Thursday, November 28, 2013

Shelf Life [kids]

The Chickens Build a Wall by Jean-Francois Dumont, 33 pages.
    
The chickens on the farm were very busy building a large wall around their henhouse.
     
A few days earlier, a hedgehog had wandered into the barnyard. Who was he? Where had he come from? How had he entered the barnyard?  Since none of the birds knew the answers, they were certain that the visitor must be trouble.
    
A few days later, the chickens thought that there seemed to be fewer worms to eat in the barnyard. Had the hedgehog taken them?  If so, what might he take or do next?  The chickens worried and fretted. Then, giving way to their vivid imaginations and some paranoia, they began to envision stolen nests, eggs and even chicks.
      
Soon after that, the wall went up.
    
However the chickens quickly discovered that their wall, although substantial, couldn’t keep out “prickly visitors” like hedgehogs. And, after actually talking to the stranger, they made another discovery. The visitor wasn’t at all dangerous or troublesome! Instead, he was a very friendly, peaceful creature. Their fears had been completely unfounded.
    
Infused with sly humour, Jean-Francois Dumont’s entertaining parable explores the foolishness of paranoia and the wisdom of removing the walls of distrust that we often place between ourselves and strangers.    

** Recommended for ages 4 to 8 years.

The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf, by Mark Teague, 48 pages.
    
The traditional story of three pigs and a hungry wolf has been retold by author Mark Teague with some hilarious, modern twists and large, colourful illustrations.
    
When the farmer decided to move to Florida, he sold his farm, paid his three pigs for their good work over the years, and drove off.
    
The first pig built a flimsy straw house; the second heaped together a rickety home of sticks, and the third constructed a solid home of brick and mortar.
    
The next day, a hungry, somewhat bad wolf came to town. The hot dog stand was closed, as was the doughnut shop - and the pizza parlour didn’t allow wolves. In desperation, he blew down the homes of the first two pigs, who sped away on their scooters.
     
At the third pig’s house, however, the wolf tried and tried but could not blow it down. Overcome by hunger and a lack of oxygen, the wolf collapsed on the lawn. 
    
Inside, the three pigs were watching their favourite television show when they noticed the prone wolf outside. They went out to help him.  The grateful wolf apologized, “I was so hungry, I could not think straight!”
    
The pigs, who also loved to eat, were sympathetic. They invited the wolf to stay for dinner - which he did. (And in a “happily-ever-after ending, he later became a very good friend to the three pigs.)

** Recommended for ages 3 to 6 years.

This review appeared in The Stratford Gazette on November 28, 2013. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

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