Posts tagged ‘nature’

A MAGICAL JOURNEY

Peter, Enchantment and Stardust:The Poems

Written by William O’Brien

William O’ Brien is not only a talented storyteller but a gifted poet as well. This collection of poems is meant to accompany his children’s book, Peter, The Darkened Fairytale. In that story, Peter is the protagonist who must fight and overcome the forces of evil.

In this wonderful poetry collection, the author presents us with a mix of
lighthearted poems that inspire us with hope and love. On the other hand, we meet dragons, demons and witches waiting to snare the unwary child. O’Brien
sets the tone in his first poem, “Drawers and Doors.”

Peter,Enchantmentpic

The thoughts one thinks may not be real
And sometimes they will make you squeal
Biting, scratching, tastes hang true
Inside this book, you’ll meet things new
Must be careful, for if you fall
These evildoers will seize all.

These words present a challenge that most children will be glad to take up! There are silly poems like “Wandering Twondle” and “Cuthbert,” scary poems like “Devil’s Wish” and “Zombie Queen,” and fantasy creature poems titled, “Elves and Goblins,” and “The Vaandorg Dragon.” Some of the nature poems remind me of William Wordsworth.

Spells that dust the sleeping flowers
May just drip with April showers
In summer lands frolic and sing
Still protected by nature’s wing

One thing children always seem oblivious of is the element of time. O’Brien addresses the concept in his poem titled, “Eternal”

Fairy love
Starlight blessed
In your heart
Feel the test

Touch and wander
Your spirit through
Flowers speak
Holding new

Bash of rain
Sleet and snow
Leaves do fall
Please don’t go

Apples, chestnuts
Tease my eyes
Always there
Never dies

The author employs alliteration, personification and metaphors to make the reader feel that she is on a magical journey to a very special place. So close your eyes and lose yourself in the recesses of your mind. Tweens, teens and adults will enjoy the ride.

BREAKOUT

The Dolltender’s Adventure (The Dolltender Series)

Written and illustrated by Nancy Hill

TheDolltender'sAdventurepic

This is latest book in the Dolltender series of books that are written and photographed by Nancy Hill. I read the kindle version which features beautiful photographs of Victorian dolls from antique shops in Oregon and Washington. They are beautifully done; my only regret is that the photographs are not larger.

The story includes many elements that appeal to children. Our protagonist is an adorable young girl named Natalie who has been living in an antique shop with an old man and woman since her parents disappeared into a mirror. Right, here comes the element of fantasy. Natalie does all the chores in the shop and takes care of the dolls. She seldom has the opportunity to go outside and never plays with children her own age. Her world consists of her interaction with the dolls. Natalie pleads with her caretakers to take the dolls outside the shop. They have been cooped up there for years. The dolls tell her they wish to see the butterflies, sunbathe or hear the birds sing. Natalie almost gives up hope of ever bringing them outside when, one day, the old couple are invited to a lavish party at a nearby town. Natalie convinces them that she should stay home and watch the shop. Then she hatches a plot to take the dolls outside. She comes up with a plan for the dolls to draw cards to see who will go first and then take turns riding in her doll carriage.

The wise Sage doll makes a request. He asks that Natalie bring him the most beautiful leaves. If she is successful, she will be granted whatever wish she desires. Natalie promises that she will do so and embarks on her adventure of making three trips outside. As she completes them, she worries that she will not be able to return on time and keep her promise. She has many adventures with her doll friends, but as nightfall arrives, she becomes lost and disoriented. How will she ever keep her promise and return the dolls safely without her owners discovering her secret? Will she satisfy the request made by the Sage?

The author combines personification, fantasy and realism into a fairly coherent tale. As a reader, you want to see Natalie succeed; solve the mystery of her parents’ disappearance, grow into a happy child, and become a heroine to her unusual collection of antique doll companions. This short story that is just under one hundred pages moves along quickly encouraging the reader to finish it in one sitting. Just the kind of book for readers age eight and up to curl up with on a rainy afternoon.

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FLASHBACKS

Horse and Dog Adventures in Early California: Short Stories and Poems by Ransom A. Wilcox

Edited by Karl Beckstrand

CaliforniaHorseandDog,pic

This kindle book was promoted as a free e book. For some reason, I was drawn to it, and I am very glad that I picked it up. The book is largely autobiographical. It tells the story of Ransom A. Wilcox who was born a Canadian, the sixth of seventh children. Because he was a sickly child, the family relocated to northern California where they farmed, fished, hunted and struggled to make a living.

Wilcox is a gifted writer. He has the ability to draw you into his story with a combination of simple language and homespun charm. The stories have a bit of everything, adventure, melancholy, joy and a sense of pride. The book consists of short stories and poems. They cover such scenes as Ransom’s hard work being rewarded with his very own horse, and his dramatic escape from a wild boar by climbing a pole that he cleverly stuck in the ground. There is a touching scene with the family dog named Old Blue.

Many of his poems are included. The subjects range from those dealing with family like “To A Granddaughter” and “My Little Girl”, a group that talks about nature like “To The Redwoods!” and “Quiet Waters,” and some that talk about personal issues like “Character,” “Friendship,” and “Immortality.” These are not complicated verses; they are written with both common sense and pathos.

The editor says that the work is for all ages. I think that children age ten and up would be able to handle independent reading. Local dialect make it an authentic read. The few black and white photographs included of family and surroundings fit perfectly with the mood of the story. It is classified as a multicultural book by the publisher, Premio Books. Teachers might want to consider using the book as part of a study unit on American life in the early twentieth century. The kindle as well as a paperback version is available on Amazon. I find it difficult to explain why I like this book so much, but I recommend that you give it a try.

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HOW DO YOU SEE IT?

Good Morning World!

Written by Mrs. D

Illustrated by Eladziem

GoodMorningWorld

 

This new book by Mrs. D is a study in contrasts. The young generation versus the old, the optimist versus the pessimist and realism versus make believe. This story is dedicated to Baby Thomas and his grandfather Patrick, who are the models for the two main characters. At the end of this story, Mrs. D provides summaries and links to both her current books and those projects that are in the planning stage so that we readers know what is in store for us.

The setting is a comfortable family living room. Baby Thomas is playing on the floor while Grandma is watching from her chair as Grandpa is snoozing on the couch. When the baby gestures toward his stroller, Grandma places him in in and urges Grandpa to get up and go out for a walk to the park on this beautiful day. Grandpa reluctantly begins pushing the stroller, but the look on his face tells you he is none too happy.  On the other hand, Thomas is glowing with smiles and happiness as he engages with the world around him.

The author personifies all the forces of nature. The sun, the clouds, the trees and the wind have exquisite faces exemplifying their emotions. In addition, the author sprinkles her sentences with alliteration examples like “silly stroller” and sounds like “croak, craake. As they journey on, Grandpa complains with analogies comparing the sun to a boiling pot and  the sun baking us up like cupcakes.The park is too noisy, the path is too crowded, the skies too buggy, his shoes got too dirty and so on. Baby Thomas sees nothing but the positives as he greets the frogs, the birds, the wind, the lady bugs and the passers-by. Thomas enthusiastically greets the little girl and her mom that they meet on the path. The little girl feels as Thomas does; her mother is too busy talking on the phone all the time. When Thomas and his grandfather arrive home, Grandma is surprised to see that Thomas is still not sleepy, while Grandpa heads straight to the couch to resume his nap.

The illustrations by Eladziem are masterfully done and provide a study in contrast as well. The personifications look like human faces expressing emotions. Grandpa’s facial expressions are priceless. You want to hug and squeeze Thomas because he is so cheerful. The pot belly on Grandpa and the I love my Grandpa shirt worn by Thomas are great personal touches. Throughout the story, Eladziem alternates between pages drawn realistically in vivid, bold color, and soft nature scenes done in muted pastel colors.

It is wonderful to see the beauty of the world expressed through the eyes of a young child. How often we adults forget! Take a look at this exquisite book with your young child or grandchild and give yourself the opportunity to remember!

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