Monday, August 24, 2009

Book with a View 2 August 2009

Carolina's Story: Sea Turtles Get Sick Too!
Author: Donna Rathmell; Photography by Barbara J. Bergwerf
ISBN-10: 0976494302
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing
Review by Sandra Dutton

A sea turtle with turtle flu washes up on the Carolina shore and is lucky enough to be picked up by the Turtle Rescue Team. Carolina, as she is named, is taken to an animal hospital, where rescuers wash her sores, check her tongue, and hose her down. Kids will enjoy seeing this turtle that, much against her will, is forced to undergo a doctor's examination. She is placed on the X-Ray table, gets some shots, is put in a tank, and then begins to feel better. She plays with the water spout, learns to splash, comes eagerly to her dinner bowl, and makes friends with hospital visitors.

Kids will enjoy the many themes explored in this book: it's normal to be scared in strange places; doctors can make you feel better; you can make yourself at home no matter where you are, but perhaps most significant: we need to care for and protect our wildlife.

Carolina's story is told in on-the-spot photographs by Barbara J. Bergwerf. They capture Carolina's angst and frustration and the Turtle Rescue Team's calm determination. Author Donna Rathmell does not talk down to children. We learn that the turtle's shell is a "carapace," and that Carolina is covered with "barnacles," and that she will be treated with an "antibiotic." The typeface is large and bold, reminiscent of the text across the board of an elementary school classroom.

At the end of the book are turtle facts and math games, and a sea turtle you can trace, cut out, and color. The lessons of "Carolina's Story" will be easily absorbed because children can all identify with Carolina.


Author: Victoria Kann
ISBN: 0061244082
Publisher: HarperCollins, 2009
Hardcover: 40 pages
Reviewer: Madigan McGillicuddy

Pinkilicious returns for a third installment of this very popular uber-girly series. The endpapers feature the titular star, a pure white unicorn with perfect rouged cheeks and flowing golden locks bedecked with flowers sitting amidst gold and white lace doilies. The title page features the author's thanks, with dozens of names of family, friends, editors and other supporters woven into a series of chiaroscuro pink hills.

The magazine collage-style computerized illustrations are heavy on the girly details. Page after page is cluttered with flowers, toys strewn about, tea sets and other such girlish accoutrements.

Her pet unicorn, which only she can see, pales away to a ghostly translucent shade of white whenever her family is nearby. This device somewhat reminded me of Calvin and Hobbes... although this book is a great deal less tongue-in-cheek, keeping things pretty simple and syrupy sweet. Pinkalicios and her brother traipse after Goldilicious through a number of locales: a picnic with screamingly green grass and flowers crowding in at the edges, a kiddie-pool where Goldie has dolled herself up in movie-star sunglasses and a fancy mermaid tail, a ride on a gorgeously swagged orange hot air balloon.

When Goldilicious goes missing, the hunt is on. Clouds shaped like unicorns and huge equine constellations are overlooked, till Pinkilicious finally finds Goldie right where her parents hoped she would... in bed, as bedtime approaches. The message is clear. Goldilicious might be imaginary... but Pinkilicious and her invisible friend aren't going to be parted anytime soon.

Defenders of the Scroll: In Some Places You Should be Afraid of Shadows
Author: Shiraz
R. M. Productions Ltd (2008)
ISBN 9780981013503
Reviewed by Ben Weldon (age 11) for Reader Views Kids

“Defenders of the Scroll” by Shiraz is the action-packed adventure story of fifteen-year-old Alex, a guitarist, who is sucked into a strange and troubled world. The realm of Mythos has problems. A Shadow Lord has risen and is taking over. Possibly worse, the king has been imprisoned, leaving the princess in danger of capture.

When nine-year-old Dara’s father Mornak was abducted by the Shadow Lord, he managed to send all of his power to a magic scroll that Dara now possesses. The Scroll has a massive amount of power that the Shadow Lord wants. While Askar has distinct orders from the Shadow Lord to capture Dara and the Scroll, he would rather just destroy everything in his path including the Scroll. If the Shadow Lord can get the Scroll, he can drain its magic and become invincible, and a mythical world apocalypse would ensue.

Soon after Alex appears in Mythos, he meets Dara, the princess of the realm. Seconds later, a giant, evil two-headed monster (an ettin) tries to viciously club them. As he is being attacked, Alex recalls a character from his history book and wishes he were present. Amazingly, a Roman legionary named Scorpius (the character that Alex had wished for) appears and slices the monster to bits. Alex learns that he can summon other characters from his history book: Tenzin, a very likable Shaolin monk; Bantu, a giant African warrior; Maya, an Amazon archer; and Genjuro, a fierce young samurai. All are youthful like Alex, and very skilled with their preferred weapons. This will come in very handy seeing that this is only the first of numerable monster attacks. Can they defeat the Shadow Lord and protect the Scroll? Will Mythos fall into the hands of the evil Shadow Lord?

The story is very riveting on its own, but the color illustrations that occasionally appear make it even better. The illustrations look like they are out of a graphic novel. I think that they are computer generated, but they are still really cool and look like paintings. The pictures were really exiting and gave me and even better feel for the characters.

This is Shiraz’s first book, and has understandably won several awards. If you have questions about the book you can go to his website and contact him. This book ended with a cliffhanger and I can’t wait for the next one. I would recommend this book to people who like action, adventure, and fantasy. I think that kids age nine to fourteen or so would especially like this book. “Defenders of the Scroll” by Shiraz was an awesome book and I think that most everyone who reads it will like it.

It’s Just My Imagination
Rick Keeling
Black Rose Writing (2009)
ISBN 9780982101292
Reviewed by Madeline McElroy (8) & Sophia McElroy (6.5) for Reader Views Kids

Madeline: I think this book is a really good tool for parents or teachers to tell children about using their imaginations. My favorite part was when the boy was pretending the mud in the backyard was flour for baking cakes. My sister and I use play-doh to make pizza and mini cookies pretending we are Girl Scouts and pizza makers.

I really enjoyed the colorful swirly painted pictures. But, some of the words I couldn't read because the paint was too dark.

Sophia: This book has some great ideas for using my imagination. My favorite part of the book was when the little boy was signing autographs for his book at the bookstore. I love going to the bookstore and I think it would be fun to write and draw a book for kids. I liked the part when the boy was baking. I also like to pretend that I am a chef! I liked the paintings because they were pretty.

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