Posts tagged ‘personification’

SNOW EXTRAVAGANZA

Box Set for Children: Paul the Snowman Series  (4 in 1 Box Set)

Written by Yossi Lapid

Illustrated by Joanna Pasek

 

This collection of snowman stories is a great bargain and a worthwhile collection for preschool and primary school children. Parents might choose to read them as separate bedtime stories, older children will find them a fun beginning reader collection. I had previously read the story of Snowman Paul and Kate’s Birthday, which I enjoyed. The first four stories combined in a collection provide children with a more comprehensive view of the character of Paul, a personification of a snowman with the strengths and weaknesses of a human character.

In these beautifully illustrated watercolor tales, children view Paul from the moment Dan creates this snowman with a well-defined personality. In the Olympics story, children learn that determination is a good character trait, but it needs to be reigned in when the spirit of competition is unfair to others. My favorite tale is the fourth. Paul decides he wants to play in a musical concert. He learns to play, a fiddle, trumpet and drums. His human friends have their patience worn thin listening to his practice. At long last the concert arrives, and Paul puts on a brilliant performance

These tales and the lessons embedded in the stories can be enjoyed by any age, but preschool and kindergarten children will especially love them. When you want to experience wintertime, get in the spirit of the season by introducing yourself to Paul, the snowman.

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A STICKY SITUATION

Andy the Spider: Captured (Volume 1) 2nd edition

Written by Samantha Rindfuss

Charming chapter book for lower middle grade students focusing on a somewhat unusual grouping of large and small animals. Andy and his sister Emily are sibling spiders who often find themselves at odds. Emily is an expert web weaver, and Andy can’t seem to catch a meal so he often uses his speed to snatch Emily’s food. When Emily disappears, the timid Andy goes off to search for her. This trek into the forest results in a host of adventures and intrigues told in first person by a cast including owls, squirrels, fireflies, a hamster, a porcupine, a skunk, a caterpillar, and a coyote. Two human siblings alternately provide the spiders with a source of hope and fear.

The plot has lots of twists and turns in its 120 plus pages. Rindfuss leads the reader on a roller coaster of emotions but also supplies ample amounts of humor. Animals are infused with human character strengths as well as flaws. Harry the villain owl is a classic bully. Will the laws of the forest ensure justice? Do Andy and Emily resolve their differences and what lessons will their harrowing experience teach them?

Perfect book for beginning readers as well as reluctant readers who enjoy adventure stories with animals. Good discussion book for a teacher read aloud.

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NO BULL

Easy 8: The Big Event

Written by Carrolyn Foster

Illustrated by Michael Bermundo

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I received a copy of this paperback from the publisher and voluntarily chose to review giving my honest opinion for no compensation.

This short 28 page book could best be described as a beginning chapter book. There are eight color illustrations that enhance and keep the story interesting. The plot centers on the last bull riding competition of the year in which the bulls will compete for the Bull of the Year award. At the beginning of the competition the Native American bulls perform a dance that tells the story of Mother Earth, which was my favorite part of the book. Children are given an education about Native American folklore in addition to meeting the bulls entered in the competition. The results of the contest provide children with an important message about winning. I like the fact that the story is told in first person by the bulls. The personification is effective; each of the bull’s personalities is clearly revealed.

Book purchasers receive a bonus audio down link. This story is available in kindle and paperback format. Recommended for beginning independent readers and reluctant readers, especially for ages seven to ten.

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ARE THESE BOOTS MADE FOR WALKING?

Bossy Boots

Written by Steve Ellis

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Cute early chapter book for beginning readers. Sophie has just finished shopping with her mother who has bought her a new pair of shoes. Suddenly a mischievous pup steals one of her shoes; she finds her naked foot standing in a puddle. An old woman in the store comes to the rescue by coming up with a pair of boots in a box behind the counter. When Sophie tries the boots on, she hears a squeaky voice. Sophie finds herself running down the street disrupting traffic, walking up and down the walls in her room and generally wreaking havoc. Of course Sophie now secretly gets a bit of pleasure from her talented feet. One day, the inevitable happens when the boots become too small for Sophie’s feet. What will happen to Sophie now? Will the mischievous boots find a new owner or will they be condemned to life in a box behind the counter?

I would recommend this book for children ages six and older. The illustrations interspersed within the chapters enhance understanding of the story. This humorous and easy to follow plot also makes the book a good choice for reluctant readers or children with special needs.

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ALONE NO MORE…

Gumbo Goes Downtown

Written by Carol Talley

gumbopicA tale that is charming and sweet, yet focuses on some important issues. The obvious story line is about a guard dog named Gumbo, who lives in a shotgun house on St. Charles Street in New Orleans. He spends most of his time barking at any one who comes near the chain link fence, such as the girl in a polka dot dress and the postman. When the postman fails to close the gate one day, Gumbo seizes the opportunity to see the world. He follows the trolley tracks downtown to New Orleans. Here he meets up with a poodle named Pompon and a champion pure breed named Stella. Gumbo has the time of his life in Jackson Square with clowns, dancers, jugglers, musicians and the like. Soon his friends leave to go home and be pampered by their owners. Gumbo begins to miss his house and owner Gus, whom he never appreciated. Will Gumbo decide to remain free in the big city on his own and fend for himself or return to his former life?

The book description suggests an audience of K-2. While the simple story of Gumbo’s adventure is appropriate for that age group, the larger issues of homelessness and running away from home are better addressed to a middle grade audience. Talley provides a nice guide for parents and teachers to set up a discussion on these issues. Maeno’s illustrations are soft, colorful and appealing, but the text is small and difficult to read on some of the pages. I recommend the book especially for parents and teachers who would like to open up a discussion on homelessness, running away, and poverty. Talley also includes an interesting background section on New Orleans and the points of interest mentioned in the story.

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IT’S A DOG’S LIFE X 5

A Night at the Animal Shelter

Written by Mark J. Asher

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Sweet Christmas tale centering on the plight of five dogs who now find themselves at Blithedale Animal Shelter on Christmas Eve. These five animals narrate the story: Maizie, a four month old Black Lab puppy, Dutch, an eleven year old mixed breed, Raider, a three year old pit bull, Peg, a six year old lame Chihuahua, and Georgie, a seven year old Golden Retriever. Each of these animals have been given up for various reasons they deem to be no fault of their own. On Christmas Eve, their favorite volunteer Ginny is feeling blue, but willing to spend time comforting the animals. Maizie discovers her cage door is left ajar. She will soon be persuaded to let her friends out for a few hours of fun and mischief. Christmas comes and goes; none of the animals seem destined for adoption. In January a visitor to the shelter will leave them behind once more, but provide them with an unforeseen opportunity.

The personification of the animals and their dialogue is both humorous and realistic. It is obvious that the author has a good handle on human and canine behavior. He has written nine books about dogs. This short, sweet and heartwarming tale is a good choice for a holiday read or for any age reader, especially one who loves dogs.

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CAT CITY CAPER

The Three Pirate City Cats

Written and illustrated by John E. Dorey

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Cute picture book for students in the primary grades. I like the author’s layout using speech bubbles for the text and animation type illustrations for the animal characters. Dorey introduces his readers to three abandoned cat siblings, Grace, Sam and Charlie. Left to fend for themselves they observe a human watching a TV show about pirates. The siblings are frightened by a dog, who turns out to be a friend. He leads them to a storage locker that will provide them with the props they need to create their own pirate adventure.

This forty two page book has visual and story-line appeal for early readers. My only criticism of the book is that it does not provide a conclusion, but rather invites the reader to create their own story. While I certainly do not object to an interactive story, some readers may be disappointed that there is no definite denouement to the plot. That is my reason for not giving the book a five star rating.

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