Thursday, April 17, 2008

Kids' Books

Mia is home from school again today. Her fever is down, but she's still throwing up and has body aches. Last night was rough, we ended up changing the sheets twice before she fell asleep due to not making the garbage can in time. We've reached the cranky portion of the flu. If I bump her when tucking her in, I punched her. When trying to put my arm around her, I pulled her hair. She wants to nap; no, not nap, watch High School Musical; no, not that, PBS kids; no, take a nap. And hey, she didn't get supper last night, when am I going to feed her. Hopefully all of this grouchiness means she's getting better!

I've received several children's books in the last few weeks, so here are several reviews.

The Cake Thief by Sally Lee is an absolutely charming book about a young boy named Clarence who loves stealing cakes. He sneaks through his whole town swiping cakes left and right, until the day he finds a note in place of a cake inviting him to a party, but there's a catch: he must bring a cake he's made on his own. The artwork is bright and surreal, working perfectly with the theme of brightly frosted cakes. The words are easy to read and repititious in just the right way. My five-year old daughter was able to recognize cake, bake, and make by the end of the book and join in the reading. Clarence learns that cakes taste best when shared with others; the lesson is gentle, not preachy. This is a book that we will read again and again.

The Little Candy Breathing Dragons by Gloria Clark is the tale of two sweet dragons named Nay-Nay and Maj and is based on Clark's two granddaughters. The illustrations are simple and very well done. My daughter immediately fell in love with the drawings of Nay-Nay and Maj. The two girls take a journey and help others all along their way. There is a small Christian element to the story, using faith as their reason for doing good deeds. I have a couple of small peeves with the book. First, it's told in rhyme, but written in paragraph form, so it makes it difficult to read the meter on occasion. Second, the story with the older lost dragon is a bit confusing given the context of Christianity throughout the rest of the story. I'd honestly give the book 3-1/2 stars.

Charlie Bird by Linda Bird is the real (mostly) tale of the author's pet parrot. Charlie is a little bird with a big personality. He loves to share his flightless flock's breakfast and snuggle under their shirts for a cuddle. The author really does have a good story to tell, but unfortunately the format used doesn't showcase it. Real photos of Charlie are used throughout the story, and while they often work, instead of using Linda's real daughters, pictures of dolls are used. The pictures are awkwardly cropped and using dolls makes them seem a bit otherworldly. One photo actually frightened my daughter: that of Charlie's eye peeking through the center of a flower. The last few chapters of the story are taken up with a fictional jaunt of Charlie's in switching bodies with one of his wild bird friends. The wild birds are obviously fake, and because the rest of the book is real, the story jars. I could easily see this book broken into several shorter books (with simpler vocabulary) and drawings or more realistic photos, minus the fiction detour. The author has a great story to tell; I just wish it was done better.

Molly's new boyfriend Shawn is making the oil companies very happy. He was at our house two out of three nights last weekend, he was over again last night, and he's been with her to her dad's several nights this week. And she has the nerve to ask me if I think he really likes her. Duh!

No picture today, blogger isn't cooperating.