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Children's and Juvenile Book From Michael Diesman


Silly Book

By Cole, Babette

New York, New York, U.S.A.: Doubleday, 1990. First edition. From Publishers Weekly In spite of the promise of this book's title, nothing could prepare the reader for the wackiness inside. The well balanced combination of text and artwork engenders utter lunacy on a scale that defies description. The rhyming text holds more to a concept than to an actual story line. "Silly hats are there to hide / some very silly heads / inside!" is accompanied by a picture of several odd people losing their hats in a windstorm, only to reveal that their weirdly contorted heads are in the exact configurations of the hats that blew off. Short anecdotes of the exploits of truly silly people are enhanced by numerous sight gags; the illustrations teem with odd contraptions that must be examined closely to savor their intricacies. Cole's original brand of humor and offbeat point of view are only two of the rewards to be gleaned from this delightful free fall from sanity. Ages 4-8. Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. From School Library Journal From the daffy sheep springing across the endpapers to the sheep-suited child (wearing his wool suit) at the end, Cole packs a stack of silliness between the covers of this book. In a series of vignettes, a parade of people and an animal or two show off goofy walks, heads, pets, food, and behavior. Held together by the occasional appearance of the child narrator, the book is a collection of observations in verse on the foibles of the ordinary and nonsensical in life. Cole's brightly distinctive watercolors portray the shenanigans with her usual broad strokes of absurdity. The double- and single- page spreads, large type and format lend themselves to use with groups, although beginning readers will enjoy this book too. Although the situations aren't quite as knee-slapping as Marc Brown's Pickle Things (Parents, 1980) or Morrison's Squeeze a Sneeze (Houghton, 1977), there is still enough high-spirited fun to keep older preschoolers and independent readers chortling along. --Marge Loch-Wouters, Menasha Public Library, WI Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. . First Edition. Hard Cover. Fine/Fine. Illus. by Color Illustrations.


The Blemyahs

By Mayne, William

London: Walker Books, 1987. First edition.. First Edition. Hard Cover. Very Good +/Very Good +. Illus. by Color Illustrations.


The Sawfin Stickleback: A Very Fishy Story

By Friend, Catherine

New York, New York, U.S.A.: Hyperion Press, 1994. First edition. From Publishers Weekly Two children ice-fishing with their grandfather express their dread of the watery depths in this playful story. "The ice, two feet thick, shimmered a strange blue and white. The water was dark and mysterious," writes Friend (My Head Is Full of Colors), as a fish's-eye view of the hole in the ice helps set an ominous mood. As she and Grandpa exchange winks, narrator Katie wonders aloud if she or her brother Mark will land a horrible "Frecklebelly Chubsucker," "Ninespine Cisco" or "Sawfin Stickleback," thus setting the stage for a good practical joke. Yaccarino (Big Brother Mike) selects a bizarre palette of lurid oranges complemented by turquoise and astroturf green. He paints highly stylized, rubbery figures with tiny limbs and wide, Pepto-Bismol-pink faces; Mark has the additional distinction of teacup-handle ears. Given the mannered art, it's tough to relate to Katie and Mark as human beings despite the friendly, in-the-know tone of the story. Ages 4-8. Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. From School Library Journal PreSchool-Grade 2-Katie and her younger brother Mark spend a day ice fishing with their grandfather. To relieve their boredom, Katie convinces Mark that the dark shapes he sees in his fishing hole are menacing creatures such as the "Frecklebelly Chubsucker." By the time he does hook a fish, Mark is sure it is a huge "Sawfin Stickleback," too large to fit through the ice hole. Determined to save everyone from the monster, he searches frantically for scissors while Katie and Grandpa, her co-conspirator, land and free a tiny fish. The little boy's story about his bravery and the Stickleback's size grow in every telling. The book may require more than one reading to distinguish reality from tall tale as there aren't enough visual clues. In fact, the illustrations weaken rather than enhance the text. The garish pink, orange, blue, and chartreuse fish are more ugly than frightening, and the children have huge, abnormally pink heads, tiny red eyes, and miniature hands and feet. A better choice for exaggerated fishing stories is A Million Fish...More or Less (Knopf, 1992) by Patricia McKissack. Kathy Piehl, Mankato State University, MN Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. . Not Indicated. Hard Cover. Fine/Near Fine. Illus. by Color Illustrations.


Everglades: Buffalo Tiger and the River of Grass
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Everglades: Buffalo Tiger and the River of Grass

By Lourie, Peter

Hilliard, Ohio, U.S.A.: Boyds Mills Prwhse, 1998. First edition. From School Library Journal Grade 3-6-In his fourth river book, Lourie tours the "slow-moving swamp that is in fact a huge, silent river" covering a vast area of southern Florida. Written in the first person, this account tells of his encounter with some of the unique people and threatened nature of the Everglades. He is accompanied by Buffalo Tiger, a Miccosukee Indian and former chief of his tribe, who now guides visitors through the labyrinthine expanse of sawgrass. In addition, the man also serves as an interpreter of the spirit and native heritage of the beautiful region. And that, in essence, is the heart of this compelling book: Buffalo Tiger introduces Lourie to the old ways, based upon his tribal beliefs, originating with the god Breathmaker, that have gradually vanished over time. Simultaneously, he demonstrates a modern awareness of the area's environmental decline. This title reads more like a story than exposition as the two men explore some of Buffalo's cherished spots on an airboat. Finally, the author spends a night alone camping on a hammock (island) in the middle of the glades. It is a terrifying, mystical, and enlightening experience, all of which is captured vividly in his description of the creature-filled night. This is an engrossing and moving narrative, clearly presented and liberally supported with full-color photographs. Valerie Lennox, Jacksonville Public Library, FL Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. From Booklist Gr. 4-7. Lourie has a specialty--good books about great rivers (the Amazon, the Hudson, and the Yukon). He now adds the Everglades, the "River of Grass," to the list, bringing readers up close through the story of one Miccosukee Indian, Buffalo Tiger, who works as a guide to the area. But Lourie has Buffalo Tiger doing more than simply pointing out sites. A former Miccosukee chief, Buffalo Tiger also provides insight into what the Everglades has meant to his people. This focus on human history is especially apt given the real estate development of south Florida that has so affected the region. Lourie spends perhaps too much time trying to recapture the history of the area (he even stays overnight alone on Tear Island, where Buffalo Tiger grew up), but his overall mixture of natural and social history is excellent. The book will be a fine prelude to trips to Florida and a great reminder that not everything in the vicinity has been arranged by Disney. Mary Harris Veeder --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. . Not Indicated. Soft Cover. Fine. Illus. by Color Photos.