Day: December 21, 2012

Review: The Day Louis Got Eaten by John Fardell

day louis got eaten

The Day Louis Got Eaten by John Fardell

When Louis and his big sister, Sarah, were out in the woods, Louis got eaten by a Gulper.  Sarah didn’t panic, she got something she thought she might need and rode after them.  But just as she had almost caught them, the Gulper was eaten by a Grabular.  Sarah continued to follow but just as she almost reached the Grabular, it was eaten by an Undersnatch.  The Undersnatch was eaten by a Spiney-backed Guzzler.  The Guzzler was eaten by a Yumper.  Sarah approached the Yumper as it slept, but how in the world was she going to save Louis? 

Fardell delights in the ridiculous here and young audiences will too.  The series of monsters that feast on one another makes for a very silly read, each monster more strange than the last and larger too.  Sarah is a wonderful heroine and really the main character of the book.  As she chases the monsters, she slowly converts her bicycle into a new and amazing contraption that can paddle on water, run underwater, zoom with the wind, or even walk on stick legs.  She’s not only resourceful but she remains calm too. 

Fardell’s illustrations are detailed and wonderful.  He makes each monster unique and intriguing.  The illustrations are done in pen and ink and watercolor.  Fardell manages to get such detail in his illustrations that it’s a real surprise when the monsters appear against such a realistic background.  At the same time, the detail doesn’t remove any of the playfulness.  It just makes the illustrations all the more fun to linger with.

An ideal read-aloud, this book is one of those that you can use to settle wiggly kids.  They won’t be able to resist the storyline, the monsters, and a great ending.  Appropriate for ages 3-6.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: Seed by Seed by Esme Raji Codell

seed by seed

Seed by Seed: The Legend and Legacy of John “Appleseed” Chapman by Esme Raji Codell, illustrated by Lynne Rae Perkins

Two modern children are transported back in time from the busy highways filled with cars to the quiet woods of the late 1700s.  From there, the story of Johnny Appleseed, really named John Chapman, is told.  The differences between the world back then and our modern world are explored.  Then the way of life that Johnny Appleseed embraced that of using what you have, respecting nature, sharing, making peace, and reaching your destination in small steps is tied back to how important those things are still for us today.  His planting of seeds changed the landscape of our country.  The book ends asking what seed you will plant.

Codell writes with a wonderful lyricism paired with a directness.  It makes for a book that is straight-forward but also written with care to create a specific mood.  Chapman’s story is filled with legend, especially in his relationship with nature and animals.  While some of it may be tall tales, it contributes to the wonder that surrounds this man.  Codell made a choice to have some of that in her book and it works very well, distinctly noted as legend rather than fact.

Perkins’ illustrations vary from page to page.  Most of the art is done in watercolor and gouache, creating bright colored images that embrace the natural and feel clear and crisp.  Other pages incorporate burlap bags and needlework.  It’s a clever use of materials of the period that really add another dimension to the illustrations.

A beautiful look at a man who stand for much of what we are seeking in modern society.  This book reaches beyond the legend and finds the real Johnny Appleseed.  Appropriate for ages 6-8.

Reviewed from library copy.

This Week’s Tweets and Pins

Here are the links I shared on my Twitter and Pinterest accounts this week that you might find interesting:

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

Best of the Best Children’s Books Reading List – Chicago Public Library http://buff.ly/A1aB0j

LIBRARIES

New York Public Library Offers Peek at Renovation – http://buff.ly/Ta3j3U

Writers and Their Books: Inside the Personal Libraries of Famous Authors | Brain Pickings http://buff.ly/x7o7oQ

SOCIAL MEDIA

Guardian kills its Facebook social reader, regains control over its content — Tech News and Analysis http://buff.ly/ZmdmaW

Instagram says it now has the right to sell your photos | Politics and Law|CNET News http://buff.ly/U94xhO

Twitter Now Has More Than 200 Million Monthly Active Users – http://buff.ly/Ua9WFk

Twitter’s Giving You Your Data Back, Enables Archiving | Fast Company http://buff.ly/U4as6Y

TEEN LIT

Wall of Books: 140+ Books for the Boys of YA – The Readventurer – http://buff.ly/WtYiCl #yalit