“The Fish Who Swam Too Far” picture book review

As a fellow scaredy-cat, I must admit that I really related to Harry, the main character of the new picture book “The Fish Who Swam Too Far”. Written by Danielle Kirrane, this little tale is about a clownfish who is so afraid of the world around him that he refuses to leave his mother’s side. Because of his cowardice, Harry’s siblings tease him mercilessly. Eventually, the teasing becomes more than Harry can bear, causing him to run away in anger. Before he realizes it, he has wandered too far and ends up having to face the very things he had always feared so much.

Before the story comes to its satisfying conclusion, many important themes are brought up, such as bravery, kindness, friendship and family loyalty. Whether your little one is a daredevil or a cautious tike, this story is sure to entertain them and reinforce the importance of self-confidence in every situation, even those that might be scary and new. The illustrations that accompany the text are simple but beautifully done. I especially liked the facial expressions on the characters, it really brought the story to life for me.

If you would like to find out more about this book, please visit the author’s website, http://daniellekirrane.tateauthor.com/. There you will find a link to the book trailer on YouTube, information on where to order the book and other fun stuff like contests and giveaways.

“Marshall and his green high-tops” picture book review

“Marshall and his green high-tops”, which was written by Camille Blue Amy and illustrated by Lorena Pugh, is an enchanting story about a little mouse who has his heart set on owning his very own pair of green high-tops.

Marshall Mouse and his family live above a human laundry room.  Marshall spends a lot of his time staring down into the laundry room, but from his vantage point the only thing he can really see is shoes, all kind of shoes, including a special pair of green high-tops.  Marshall’s family tries to warn him that mice don’t wear shoes, but nothing will convince this young mouse to let go of his dream.

Soon, Marshall’s family decides to surprise their little mouse with his very own pair of green high-tops.  However, Marshall soon finds that there may be good reasons why mice don’t wear shoes after all.  Will Marshall’s prize possession only bring him heartache, or can he find a way to use the sneakers to bring happiness to the entire family?

This story is fun and cute, and is sure to delight children, especially those who have a soft spot for mice.  Parents will like the fact that the book carries important messages, such as the importance of listening to your elders, being true to yourself and working together as a family.

The illustrations are of exceptionally high quality.  Even though the publisher isn’t a big publishing house, the appearance of the book would rival the largest publishing houses out there.  The illustrator has a definite talent for showing emotion in her characters.  Some of the pictures are drawn so well that you can almost feel the sadness or joy of the mice simply by staring into their eyes.

If you would like to find out more about this book, or order a copy for yourself, please visit the Marshall Mouse website at www.marshallmouse.com.  Here you will be able to see a youtube book trailer and get information on additional pages and events related to Marshall.

“The Lemonman: A Picnic, a Toad and Swampwater Road” picture book review

As you might have already guessed from the poetic title, “The Lemonman: A Picnic, a Toad and Swampwater Road”, is a children’s story told in rhyme.

The author, Natasha Ferrill, did a good job of telling the story in verse.  Most of the rhymes feel natural and roll right off the tongue, something that can be hard to find in a children’s rhyming story.  Unlike many other attempts at verse which seem forced and awkward, Ferrill’s writing is a pleasure to read.

The story itself is a creative story about animated fruits and vegetables who gained their human-like qualities through magic.  The main character, the Lemonman, is a friendly fellow with a good heart who simply wants to spend a day with his friends having a picnic.  However, on the way to the park, the Lemonman meets up with two troublemakers, one of which ends up swindling the Lemonman.

As the story progresses, it becomes clear that the old saying “cheaters never prosper” could never be more true.  But the real test comes in when the Lemonman finds himself in the position to get revenge.  Should he get back at those who wronged him or should he show them kindness and forgiveness?  When he decides to follow his heart, the Lemonman learns an important lesson and discovers the true meaning of friendship and compassion.

No picture book review would be complete without a description of the illustrations, which for this book were done by an artist named Jose Pou.  Although colorful and cheerful, the illustrations have a sort of old-world charm to them.  Instead of the neon greens and yellows you might expect, the pictures are done in a pastel hue.  Some of the artwork felt reminiscent of old-fashioned animation.  In fact, the toad in the story reminds me a great deal of the classic Looney Tunes character, Michigan J. Frog.

Overall, this book is a fun read that children are sure to enjoy.  This is the first of an entire series of books about the Lemonman, so if your children enjoy the character, there should soon be more to share with them!  It looks like the future is indeed looking sunny for our new yellow friend!

To find out more about the book or to order a copy, you can visit the Lemonman website, although I should mention that the site is still under development.  If this website is unavailable for some reason, you can also order the book from Amazon.

“The White Gorilla and the Three Chimpanzees…a day from the zoo!” Review

The new picture book, “The White Gorilla and the Three Chimpanzees…a day from the zoo!”, written by Saragine Francois and illustrated by Brian Rice, is an adventurous book featuring four animals who have decided to leave the safety of the zoo and find out what lies beyond.  Curious about the human world, Chef, the white gorilla, and his three chimpanzee friends, Dancer, Brainless and Smarty find both trouble and fun while they investigate the oddities of human life.

During their trek, Chef and his friends share many new experiences, such as attending a birthday party, driving a car and grocery shopping.  Told with humor and wit, the story is sure to draw a chuckle from both parents and children as they watch these primates acting silly and finding themselves in the most unusual circumstances.

As for the illustrations, they are extremely colorful and express perfectly the scenes from the text.  You could almost follow the storyline without the words since the illustrations do such a good job of telling the story.  You can clearly see the personalities of each character, even if their names didn’t give you clues.  Your little one will have no trouble pointing out which chimps are Dancer, Brainless and Smarty…and they will probably do it while giggling.

The story itself is written in a simple fashion that is easy for children to follow, but manages to introduce new words that your child may not be familiar with yet.  This gives parents the opportunity to use reading time not only for pleasure, but as a learning experience as well.  The first time I read through this story I did feel like it ended rather abruptly, but upon my second reading I realized that this may have been intentional on the author’s part.  By ending the story where she does, she really makes you think about the ending and asks you to consider that maybe what we fear isn’t really a threat, but is simply new and currently outside of our comfort zone.  A thought that is as true for us adults as it is for children.

If you would like to find out more about “The White Gorilla and the Three Chimpanzees” for yourself, you can watch the book trailer on YouTube, or read some of the other book reviews on Amazon or BarnesandNoble.com.  The book is currently available as a traditional paperback or eBook.

One of my favorite illustrators of all time!

Warning:  If you are not into children’s books, illustrations, art or old things, this post may very well bore you to death.  Of course, if you want to take the chance, please keep reading!!!

Recently I found a collection of Eloise Wilkin’s Little Golden Book stories.  The collection includes nine of Wilkin’s most treasured stories, but didn’t come close to covering all of the work that Eloise did during her lifetime.  Some of you may be thinking, “Who in the world is Eloise Wilkin?”, but maybe you will recognize some of the Golden Book stories she illustrated, such as:

Busy Timmy

My Little Golden Book About God

A Child’s Garden of Verses

Baby Dear

Guess Who Lives Here

Wonders of Nature

We Help Mommy

We Help Daddy

The Treasury of Prayers From Around the World

The Christmas Story

Baby’s Mother Goose

Still not recalling her?  Maybe you will recognize her illustrations below.  If so, I hope they bring back great memories.  If not, I hope you will check out her work!