Showing posts with label Catherine Toennisson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Catherine Toennisson. Show all posts

Friday, August 4, 2017

Bear and Squirrel by Elsa Takaoka, Catherine Toennisson

Rating: WORTHY!

This team of writer (Takaoka )/illustrator (Toennisson) had a .75 batting average with me, and that's now gone up to .80 with this one, so it's a pretty good record, although in the interests of full disclosure, I tend to be a lot more lenient with young children's books than I do when rating more grown up material.

I love squirrels; not so keen on bears, but this one was a fun story about a squirrel who was industriously working on building a swing, and a bear who was obsessed with collecting things - including the swing - while squirrel was out looking for that final piece for her creation. Squirrel tries everything to get the la-la-land bear's attention, and finally hits on a winning strategy only to have the outcome skew in an unexpected way! The book was fun and quirky, and colorful, and I enjoyed it. I arrogantly assume young children will too, since I often look at life the same way they do! I recommend this as a fun read.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Chicken Does Not Want to be a Chicken by Elsa Takaoka, Catherine Toennisson

Rating: WORTHY!

This is a very well-illustrated (by Catherine Toennisson) and entertaining book for youngsters about whether you should be what you are or try to stretch the envelope.

Chicken decides being a chicken isn't for her. She wants to be a puppy, and bark and run around with bones, cats?

Maybe that last idea isn't so great, but Chicken has to learn, right? The book is short, sweet, colorful, and entertaining. I recommend it.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Goo and Spot in the Great Zoo Escape by Elsa Takaoka

I negatively reviewed a children's book from Elsa Takaoka back in April 2015, so it's nice this time to positively review one. This is a fun story and a sneaky way of teaching the days of the week to young kids.

This isn't the first time that the snake has tried to escape, but it's always failed. This time it undertakes some long-term planning, calling on the aid of many other animals in the zoo as each day passes by, laying down a plan carefully, until finally it manages to get free, stowing away in the child Goo's back-pack.

I have to say that Goo might have shown a bit more honesty, because he effectively steals a snake from the zoo. Also a word about respect for how deadly some snakes can be would be in order, but in this case, the story was good enough and fun enough that I felt I could let that slide this once.

Besides, it all works out in the end when the snake becomes homesick! Once again Catherine Toennisson is the illustrator and does a fine job with the scenery and the animals. All in all a colorful, fun, and educational read for young kids. I recommend this one.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Goo and Spot in the Do Not Wiggle Riddle by Elsa Takaoka, Catherine Toennisson

Rating: WARTY!

This book offered a riddle to entertain young children, but I thought it wasn't very well executed. I don't apply the same strong criteria to children's books that I do to adult and young-adult novels, but I do expect a decent story, or a whole lot of fun, and some educational content. This one failed on all counts. I can see where the author intended to go, but for my money she fell far short.

The idea was a commendable one: the aim is to try to get kids to understand that there are times when they need to sit still, and pay attention, and not fidget, and so on. Good luck with that! The riddle was supposed to help with this but it was long, and all over the place, and so poorly metered that it became a real distraction.

Maybe that was the intention - distract the kids so that they forget to fidget? It didn't work for me. It felt to me like children would be more likely to fidget and call out answers because they couldn't see where this was going, and they were being given no clues unless you count one long, almost endless negative 'clue'. I really don't. Not for young kids.

The problem is that the so-called riddle wasn't even a riddle, it was a long, raggedy ramble about what this story was not about - with no clue whatsoever what it was about. Catherine Toennisson's art work was uninspiring, too, and I know from her website she can do better. I honestly can't recommend this unless you're into nonsense "rhymes" and very basic children's stories.