Team Work Pays Off

Writers spend a lot of time by themselves thinking of how to write what they want to say, what their characters are like and who are the secondary characters. But writers also need help from critique partners and understanding families. This post is about sharing and working together. I chose books that have non-human main characters, just to make it more fun.
This first story is sweet and might still be in stores or on-line.

Duck and Goose: It’s Time for Christmas
Tad Hills
Duck is walking in the snow with his friend Goose. Duck has a purpose, but Goose wants to play. So Duck tells Goose that it is not time for catching snowflakes. Then Goose must be told it is not time for sledding, nor is it time for making snow angels. Goose also learns it is not time for throwing snowballs and it is not time for making a snowgoose. Duck tells Goose it is not time to skate, which is a good thing, because Goose doesn’t do that very well. He does make quite a handsome snow fort, even though it is not time for doing that either. The next to last scene is Duck calling to Goose to come on as he holds a star behind his back and stands near two other birds decorating a fir tree. When Goose comes, Duck tells him it is time for Christmas and Goose stands on Duck’s head to put the star on top of the tree. A cute story with nice repetition of the phrase “It is not time for…,” makes this a child pleaser. The expressions on Duck and Goose’s faces add to the story’s charm. This is part of the “Duck and Goose” series.
BIBLIO: 2010, Schwartz & Wade Books/Random House Children’s Books/Random House, Inc., Ages 1 to 4, $6.99.
REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan
FORMAT: Board Book
ISBN: 978-0-375-86484-1

I really enjoyed to drawings in this book.

Elmer and the Hippos
David McKee
Illustrated by David McKee
Elmer, the patchwork Elephant, comes to rescue in another book as he has in books since 1989. This time he must help the hippos get their dried up river back so they don’t use up all the water in the elephants’ river. Things are testy at the elephants’ river as the two groups of animals vie for rights to use the water. Elmer explains the problem to the elephants who agree to share, but not with good grace. He follows the dried up river to a mountain where a bird tells him about big rocks falling and blocking the water. So he and his cousin Wilbur and all the other elephants help the hippos clear the rocks away. When they’re almost done, the water pushes the rest of the rocks away and everybody gets a bath. Because they had such fun working together and then swimming together, the hippos and elephants remain friends. The illustrations are cute and enticing and the story line is a good lesson in working together.
BIBLIO: 2010 (orig. 2003,) Andersen Press USA/Andersen Press Ltd., Ages 4 to 8, $16.95
REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan
FORMAT: Picture Book
ISBN: 978-0-7613-6442-9


Since this is an animated movie spin-off, I cannot find an author to credit. I’m not a big fan of books designed to feed off movies, but this one is cute, even if it is about snails.

Turbo Racing Team
Can a garden snail—and a small one at that—really win the Indy 500? He can if he has big dreams and lots of determination. This book is the print version of the recently released movie and video game by the same name. A product of DreamWorks animated cuteness, the story does have some worthwhile messages to relay—believe in yourself, follow your dreams and be careful whom you admire. Turbo, a.k.a. Theo, is supposed to follow his brother Chet’s lead and work in the garden, but he’d rather be a race car driver like his hero, Guy Gagné. Turbo accidentally ends up in the engine of a drag-racing car which has special additives in its gasoline. The chemical mix gives our intrepid snail super speed and the ability to pick up radio waves. After rescuing Chet from snail-eating crows, our fearless hero happens to meet a human big dreamer who is willing to sponsor Turbo’s dream, if the snail will promote Dos Bros taco restaurant and mobile kitchen on his shell. With the help of other racing snails, the other owners of stores in the taco place’s dilapidated strip mall and finally his brother, Turbo fulfills his dream of winning the Indy 500. Along the way, when he discovers that his idol has clay feet, Turbo takes especial joy in beating him.
BIBLIO: 2013, Simon Spotlight/Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, Ages 6 to 9, $5.99.
REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan
FORMAT: Chapter Book
ISBN: 978-1-4424-8420-7
ISBN: 978-1-4424-8421-4

4 thoughts on “Team Work Pays Off

  1. Sarah,
    Thank goodness for group, especially critique groups. I like the duck and goose book best, although I’d probably be rather annoyed with Duck, if I were Goose. Thanks for more great reviews.

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