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Reading My Library

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Read Aloud Thursday

Read-Aloud Thursday at Hope Is the WordTime for another Read Aloud Thursday, hosted by Hope is in the Word.

More Randomness, just like Amy likes it!

First up - one we didn't like: Where the Forest Meets the Sea, by Jeannine Baker. The message of this book is that the the acres of wet tropical rain forest wilderness are quickly disappearing and the question the book asks is "How long will we have them?" I personally didn't really get into this book and that had to do mostly with the phrase "a hundred million years ago" and since I think that people who use that phrase when attempting to date the earth are speculating a bit, I tend to ignore books such as these. So why am I mentioning this book at all here? Because of the artwork which is just astounding and amazing. Jeanne Baker created a bunch of collages to illustrate this work. The reproductions that appear in this book are roughly the size of her originals and are crafted using modeling clay, papers, textured materials, preserved natural materials and paints (and probably a few other things as well). This book is amazing to look at. Obviously Baker has incredible talent and I enjoyed browsing this one more by myself than I did trying to read it aloud as a story to Bookworm1. Very intriguing book. I just had a hard time with the method by which the message was communicated.

Hide and Snake, by Keith Baker, on the other hand, was a multi-requested re-read. Not that there is much to read in this book. It's more about finding the snake which Baker artfully wove in and out of picture scenes throughout this book. It's a high art-like I-Spy-ish sort of book. (Do you like my description there?) Very, very cool and the snake is both tricky and easy to find at the same time. We had races to see which one of us could find the snake first. Lots of fun, lots of laughs and four thumbs up from this corner of the blog-o-sphere.

Horse lovers- stand at attention! I give you (if you haven't seen it already) SENECA, by Karen Lee Baker. I honestly didn't know if Bookworm1 would go for this book, but we read it anyway and he really liked it. It's about a girl who wants a horse and finds one which she, you can correctly assume, names Seneca. This book basically just discusses the basics of caring for a horse and it gives you information in a nice, calm story telling manner. I'M not a horse lover but I always dreamed of riding. I have friends who are horse lovers therefore I know that I am not one. They have little girls and I am OH SO TEMPTED to buy them a copy of this book, but at the time of this post it's $49.85 on Amazon so I'll just keep my eyes peeled for used copies. When I find one (or some) I'll be snatching them up. This book was awesome!

Lastly, we read and (both) enjoyed The Story of Little Babaji, by Helen Bannerm. As a note of interest, Helen Bannerman wrote the original story that this was based on in 1899. The original title is "The Story of Little Black Sambo" and is quite politically incorrect. An Amazon.com review credits illustrator (and the person I assume also adapted this story?) Fred Marcellino as cleaning this book up and making it acceptable for modern readers. I haven't read The Story of Little Black Sambo** but I can take a guess at the title as to why it would be criticized by today's audience. Whatever the history, this particular edition of the book was quite cute. It is about a little boy who is given a fine new outfit by his parents and struts off in his new clothes to take a walk through the jungle. A number of tigers approach him, threatening to eat him and, as a trade for his life, he offers them the various new items of clothing. Bookworm1 liked the tigers, their teeth and the way they all started fighting over the clothes in the end, to the point of distraction where Babaji was able to retrieve his wardrobe and went home safely.

As a side note, I reviewed a completely different version of this story over at 5 Minutes for Books. I'm grinning just thinking about how far the tale was stretched to market itself to the likes of Texans and cowboys and girls everywhere.

To read more about Little Britches and the Rattlers (as well as some other Texas tall tales) click on the title - and enjoy!

** Ah ha! There was also a copy of Little Black Sambo at the bottom of the library back and so now I HAVE read it. Apparently it caused some to cry foul, not so much over the story itself but because of the illustrations drawn by Bannerman, depicting Sambo in a way that was less than desirable. In our library's edition of Little Black Sambo there is some history of the story and the book at the back which was interesting to read. I don't think anyone has really every objected to the story, but definitely to the illustrations. Babaji was a kinder and more expected native Indian name, apparently and not quite so alarming. It is really interesting to hear the story behind the story in some cases - this being one of them. Somethign tells me that Little Rattler is by far the less offensive of the three options. ;)

Have you been reading books aloud to your kids? Well, Read Aloud Thursdays at Hope is in the Word is a perfect time to share of any particular titles- especially those that you obtain from your local library. Care to share? I hope you'll consider it and let us all know what you've been reading!


  1. I've never read Little Black Sambo but I had heard of it. Thanks for a little background about it.

  2. Ah, nice and random (unlike my post!), just like I like it! :-)

    I THINK I've seen that tropical rainforest book before--the illustrations sound familiar. I, too, tend to gloss over the "millions and millions and millions of years" junk with my girls. Who knows, really, besides God?

    I was a horse lover, too, as I think all girls go through that phase. I have only been astride a horse a handful of times, though. I would've liked that book as a gradeschooler.

    Little Black Sambo/Little Babaji-->oh my! :-)

  3. I, too, enjoy some books for the artwork alone.

    Hide and Snake sounds like fun! We have similar races to see who can find the mouse first on each page of Goodnight Night, Moon (which prevents it from being a calm and relaxing read ;-)).

    My third daughter, Christiana, would love Seneca. Thanks for the review.

  4. Thanks for sharing. You have featured some terrific sounding books. I think my little guy would like Hide and Snake too!