Friday, April 9, 2010

A Bird in a Bathing Suit Reviewed by Eileen Hanley of

By: Dawn Mitchell

ISBN: 978-1-4327-5404-4

Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc.

A little blue bird in a red bathing suit flapping his wings in a birdbath greets us on the cover of this delightful little book. He looks so happy even when we see him flying out of a tree with the children down below pointing and laughing, “what a silly sight to see.”

They continue to giggle and conjure up all sorts of situations in which birds act like people wearing bows, tee-shirts, underwear, sunglasses and a variety of outfits that they would wear. They eventually realize that the bird in the bathing suit is not going to come back if he is laughed at. The children recognize that in order to keep and make friends they have to accept how we all look dissimilar.

This is such a timely issue in that society has a difficult time accepting differences. This type of rejection can quickly escalate into full-scale bullying with disastrous results.

Dawn Mitchell has put important lessons on acceptance into rhyme with words and lessons for the young child. This is a wonderful talking point book for parents and teachers to discuss the differences that we all meet with each day.

The illustrations are engaging and the young reader can glean a multitude of contextual clues by just looking at the birds faces. In a beginning reader level, it is important that the print be large and distinctive, and A Bird in a Bathing Suit certainly fits the criteria readability.

4 1/2 Woofs

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Up Down Day

The Up Down Day Reviewed by Eileen Hanley of

By: Brian D. McClure

ISBN: 13: 978-1-933426-07-5

ISBN: 10 1-933426-07-1

Publisher: Universal Flag Publishing

We all come into this world expecting to be fed, clothed, sheltered and loved. As parents we want our children to feel safe and to protect them from the bumps in life. But, many adults and children have been protected to the point of being nonfunctional when life does not go as expected. The Up Down Day is written in a witty whimsical poetic style but has a powerful message to impart.

A young pre-teen boy is the narrator of our story telling us of the strangest thing that happened to him one day. It happened in the morning on a day that he did not have school. He was looking forward to playing all day long, but when he woke up things were different. Instead of the sun in the sky he sees darkness and the moon. He doesn’t know if he is asleep or awake and neither do we. All we know is that he feels panic, shock and fear as everything that was up is down and everything that was down is up!

The young boy tells us the whole town is in this condition, or does he think everyone feels this way. But, he still does not understand why his world has been turned upside down. How could this have happened? “Don’t you know?” asks his book. The narrator lets us know that this isn’t the first time the objects in his room have spoken to him or is he speaking to himself to soothe his fear and panic? This isn’t the way things are supposed to be he says and asks all of the objects in his room, “don’t you agree?” They all tell him “no,” and remind him that he has the answer within himself.

He comes to the conclusion that things aren’t always the way we think they should be. Things are not always how they seem. People aren’t always who we think they are. He feels comfortable that there is support for him if circumstances become unpredictable.

This is a wonderful talking point book for parents to read to their children with extended discussions on things that might not always go their way, fears and anxiety about the unknown. A teacher would do well to read this to her class promoting discussion among elementary children through high school. Picture books are not just for the young. As I alluded to previously, it contains a great deal of hidden meaning. The author gives lots of warm fuzzies to children feeling these anxieties stressing that they are always loved.

4 1/2 Woofs