Thursday, February 3, 2011

SPL Shelf Life [kids]

These reviews appeared in the Stratford Gazette on February 9, 2011
Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian

Dear George Clooney Please Marry My Mom, by Susin Nielson, 229 pages.
@ SPL: J FIC Neils

Twelve-year-old Violet is desperate. Her mom, new to the dating scene now that Violet’s father has left, has been taking up with some real “losers” – and the latest, Dudley, may be the worst of the bunch!
It’s not that Dudley isn’t a nice guy. He is, and he’s intelligent, but according to Violet, he’s not attractive or interesting. Instead, Violet thinks her mom deserves someone very “special” – like actor George Clooney.
Violet’s father is now a director in Los Angeles and knowing that she will be visiting him, she and a friend, Phoebe, hatch a wild plan. They will somehow meet George Clooney. Then they will “snag” George for a date with Violet’s mother! With luck, one date will lead to a second date, and another date, and so on.
Violet does meet the actor, but certainly not in the way she had planned. She runs into his parked car with a stolen golf cart. (Alas, the course of true love is unlikely to run smoothly with a 12-year-old driving a golf cart.)
Violet’s pain at her parents’ marriage breakup in this story is real, although her attempts to make things “better” are wildly humorous. There are some serious messages for readers here, one of which is looking at more than a person’s appearance. Dudley, for example, is kind, intelligent and cares deeply for Voilet’s mom. Happily, in the end, Violet learns to appreciate him.
Susin Nielson is an award-winning Vancouver-based author of children’s books. She has also written scripts for television.
** Recommended for ages 9 to 14 years.

The Frog Prince Hops to It, by Tony Bradman, 48 pages.
@ SPL: J FIC Bradm

Stories which begin with “Once upon a time” usually end with “and they lived happily ever after”. Children’s author Tony Bradman takes a more realistic view of what might have happened after the Frog Prince, fresh from the pond, married his princess.
Certainly Freddy, after turning back into a prince, was all set to “live happily after” – but unfortunately, reality intruded into the married life of the blissful couple. How?
As much as he liked life in the palace with Daisy, Freddy missed the pond and all of his froggy friends. After all, he had lived there for quite some time. After moving into the palace, he would frequently return to the pond without Daisy, who was very busy with her many campaigns for good causes. In fact, Daisy hated the pond and disliked Freddy’s visits there because each time, he returned covered in mud, smelling “gross”. In time, this led to a good deal of disharmony. What were they to do?
The answer came in an unexpected way with the sudden announcement of a plan to drain the pond for an eight-lane highway. Freddy was aghast – his lovely pond – gone? What would happen to his friends, the pond creatures – and the surrounding forest?
Right away, he thought of someone who was excellent at campaigning for “good causes”. Daisy! With her skills at organizing campaigns, and his love for the pond, they became an unbeatable team, not only for this cause, but for others which followed.
With work and a few “hiccups” along the way, Freddy and Daisy actually did live (for the most part) “happily ever after”!
** Recommended for ages 6 to 9 years.

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