Friday, September 7, 2007

A Lions Love Story

TITLE Lenny Loses His Lunch

AUTHOR Dan Taylor and Damon J Taylor

PUBLISHER Kregel Kidz Zone

ISBN 0-8254-3871-3

Lenny the lion found his persuasive voice in this time proven story about Daniel and the lion. Lenny, who begins this story as a follower in a den of lions, eventually gained the lead. His friends, who were all members of the lion kingdom, eventually decided to follow the lead of Lenny. He became a proven leader who was worth following.

The good, bad and the ugly filled the action packed days of this den of lions. Lenny became sidetracked into more than one questionable episode through following the actions of his friends. Chasing sheep and their shepherds were among these activities. The popularity of the lions was particularly felt within the king's domain.

The time tested story about Daniel and the den of lions takes center stage early in the story. Daniel obeyed God no matter what the people around him did. He did this with an air of confidence until the time when he tangled with men who were "meaner than the meanest of the lions." After being thrown into the king's den of lions, the center stage of the story becomes the fate of Daniel.

The lions are seen playing cards in a few of the scenes throughout the story. At one point, they appear to have everything short of a campfire. "They are playing two different games at the same time." Many Christian readers might easily feel that way about the card game that is illustrated through the pages of this book.

Illustrated in shades of brown, Lenny and the lions who grace the pages of this book speak in a captioned format. The threat level is lessened through the wording found in the pages of this story. Grrrreat! The illustrative scenes have a comical approach. This gives this story a suitable appearance for children.

This is a book that would be good for a Language Arts class. An upper elementary reading crowd would be a good grade level to introduce this story. At the junior high school level and beyond, an interest in this story because of the way that it is told would dwindle. The group could be kept as one of several readers or smaller circles. The text or captions could be divided among the readers.

Shannon Bridget Murphy

Friday, August 31, 2007

Dog Days Of August

TITLE God's Light, Shining Bright

AUTHOR Allia Zobel Nolan

PUBLISHER Kregel Publications

ISBN 0-8254-5527-8

The dogs enjoyed the long days of summer in this action filled adventure. It's just the right time for sparklers and fun. The summer nights are shared with foxes, rabbits, cats and pigs. The warm nights and dazzling lights give a glimpse of God for those who look into the pages if only for a moment.

The sparklers that provide light for this book make this book interactive. Brightening the pages of this book, the sparklers serve as a reminder of summers past and present. The sights of summer, including fireflies and stars, fill the pages of this book. Like summers, this book is somewhat short.

Young children could enjoy this book. The variety of animals would be interesting for them and hold their attention for longer than the glow of a firefly. This is a good story to read to a pre-school or kindergarten class. It could become an interactive experience which includes the book, children and those who read this story silently or out loud.

Shannon Bridget Murphy

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Flight To Egypt

TITLE Clopper and the Night Travelers

AUTHOR Emily King (Author) Ed Olson (Illustrator)

PUBLISHER Kregel Publications

ISBN 978-0-8254-3066-4

Recounting a tale about travel is great told by a fly on the wall or at least a donkey. Clopper began the narration of this Christmas story with the proverbial story of Jesus in a manger. While enjoying a meal of evening grass, he noticed that a bright light from a brilliant star shining on the home of Joseph, Mary and the newly arrived Jesus. Along with those from foreign and faraway countries and camels, Clopper was not alone among the evening stars.

The arrival of three wisemen in style brought interesting news. They had visited Herod's palace in Jerusalem. The questions asked were ones filled with mystery and an overwhelming sense of danger. The decision that they reached together led to an equally interesting mystery worth traveling through this story.

Through the moonlight, rocks and trees cast long and dark shadows. Clopper, along with Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus became night travelers. The final destination was Egypt. There, they found merchant's carts, camels and idols who included Ankh and Anubis.

This book is filled with interesting and unique colors illustrated by Ed Olson. The primary key animals in the pages of this story are Clopper and a parade of camels. When Clopper meets with Anubis he seems surprised and taken off of his guard. A seemingly mischeivous dog by all appearances peered through the corner of a page.

This book could easily find full time passage into an elementary or junior high school classroom. If the school district that it arrives at requires that Egypt be introduced, this would be a great cirruculum addition at the Christmas holiday season. A colorful map provides a clear idea about geography. Along with Clopper, this illustrated book is a learning journey for all.

Shannon Bridget Murphy

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Humingbird's Warm Weather Flight

TITLE The Far Flung Adventure Of Homer The Hummer

AUTHOR Cynthia Furlong Reynolds (author) Catherine McClung (illustrator)

PUBLISHER Ann Arbor Media Group. LLC

ISBN 158726269X

Homer the hummingbird had far to travel from the tropical rainforests of Costa Rica to grace the gardens and landscape in Michigan. Artist Catherine McClung has filled this 32 page childrens book with illustrations of Homer and his travel adventure. There is definately nothing ordinary or plain in the extraordinary appearance of Homer or the birds and animals who have been illustrated in this hardcover book. The garden scenes, flowers and landscape in the pages are a gardener's paradise.

The writing of Cynthia Furlong Reynolds makes it clear to see why she received a 2002 Michigan Book of Excellence Award. This story would be incomplete without the illustrations of Catherine McClung. Her knowledge of birds and the gardens that they grace is evident through her artwork which has extended beyond the boundaries of the Michigan borders. Ducks Unlimited, conservation groups and the White House have been among those who have admired her artwork with recognition.

The journey of Homer the hummingbird is one that is almost extraodinary. It is within the tropical blooms of the Monteverdel Cloud Forest of Costa Rica that Homer began his journey. Author Cynthia Furlong Reynolds explained through the pages of this story that "birds of every color, size and shape chirp for attention and compete for food." She further elaborated that the birds "soar, swoop and salsay." Through this tropical scene, Homer "darts among tropical blooms."

The partially global journey of Homer is one filled with unexpected twists and an assortment of dangers. This includes a hungry frog, hundreds of miles of open water and extremely cold nights. An escorted trip in a shirt pocket of a man who found Homer is one of the unexpected twists that Home encountered. This was the result of Homer being in a torpor which is explained as a "deep sleep" by the author. A wing extending from the pocket of the man creates an interesting scene for everyone.

A sense of how hummingbirds live is gleemed from the pages of this story. There are 338 species of hummingbirds. All of them share a need for food, sleep, exercise and a comfortable nest for themselves and family. The way that these needs are accomplished by Homer is described in detail through the pages of this story.

This book includes simple suggestions for the care of hummingbirds. A "sugar water solution" placed into the hummingbird's feeder provides a simple explanation and illustration for feeding this type of bird. This is something that can be easily put into practice. Finding a hummingbird recipe might require additional time and a lesson plan. The illustrations would be good examples to show to a classroom in a variety of plans about hummingbirds.

This story has been written for a children's audience. Bird enthustiasts would also enjoy this book and the illustrations. However, those who are early childhood students might find this story beyond their scope and exptertise. The wording and writing can be a constructive challenge for upper elementary school students. It would be a good read for a science class or a child's science project.

Shannon Bridget Murphy