Posts tagged ‘verse’

VINTAGE VOYAGE

The Rocket Book

Written and illustrated by Peter Newell

TheRocketBook2,pkc

This book was originally copyrighted by Harper and Brothers Publishing in 1912. Peter Newell was born in 1862. He illustrated for Mark Twain and the Alice in Wonderland books. Once relegated to the shelves of the Library of Congress, the book has been reissued in print and digitized versions. It is available online at amazon.com.

As many of my readers know, I am a history lover; I write about history. I live in a house that is more than one hundred years old, and I grew up in an apartment not unlike the “flat” in this story. The illustrations in this book are priceless! Newell uses black and white and muted colors that make the drawings pop. Facial expressions convey the humor and intent of the story. Each part of the story contains eight lines of catchy, clever verse. Even though today’s children may be unfamiliar with many of the items pictured: a Remington typewriter, a wooden hobby horse, a taxidermist with his walrus head, they will get the story from looking at the rhyme and the accompanying illustration.

What is the story? The janitor’s kid named Fritz, who is described as a “bad kid,” finds a rocket in the basement of a twenty-one story apartment building. He lights it up. The reader is taken on a humorous journey following the rocket through an apartment on each of those floors. The mayhem which ensues includes knocking off grandpa’s wig, ripping through a new hat through a hat box, destroying a breakfast table while exploding catchup on the family, and scaring off a burglar in one of the apartments. Where and when does it stop? Take a look at this book to learn a lot about early twentieth century people, clothing, and lifestyle. This book will appeal to adults interested in vintage objects and children age eight and up who enjoy humor, a good verse, and a dose of history.

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A GIFT TO ONESELF

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

I would like to wish my subscribers and their families all over the world peace, joy, health, and happiness however and wherever you celebrate during this holiday season.

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The Prayer: A Haunting Children’s Christmas Tale that Captures the True Spirit of Christmas

Written by Stephan J Myers

Illustrated by Kerry Fisher and Stephan J Myers

The Prayer,pic

These verses were first written in 2009 and recently published in Great Britain in kindle format. The author makes one request: before reading the story promise that you will never forget the meaning in these words. I don’t think that you will…

The title is a bit misleading because this book is not a prayer in the religious sense. At the beginning the scene is set for children round the world dreaming of the images and gifts that Christmas will bring; then suddenly shifts to the image of children who have no family, friends, and are struggling to survive the night. “For sometimes the children who need things the most, are lost to the night and a pale winter’s ghost.”

A starving child dressed in rags hears a voice in the darkness that urges him to follow his lantern so that he may discover a home with a hearth and a warm fire. This spirit instructs the boy to hold up his lantern and peer through the windows he passes along the way. The boy obeys and observes a young boy reading in a room with presents piled under the tree. At the next house he views this same boy who is now a father with a child on his knee; the kitchen tables piled high with food. As his lantern grows dimmer, the boy gazes through another window viewing that boy as an old man. No one in these houses is able to see his plight. The lamp is beginning to fade, and so is the life left in that little boy. When New Year dawns, those lucky children are still reveling in the holiday oblivious to his plight, while that little needy little boy has become a ghost.

This is a powerful and well written short story done in verse that will remain in memory long after you read it. The illustrations are colorful, fluid, warm and penetrating; they reinforce the words and draw on compelling images that do not allow the words to recede from memory. Myers represents the story through the eyes of the starving child though the execution does not always work. I would strongly recommend this book as a family read or a book for classroom discussion reminding all of the deeper meaning of the Christmas season.

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TROLL FINDS A FRIEND

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

  Hamilton Troll pic

Hamilton Troll Meets Pink Light Sprite by

Kathleen J. Shields

Illustrated by

Leigh A. Klug and Carol W. Bryant

Hamilton Troll is the story of a likeable little Troll named Hamilton, who is just about the size of a mouse. He is a cheerful person and has many friends in the forest. The tiny green troll has a big problem every time it rains. His shelter is merely a hole in a tree stump which floods and threatens to drown him!  So poor Hamilton cowers in fear each time the rain approaches. His fall back plan is to hide under a plant with elephant like ears which he calls the Flop Away Home. One day as the sun emerges following a thunderstorm, Hamilton hears singing. He finds a beautiful Pink Light Sprite Fairy who has been grounded because her wings are soaked. She must wait until they dry to take flight again.  Pink Light Sprite befriends Hamilton and gives him some good advice. Why doesn’t he move one of those plants over his tree stump home? Then when the rains come, he will be protected. They go off to talk and play, but all too soon, Pink Light Sprite’s wings are dry. Hamilton is afraid; who will protect him when she leaves him? Pink Light Sprite reassures him that he will be safe now. Whenever he needs her, he has only to dream of her and the love and friendship that they have for one another. Hamilton has learned not to fear the unknown and to care for others who might need him.

The characters are charmingly drawn in soft muted colors with wonderful expression. The use of  such opposite characters as a troll and fairy make it appealing to a wide audience. This story is narrated in verse, which is often catchy and clever. It works most of the time, but there a few long passages in which it breaks down so that children may not be able to fully comprehend its meaning. The author does explain some of the more difficult vocabulary words used like transplant and mystique; the definitions are clearly displayed on the same page avoiding the need to flip to a glossary.

I think children age seven and up will really appreciate the characters and story line of this pleasing tale.

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