James Herriot’s TREASURY FOR CHILDREN – Warm and joyful tales by the author of All Creatures Great and Small


Treasury for Generations, December 27, 2010
This review is from: James Herriot’s Treasury for Children: Warm and Joyful Tales by the Author of All Creatures Great and Small (Hardcover)
For a child who loves animals and a parent who wishes to share the power and magic of James Herriot’s tales, this TREASURY is a dream coming true. Heirloom quality that can endure generations, this 260-paged hardcover is presented in full water-color format with beautiful and engaging pictures on EVERY page from illustrators Peter Barrett and Ruth Brown that young readers will feel they’ve known all the characters and animals inside the stories all along.

Eight of Herriot’s beloved tales are collected: ONLY ONE WOOF which tale I still remembered clearly since the first time I read it a decade ago, THE CHRISTMAS DAY KITTEN whose brave mom found him the perfect home before passing away along with MOSES the KITTEN, BONNY’s BIG DAY, BLOSSOM COMES HOME, SMUDGE, the LITTLE LOST LAMB to my children’s favorites, OSCAR, CAT-ABOUT-TOWN and THE MARKET SQUARE DOG. Each tells a unique life story of an animal that children will love to hear. James has a deep humanity approach to teach children about the priceless gift of love and compassion humans and animals can share with each other. This handsomely designed book is one of the first heavy volumes that my kids were able to finish on their own from beginning to the end. Besides giving them more confidence in reading, these tales about ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL with Herriot’s style distinctively fresh, warm, joyful and good have made it the most treasured book in our family.

WHERE DO BALLOONS GO? – by Jamie Lee Curtis, illus. by Laura Cornell

Splendid & fun-filled, November 22, 2010

This review is from: Where Do Balloons Go? An Uplifting Mystery (Hardcover)
Highly praised for its uplifting rhymed poems and exuberant illustrations that send the kids’ imagination and scientific thinking soaring high, WHERE DO BALLOONS GO is a winner to give to any curious readers who want to find out the answers to the persistent question they all have the moment a balloon escapes from their hands. Colorful, whimsical and totally enjoyable, this book is full of surprises including two pages that open to four to display balloon dance and their world travels as well as a sticker sheet with balloons of all sizes, colors and accessories for kids to play in front and back of the book. A fascinating book that begins with a simple question ends with a high-flying explorations of artwork, verses and space speculations:

“Do some go so far
That they end up in space?
Do they challenge the rockets
To float them a race?”

Turkey Surprise by Peggy Archer, illustrated by Thor Wickstrom

Diverse celebration, November 16, 2010

This review is from: Turkey Surprise (Hardcover)
For a household like vegetarian family, TURKEY SURPRISE will be a delightful read that contains a happy ending for a turkey. Two sibling pilgrims set out to find a turkey for their Thanksgiving feast, but the young one has a different opinion about catching the big bird. Along the way, animals help the wild turkey escape in all sorts of humorous hideouts and though the young pilgrim keeps spotting the turkey, he is able to successfully preventing his big brother from seeing it. Their trail meanders through the tree, the gopher hole, the pond and finally the young pilgrim helps the turkey find a safe woodpile to hide behind while he persuades his brother that their parents would agree that a heavy pumpkin plus all the yummy food is a Thanksgiving dinner just as great. I find it to be a lovely book that embraces diverse celebration of Thanksgiving with a subtle lesson on tolerance.

Farfallina & Marcel by Holly Keller

Friendship that transforms together
*caution: spoilers (please read after you finish the book!)
My daughter in 2nd grade discovers this admirable book with a beautiful name FARFALLINA & MARCEL that steals our hearts away. A cute story with a twist of surprise about friendship that’s developed, lost and found again between two unlikely creatures(one gosling & one caterpillar) who though very different in appearances share the same characteristic traits that will teach young children how to be a friend – to think for each other and be there for each other through life’s changes. The tranquil pond life surrounding these two best friends is vividly captured by the illustrator/artist Holly Keller and the happiness of friendship brims the pages as the two play games until the time comes when Farfallina disappears and leaving Marcel alone and wondered what happens to his best friend while transformation also works on turning him into a gorgeous grown-up goose that when the butterfly Farfallina breaks free from its cocoon, none of them recognize each other. Such a short book(32 pages) but it is filled with rich lessons.

IMOGENE”S ANTLERS by David Small – Garden Haiku Daily Review

Imaginative and exquisite, 2010/11/10
This is an exquisite book to lure children into reading – I simply told my kids, “look, this girl woke up with antlers on her head!” and that got them hooked on to the pages till the end. Young Imogene has accepted her transformation with good humor and though dressing, walking and sliding down the stairs may prove to be tricky, she’s having as much fun as she could with her new-sprouted antlers despite her mom’s constant fainting. Beautiful illustrations to spark lively imagination, IMOGENE”S ANTLERS were used to dry towels by the kitchen maid, to carry doughnuts out to feed the birds, to hold dozens of candles for her young brother and what’s more amusing also is to see the other serious adults who try so desperately to hide the impossible. Imogene goes to bed with a big smile and wakes the next morning with no antlers but just when mom is relieved to see her little girl back to normal, voala comes another exciting new surprise!

The Night Before Thanksgiving by Natasha Wing

Excitement of Thanksgiving, 8 Nov 2010

This review is from: The Night Before Thanksgiving (Reading Railroad Books) (Paperback)
This is a lovely, classic Thanksgiving book to read with your kids while counting down the days to this “fun & food- filled” national holiday. Through the very humorous verses that rhyme on every page, our family warms up the old memories about THE NIGHT BEFORE THANKSGIVING when we baked pie, watched parade, set the table for the feast, prepared the food and the kids’ crafts and waited anxiously for the guests to arrive. Like the book depicted, it was a day full of hectic activities and sometimes mishaps did happen but it would be resolved when the prayer is said and all of the happenings become yet another year of thankful celebrations.

STICK MAN by Julia Donaldson – Garden Haiku Daily Review

Stick with Family, 3 novembre 2010
A great book for youngsters to read during winter/Christmas time, STICK MAN from the artists of ROOM ON THE BOOM offers another unique story about the family tree dad who is content with his beautiful Stick Lady Love and stick children three, is one day chased away from home by a dog and hurls into worlds of danger. No one can see he is “a stick man” that is needed and loved by a family – the girl throws him into the river, the swan weaves him into nest, the man makes him a sandcastle flag, the children makes him into a pen, a bow and a boomerang. Poor stick man has suffered and loses his hope of returning home and as he finally gets picked up as a stick to be burned for the fireplace, only a miracle can save him. And miracle does happen on Christmas night! The Stick Man is in the right place to save the “Stuck Man”(the gift-delivering Santa stuck inside the chimney). Carrying home by a grateful Santa for his family reunion, this book ends with a heartwarming note that may teach children to use their imagination and extend their compassion and love to be gentle to all living things for even a twig may belong to a family. The readers will have fun looking at the stick family holding hands, carrying their baby for a picnic and enjoy quality playtime together just like all of us.

INCH BY INCH by Leo Lionni – Garden Haiku Daily Recommendation

The world of the inchworm, October 30, 2010
Leo Lionni has a sensitive heart to catch tiny creature’s world for the readers to see and in INCH BY INCH, the seemingly vulnerable inchworm has relied on his usefulness and intellects to beat the odds of his own survival game. Delightful and surprising as usual, the story starts when the inchworm is about to be gobbled up by the robin. As in Aesop’s Fable (THE LION & THE MOUSE), the smart prey persuades powerfully to the predator why it would be a mistake to eat him, “I am an inchworm. I am useful. I measure things.” Curiosity comes to the robin’s eyes, and after the inchworm measures his tail to be five inches long, the impressed robin spares his life. Put the inchworm’s talent into good use, the robin takes him to measure many other things – flamingo neck, toucan’s beak, the heron leg and the whole hummingbird. In the end, another crisis strikes that a nightingale also asks the inchworm to measure the immeasurable – his beautiful song. The nightingale may have a great voice but not much of a brain and the inchworm agrees to measure, inch by inch until ….the peril is behind him. An applaud for the inchworm and this remarkable book; though the hero is small (Where is the worm? The kids will look for the emerald inchworm on every page), his adventure is great.

IN THE SNOW by Huy Voun Lee

>The Chinese writing lesson continues with IN THE SNOW which teaches young readers another 10 forest-snow related Chinese written characters. More advanced than IN THE SAND, these ten beautiful and picturesque Chinese words ranges from 4 lines to 12 lines and there is a pronunciation guide included so kids know how they sound like as well. A wonderful day for Xian Ming and his mom to take a walk in the forest is also a trip to learn how to write the natural objects they see in Chinese: “mu” (tree) shapes like a cross with two branches hanging down; putting two trees together is to write “lin” (forest). When you add three strokes to the left of the word “forest”, you will come up with the word “to drench” and add a symbol of “person” to the left of “tree” is to write “xiu” (rest) just as a man leaning on a tree for some rest. In the middle of the walk, the sky starts to rain. And to write “rain”, you first draw a line, add a canopy and put four strokes underneath to symbolize raindrops. Add a symbol of “hand” beneath the “rain”, you will be writing “xue” (snow) for we can hold snow with our hands.

What’s fun about this book is that it shows how to combine single Chinese character to make new words. The last four words have to do with “Sun”, “Sparkle” (put three suns together), “moon” and “bright” (add sun and moon together). This book reinforces what I taught my kids in the past regarding these words and now they see mom’s lessons printed in a book further help them remember firmly and motivate them to know more.The gorgeous cut-paper collages and delightful storyline make this book a very attractive educational book for readers of all ages and all ethnicities to learn the basics about writing Chinese words which is like drawing pictures that makes one feel like a natural artist.

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