An older son believes carnivals are shallow entertainment, until his Dad steps in to prevent him from running away with one.
The stable older son pooh-poohs circuses, yet it is he who is so swayed by the magic act that he loses his sense of priorities and runs from home. His father rescues him, and he 'realizes' his best destiny is to stay on the family farm. Is this some sort of, "stay on here' message from parents? The absence of compelling factors in the plot, to convince the son to run away and to then return, makes the story bland indeed.
Through letters between the characters we learn the wolves have plans for Goldilocks' house warming party for the Three Pigs.
An anthology of imaginary letters reveal that a house warming party is being planned, and that the wolves are planning to attack. The technique is great for building suspense, but in the end the letters did little to suggest real character in any of the players. The ending is bland. We hear how the three bears muddle the wolves' plans. Fantasy without a lesson for the reader serves only to kill time.
You will never look at your hands the same way again, after grasping Aliki's perspective on their amazing features, versatility and utility.
My Hands proves that no-nonsense facts can be entertaining, even to small children. Each page reveals a new feature or a new use for hands. In simple, interesting drawings we see children displaying or using their hands as the text describes. Even the obvious becomes more real when clearly stated: "I put my hands together. The fingers of my right hand touch the same fingers of my left hand!
By learning to read, old Jeremiah discovers the beauty in literacy, and a shared joy.
Wise old Jeremiah farmed his whole life, and now wants to read. "You are wonderful as you are", said his wife. "But I can be better", he responds. Perhaps his way of learning was unusual, but he soon discovers that reading offers more than simple facts. Juliana asks, "When are you going to read to me?" He answers, "When the time is right". He has found a special new reason for reading!
Sarah's sailing skill develops from her mature, independent focus on technique and natural forces.
Eleven year old Sarah has a lot to learn to compete in the sailing regatta. The brashness of sailing boys like Tommy do not distract her. Her sensible determination, her Grandpa's advice and her bright sailing observations raise our hopes. Even Tommy offers surprising values in Sarah's benevolent world. Alvord makes unapologetic use of sailing terminology but provides many explanatory sidebars, and a glossary.