Day: May 22, 2014

Review: This Is a Moose by Richard T. Morris

this is a moose

This Is a Moose by Richard T. Morris, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

A movie director is trying to create a documentary about the Mighty Moose.  You know, the ones that eat plants and drink from lakes.  But instead what he gets is a moose who wants to be an astronaut.  And his grandmother who wants to be a lacrosse goalie.  And somehow a giraffe who wants to be a doctor is also brought into the  movie!  Then there is a grand plan to get the moose who wants to be an astronaut into space.  No matter what the poor director does, no one pays him any attention just doing what they want to do.  There are plenty of more twists along the way too in this hilarious picture book.

Morris writes with an ear for dialogue and yelling.  The book reads aloud perfectly, the tones matching the fonts, the silliness reaching amazing heights.  At first the book is serious with the mighty moose, but that lasts only for a page or two before it becomes pure farce, which will delight young listeners.  They will also delight in the fact that the “adult” voice of the director is ignored for much more fun pursuits as the character join forces to launch the moose into space. 

Lichtenheld’s illustrations add to the laughs as the characters stand up to the structure of the book and completely mess with the system.  Lichtenheld plays with perspective, throws the characters bodily around, and adds plenty of motion to the page.  This is one wild and silly book, a farcical festival.

Got silly kids?  Get this book!  Guaranteed giggles in no time at all.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: Poor Doreen: A Fishy Tale by Sally Lloyd-Jones

poor doreen

Poor Doreen: A Fishy Tale by Sally Lloyd-Jones and Alexandra Boiger

Mrs. Doreen Randolph-Potts is a very rare Ample Roundy Fish who is headed to visit her cousin who has just had a baby, or 157 babies to be exact.  So Doreen is swimming down the river when she spots what she thinks is a tasty dragonfly, but it is not.  It is actually a lure held by a fisherman, but Doreen does not know that and she gulps it down.  Soon Doreen is lifted into the air and plunked into a basket.  She thinks she is just there for a little rest before she heads on her journey, but she is wrong again.  Instead a Great Heron snaps her up and carries her off.  But as he has her in his jaws, Doreen thanks him for the ride.  She then manages to insult him by asking if he is an egret and when he tries to answer her she falls down, down into the water again.  So that leaves two very embarrassed creatures:  a fisherman and a heron who both lost their catch that day and one rather confused but safe Doreen who makes it to her cousin’s home with a great story to share.

Doreen is a great character, always looking on the bright side of her world though in a rather confused way.  She’s an optimist through and through, one who always sees the best, though sometimes at her own peril.  The book is designed to be read aloud with the fonts leading readers along the way.  It has great pacing for sharing aloud as well as a good amount of humor which always helps.  The language of the writing is also very special.  Here is my favorite line of the book to give you some of the flavor: 

By the water’s edge

a Fisherman wearing a coat the color of the sun

and a Great Blue Heron wearing a coat the color of a stormy sky

with a neck like an S

for SPEAR

are fishing.

Wonderful writing with richness and depth, contrasts and foreshadowing.  It’s simply superb.

Boiger’s art is appropriately done in watercolor for this fishy story.  Doreen pops on the page with her bright scarf and umbrella, both in red.  The action is captured nicely on the page, filled with bubbles, swirls and motion. 

A clever and optimistic book, children are sure to root for Doreen on her great adventure.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

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