Friday, April 22, 2011

SPL Shelf Life [kids]

These reviews appeared in the Stratford Gazette on April 21, 2011 
Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian

The Busy Tree, by Jennifer Ward, 30 pages.
@ SPL:  JP Ward

Children will be amazed at the many insects, birds and animals which are finding food, protection or a home in the big, busy oak tree. From its roots to its tall branches stretching towards the sky, the tree is a hive of activity all day long.

Chipmunks and squirrels nibble the acorns and scamper along the branches. A line of ants is crawling across the trunk; a spider is spinning a web, and a woodpecker taps the trunk to find insects for its lunch. The tree’s leaves and twigs shelter the small cocoons of young butterflies or moths. Songbirds perch on the branches to sing and build their nests; earthworms and moles make their homes among the massive roots of the oak.       

Throughout the busy day, an owl is trying to sleep inside a hole in the tree’s trunk.

Even the green leaves of the oak tree are busy, taking in carbon dioxide and converting it to oxygen for all to breathe in.

People benefit from the oak tree, which provides precious shade in the summer and a sturdy branch on which to suspend a child’s swing, and adds to the attractiveness of the entire neighbourhood.

The lavish artwork of illustrator Lisa Falkenstern and the rhyming text of author Jennifer Ward help to convey to young children the beauty and the immense importance of trees in our environment. 

The Stratford Public Library has many other children’s books with which to mark Earth Day on April 22, which, this year, celebrates "A Billion Acts of Green".
** Recommended for ages 2 to 5 years. 

Ballyhoo Bay, by Judy Sierra, 32 pages.
@ SPL:  JP Sierr

Ms Mira Bella couldn’t believe her eyes when she arrived at the beach of beautiful Ballyhoo Bay one day in late May. There, in front of her, was an ugly barbed wire fence, and a big billboard announcing that high-rise apartments, a parking garage and an enormous casino would soon be built there. No children or wildlife would be allowed on the property.

Mira could see that not a speck of the wonderful, pristine Ballyhoo Beach – with its lovely sand, sea, sun and sky for everyone – would be left.

Where would the children play while their parents relaxed in the sand? Where would the pelicans and other seashore birds make their homes? Where would

Mira teach her seashell and sand art classes? Where would the ever-popular Ballyhoo Art Fair and the Recycled Art-Cycle Race take place?

Right away, Mira swung into action with a plan to save the beach, whipping up all the support that she could muster. And later, at the public meeting at Ballyhoo Town Hall, the public and the town council voted to leave the beach just as it was!

This lively story, told in rhyme, celebrates the environment, community and art, and the colourful, exuberant illustrations by Derek Anderson will make children think that they are right there in the warm sand of Ballyhoo Beach.

Judy Sierra is an award-winning writer of children’s books as well as an accomplished storyteller.
 ** Recommended for ages 4 to 7 years.

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