Funny or Poignant or Magical Books

It occurred to me that I’d been discussing a lot of dark books lately so I’m trying to lighten the tone this week, though I didn’t quite succeed with the second one.

I have always had a great imagination, probably because my mother encouraged us all to imagine the fanciful.  This first book is a picture book and is a great encourager of the use of imagination. I wanted to be all the various animals in this book.

What Animal Would You Be?

I’m not Sydney

Marie-Louise Gay

Illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay

Children’s imaginations should be encouraged to blossom and this book will help. Anybody who’s ever seen the 1947 version of “Miracle on 34th Street” will remember Santa Claus teaching the little girl to believe in pretending by making Natalie Woods’ character pretend to be a monkey. Imagination is an excellent way to stretch a person’s mind and thinking capabilities. This book does an outstanding job of showing that. The pictures are fun and the adventure Sydney goes on as he and his friends pretend to be different animals is inspiring. This is a good book to encourage children in the art of expanding their minds. Though hanging upside down in a tree or on a jungle gym can be scary for the parent to watch it is a good way to stretch both physical and mental muscles. Sydney pretends to be a sloth and then his friend pretends to be a spider monkey. The next child to join them pretends to be an elephant, and then an anteater friend joins to group. Next comes a bat who wants everyone else to be quiet because they’re interrupting her daytime sleep. Soon enough it’s time to turn back into their children’s selves, but boy have they had a good day. Teachers and caregivers should use this book regularly to encourage children to stretch their minds. The illustrations are enchanting, showing each child accurately portrayed in animal and human form.

BIBLIO: 2022, Groundwood Books, Ages 3 to 6, $19.99.

REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan

FORMAT: Picture Book

ISBN: 978-1-77306-597-7

The second is quietly beautiful in discussing a very sad concept for anybody, but probably more so for a child.

Goodbye for Now.

Last Week

Bill Richardson

Illustrated by Emilie Leduc

Death is always a hard issue to talk to children about and is probably worse if the dying person chooses to have an assisted suicide death, but this book will help make the passing at least gentler. Sad to say, the book may not be discussable in schools, but parents can use it as a teaching tool. But this story is so poignantly told, it would seem to be a hug for anybody reading it. The child’s age is not mentioned, but she does appear to be about 8 or so because she’s allowed to go snorkeling in her paternal grandmother’s wet suit. The girl and her father spend the last week of the grandmother’s life with her, greeting the friends who stop by to leave food and to say goodbye. The child is sad, but does seem to understand the situation and spends as much time as she can sitting with her grandmother. Not only can families discuss an impending death with this book, but also the issue of an assisted suicide death. The physical book, rather than the ARC sent to reviewers, will probably be in color, but somehow the illustrations presented in the
ARC in gray and black tones add to the quietness and serenity of the story.

BIBLIO: 2022, Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press, Ages 4 to 7, $14.99.

REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan

FORMAT: Picture Book

ISBN: 978-1-77306-566-3

The third book is a self-published magical story about how to save the Polar Bears which are now in great peril of being wiped out by our warming climate. The author, Margaret Pollock, did her research about the bears and the Mohawk Indians who play a major role in the story. There is magic and compassion throughout.

Save Me!

Polar Peril

Margaret Pollock

Nikki Brant is at the annual Mohawk’s Strawberry festival in her town with her cousin and best friend, Charlie-Chum. Nikki is proud of her Mohawk heritage on her father’s side and loves seeing all the lovely and inspiring creative work on display. But this time she’s reluctantly pulled in by a possible witch who has a special wooden carving to give Nikki. The polar bear carving is indeed magical and comes to life when Nikki holds it. He tells her that his name is Followme, and that’s what she does. Together, along with Charlie-Chum she magically flies to the arctic with the bear and a Peregrine falcon she names Windy, who is good friends with the polar bears. There they convince the bears to move south to live amongst the brown bears. Turns out the two bears share a common ancestry. There is the usual mixture of tension and love along the way and they get to meet Mother Nature. It’s a good read and has a lot of useful information for teachers to use in discussions about the climate and the arctic and the Mohawk Indians.

BIBLIO: 2021, Margaret Pollock, Ages 8 to 12, $15.

REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan

FORMAT: Middle-Grade Fiction

ISBN: 978-1-66780-452-1

ISBN: 978-1-66780-453-8

2 thoughts on “Funny or Poignant or Magical Books

  1. Nice work Sarah. I really enjoyed your reviews! Good reads, all.

    [image: Mailtrack] Sender notified by Mailtrack 03/31/22, 05:15:54 PM

    On Thu, Mar 31, 2022 at 5:11 PM sarahsbookreflections wrote:

    > sarahsbookreflections posted: ” It occurred to me that I’d been discussing > a lot of dark books lately so I’m trying to lighten the tone this week, > though I didn’t quite succeed with the second one. I have always had a > great imagination, probably because my mother encouraged us all t” >

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