aged eight and older will be better suited to independent reading of the text. Mrs.s D addresses many of the difficult issues children face in dealing with their peers in a whimsical, charming tale. Highly recommended.

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