Sunday, November 17, 2019

Carl and the Meaning of Life - a review

Carl and the Meaning of Life

Below is my review as it appeared in the March, 2019, edition of School Library Journal. It was definitely one of my favorite books of the year.

FREEDMAN, Deborah. Carl and the Meaning of Life. illus. by Deborah Freedman. 48p. Viking. Apr. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780451474988.

PreS-Gr 2--Carl is an earthworm who spends his day tunneling through the soil. When a field mouse asks him why he does what he does, Carl realizes that he does not know--but he is determined to find out. Carl visits with Bear, Rabbit, Fox, and others who are aware of their own purposes, but not Carl's. It takes a tiny ground beetle to enlighten him. Nature-inspired watercolor illustrations are gentle and inviting. The text appears in a simple black font, complementing the artwork. When Carl is busy at his job, the text is white against the brown earth and meanders across the pages, following Carl's tunneling track. Tiny black eyes and communicative postures express the attitudes of Carl and the other animals. But on the last page, when Carl finally learns his raison d'etre, readers also see a hint of his satisfied smile. VERDICT This book is a poignant example of the important contributions of even the smallest creature, but it's better than that--it's a science lesson as well. Freedman subtly explains the delicate balance of nature and each creature's role in maintaining it. Carl is an endearing protagonist.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Sharon, Lois & Brams's Skinnamarink - a review

Sharon, Lois & Bram's Skinnamarink 

with Randi Hampson
Illustrated by Qin Leng
Tundra, 2019

This is a book made for singing. If you don't know the song already, click the video below to hear it. The size is good for sharing, and the playful illustrations feature people and anthropomorphized animals from around the globe. Many races and ethnicities are featured, and a young girl in a wheelchair appears multiple times. Five verses to keep the fun going.  Be sure to do the hand motions, too! Skinnamarink is a great choice for story time.  If sharing one-on-one, spend ample time poring over the illustrations for fun details.

My copy of Skinnamarink was provided by LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

Beneath the Waves - a review

As we read disturbing news accounts of dying manatees , environmental disasters caused by toxic waste, and ocean pollution on the scale of ...