KID'S REVIEWS
By Lyda Whiting

 

 

LITTLE YELLOW PEAR TOMATOES
Written by Demian Elaine Yumei Illustrated by Nicole Tamarin
In this charming book, a young girl sits in her garden eating little yellow pear tomatoes, and thinks about the intercon-nectedness of all things. She discovers everyone and everything within the tomatoes, including her parents who plant and tend them just for her. The earthworms who dig tunnels and help the roots breathe are part of the tomatoes too, and the ladybugs who eat other insects and thus protect the tomatoes from them.

The cycle of water brings the clouds and rivers and sky into the tomatoes. The sunís energy is poured into the tomatoes. The planet and the stars, and even the girl herself, are all in the tomatoes. All these non-tomato things are a part of the tomatoes, and it takes all of them for the tomatoes to exist.

The watercolor paintings are beautifully imaginative and exquisitely realistic. They complement the simple prose perfectly.
The author deftly weaves the Zen teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh into this story, which was inspired by her own daughterís love of yellow pear tomatoes. The illustrator drew inspiration from her memories of exploring her motherís garden as a child.

This is a wonderful book to share at bedtime, and will be enjoyed by readers of all ages. It would be a lovely addition to any home or school library. This treasure of a book is highly recommended for all ages.

Published by Illumination Arts Publishing Company, Inc., this book is available at your local bookstore or www.illumin.com


ERNEST AND ELSTON
Written by Laura T. Barnes
Illustrated by Carol A. Camburn
Elston the rooster proudly crows the other animals awake with each sunrise. But one of the donkeys complains about the noise, and a horse grumpily announces that she would like to sleep late in the mornings. Elston wants the other animals to like him, and so he decides not to crow any more.

When his friend Ernest tells the rooster that crowing is what roosters do, Elston tries to be a donkey like Ernest instead. But when the rooster holds his breath to keep himself from crowing the next morning, the animals sleep the day away. Elston learns that he is an important part of the farm, and that the others need him to be himself so they can get up and enjoy each day.

Children will enjoy the funny and touching story, while learning with Elston how important it is to be yourself. The beautiful watercolor illustrations will delight them, and they will have fun finding the tiny dragonfly on each page. There is even a picture on the book flap of the real miniature donkey and rooster who inspired the story, the fifth in an award-winning series about Ernest and his farm friends.
The author lives on a farm, whose adopted animals are an inspiration for her stories. This Momís Choice Award winner is recommended for children ages 4-8.

Published by Barnesyard Books, Inc., this book is available at your local bookstore or www.barnesyardbooks.com


PEEPER THE KINKAJOU
Written by Peter Parente
Illustrated by Michael Graham
This book introduces children to Peeper the kinkajou, an animal from Latin America related to the raccoon. The playful Peeper wakes up as the sun sets. He climbs through the rainforest canopy searching for something to do, but Peeper is bored with hanging by his prehensile tail and soon has eaten his fill of insects, fruit and honey. He is ready for an adventure. But each animal he meets is too busy to play.
Kirby the anteater is clawing through ant mounds for food. Maggie the sloth is so slow that blue-green algae has grown on her back. The energetic marmosets are bouncing through the trees too fast. Peeper knows that the dangerous jaguar has something other than playing in mind. The wise anaconda is contemplating the fate of the diminishing rainforest.

As each animal appears, children learn a little about their unique characteristics and place in the forest. Kids will be fascinated to learn that the algae growing on the sloth helps camouflage her and hid her from predators.

A rescued kinkajou named Peeper, inspired the author to create this book to educate children about these unusual animals and to instill an appreciation for nature. The first in a series, this book introduces the animal characters with rhyming sentences and a fast-paced story that will keep a young childís interest. The illustrations are colorful and sure to appeal to young children.

Published by Tree of Life Publishing, this book is available at your local bookstore or www.treeoflifepublishing.com


BOOMER TO THE RESCUE
Written by Peter Parente
Illustrated by Aleksey
and Olga Ivanov
Boomer and Roger are excited about their first day of school. But Boomer is also nervous because he is different. Boomer is a rare lavender skunk, and he is not sure how the other animals at school will treat him. His mother reassures him that being different makes him special, but on the first day of school, Frankie the squirrel teases Boomer about his smell.

Boomerís best friend Roger reassures him that the other animals will like him once they get to know him, but Boomer is now sure that he is not special after all. When the young animals are terrorized by a grizzly bear, Boomer comes to the rescue and uses his very different smell to drive the bear away. Frankie apologizes, and Boomer discovers sometimes being different is a good thing.

Children will learn the importance of celebrating our uniqueness, and the colorful and humorous illustrations bring the story to life. This fun book was inspired by the authorís striped skunk, whose natural coloring is lavender, a rare thing for this usually black or brown species.

Young children will be able to identify with the characters as they learn that it is what is inside that counts. Kids will also enjoy visiting the authorís website, which has pictures of the real Boomer and his friends. For ages 2 through 8.

Published by Tree of Life Publishing, this book is available at your local bookstore or www.treeoflifepublishing.com


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