The beauty and mystery of life and art are brought together when a little girl presents lily bulbs to Emily, and in return receives a poem and a wish for understanding: "Perhaps in time they both will bloom."
Mother's piano playing captivates "Myth", the recluse across the street, who invites her to play. It's spring and the little girl has set lily bulbs on her windowsill. When Mother visits Myth, the little girl comes too, dress pockets bulging. On arrival we learn Myth's real name is Emily. Emily hides upstairs, calling down how she loves the music. Under the sound of the piano, our girl slips upstairs to give Emily a gift of two lily bulbs. Emily responds with a poem that inspiring a love of life and the World.
When Ernest the donkey scratches his back against the pole of a birdhouse, the resident bluebirds guide him to a tree trunk, ending the violent shaking of their home and earning his appreciation.
Just as they were waking, the bluebirds' house shook so much they were knocked about. Was it an earthquake? Chipper cautiously peered about, and saw Ernest scratching his hips against the birdhouse pole. Chipper suggests the donkey find another scratching post, The fence and the ladder would not do, but a tree trunk was found to be suitable. The grateful donkey offers soft new hay as thanks. This is a sweet, slow-moving story, with a positive message of neighborly cooperation.
Katie loves soaking up sights, smells and sounds the early mornings that are hers alone, as she hikes to fetch the morning paper.
Katie loves the atmosphere of the morning, not just for the things that she sees, but because she see them alone. It is her happy time for herself. It's what makes each thing more interesting. The writing is rhythmic and pretty, though at times 'run on' as it describes Katie's experiences with nature. Time alone is important to independent thought, but we see no such thing in Katie's passive sojourn.
The animals of Redwall abbey joyously prepare a surprise feast for their abbot, a wise old mouse.
As the abbey animals are preparing a surprise feast for their beloved abbot, he conveniently leaves on a 'quest' –his afternoon stroll. Jacques's descriptions of the preparations, the stroll and the feast, in 101 six line stanzas, are quite marvelous. Unfortunately the sometimes quirky animal characters have no purpose, save as fantasy cooks and imaginary denizens of the abbey. Denise's appealing illustrations, reminiscent of Beatrix Potter, cannot resuscitate this ultimately dull story.
As a kitten, Stella seems to dance, but the behavior dwindles with age until it is revived in her six kittens.
Stella's Dancing Days equates the frisky vitality of a kitten with dancing. We see the kitten adjust to a new family, and mature into a cat. After a time hiding under the bed of the Gentle One (the daughter) Stella emerges with six kittens, and they dance! The story is a purposeless sequence of events about something cute. There is no theme, and the story's atmosphere, meaningful to adults, is not enough to justify the book for children.
We see two boys unwilling to go to the "boring' cottage, where they do various things, and are then unwilling to return to their "boring" home.
With summer vacation coming the two boys argue there will be nothing to do at the family cottage. Once there, we are told the boys are busy swimming, fishing, boating etc., but see no interesting developments. When their stay ends, the boys complain there is nothing to do at home. The story merely reveals the boys' weak argument, with no suggestion that interest and motivation arise best from active involvement.
A young boy explores his "Summertime Island", doesn't see much at all, and returns to his family campfire.
In awkward verse a young boy simply explores aspects of his Summertime Island, ending when he returns to a family campfire. No plot, no real theme and no special finds to captivate the reader. The illustration style is interesting but contributes little to the appeal of the story.