Red is Best portrays Kelly's admirable and fun, intellectual, independence as she happily tells us all her cute reasons for preferring red.
We can't give away too much of Kelly's clear delight with red. She knows her values, and when it comes to color, its red! Kelly says, "I like my red barrettes the best. My mom says, 'You wear pink barrettes with a pink dress.' But my red barrettes make my hair laugh." The simple illustrations provide all we need to appreciate her pleasure with red; Surely you too can see that red boots make bigger steps!
A young boy learns that 'heaven' is understanding how Grandpa's influence continues long after he has passed away.
As his family relates precious moments they had with Grandpa, the grieving young son can't understand 'where' Grandpa is. The father wisely portrays Heaven "as any place two people who love each other have shared some time". The boy grasps the useful lesson that Grandpa's 'presence' lies in his ongoing relevance to their lives, though he no longer physically exists. The understanding enables him to tell them his own memories—emotional stuff!
Without being too sentimental, Glassman presents the idea that a woman's family life and career (as a witch) combine to form her overall, good character.
My Working Mom is helpful for, well... working moms. It works for kids too. A little girl reasons through her Mom's job as a real witch. Mom always flies off to meetings, she has bad days, but she makes it to school events, albeit at the last minute. So, Mom's pretty good. In spite of a serious lack of plot, Tedd Arnold's illustrations infuse the story with his brand of fun.
Mean dogs can actually hurt you, but fear of being on stage might prevent you from discovering you are a great soloist.
The basic message of this book is positive. It enumerates some scary things to suggest being on stage isn't so bad. However, saying bugs are scary reinforces improper notions, so the basic logic fails. Scary bugs don't make stages less intimidating. The illustrations are so garish and crude that they actually contribute to the sense that things are scary. The author intends well, but good intentions also require good execution.
Nick makes up a new word for "pen", and believes its wide acceptance 'proves' words are mere convention.
In grade five, Nick interprets “we decide new words” as meaning words are assigned to things arbitrarily. Believing he and his friends can make a new word, he invents “frindle” to replace “pen”. His perseverance gains media attention so widely that the word eventually appears in a dictionary. This story of word origins is as convincing as it is damaging to children. Frindle should only be used as an example of literary casuistry.
"Daddies can teach you how to ride a bicycle, make a snowman with you, and bake a delicious cake for your birthday..." and a few other things. This is more of a loose set of talking points than a story. The best aspect of the book is the illustrations, which present well-dressed Dads of various animal species.
Though his son asks for the "truth" about the tooth fairy, a father explains that fairies used to exist, that humans and modern technology drove the fairies away, and that serious effort can make the tooth fairy real.
Gaby asks Dad (the author) to tell the truth: is there a tooth fairy or is it just parents? The author's 'truth' holds that fairies once existed, but vanished as humans gained control of their environment. Further, if one "tries really hard" to believe,the tooth fairy's voice still appears in parents' minds suggesting they provide small treasures in exchange for a baby tooth. Belief "must come from you, and you alone". Thus, Alexander urges fantasy and whim upon children, just as they are seeking reality and reason.
The beauty and breadth of Boreal Forests is integrated by an environmentalist theme.
While this book is filled with many interesting facts and explanations of the Boreal biome, its environmentalist zeal undercuts its value to its juvenile audience. Envronmental issues are technical and philosophical, at a level that high school graduates are not yet equipped to properly understand. Specious claims take advantage of that audience, e.g. their argument claiming the Boreal Forests are the "lungs of the Earth" (see full review).
Nature is seen as superior to Man since his inventions were first 'invented' by Nature.
The theme is in the title! E.g., a drinking straw is not an "original" idea because moths and butterflies used them, in the form of a proboscis, long before Man invented them. What good does it do children to blur the distinction between human conceptual achievement and the deterministic¹, unguided events of Evolution? After every example, the text practically shouts "Nature Did it First!" One can imagine the impact on children taught that true human invention is inferior!
An interracial family does things families do, while readers focus 'admiringly' on the color blending.
The book's verse focuses on skin color: Mom is "a tasty tan and coffee pumpkin pie / with dark brown eyes and almond ears" . The book offers no suggestion as to color being relevant or irrelevant to human judgment, nonetheless its focus on color makes color more of an issue rather than less. If racism is incorrect, why focus on a family's 'color', why make it important? Was Black is Brown is Tan given its literary award to promote a politically correct agenda, rather than for its merit, in the manner of affirmative action programs?