Thursday, July 21, 2011

SPL Shelf Life [kids]

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

Thumbelina: The World’s Smallest Horse, by Heather C. Hudak, 24 pages.

When Thumbelina was born in 2001, she weighed only 8.5 pounds, which is very small for a horse - even a miniature horse. Her owners were worried about her size, but she grew up to be strong and healthy. Today, Thumbelina is the world’s smallest horse – a fact which has been confirmed by Guinness World Records.
Like most miniature horses, Thumbelina lives on a farm. Here, her life is similar to that of most horses. She has a horse stall (although she prefers to sleep in a doghouse). She eats the same foods as the other horses, and despite her small size, she isn’t afraid to boss even the biggest horses. In fact, the other horses follow her around the farm!
Thumbelina’s best friend is a large dog, Cassie.
Away from the farm, Thumbelina’s life is quite different. Because she is friendly, loves people, and is small enough to be taken into buildings, she visits children all over the United States in hospitals, camps, fairs, horse shows and other places. Somehow Thumbelina is able to build an instant bond with children, especially with those who have illnesses or disabilities. Perhaps it’s because this little horse has her own “disability”- crooked legs, for which she must wear specially-made shoes. Thumbelina visits and cuddles with the children, and allows them to pet and hug her. She sometimes unties their shoelaces, or chews a little on their clothing, which is one of her ways of making them feel special. Over the years, she has brought joy and comfort to thousands of children with her visits.
Readers will be enchanted to meet this endearing little horse in Heather Hudak’s very attractive book, with its colorful photos.
** Recommended for ages 4 to 8 years.

Charlie the Ranch Dog, by Ree Drummond, 40 pages.

Meet Charlie! A “ranch dog”, he’s an easy-going, loveable hound with big paws, droopy eyes, dangly ears and short legs. Charlie loves his home at the ranch; he loves breakfast bacon (and any other food), and, although he’s convinced that he’s a hard-working dog, he’s more often to be found sleeping or snoozing. He’s certainly a contrast to his friend Suzie, a younger, more energetic dog, who chases the cows out of the yard and the squirrels out of the garden before Charlie can do anything more than think about it!
Ree Drummond’s engaging book follows Charlie through one of his typical days on the ranch.
Much of the understated humour in this picture book is due to the detail captured in the colourful illustrations of accomplished picture book artist Diane DeGroat. For example, children will delight in finding a mischievous little chipmunk on each spread – the same chipmunk that Charlie never seems to notice!
The author, Ree Drummond, known as “The Pioneer Lady”, has also written “The Pioneer Woman Cooks” and “The Pioneer Woman Black Heels to Tractor Wheels”. Her first story for children is based on her real-life basset hound, Charlie. Young readers and listeners will be charmed!
** Recommended for ages 3 to 6 years

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