Tuesday, October 10, 2006


OOPS by Arthur Geisert(Houghton Mifflin)
In this wordless picture book, a little pig spills some milk and sets off a Rube Goldberg-style chain of events (an cause-and effect storytelling approach also seen in the author's other recent work LIGHTS OUT), followed pictorally one by one, that result in the catastophic destruction of the house. Yes, that's right, the house falls down. On the last page, however, all we can see is the relief that the family is still together.

When I first read this book, it disturbed me for several days. It was disconcerting to imagine that a child would identify with a character who was responsible, however inadvertently, for a house falling down. But as I thought about it, I had to admit that when things really go wrong, some children really do feel responsible, even if that blame is woefully displaced. And the fact that I was thinking about it for days afterward meant that some string must have really been plucked...sure enough, when I shared the book, the children grasped the author's intent immediately: the value of the family is worth more than any house, and that if we have the people we love, we can survive anything. For this reason, I post the recommendation here for your consideration, because many of us work with families who have experienced disasters, natural and otherwise. (5 and up)

Also of interest:
Having a real bad day? Like, a real bad day? You're not the only one. Find comfort in the company of books!

THIS PLACE I KNOW: POEMS OF COMFORT edited by Georgia Heard (Candlewick) Released after 9/11, this inspiring collection still endures as an excellent collection of poems to steady any young and aching heart. (8 and up)

RIVER FRIENDLY, RIVER WILD by Jane Kurtz, illustrated by Neil Brennan (Aladdin)
Based on memories of living through the Grand Forks, North Dakota flood, the author uses free verse to carry the reader through the confusion, horror and hope of a community in the throes of survival. The dramatic story is complimented through muted paintings of fire and water, submerged homes, rescued Christmas ornaments and Red Cross trucks. This realistic, haunting book succeeds in being sensitive without saccharine. This title will surely move any empathetic reader, and teachers will find an easy connection with natural disaster studies and weather units. (7 and up)

THE MOON CAME DOWN ON MILK STREET by Jean Gralley (Holt) The late, oh so great Fred Rogers used to advise children in scary situations to "look for the helpers." This hopeful title is all about the helpers! When the catastrophic situation of the moon's descent happens in the neighborhood, people in the community are roused. Fire fighters, rescue workers and even helper dogs give aid, and manage to "make it right again." Using cooperation, it seems there is no problem too big for a community to solve. With gentle gouche illustrations and a "good night" ending, this book is a very reassuring bedtime pick for worriers, but belongs on the shelf of anyone who works with young children, to be pulled out on those bad days when the moon seems to fall on us and our world. (3 and up)

FORTUNATELY by Remy Charlip (Aladdin) Huh! It looks like life can go either way in this clever, classic look at the good and bad in circumstances we can't control, via a poor guy named Ned trying to get to a party. We've all been there. (5 and up)

THE TRUTH ABOUT SPARROWS by Marian Hale (A change in socioeconomic status after her family's turn of bad luck is more than Sadie can bear, but when faced with a crisis, Sadie manages to get her priorities straight. Extremely well-written historical fiction, set during the Depression era. (10 and up)

Links are provided for informational use. Don't forget to support your local bookseller.

1 comment:

TheHikingYogini said...

Hi Esme,
Just thought I'd let you know that something seems to be wrong with your site. I'm not sure if it is just my computer or if it shows up like this for everyone but I cannot read any of your stuff and I thought you might want to know.


Related Posts with Thumbnails