Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Shelf Life [kids]

Boom! by Mary Lyn Ray, 30 pages.

Rosie was a little white dog who was very brave, just like the boy who owned her. She wasn’t afraid of cats, sirens, fire trucks, garbage trucks, or big animals such as tigers (although she had met very few of these). She had no fear of shadows at night, feather dusters, vacuum cleaners or even baths.  
However, there was something that frightened Rosie very much … and that something was thunder.
“When a storm began to rumble, this small dog who was usually a brave dog, wasn’t.” Rosie scuttled away and hid under a chair, under a rug, behind a sofa and even inside a big sock. Nothing calmed her - not the boy’s reassurance that the storm would end, the songs he sang to her or even the treats he offered to her.
At last the boy snuggled up with Rosie on the safest place he knew – his bed - and they waited out the storm together.  When the booming thunder finally ended, the sky cleared; everything was quiet again … and Rosie was a brave dog once more.
Sometimes, facing frightening things with someone else is the best response.
Parents will appreciate this reassuring story that addresses a common fear for preschoolers (and pets) in gentle, rhythmic language. The empathy shown by the boy for his pet is touching and the large illustrations, which have a “retro” look, add humour to this appealing story.

** Recommended for ages 3 to 6 years.
Are We There Yet?  by Sam Williams, 32 pages.
What parent on a long trip with young children hasn’t heard the often-repeated refrain, “Are we there yet?” 
In Sam Williams’ picture book, wise Mother Duck decides to take her four ducklings on a long walk after hearing their continual complaints that their “small” pond is boring. The family sets off across the meadow and past the fields, where they see ponies, sheep, cows, and pigs.
Only one of the ducklings, the littlest, appears to be interested in the new sights and sounds that they experience on the way. The others complain that they are bored and frequently ask, “Are we there yet?”   
After stopping for a delicious picnic lunch of duckweed sandwiches, the ducks resume their journey. Now, as they waddle along, Mother Duck hears squabbling amongst the sibling ducklings, complaints of being tired, hot and bored, and the inevitable question “Are we there yet?”
But when the ducklings at last reach their destination, they are surprised and delighted to see … their own beautiful, enormous, refreshing, familiar pond once again! 
This beautifully-illustrated story demonstrates the truth that perhaps the grass isn’t always greener near the other pond. 
Note: parents may be interested in borrowing some books about family car travel this summer, such as Jill Smolinski’s “60 Super Simple Travel Games” or Shando Varda’s “101 Family Vacation Games: Have Fun While Traveling”.

** Recommended for ages 3 to 5 years. 

This review appears in The Stratford Gazette on July 18, 2013. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

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