About A Book (or four)

Aviana chose this book the last time the bookmobile came. It’s an original fairy tale in which the heroine is blind. We love it for a lot of reasons, chief among them the illustrations and the story line. The descriptions are riveting and promptly capture a child’s imagination. Several times you learn how Melanie “sees” without sight. I especially like how the story ends–which is not all the wishes coming true. The illustrations are remarkable. They are beautifully rendered a medieval style, with ornate borders and something new to catch your eye on even the seventh reading.

I just have one problem with this book. In the story, Melanie sets free and catches a ride on an “elk”. However, the illustration looks like a moose.

Now here is something telling about my personality:

This really annoys me. It also annoys me when people at the zoo call the gibbons monkeys instead of calling them gibbons, and when in fact, gibbons are apes. And it says so on the sign.

My mom said she wouldn’t have known the difference between a moose and elk anyway, and if she did, she wouldn’t have cared. My dad was irritated and suggested I write the author, illustrator and publisher to let them know how disappointing I found their fact checking.

This is an elk.
This is a moose.
This is one of the illustrations of the “elk”.

Ok, wildlife lesson over.
What I’m reading now:

This is an astounding book. I was first introduced to the authors in Hungry Planet, which I also heartily recommend. The pictures are beautifully rendered, but as much as I love people and photographs, this isn’t even my primary reason for liking this book. The authors took a statistically average family from 21 different countries (Bhutan, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Brazil are just a few I can think of right now) to showcase their daily life. The interviews cover everything from a typical daily routine, to availability and use of birth control, to education and work, to hopes and dreams for the future of their children. Each interview is a sometimes heart wrenching insight to the life of women around the world. From the woman in Mexico with a new washing machine but no running water to the Israeli who has failed her driving test 7 times to the mother in Albania taking care of her disabled son and three other children while living in two rooms with goats meandering through the house, we are given a sharp look at life. And hopefully, we are counting our blessings and thanking God we have so many material goods, opportunities and privileges in our country.

While I’m recommending books, if you have young children you have got to pick this one up.

Probably the best part for me is the myriad book lists, nicely indexed to boot. The lists cover all different categories from bedtime troubles, to making art, to common toddler obsessions to ‘wild and colorful’. At the end of several chapters is a handy dandy ages and stages chart, with ideas to implement at every level. Topics include Storytelling and Fairytales, Art Activities, and Making TV/Computers More Interactive. A wonderful resource for any one with a small child in his/her life.

Says Aviana: Mama, will you pwease wead me the book that doesn’t have a twoll and has the naughty wittle durl?

Oh the one without the troll and the naughty little girl?! I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Luckily, I know my daughter really well, and it didn’t take long to figure out she meant Babushka’s Doll, another book with a lesson, one we’ve read several times lately. We recommend anything by Patricia Polacco, incidentally

9 thoughts on “About A Book (or four)

  1. I get irked by incorrect facts as well. I would write the author – go for it!

    Thanks for the book recommendations, they sound great. My nephew has a special needs lending library named for him, I’ll have to check out the first book you mentioned and see if it would be appropriate to donate. The others sound really good to. 🙂

  2. Women in the Material World sounds facsinating!!! When you're finished may I borrow?

    BTW – I would have NEVER noticed the difference between the moose & the elk……

  3. You’ll see icons of Mary or Jesus in Pat Polacco’s books…most of her characters are Orthodox Christians, like us, so we especially enjoy her stuff!

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