Ashman rhymes to us about a variety of animal homes shown with cozy illustrations.
This is useful as a comfortable introduction to the many ways animals find shelter. They will be introduced to a rabbit's warren, an eagle's aerie, a tidal pool, a hollow tree, and even a bedroom. Every illustration is 'encircling'. Each projecting the very security the homes are intended to provide. The simple verse offers the same feel. Some parents might hope for a bit more sophistication see Where Fish Go In Winter
The World Government trains a child genius to save Earth from aliens, but Ender experiences the consequences of committing to goals that are not his own.
Siblings Peter and Ender are geniuses but only Ender is chosen, at age six, to be trained as the ultimate space commander. In Battle School he finds his genius is variously admired and viciously resented. The stakes rise unbearably, as Ender struggles to keep his integrity. When a man’s ultimate purpose is decided by others, can he achieve his ideals? Peter sought to be a user rather than be the used. Are the brothers a metaphor for a false alternative?
A tree and boy reveal the opposite character presenting the false, modern, moral alternatives of altruistic & egotism, respectively: the tree gives its all –even its life– for the boy, whereasthe boy takes the benefits with indifference.
A little boy plays on a tree he loves, and that loves him. As he matures he only visits her when he wants something. Her happiness lies in giving him her fruit, limbs and trunk! Finally, as a depressed, unappreciative old man, he sits on the dead stump "and the tree was happy." An honest reader must ask, "Really? You're dead." This parable exposes the folly of giving and taking as today's preeminent moral choice. Parents are left to teach a smarter alternative...
Brother and Sister Bear learn the futility of fads, as a result of their compulsive pursuit of a popular stuffed toy.
Stuffed "Beary Bubbies" of all sorts appear in the Bear neighborhood. Brother and Sister spend all their allowance, and do chores to earn more. Prices climb as supplies are snapped up, until even Papa joins in the pursuit. But supply meets demand, and soon Bubbies are given out free, with a gas fill up. The fad fades. What does one do with dozens of Bearie Bubbies but look at them? The Bears learn a lesson in wise collecting: whatever did they accomplish?
A young teen chooses to use wilderness survival skills to live alone for a year in the Catskill Mountains (New York State).
Sam was the youngest of nine children living in a cramped New York City apartment. He'd read about survival and knew his family still owned some land in the Catskills. Arriving in May with pocket knife, axe, cord, and flint & steel, he sets to practicing survival skills he'd only read about. His success, even through winter, provides confidence, but events in the story mainly showcase survival skills, rather than establish any real conflict.
Jean's tells of her life in China as a ten year old "foreign devil", homesick for values she believes lie in the America she has never seen.
Ten year old Jean lived in the British American 'concession' of Hankow China, during her father's term as director of the local YMCA. Homesick is a well developed series of vignettes: the little Chinese boy she treats with oranges and who calls her a "foreign devil", the family ocean side vacation, the loss of her newborn sister, her friendship with Andrea, the siege of WuChang. The story's climax is more profound than a simple escape from China.
Wilson Bentley's lifelong fascination with, and sensible study of, snowflakes eventually earned him the respect of scientists.
Young Wilson Bentley noticed that snowflakes were beautiful, but more amazingly, he saw no two snowflakes that were alike, it was an unending miracle. He tried drawing them. He learned to photograph them. He learned how air conditions altered snowflake patterns. His interest seemed weird to his neighbors, who thought, "Snow in Vermont is as common as dirt", why photograph it? But Bentley resisted the criticisms, eventually to be respected by scientists around the world.
The love a mother shows her son becomes rather odd as he matures, but her love is both returned and 'passed on' to her grandchildren.
A new mother rocks her son and sings him the "Love You Forever" verse. Throughout his life she slips into his room to rock him and sing. When she is too old it is he who holds her and sings. Moved, he returns home to rock and sing to his baby daughter. The sentimental understanding is too much to impose on children, and is marred by Munsch's humor by exaggerated behavior.
Teddy bear, Corduroy, tries to improve himself to earn the love and care of a little girl.
In this tremendously popular story, Corduroy thinks Lisa won't buy him because he is missing a button. That night he searches the store for one, but is foiled by the watchman, who returns him to his usual shelf. Lisa returns, buys him and sews on a button for him. In a tilt towards the injustice of unconditional love, the moral of self improvement is undone when Corduroy's effort has no influence Lisa's choice.
Martin tells part of the true story of the crew of the explorer vessel Karluk surviving on barren ice and islands north of the Arctic Circle, for almost a year (1913-1914).
The Karluk was commissioned for exploration and study of the plants and people of the far north, but it was crushed in ice. Its crew struggled 100 miles to a small island, there to wait the return of the captain who sought help. This biography relates a remarkable struggle, but it is told with abject Naturalism. The crude Eskimo drawings fit the subject, but do not inspire. B&W photos show those who survived.