Thursday, September 04, 2008

Children's Books

I've received some delightful children's books recently from some very gifted authors, illustrators and publishers and I've been slow to post my reviews.

Fire Fish written and illustrated by Davy Liu
Fire Fish follows three little fish, Sarai, RaaOn and Sesom, who embark on a daring quest to find their missing parents. Never more than a fin-flip away from deadly danger, they tumble from one breathtaking exploit to another. Along their journey they encounter helpful friends and deceitful enemies. All the while, the legend of the Fire Fish inspires them to explore a world bigger than they ever imagined. Leaving the comfort of their home, they find a wise turtle who teaches them how to call upon the great Finmaker. In dark tunnels, an evil eel attempts to lure them into his hungry jaws. After a narrow escape, they find their way to the big ocean, teeming with fish of every kind. They meet new friends and play games until a friendly dolphin warns them of danger. An army of great white sharks is approaching, gnashing everything in its path. In the thrilling climax, the glorious Fire Fish appear, returning the lost parents and saving everyone from the deadly sharks. Meet the characters and learn more at

Davy Liu has a passion for imaginative storytelling and beautiful illustration. He worked for Disney on “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” “Mulan,” and “The Lion King.” A seasoned professional, Liu has also worked for George Lucas and Warner Bros. Animation. His illustrations have graced the pages of Time, The Wall Street Journal and Business Week. Liu imbues his stories with humor, wonder and allegory, making the Fire Fish a tale that appeals to kids and intrigues adults. “I hope to inspire young souls to experience life through faith,” said Liu. “There is more to life than meets the eye. Every kid has different gifts. Though we live in very distracting times, I want kids to know their life is valuable not because of status or material things.” Taken from a Kendufilms Press Release

I highly recommend Fire Fish. The story is inspiring and the artwork is beautiful. My grandkids love it.

Templeton Turtle Goes Exploring by Ron Pridmore, Illustrated by Michel-lee Phelan

This is another book that I love reading to my grandkids and when I'm not reading it they will take it off the shelf and look at the pictures telling the story in their own way. Little Templeton is such a cutey - I've always been partial to turtles even though my science students always presented me with frog items.

When Templeton Turtle hatches from his egg, he can't wait to start exploring on his own and making new friends. But as he explores the big pond, Templeton realizes that not all the animals are friendly, and some can be scary! Then, when Mr. Blue rescues him from being trampled and returns him safely to his mother, Templeton learns that the animals around the pond take care of one another, no matter what their differences are. From the front cover

The Magic In You!
Written and Illustrated by Sally H. Taylor

This story is about a little flower who looses one of her splendid petals to a goat who nibbles it off. She suffers with feelings of poor self-esteem. Of course in the end she comes out victorious.

I felt this story stretches too much to preach it's lesson. I know that I'm inherently rebellious and hate to be preached to but, because I am, I like my lessons to be a bit more subtle.

And, I know this is nit-picky, but it bothered me that all the way through the story the flower is shown as a daisy-like (compositae) flower and then the back cover says, "Within every wildflower a rose is waiting to bloom!" Like that's ever going to happen! And what's wrong with being a wildflower, if that's what you are and you're never going to be a rose? That's like saying within every person with brown eyes is a person with blue. Absurd.

Also, on the flower topic: Keep in mind that I'm a retired science teacher who took five botany classes in college, but I was bothered that this compositae flower which is a dicot is depicted with monocot leaves. I know that it's entirely silly of me, but I can't help it. That would be a silly reason to not like a book, but it's not my only reason.


Anonymous said...

I think your girdel's too tight lady---you need to loosen up! People can learn and grow into something better than they are unfortunately that is way to hard for you! Too bad so sad!

Booklogged said...

Thanks for the advice. I agree it is real hard for me to grow. When it does happen it's in such tiny increments that it's hard to perceive. I can and do try to grow into something better every day, but if I am a beautiful daisy I'll blow my mind trying to grow into a rose. Best to try and be the best daisy I can be.

About the girdel -whoops! I quit wearing a girdle long ago even though it might be an improvement is I started again.

I do admit that I need to loosen up. I was nit-picky in my review. Very. The message in the book is to be of service - offer what you do have and don't wish for things you don't have. Another message is to forgive in the same way the wildflower forgave the goat that ate her leaf.

Myke Weber said...

What's a girdel? It seems to me that if part of me was consumed by a goat, that in the end, I'd wind up a pile of poop.

I think self esteem is a crock and the California Schools have proven that attempting to develop it in students has backfired.

While, Booklogged was critical of this book, I think you'll find that to be uncommon on this blog. That tells me that she's honest and doesn't sugar coat her opinion. If you don't want the truth go somewhere else. As this was clearly an advance readers copy, she's running the risk of getting no more from that publisher, but do the publishers really want an honest evaluation or don't they.

Additionally, I don't think there's a thing wrong with expecting books to be helpful in building a more accurate understanding, for children, of the world around them.

Kudos Booklogged, love your work here.

Framed said...

Why is it that when someone makes a rude remark, they are always anonymous? If you don't agree with the review, just say so and don't get personal.

As for the reviews, I LOVE children's books. All three look like they are beautifully illustrated. The turtle one especially looks wonderful. As for the wildflower, I don't care for blatant messages either, but it's probably great for children. My most recent favorite children's book is "On the Night You Were Born."

Anonymous said...

I'm always on the hunt for great children's books and have recently discovered Bayard and their series of StoryBoxBooks, AdventureBoxBooks and DiscoveryBoxBooks. There's lots going on too:
This Month Storybox has guest illustrator Helen Oxenbury fetured.
There's a Readathon happening in the Ireland region -
There's a Ghost Drawing competition in AdventureBoxBooks assiciated with the Polka Theatre (