Note to Readers

I have not received any compensation for writing this post other than a free digital or print copy of the book. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Flora and the Flamingo - Molly Idle

Released February 2013

Molly Idle
Chronicle Books

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Flora and the Flamingo is a beautiful book. My daughter has a strong interest in art and is taking many high school courses related to graphic design, and she was the first to glimpse through it and say that Molly Idle is an inspiration. Coming from a teen, I think that's pretty high praise.

This is a picture book. There are no words, but the story is clear. A young girl comes face to face with a majestic flamingo and decides to copy everything the flamingo does. What transpires becomes a mix of ballet and simply a fun time for all.

There are flaps for children to lift and the illustrations are striking. Molly Idle's worked for DreamWorks as a clean-up illustrator, and her talent is obvious in this book. It's a great book for kids, but I'd also say for anyone with an interest in arts, it's definitely worth viewing.

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Zorro Gets an Outfit - Carter Goodrich

Released May 2012

Carter Goodrich
Simon & Schuster

Book Review by Bob Walch

When Zorro, the small dog featured in this picture book, wakes up, it appears to be a day like any other. He and his buddy, another dog named Mister Bud, woof down their breakfasts and then get ready for their walk.
Unfortunately, that’s when a cruel surprise awaits Zorro. His mistress has purchased a cute little outfit for the dog and now Zorro will be the laughingstock of the neighborhood.

All decked out in his blue hood and cape, Zorro looks like Batman, but he is ridiculed by all the other pets he encounters. How embarrassing! Poor Zorro!

At the park Zorro just sits and mopes and refuses to play with Mister Bud. But that all quickly changes when another pup arrives wearing an outfit. This dog is really cool. He is fast, does amazing tricks and is totally unabashed when it comes to wearing silly clothing.

Zorro’s attitude suddenly changes and now the little dog takes pride in his new ensemble. In fact, he becomes rather cocky because he looks pretty cool in his cape and Mister Bid doesn’t have a walking costume. 

This cute story will delight any youngster who has been forced to wear something he or she isn’t too thrilled about. Zorro rides a self-esteem roller coaster until he realizes that he isn’t the only dog that has to get dressed up to go out.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Flood - Alvaro F. Villa

Released February 2013

Alvaro F. Villa

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Flood is a gorgeous book that tells the story of a devastating flood that destroys a family's home. What makes it stand out to me is the fact that there are no works. This is simply a book of images, yet the reader knows exactly what is going on. Children can make up their own stories to go with the paintings in the book.

The story starts with a family enjoying their day, but a storm moves in and they're forced to evacuate while the house is battered and beaten. What happens next is up to you to find out when you browse through the different images.

While I had nothing but positive to say about this book, I happened to have a guest, she's an elementary school teacher, who had different thoughts. Obviously, her job entails teaching children to recognize and sound out words as they learn to read. In her case, she felt the lack of words makes the book useless if your goal is to teach reading. I don't agree, I think allowing a child to form their own story is just as beneficial. However, I can see where someone teaching reading would be frustrated by the lack of words.

Given that, I do think that what you get from Flood depends on what your expecting. I think this is a wonderful book that's useful in allowing children to learn and explore the emotions surrounding a catastrophic event like a hurricane or flood. I recommend it for that reason.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Wonderful World of Earth - Thea Feldman/Disney Publishing

Released September 2012

Disney Books

Book Review by Bob Walch

Another title in the Wonderful World series, this volume uses stunning, real-life photos and colorful illustrations to provide young readers with a firsthand look at our planet and the natural events that take place on it.

A handful of Disney characters act as the guides as they take the reader on a tour to every continent and look at all the extremes of weather and other natural phenomenon. Two page spreads look at extreme weather like hurricanes, typhoons, tornadoes, droughts,  blizzards and thunderstorms. Then the focus switches to volcanoes, landslides, earthquakes, avalanches and tsunamis.

Each section is constructed around a series of questions. For example, “What country gets hit by the most typhoons? (the Philippines). How fast is lightning? (60,000 miles per second). Where is the driest place on Earth? (Atacama Desert in Chile).”

Granted this is a very broad topic. but this attractive book will at least get a youngster started on investigating some of the wonders of the Earth. The extremes of weather and the natural occurring events like earthquakes usually hold a lot of interest for children. Use this book as a catalyst to launch a more detailed study of all of these events that underscore the power of nature.

If you are a teacher, librarian or parent home schooling your child, you’ll probably wish to purchase this book. Otherwise, checking it out of the library might be a good idea rather than buying it.
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