Fish-Boy by  Vanita Oelschlager

Fish-Boy by Vanita Oelschlager

I wanted to love Fish-Boy. It's a re-telling of an Inuit tale and the illustrations are gorgeous. It has several good lessons about acceptance, hospitality and fear. It also shows that people with handicaps can be full contributors to a community. There's a bit of magic and like in any good tale, the bad guys get punished and the good guys get rewarded. My problem was it was a little confusing and perhaps a touch long. The legend is being told by an elder to a boy during a trading expedition. I like that the emphasis here is on passing down stories. The legend itself is about Fish-boy and his adoptive father and tells why there are so many puffins near the Bering Strait. There were a couple bits that I didn't quite understand why they happened, but I liked the fish-boy's attitude and his father's kindness. The illustrations are lovely and may be worth picking up the book on their own. Here's...
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Ivy in Bloom by Vanita Oelschlager, illustrated by Kristin Blackwood

Ah, I understand how Ivy Van Allsberg feels. Winter wears long for me, too. I look forward to spring, "when the world is mud-luscious" and "puddle-wonderful." And March, especially, with it's glimpses of better weather, followed by snow, can get long. Ivy in Bloom is really cute. The author takes excerpts of classic poetry and weaves them into Ivy's world as winter turns to Spring.  It's a short story and the illustrations fit the flow perfectly. In the winter, the colors are dark and gray, but as spring comes, out come the yellows and bright greens and purples and pinks. All the pictures are cute, but the spring ones are especially happy and bright. As the blurb states, at the end each piece of poetry is identified by author and work. This makes a good introduction to poetry for younger children and can lead older siblings or parents to read the originals. It's one I would have enjoyed reading to Amber...
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Thursday’s Tale: Magic Words

I love books that expose kids to other cultures, to other ways of looking at this world. Magic Words is a good introduction to the Inuit people. It's a gorgeous book. I read the eBook, but wish I had the paperback. The illustrations are richly colored and imaginative and invoke the feeling of the Inuit culture. According to the book, the illustrations began as ink drawings that were retraced and softened with 6B extra soft charcoal pencil. You know, before Amber started drawing I think I was pretty sure all pencils were #2 and the directions on standardized tests to use a #2 were silly. Anyway, the finished drawings were scanned and colored digitally. They are vibrant and just gorgeous. The poem talks of a past time when people could become animals and animals could become people and they all spoke the same language. And the words they were powerful and could have unintended consequences - a good reminder to be mindful...
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