Thursday, November 3, 2011

SPL Shelf Life [kids]


These reviews appeared in The Stratford Gazette on November 3rd. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

Every Thing on It, by Shel Silverstein, 194 pages.
As well as being a recognized cartoonist, song writer, playwright and performer, Shel Silverstein was one of the most beloved children’s poets of all time. Author of such children’s classics as Where the Sidewalk Ends , A Light in the Attic, Falling Up and The Giving Tree, Silverstein wrote prolifically and enthusiastically.
After Silverstein’s death, his family gathered about 130 unpublished poems from his extensive personal archives and published them in a new collection, entitled Every Thing on It.
Fortunately, this new poetry collection has lost none of the infectious humour which, over the years, has made Silverstein’s poetry so popular with children (and probably adults too). Clever, fun, gleeful and always enhanced by a quirky illustration or two, his poems inevitably leave readers wanting more – or even wanting to try writing their own poems.
In Silverstein’s newly-published poems, readers will discover why asking for a hot dog “with everything on it” is not a good idea, why you should never criticize someone’s hat, what happened to “Stick-A-Tongue-Out-Sid” and what really happened when the prince found Cinderella’s shoe!
Poignantly, the last poem in this collection is entitled When I am Gone. “When I am gone what will you do? Who will write and draw for you? Someone smarter – someone new? Someone better – maybe you!”
** Recommended for ages 5 to 10 years.

The Lunch Thief, by Anne C. Bromley, 28 pages.
Readers will also finish this second book with a smile on their faces – not from laughter as with Silverstein’s poems, but just because The Lunch Thief such a heart-warming, satisfying and beautifully-illustrated story.
Kevin, a new kid in the school, has been snitching his classmates’ lunches. Every day - without any intimidation or bullying on his part – he’s very quietly made off with someone’s lunch. First, it was Raphael’s lunch. Out of the corner of his eye, Raphael saw Kevin stuff it into his backpack and quickly leave the room. The next day, it was Alfredo’s lunch, and the next day, Kevin ran off with Karen’s lunch bag. But when Raphael and Alfredo chased Kevin, he was too quick for them and he disappeared from sight.
Raphael pondered what to do. His mom had always told him that only cowards fight. He decided to talk to Kevin instead. When he did, he discovered that Kevin was from the Jacinto Valley, where many homes had recently been destroyed by a wildfire. However, Kevin didn’t want to talk about it. He just seemed very sad.
That weekend, on the way to the grocery store, Raphael spotted Kevin entering a small motel room. His mom told him that it was likely Kevin’s whole family would be living there - in one small motel room - for a long time. Many Jacinto Valley families had lost everything in the fire.
Now Raphael understood.
Then he thought of the generous lunch that his mom packed for him every day, his many friends, his home, and many other things that he had – and Kevin didn’t.
And then, Raphael knew exactly what to do.
** Recommended for ages 5 to 9 years. 

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