Tag Archives: nature

Grandmother’s 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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Ideas, sound effects and pictures by Stephen Michael King

Roaring Book Press, 2008

No running text in this small book, just the occasional sound effect — the snip, snip of a mother’s eager scissors, the pitter, patter, splot of  a trickling shower. But the gorgeously simple drawings do a fine job of telling the story. Continue reading

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The Curious Garden


By Peter Brown

Little, Brown Books, 2009

There once was a city without gardens or trees or greenery of any kind. Most people spent their time indoors. As you can imagine, it was a very dreary place. However, there was one boy who loved being outside…

I’m calling this book an “eco-conscious fairytale.” Granted, these pages (printed on recycled paper, mind you) contain no princesses, princes, wicked witches or dragons, but there is one very kind, determined boy who finds beauty where others do not. And there is a patch of curious green plants in need of rescuing. And as in all fairytales, there is a city (er, kingdom) where the inhabitants are in desperate need for an imaginative leader who will transform their dreary world. So…eco-conscious fairytale it is. With sparse, elegant prose and vivid illustrations that are difficult to look away from, Brown tells the story of little Liam, who begins nurturing a long-forgotten garden. Because of his efforts, the plants and flowers spread across his city, magically affecting everything and everyone in their path. A fabulous reminder to go play in the mud.

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Incredible Earth!


Photos by various photographers who really deserve to be identified more prominently 

Play Bac Publishing, 2008

Incredible Earth! Nature is truly as ferocious as it is magnificent…We will dive deep into dark oceans; fly over beautiful yet dangerous lakes; stand in awe of landscapes that appear more alien than familiar; marvel at miraculous sculptures created in rock, ice, sand, and salt; and peer into volcanic craters that bubble like witches’ cauldrons!

$12.95 is a reasonable price to pay to go around the world. I stumbled upon this glossy, bright hardback at the University of New Mexico book store in Albuquerque. It was the only copy and I immediately bought it. The enormous, up-close-and- personal pictures take you on a whirlwind trip. See Mount Pinatubo, the Phillipine volcano, majestically exploding! 120 million red crabs on Australia’s Christmas Island!  A melting iceberg that looks like a giant dining room table! Once I win the lottery (or find a kind and generous benefactor,) I will use this as a travel guide.

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How Robin Saved Spring


By Debbie Ouellet, illustrated by Nicoletta Ceccoli

Christy Ottavino Books/Henry Holt, 2009.

 Robin thought hard. The only thing he owned of value was his beautiful singing voice. “I shall give you my voice,” he said. Chir-up, chir-ee, tweedle-ee-dee. He sang the grandest song ever heard.

You’ve got to bring your game if you’re collaborating with Italian illustrator Nicoletta  Ceccoli. Her images are so lush and luminous, you feel you could fall into the pages if you leaned just a little too forward. If the story isn’t equally compelling,  your end result is noticeably lopsided. (Case in point: “The Tear Thief.”) Happily,  “How Robin Saved Spring” tells a mesmerizing story: Lady Winter plots to keep her sister, Spring, asleep so the seasons won’t change and the world will stay cold and white forever. Led by Robin (yes, the bird, not Batman’s sidekick),  the animals of the forest – and a sensitive maple tree – attempt to wake Sister Spring, but all must pay a price for their bravery.  Quietly clever storytelling.

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