Each of twelve animal parents (one human) say why they love their offspring, "forever and always".
"On a hot savannah under a shady tree, a lion cub asks, 'How am I special?" The 2-page spread shows the cub, his parents and the savannah. In the next spread, the lions reply by describing how cute the cub is, snuggling and saying "we will love you forever and ever and always." The pattern is repeated, ending with a human couple and child on a picnic. They love his "warm, caring heart" and "bright, curious mind." In each case, there is a 'special' reason for parental love.
A vain show horse slowly accepts the friendly overtures of a donkey named Ernest, giving him the justice he deserves
Ernest was just too scruffy and tiny for Twist, the newly arrived show horse. With nothing else to do, Twist vainly follows Ernest's tour of the farm, seeing the animals, the cool stream, the beautiful pasture, the barn and the feed. Ernest even figures out how to scratch an itch for Twist, and Twist realizes that Ernest is a decent little guy, worthy of friendship. And so it should be, that respect is born of character, not position.
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.
A boy in a primitive tribe assumes an old man's chores, so the elder can leave to see if other men live in the world —both discover human benevolence.
Baylor successfully uses a little blue bead to show human curiosity, ambition and benevolence. The story, all in verse, begins in the present, with a blue bead tucked beside a tuft of grass. Flashback to a young cave-era boy who is captivated by an elder's burning desire to see if other men exist. The boy agrees to double his work so the man can go! Time passes. The boy's hope begins to wane. The tribe decides to move to a new hunting range. Suddenly, strangers arrive, and the men bristle with spears. What of the blue bead?
With parents absent on a rainy day, two bored children suddenly find their home invaded by a human size cat that proceeds to show 'tricks' that make a mess —all told in Seuss rhyme.
This classic Seuss story/poem is well loved for its rhyme and rhythm, but what is its point? Those who enjoy fantasy for fantasy's sake will have little other reason to enjoy it. A small percentage of children may even find it alarming: a giant cat bursting into the house, makes a mess, nearly kills the goldfish. A bit alarmingly he introduces two "Things", child sized characters, that run around the house with kites, knocking things about. Just before Mum returns home, the cat produces a multi-armed picker upper and vacuum cleaner, restores the home, then leaves. Done.
As they wrestle with grade school social conflicts and share a fantasy land, ten year old Jess learns from Leslie's bright character and values, until tragedy teaches him to adopt and live by those values.
Jess trained to be the fastest runner in 5th grade, but when he defended Leslie's right to run against the boys there was an unexpected result. She beat everyone. Jess saw a beauty in her gait, and she saw justice in him. As companions they deal with difficult school mates and escape to their imaginary forest kingdom of Terabithia. Jess gradually sees an approach to life brightly different from anything he had imagined. In a heart wrenching turn of events, Jess realizes what Leslie had shown him was worth sharing with those most worthy of it.
A 13 year old Cro-Magnon boy learns that genuine manhood is not found through initiation rites, but through his heroic quest to acquire a spear-thrower.
Cowley's archaeologically accurate story begins with Dar nervously awaiting his initiation to manhood. While emptying his Uncle Kernok's traps he meets a stranger with a remarkable tool. The smallish man uses it to hurl a spear with shocking force, exceeding that of powerful Kernok. Once the initiation ceremony gives Dar his independence, he sets out to get a spear-thrower from the stranger's clan. Exciting moments, surprising connections and life affirming lessons bring Dar into a genuine, confident manhood.
Bauer explains how sensible planning –with detailed discussion on the development of character, plot, perspective, dialogue, and figurative language– is essential in preparing and revising a work of fiction.
This advice on writing may seem simplistic, even redundant for those taking writing classes in grade school. But, where school work is a series of lesson segments and assignments, Bauer's What's Your Story? presents beginner level information in an organized whole. The wealth of constructive explanation shows an early writer how to think and plan a story effectively. The book's best advice lies in learning the details of the world; its great weakness is inattention to theme.
Harold's world is a blank slate through which he learns to draw his own experiences, with a purple crayon.
Toddler Harold draws his way into a moonlit stroll in a world of his own design. Unexpected events –a too scary dragon, a tumble into water and getting lost– combine to make his walk exciting yet ultimately it remains a matter of his own design. Although he, literally, draws every scenario with his purple crayon, and saves himself from their difficulties. it is clear that the metaphor is not about whim, so much as design.
A boy offers a moose a muffin, which prompts demands for jam, that more muffins be made, etc. forming a chain of rationalistic steps that ends with the moose being thirsty and asking for jam and a muffin.
The cute illustrations are the main value in this book, and perhaps distract readers from its ultimate lack of content. Such flights of fancy can be amusing, but serve little purpose and are probably the easiest/lowest form of literary art, no matter how complex or popular. Worse, they steal time from a child's pursuit of more important values. This book's many awards are a disturbing indicator of the literary establishment's approach to children.