Tag Archives: bravery

Grandmother’s Pigeon

pigeon

By Louise Erdrich, Illustrated by Jim LeMarche

Hyperion Books for Children, 1996

As it turned out, Grandmother was a far more mysterious woman than any of us knew. It was common knowledge that she had trained kicking mules. We’d often heard how she had skied the Continental Divide. I was with her myself once when she turned back a vicious dog by planting herself firm in its path and staring into its eyes.

I have always been fond of books which start in media res. But let’s just cut to the chase, shall we? Erdrich rocks. Continue reading

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Arthur and Guen

arthur

By Jon Koons, Illustrated by Igor Oleynikov

Dutton Children’s Books, 2008

In the days of old, long, long ago, there were kings and knights and castles. There were princesses and dragons. There was heraldry and magic. And there was a boy named Arthur…

Here’s proof (yet again) that you can so judge a book by its cover. The phrase, “An original tale of Young Camelot,” just seals the deal for me. Continue reading

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The Well at the End of the World

well

By Robert D. San Souci, Illustrated by Rebecca Walsh

Chronicle Books, 2004

The King of Colchester was a kind and just man, but not a very good ruler. Oh, he did fine dubbing knights or deciding what to have for dinner. But it was his daughter, Princess Rosamond, who really ran the kingdom. She advised her father on matters of state, kept the royal accounts, and fixed the drawbridge when it wouldn’t rise or lower. People often said it was a shame she wasn’t beautiful, too. But practical Rosamond would just laugh and say, “I prefer good books to good looks. I may not be pretty, but my father’s treasury is in order, the drawbridge works, and I’ve almost saved up enough for a new set of royal dishes!”

Continue reading

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Boo and Baa Get Wet

boo

By Olof and Lena Landstrom, Translated by Joan Sandin

R&S Books, 2000

Boo and Baa left the croquet set outside. “We have to go out and get it,” says Baa. “Do we have to?” says Boo. “We’ll have the flashlight with us,” says Baa. Boo still thinks it’s very dark outside. And the croquet set has so many pieces!

The excerpt above doesn’t do Boo and Baa justice, and neither does a synopsis: In the middle of a thunderstorm, two little sheep run outside in the dark to rescue their croquet set. They scare themselves silly, have a good laugh about it, the lights come on… and then they go to sleep. You really need to see the accompanying pictures to fully appreciate the Landstroms’ offbeat humor and the vigorous cuteness of Boo and Baa. My daughter sleeps with this copy in her crib — at least until it’s due back at the library.

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Bridget and the Gray Wolves

bridget

By Pija Lindenbaum, Translated by Kjersti Board

Raben and Sjogren, 2001

“Do you know the way to day care? Mommy is supposed to pick me up at four.”
“No, we don’t,” the wolves reply. “Then I’ll stay here until they find me,” says Bridget. “Do you want me to play with you?” “We don’t play,” the gray wolves say. “We lurk behind trees and snarl.”

What an utterly odd and charming book. (Again, you can’t go wrong with Swedish children’s books.) Bridget is an extremely careful child who never climbs on roofs or pets dogs. (They might have splinters in their paws, or headaches, or just be grouchy and bite hard.) But when she gets lost in the woods one day and finds herself face to face with a pack of mangy gray wolves, she suddenly takes charge — directing them in games, feeding them mud soup, and even putting them to bed and singing them beautiful, sad songs. ┬áIt’s a wonderful reminder to kids that just because you’re sometimes fearful doesn’t mean that you can’t also be brave.

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