by Barbara Joosse, illustrated by Randy Cecil
“Once there was a girl, an all-alone girl, in her own little bed, in her own little castle, who didn’t have a dragon for a friend.” But there is also a dragon out there waiting for a little girl. The princess's sad tears form a stream that wake up the dragon, who follows them to the girl, and they are immediately, perfectly best friends. Not a lot of plot or conflict to this tale, but it’s sweet in its simplicity. There’s a dreamlike quality of the story and the illustrations. The repetitive words, rhymes, and room under the text make this a good beginning reader book as well as a charming bedtime – or anytime – story.
The Chickens Build a Wall
by Jean-Francois Dumont
A hedgehog shows up in the middle of a barnyard, and the animals are confused by this new animal – especially when he rolls himself into a tight, unmoving ball. When he has disappeared the next day, the chickens get paranoid about the threat the creature represents. A rooster who wanted some attention from the hens, takes control and suggests that they built a wall about the henhouse. But they left the hedgehog inside, sleeping in the straw. Since it takes all summer for the rooster to dig him a way out, the chickens get used to him. “Meanwhile, the hens got used to the hedgehog. And the hedgehog wasn’t afraid of the hens anymore. And so he stayed.” Clever story about acceptance and insecurity that doesn't feel heavy-handed.
This Moose Belongs to Me
by Oliver Jeffers
When a moose comes into his life, Wilbur explains the rules of being a good pet. The moose is better at some of the rules than others, and it soon becomes apparent to the reader – and eventually Wilbur – that perhaps this moose is nobody’s pet. In fact there is a lady who has another name for the moose, even as Wilbur insists “this moose belongs to me.” With a (perhaps lucky) heroic act, Wilbur is able to forgive the moose and accept his freedom. Cute story with a gentle humor and interesting illustrations. I use “interesting” because of this statement of the artist, “The art for this book was made from a mishmash of oil painting onto old linotype and painted landscapes, and a bit of technical wizardry thrown in the mix here and there.” Fun book.
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