Posts tagged ‘personification’

METEOR MICK

Arnold and Louis. Reach for the Stars

Written by Harvey Storm

 

This is my second time reading a book in this series for children ages three through five. Mick the Meteor has been falling through space for a long time. He falls asleep but wakes up just before hitting the Earth. Arnold, the Moose, and Louis, the Goose, are relaxing in their home in the forest at the edge of the swamp when they hear a crash and see smoke. Mick has landed in the swamp. When Arnold and Louis arrive at the swamp they find smoke coming from a small stone covered with precious stones lying in the mud.

Arnold and Louis are surprised when the stone begins to talk. Mick informs them that he really wants to go home. Arnold and Louis attempt to construct a catapult to launch Mick into space. They try unsuccessfully one hundred different ways. Miss Gorilla tells them that they need a rocket to reach outer space. They work together as a team until a successful rocket launch is achieved.

Appealing illustrations and vivid colors along with nice graphics make this series a good choice for preschoolers. Fun characters and moral lessons motivate the young reader.

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WINTER’S TALE

Snowdrops: Adventure Three (Book # 3 in the Adventures of Katie and Alex series)

Written by Julia Gousseva

Ten-year-old Alex and his nine-year-old sister are staying with their Aunt Karina while their parents are working in Russia. Karina frequently reads the children Russian folktales. But she does more than read those tales, the children have discovered a fireplace that leads to a magic portal through which they become a part of that story.

One day the children are on the porch when the summer weather suddenly turns stormy. Within a matter of minutes, snowdrops are swirling. Alex, Katie and their Aunt Karina retreat to the warmth of the house. Karina reads them a folktale about a girl named Masha who lives with her wicked stepmother, Darya.  This stepmother ordered Masha to go into the forest and pick snowdrops even though it was still winter. Alex, Katie, and Karina rush into the forest to save Masha and they proceed to have an adventure in which they meet Father Frost and move through all the seasons of the year. The children learn about the seasons and meet the Twelve Months of the Year.

Will the children and their aunt be able to rescue Masha and prevent Darya from abusing her further?

This is a chapter book that combines elements of fantasy with a Russian folktale and a travel adventure. There are no illustrations. I would recommend this book as a good choice for readers in third through fifth grade, but readers of any age who enjoy multicultural folktales will probably enjoy it.

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A TRUE FRIEND

The Monk and the Yak

Written and Illustrated by Ori Avnur

The Monk and the Yak is a picture book that is set in India at the foot of the Himalayas. The monk and his yak live and work peacefully side by side. One winter the monk becomes seriously ill so he dispatches a message with the yak to a neighboring village seeking help. When the monk finally recovers, he is astonished to find out the source of his recovery.

The story is an inspiring one for readers in the elementary grades. Illustrations are soft and accurately convey the mood. I would suggest that the size of the font be increased as it is too small for young readers. Recommended especially for children ages five through eight.

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BAD BOY

The Worst Book Ever

Written by Beth Bacon

Illustrated by Jason Grube and Coriander Hale

This book desperately wants to be a bad boy. His goal is to become a banned book in the library. He tries everything to win the librarian’s disapproval. Some of his tactics include using gross words, misspelled words, and made-up words. The book enlists readers to assist him by being loud and doing everything possible to annoy the librarian like flapping arms, wiggling and jumping up and down in their seats. To his dismay, the book makes its way into storytime.

This book is filled with much humor, graphics, and simple illustrations. There are vivid colors, lots of variation in print size, alliteration, and onomatopoeia. Bacon playfully encourages her readers to become accomplices in the book’s quest for notoriety.

Bacon targets the book for a kindergarten through grade five audience. Beginning, intermediate and reluctant readers can join in the fun.

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THREE TECHIE FRIENDS

Ai and Big City Adventure: New Age Pinocchio, Adventures of Ai, his new friends, and Old Man in the Big City

Written by Olga Go

 

Old Man Steve lives by himself in a small apartment in New York City and often feels lonely. One day he finds a smartphone and decides to try to fix it. He names the phone Ai. Suddenly, the phone comes to life. The next day, Ai leaves the apartment while Steve is sleeping. He plays in the park with a computer, a camera, and an i pad. They exchange information with each other. The new friends hatch a scheme to sell Ai to get some money. Ai is sold to Jack, but Ai feels guilty about leaving his friend Steve. They arrive at a compromise that makes everyone happy.

This story is a clever 21St Century Pinocchio story. The illustrations are modern, crisp, and colorful. Elementary school children will enjoy the clever characters and empathize with Steve’s plight. My only recommendation would be to make the print text bolder as it is sometimes difficult to read when placed against the illustrations.

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CHARMING, BUT CONFUSING

Floofy Drives America Crazy

Written by Nurit Reichman

Illustrated and Edited by Nurit Yuval

This beginning chapter book with fewer than fifty pages consists of an interesting and clever storyline. Floofy is an adorable Maltese pup who lives in Israel. She misses her mistress, Maya, who is off in America visiting Boston. Floofy is so depressed and lonely that she creates a virtual reality of herself and travels to America. While visiting there, Floofy manages to meet a TV celebrity cat named Max and almost gets clawed to death by a Mama Bear while she is playing with one of her cubs. Floofy even manages to play match-maker and attends a virtual wedding.

 Beginning readers will love the animal and human characters but may get confused by the many sub-plot lines with connections that push the limits of reality. A few illustrations enhance the book. I would recommend this book especially for readers in the six to nine age group, who enjoy animal and fantasy stories.

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LAST BUT NOT LEAST

LAST TWO FINALISTS IN EASY READER AND EARLY CHAPTER BOOKS

Easy Reader

JUST RIGHT…

Charlie & Mouse & Grumpy

Written by Laurel Synder

Illustrated by Emily Hughes

This is the second book in a series. One thing I would like to suggest is that the author gives a brief introduction to the characters for those who did not read the first book. Two brothers named Charlie and Mouse hear a knock at the door. They are delighted to find that their grandfather “Grumpy” has come to pay them a visit. Grumpy tells them that they are getting big. Charlie agrees, but his younger brother Mouse says he is just “medium.” That leads to a delightful discussion on what the word medium means. The next morning the boys launch a plan to pounce on their grandfather, but he is already awake. The boys find a way to implement their plot. When their parents go out for the evening Grumpy entertains them with pizza and movies. They set up a fort and request a song from Grumpy, but their plans go awry with Charlie coming to the rescue. When the time comes for Grumpy to leave, the boys find it difficult to say goodbye and use a blanket as a cover-up.

This story is well-written and helps children understand emotions that are difficult to put into words. At just under fifty pages, this book is a good fit for children who are ready to transition from speech bubbles and easy readers to a traditionally laid out chapter book. There is plenty of space between the lines to make it easy to follow. Soft watercolor illustrations fit well with the storyline. Teachers might want to read each chapter separately for kindergarten or first-grade readers.

EARLY CHAPTER

HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS…

Heartwood Hotel: The Greatest Gift

Written by Kallie George

Illustrated by Stephanie Graegin

Mona, the Mouse, is an orphan who lives and works as a maid in the Heartwood Hotel. As the story opens, most of the winter animal guests are turning in to hibernate. The staff is about to celebrate with the St. Slumber party hosted by Mr. Heartwood. The employees celebrate with a feast and exchange of gifts.

Tilly, the Squirrel, is Mona’s best friend and roommate is Tilly. Their quiet, winter season is disturbed by the arrival of the haughty, Duchess Rabbit who makes unreasonable demands. Then a mysterious thief begins to steal food supplies. A food delivery truck goes missing. When the vents are clogged, Tilly and Mona slip out to investigate. They are shocked to discover a neighboring community of which they were unaware.

The personified animal communities exemplify the best and worst of human nature. Decisions need to be made that will affect the welfare of all. Readers learn the importance of weighing self-interest versus family and community. Black and white illustrations remind me a bit of Beatrix Potter. I found myself wishing there were more of them. Lots of dialogue and twists and turns keep the chapter book lively. While this book is classified as an early chapter book and can be enjoyed by early readers, I believe the length and plot depth make it more suitable for a third or fourth-grade audience. Look forward to checking out other books in the series.

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