Zelda’s Secret

Title: Zelda’s Secret
Author/Illustrator: Pascal Lemaitre
Date/Publisher: 1994, BridgeWater Books, an imprint of Troll Associates
Reviewed by: Trisha Faye, Binkey and Bubblegum Books

zeldas secretZelda has a secret. She has a secret dream. She wants to be a ballerina. Afraid that everyone will laugh at her, she tries to keep her desire to herself.

But, she slips. She tells her best friend, obtaining the promise that she won’t tell anyone else.

As with most secrets, this one doesn’t stay secret for long. One by one the news travels and soon the whole jungle knows.

A magic spell from Old Oliver the owl helps out in an unusual way. The situation resolves and soon all the jungle friends watch Zelda perform at the Jungle Ballet Theater. Soon Zelda’s popularity has her off on an around-the-world tour.

The soft watercolor illustrations show a jungle crowd any young child will enjoy looking at throughout this charming story.

Yum! MmMm! Que rico!

Title: Yum! MmMm! Que rico!
Author: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Rafael Lopez
Date/Publisher: 2007, Lee and Low Books
Reviewed by: Trisha Faye, Binkey and Bubblegum Books

YumFun foods, all indigenous to America, are celebrated in this colorful picture book. Vivid, brilliant illustrations capture the reader’s attention, set off with catchy haiku’s. Information on each food and its origins accompany each food.

Tomato:
Round roly-poly
squirts seedy, juicy splatter.
Red bursts in your mouth.

Text shares how tomatoes “probably originated in Peru or Mexico. They are eaten as a vegetable, but they are technically fruits … Once considered poisonous, tomatoes are now one of the world’s most prized foods.”

Blueberries, Chili, Chocolate, Corn, Cranberries, Papaya, Peanut and much more, they’re all here in this delightful book.Yum2

‘X’ Marks the Spot: Treasure Books for Children

Treasures abound in children’s books. Some books have nuggets of wisdom or pearls of fortune, and sometimes just good ‘ole treasure. Here are a few selections: an on-line story with audio, a link to a hard copy book for older children, and an on-line interactive story with map pop ups.

treasureHere’s a free on-line book, complete with audio:
PIRATE’S TREASURE: By Carol Moore, illustrated by Aura Moser
http://www.magickeys.com/books/pirate/index.html
“Ten steps from the porch and twenty steps from the rose bushes,” growled Bluebeard in Jimmy’s dream one night. “There be treasure there! Aawrgh.”

Here’s another book with treasure stories for the older ones (8 and up)
HOW TO HUNT BURIED TREASURE: By James M. Deem
http://www.jamesmdeem.com/books.treasure.htm
Have you ever dreamed of finding an old map and following it to a spot where a pirate buried a chest full of glittering gold? This book will tell you about many hidden treasures even more valuable than pirates’ gold. And you will learn treasure-tracking tips that will guide you on adventures that are fun and perhaps money-making. You’ll learn five important clues to look for, some dangerous treasure traps to avoid, what to do when you make a discovery, how to follow a treasure trail and what the six types of treasure are. Originally published in hardcover by Houghton Mifflin, this book is now out of print, though used copies are still available on Amazon. For ages 8 and up.

Here’s an interactive map pop-up with a treasure story:
http://www.britishcouncil.org/kids-stories-treasure-map-popup.htm
“Buried
treasure! Buried treasure!” “Wow a treasure map! Let’s follow it.” “Maybe it’s gold!” ”Or silver?” “Or jewels?”

Happy Treasure Hunting!

The Wonderful Life of a Fly Who Couldn’t Fly

Title: The Wonderful Life of a Fly Who Couldn’t Fly
Author: Bo Lozoff
Illustrated by: Beth Stover
Date/Publisher: 2002, Hampton Roads Publishing Co.
Reviewed by: Trisha Faye, Binkey and Bubblegum Books

fly who cant flyWhat use is a fly that can’t fly?

That’s the dilemma one little fly finds herself in. Out of 50 fly sisters and 60 fly brothers, this one lone fly has no wings and she can’t fly.

She says:
“If I’m a fly who can’t fly, then what will I do?
Her Mama replied, ‘I can’t solve that for you.

This is your mission, your own special quest,
To find for yourself the things you do best.”

The little wingless fly filled her life with happiness. She tasted tidbits the flying flies missed. She dance and she sang and had a wonderful life without wings. She lived to a wise, old age (for a fly) and at the end of her life told the others:

“Just remember, my loved ones, she said to them all
‘We each have a purpose, if we but hear the call.
Life is short but it’s sweet, and full of wonder too.
And I’m truly not sad that I never once flew.”

fly2She’s now old, thin and frail, and along comes a wild wind, picking her up and carrying her high. A smile fills her face and at last the non-flying fly …. Flies!

The bright, colorful illustrations in The Wonderful Life of a Fly Who Couldn’t Fly are magnificent. Looking at the detail and vivid nature from a non-flying fly’s perspective is as much fun as reading the inspiring story. This picture book, with its verse and rhyme that rolls off the tongue with ease, is headed right for my Top 10 list.

Very Worried Walrus

Title: Very Worried Walrus
Author/Illustrator: Richard Hefter
Date/Publisher: 1878, hardcover by Holt Reinhart Winston, 2012 ebook by Bento Box Interactive
Reviewed by: Trisha Faye, Binkey and Bubblegum Books

very worried walrusWalrus is very worried. Walrus is a worry-wart. You know the old saying about making a mountain out of a molehill? Walrus does that and much more.

He wants to ride a bike. He’s afraid he’ll fall off.

Then he’ll need a doctor … And medicine … And bandages …. Or stitches.

Or, he’ll hit a tree – and need an ambulance … which gets stuck in a traffic jam … and then …

His worries go on and on. Each worry is bigger and more catastrophic than the last.

Cheerful friend, Pig, convinces Walrus it’s a beautiful day and he’ll have fun riding the bike.

Walrus is persuaded to give it a try. He does hit a tree and fall down. But all his troublesome worries are for naught. He is fine. He discovers he didn’t need to worry after all.

This is one book in the Sweet Pickles series; where each animal, from A to Z (perfect for an A to Z blog challenge!), “gets into a pickle because of an all too human personality trait.”

The Ugly Duckling

Title: The Ugly Duckling
Author: Hans Christian Anderson
Original story written by Hans Christian Anderson (1844) in Danish. English translation by H. P. Paull (1872)
Date/Publisher: 2012, Illustrations and digital publishing by Ripple Digital Publishing
Reviewed by: Trisha Faye, Binkey and Bubblegum Books

ugly ducklingThank you A to Z Blog Challenge for opening my eyes to this delightful classic children’s tale. I needed a ‘U’ book for the challenge. I’d neglected to choose one ahead of time. There were none in my personal collection. I didn’t have time to make a trip to my local library. (Those full time jobs sure can interfere with my life occasionally!) I searched my ibooks. Nothing. I searched for available ibooks starting with ‘U’. Several YA books, outside of my preferred genres to review, were the only ones coming up.

The Ugly Duckling flitted past on the screen. I passed it up and kept looking. After all, everyone knows the story of The Ugly Duckling. I got to the bottom of the list and ran out of options. In desperation, I went back to The Ugly Duckling and downloaded it. (For FREE, which was a plus!)

What I got was certainly not what I expected.

Somehow, over the years, this 50-something brain retained the synopsis version of The Ugly Duckling. I thought that was all there was to the story. I kept reading, enthralled by each turning page. (Do digital pages turn?)

I had no idea, no remembrance at all, that this story was written with such depth and detail.

“In a sunny spot stood a pleasant old farm-house close by a deep river, and from the house down to the water side grew great burdock leaves, so high, that under the tallest of them a little child could stand upright.”

The poor little unwanted ‘duckling’ experiences more troubles and tribulations than I ever recalled: duck hunters, tom cats, an old woman, being frozen in ice. Until at last:

“He had been persecuted and despised for his ugliness, and now hea heard them say he was the most beautiful of all the birds. Even the elder-tree bent down its bows into the water before him, and the sun shone warm and bright. Then he rustled his feathers, curved his slender neck, and cried joyfully, from the depths of his heart, ‘I never dreamed of such happiness as this, while I was an Ugly Duckling.’

No, this isn’t a new release. It’s more than an oldie-but-goodie-classic from my childhood. It’s more than a favorite mother’s book that I read to my boys. Here is a story that’s touching, heart-warming and filled with rich descriptions throughout. No matter your age, this is a story worth reading again.

Little did Hans Christian Anderson know that 169 years later, we’d be reading his words and his tales, only this time on a screened device with no pages – no parchment. His words have outlived the master storyteller, still cherished all these years later.

Tortuga in Trouble

Title: Tortuga in Trouble
Author: Ann Whitford Paul
Illustrated by: Ethan Long
Date/Publisher: 2009, Holiday House
Reviewed by: Trisha Faye, Binkey and Bubblegum Books

tortugaTortuga (turtle) starts out for Abuela’s (Grandmothers) house with a canasta (basket) on his back. In a tale reminiscent of Little Red Riding Hood, Tortuga quickly runs into trouble with a cunning coyote. His three friends, Iguana, Conejo and Culebra (Iguana, Rabbit and Snake) follow and save the day in true hero fashion.

This fun tale, illustrated in vivid brilliant colors, introduces 14 Spanish words that are repeated through out the story. A glossary of Spanish words is as the beginning of the book for easy reference, including pronunciation for each word.

Here’s a good way to introduce other languages to our young, expanding horizons for our global community.

The author/illustrator dynamic duo has three other similar books published: Fiesta Fiasco, Count on Culebra and Manana, Iguana.

tortuga2