March 2012

These are the books the Children's Area staff reviewed in March 2012. Click on the "check the catalog" link to see if the book is available. If it isn't, ask a librarian to put it on hold for you.

Scroll past these book reviews to see an archive of all of the previous book reviews.

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Star of Light

Star of Light is a beautiful, yet sensitive book which is profoundly religious. This book is about a little boy named Hamid and his blind sister, Kinza, who live in a remote area of North Africa. Kinza is both blind and a girl, a double curse in that part of the world. Hamid's stepfather wants to sell Kinza to a beggar who will use her to make money. But Hamid loves Kinza, and with the love and sacrifice of his mother he steals Kinza away and brings her to an English nurse missionary in a far away town. The missionary loves all children no matter how they look or what disabilities they have. Truly a spellbinding book. I felt the love of the characters reach through the pages. If you like this book I would also recommend The Rainbow Garden, also written by Patricia St. John, and The Hidden Jewel.

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The House Baba Built: an Artist's Childhood in China

Ed Young was awarded the Caldecott Medal for his book Lon Po Po, and his two books, The Emperor and the Kite and Seven Blind Mice, were named Caldecott Honor Books. In this new work, Young shares illustrated memories of his childhood that took place when his family lived in Shanghai, China in a home built by his father. The house was built near the embassies where the family would be safest during the war, but ended up becoming home to many more - friends, relatives, and even strangers who became like family – all seeking refuge as the war spread. The exquisite mixed-media illustrations include collage and actual family photographs. "There are things that words do that pictures never can, and likewise, there are images that words can never describe." - Ed Young. Highly recommend.

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Extra Yarn

This is a lovely story about a little girl named Annabelle who finds a box of yarn with every color. She knits herself a sweater, and since she has extra yarn she knits her dog a sweater too. And because she has extra yarn, she ends up knitting something for everyone and everything - changing the attitude and color of the town - and she still has extra yarn! When a greedy archduke steals the box from Annabelle, he discovers that the box is only empty. Hmmmm. But when the box finds its way back to Annabelle, so does the never-ending supply of yarn - or should I say happiness - proving the magic of kindness and generosity. Highly recommend.

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Open House for Butterflies

Open House for Butterflies is not quite a "storybook" - it's a child's way of looking at things. The book is full of statements, advice, musings, and invented-words that children (and some adults) will find profound. A song for bumpy roads is good to know. When you run out of cereal, can you run into it again? Sendak's art brilliantly jumps across each page. I read this book when I was a little girl, and I still love reading it. A true classic that everyone will enjoy!

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