Welcome to the Reading Room Update with reviews for books on the shelves.
The first review is for the latest children’s book from D.L. Finn – Tree Fairies and Their Short Stories
About the book
When reality and magic meet in the forest
It’s 1969, and twelve-year-old Daniel Burns is camping in the redwood forest with his family. Danny wants to listen to his music and read, but his family has other plans. S’mores around the campfire and stories end their first day. The family is sleeping soundly in their secluded tent when Danny wakes up and finds his sister, Colette, is missing. Assuming she went to use the outhouse, he goes after her. When he finds his sister, they discover there is a thin veil between reality and fantasy. Two bonus short stories offer a glimpse into the magical world that finds Danny and Colette. These hidden beings not only share our world but have a role in protecting their forest.
One of the recent reviews for the book
My name is Ellie and I’m 14. I was looking for a book to read and the title of this one caught my eye. I’ve had fairies “on the brain” lately. My dad was recently painting this fairy picture for my sister’s bedroom and he’d been asking for my opinion and input as he went along [like…a lot]. This was a fun read for many reasons. First, it was 3 stories in one, so it seemed to go really fast and it held my interest.
I liked that the 3 stories were connected so I didn’t have to learn new characters for each one, but each story was in a different time period and from different points of view. I think the 1st one was from the time of, like, when my mom was a kid, because it talked about a portable radio. I’ve only ever had Spotify on my phone, so it was weird to think about taking a portable radio to the forest. I liked the poetry that was included, too. I like poetry and I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with that included before.
Most of all, though, I liked the environmentalist theme/moral of the story. I liked that it showed that – while there were bad-acting humans – it wasn’t just a story of fairies against the humans. The fairies worked WITH humans to protect the forest. I liked how much the fairies were like regular people, too; it made it really easy to relate to them. And I liked that it showed that something like caring for the forests isn’t something that is done just once or in a single action. It’s something that you have to work on together for years for it to work. The trees in the stories were truly wise to know that!
Other children’s books by D.L. Finn and for adults in the Cafe and Bookstore
In April of this year I was delighted to read and review the children’s book by Miriam Hurdle – Tina Lost in a Crowd.
About the book
Tina invited her friend Erica to attend a popular Tchaikovsky’s Spectacular concert on a summer evening with her parents. During the intermission, her dad left the seat to buy some snacks. Tina and Erica followed him wanting to use the restroom. The shoving crowd pushed them away, and they lost sight of him. It would be impossible to fight through the 18,000 people to find him or go back to Tina’s mom. What would the girls do?
This story tells about what happened to Tina and Erica after they got lost. Children can adapt to the learning from different situations they may observe or encounter. Adults could have discussions with the children about the situations to help them develop problem-solving skills.
A recent review for the book
Like many children, the sweet main character “Tina” (based on Hurdle’s daughter in real life), has a memorable experience of getting lost in a crowd. This central conflict for the eight-year-old instantly sent me back into my own memories of being separated from my grandparents at a young age when I paused too long in front of a tank of jelly fish in a bustling aquarium in Los Angeles. When I turned around, my grandparents were gone; the brief separation felt terrifying at the time. Calm under pressure, young Tina does not panic as she relays the important lesson of staying put in this type of situation until parents or guardians can come find her and her friend. She models leadership and level-headedness for her friend Erica, and this event becomes a strong lesson learned rather than one underscored by fear.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story with my pre-school age son, and we both enjoyed the flow of the story, well-developed characters and realistic relationships, and expressive water color illustrations. As a parent and teacher, I appreciated the enthusiasm that naturally springs from the transition from school to summertime. Mrs. Tyler collaborates with Tina to create a list of fun events or activities to comprise “Tina’s Summer” and displays earnest interest in her daughter’s choices, interests, and questions. Beyond the main event at the Hollywood Bowl, the dialogue, storyline, and illustrations provide multiple conversation points and opportunities for follow-up questions between reader and listener. Thank you, Ms. Hurdle, for such an enjoyable book!
Also by Miriam Hurdle for adults
Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books…thanks Sally.