Small Saul


Small Saul by Ashley Spires

The author of Binky the Space Cat returns with a brand new character for us to enjoy!  Small Saul is not your regular pirate type, but he has known since he was small that he wanted to spend his life at sea.  When the Navy turned him down because he was too short, Saul enrolled in Pirate College.  Even in college, he didn’t fit in.  He was great at singing shanties and less good at sword fighting.  He wasn’t rough or tough, but he excelled at swabbing the deck.  Finally, he had his pirate diploma and headed for the docks.  But his time at sea was not what Small Saul expected and definitely not what the pirates on The Rusty Squid were ready for!

Spires infuses the entire story with puns, pirate humor and just plain fun.  Her writing is meant to be read aloud with its natural pacing.  The broad comedy also makes this book ideal for sharing with a group.  The illustrations continue the humor of the text with Saul’s wide-eyed glasses, his diminutive size, and the rather blank faces of the pirates.

Nicely, the book is not just humorous, it also has a strong message at its heart.  It celebrates differences between people that can first be seen as problems and then are seen as treasures.  It’s a message worthy of pirate gold.

This is one pirate book that will not be walking the plank any time soon.  It’s ideal for any pirate-themed story time and will appeal to even elementary-aged children thanks to its humor.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Kids Can Press.

Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit: A Book of Changing Seasons


Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit: A Book of Changing Seasons by Il Sung Na

The author of A Book of Sleep returns with another book filled with striking illustrations.  When winter comes, all of the animals know it.  Some fly to warmer places, others take a long sleep, some swim to warmer waters, and others grow a thicker coat.  The white rabbit leads readers through so many different types of animals and how they deal with the winter season.  Then spring comes and all of the animals know it’s a new season.  That includes our friend the rabbit who looks very different now!

Il Sung Na has created a book that celebrates changing seasons with a sense of joy and fun.  Readers will see migration, hibernation, and much more in this book.  The text remains simple and straight-forward, keeping the concepts to a preschool level nicely. 

The real impact is made by Il Sung Na’s incredible illustrations that are lush, vivid and at the same time laced with a real delicacy of line and pattern.  Created using handmade textures combined with digitally generated layers, this is a sort of illustration that is stylized, modern and still welcoming and friendly.

Highly recommended, this book is a beautiful exploration of changing seasons, ideal for welcoming spring.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Random House Children’s Books.

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