Alice in Wonderland: Down the Rabbit Hole
Written by Lewis Carroll • Illustrated by Puybaret • Retold by Joe Rhatigan and Charles Nurnberg
Imagine! / Charlesbridge $17.95
With the 150th anniversary of “Alice in Wonderland” there are many interesting editions celebrating the publishing milestone. One of the more attractive volumes is this one that features a retelling of Lewis Carroll’s classic tale and the use of attractive illustrations.
Since a young reader may not yet be ready for the full version of this story with its surrealistic and sometimes nightmarish elements, this “retold” narrative that focuses on just part of the adventure may work a lot better.
The reader will meet Alice, the White Rabbit, Mouse, Duck, Eaglet, Dodo and the Blue Caterpillar as she begins this fantastical journey. The child will also see Alice as she experiences some quirky changes in size as well, but the focus here is really on just the opening of this famous odyssey that commences when the little girl tumbles down a rabbit hole after encountering the White Rabbit who is hurrying off for an important appointment.
Obviously this book marks just the beginning of Alice’s story, but it is a good way of introducing the iconic character and getting the child into the basic idea behind the whole book. If the youngster wants to follow Alice further, you can either wait for the next installment of this “retelling” or find a complete copy of the story.
If you like the idea of slowly introducing Alice to your child in a series of steps, this book will do so in a manner that will make the process fun and enjoyable. This way your son or daughter can indicate when he or she is ready for the next segment of the adventure and there’s no risk of exposing the youngster to some of the more potentially scary elements of the story too soon.
That’s What Wings Are For
By Patrick Guest and Daniella Germain
Little Hare Books. $17.99
Unlike other little dragons, Bluey doesn’t have strong wings for flying, strong breath for breathing fire or strong scales to protect him. Because he is different the little fellow is teased a lot by the other dragons.
Although he really wants to be like the other dragons, Bluey just doesn’t fit in, so one day he decides to find and consult the famous Bearded Dragon about his situation.
When they finally met the dragon told Bluey not to worry:
“You’re a precious little dragon,
You’re made of special stuff,
You were made for something special wonderful.
You’ll find it soon enough.”
After this meeting Bluey did indeed find what that “something special” was and the reader will too when he or she follows Bluey’s adventures.
A very heartwarming and upbeat picture book, this story is dedicated to families and children who are dealing with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). As Bluey discovers, a person’s uniqueness is not always defined by physical characteristics. He, just like children with DMD, has abilities that make him unique and set him apart from others.
The Art of Disney’s Dragons
Editor Jennifer Eastwood
Disney Editions. $29.99
Dragons have been very popular in literature and Walt Disney has worked them into many animated films. In this collection of illustrations from the Disney Studio you’ll see numerous variations of this fire-breathing creature and also notice how the concept of the dragon has evolved over the decades.
From storyboards and sketchbooks to production cells you’ll see simple concepts transformed into polished, finished illustrations. Elliot from “Pete’s Dragon,” Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty), Mushu (Mulan) and other Disney dragons are the stars of this collection.
The art assembled here is breathtaking, but there is really no text to explain what the individual is seeing and, for some folks, that may be a negative. But if you just wish to focus on the art and study the techniques involved, that probably won’t be a major problem
This book will appeal to all ages – young readers, older youth and adults. If you can’t get enough dragons and want to study the studio renderings of some exceptionally talented people, this is the resource you want to have at your fingertips.
White Stallion of Lipizza
By Marguerite Henry
Illustrated by Wesley Dennis
Often in books of this nature you discover that a youngster comes from too poor a background to be considered for admission to a famed riding academy so the individual must work hard to prove his or her worth.
Flip that scenario around in this well written novel. Hans dreams of working with the famed Lipizza stallions but he comes from a wealthy banking family and this is considered too lowly a position or occupation.
When he finagles an invitation to join the riders, Hans’s life is forever changed. He is paired with the stallion Borina, a horse that has trained many young riders, but the challenge will be is this pair really that compatible?
You’ll discover the answer to this question as you read this nicely illustrated story about the training of both horse and rider in Austria.
Not only has this novel been warmly embraced by youthful readers and many adults, but it is also on its way to becoming a true classic in this subject area of fiction. Don’t let your horse lover miss out on this very special story.
The Toilet Roll Activity Book
By Melanie Grimshaw and John Bigwood
Buster Books. $12.99
Each project is rated with one to four stars that indicate the project’s difficulty. Besides a list of all the materials needed, you’ll find detailed, illustrated instructions on how to make the finished item, and there’s also a color photo of what it should look like.
From a bird feeder, mini mouse, and crackling crackers to basket, rocket and advent calendar, these projects will appeal to a variety of tastes and skill levels.
Art teachers as well as home schooling parents will find this book a handy resource and this book will also interest grandparents who may wish to have it around on a rainy day when the grandchildren are visiting. So start collecting those toilet paper rolls (you could use paper towel rolls too) because now you have a good use for them!