Which children’s books today rate high, low, or in between? Oftentimes, the answer–like choosing which kids’ tv programs to watch–can be a daunting task for any parent, or grandparent, or teacher. That’s where I can help.
As a former editor-in-chief of a children’s magazine, and as a writer of children’s literature for many years, I believe that my experience in those fields allows me to review books with wisdom, insight, and honesty.
During the month of March, 2019, I will be writing and posting a number of children’s book reviews on my WordPress Blog, as well as on several other book reviewers’ sites. I am excited about working in the children’s’ literature arena again, especially having been introduced already to the numerous technological changes over the past two decades. If you are really interested, I am including a recently reviewed picture book*, hopefully, to whet your appetite and that you will return again and again.
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Dr. Seuss
* AXLE, the FREEWAY CAT, the fourth picture book by author/illustrator Thatcher Hurd, tells the story of lonely Axel, the city’s litter collector who finds friendship in a most unusual way. While that may be the short of it, Hurd’s storytelling and illustrations convey several other layers within its succinct text and conversations. For instance, humility, intuitiveness, and responsibility characteristics play important roles from the beginning to the book’s end: working for a living, repurposing trash into useful needs in his life, and helping others using his skills. Life as a litter collector is a lonely one for Alex; yet, he never complains. Life, too, can change in a freeway minute, which happens with Alex’s resolve and confidence, Alex fixes Little Kitty’s car, which then results in untangling the traffic jam, and ultimately, gaining the friendship of Little Kitty. The author interjects a twist before the final evening of harmonica playing and horn-tooting by Alex crashing her car when tells him to take it for a drive. Although we don’t know Little Kitty’s feelings of having her car wrecked, the reader assumes all must be right, since the two cats end the story as they sit in Alex’s homemade “car home” togethether and drink a glass of milk.
The multiple double-page illustrations send the reader through the book, like a sleek motorcar on the freeway, with swerves and curves left and right–truly a marriage of art to text to tone and style of this modern-day fairy tale.