Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Beatrix Potter Review of Book Four: The Tale Of Benjamin Bunny

Name of book: The Tale Of Benjamin Bunny
Author  / Illustrator: By Beatrix Potter
What's It All About: Benjamin Bunny, Peter Rabbit's cousin, comes along to Peter's house and finds Peter very poorly, having lost all his clothes in Mr. McGregor's garden.  (This is a continuation of the story of Peter).  Benjamin and Peter return to Mr. McGregor's garden as he and his wife have gone to town.  After they have been in the garden, however, they find their way back out of the garden is blocked by Mr. McGregor's cat.  The bunnies hide in an overturned basket which the cat promptly lays on top of and goes to sleep.  Mr. Benjamin Bunny, Benjamin's father, comes along looking for his son.  He beats the cat, takes the onions, and marches his son and nephew out of the garden. 
My Favorite Bit: I love the way Mr. Benjamin Bunny is portrayed throughout this little story and my favorite picture of him has to be on page 48, with him strolling along in his waistcoat with a pipe in his mouth.  What a proper gentleman bunny.

Suitable Age for reading it to: This one is for all.  The length of each page is short and the pictures and characters are easy to grasp, portrayed with a lovely color, and the story is just right.  Read this one, if only to see the dapper Mr. Bunny.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Children's Book Review: Home For A Bunny

I have taken a short break from the Beatrix Potter series of reviews to reccommend this book solely because Easter is rounding the bend and it is a great book for an Easter basket.  Who knows, perhaps a few marshmallow peeps can be squeezed out to make room for reading.  

Name of Book: Home For A Bunny
Author / Illustrator: By Margaret Wise Brown and Illustrated by Garth Williams
What's It All About: Down the road and down the road and down the road the little bunny goes to find a home.  Where is a suitable home for a bunny?
My Favorite Bit: Oh, it's hard not to love the last page with the two little bunnies fast asleep in their home.
Suitable Age For Reading To: This is for small ones.  The language is simple, repetitive in a comforting way, and the pictures are colorful and oh, soft somehow.  Older children may say they don't need to sit for it but you may find them peeking over your shoulder to see what happens to this cute little bunny.
Go Get It: Home For A Bunny
A Little About The Author And/Or Illustrator:
Margaret Wise Brown wrote hundreds of books but is best known for Goodnight Moon and Runaway Bunny (though my favorite has always always been The Color Kittens).  She dreamed stories and wrote them down on scraps of paper, many of which are in a library in Westerly, Rhode Island.  She wrote the way children wanted to hear and taught illustrators to draw the way children see things.  She died from complications after surgery for a burst appendix at the age of 42.  Find out more about her at
Garth Williams was an American artist who has illustrated many famous children's book classics such as Stuart Little, Charlotte's Web, and the Little House on the Prairie Series.  Williams also drew for the New Yorker.  At age 81 he had illustrated ninety-seven books.  He died at the age of 84 and is buried in Aspen, Colorado.  Find out more about him on wikipedia.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Beatrix Potter Review of Book Three: The Tailor of Gloucester

Name of book: The Tailor of Gloucester
Author  / Illustrator: Beatrix Potter
What's It All About: Before we go any further, I'm going to clarify for the Americans (myself included) how you pronounce this title: Gloss-ter.  Also as an aside, it's pronounced: Less-ter for Leicester.  So, to recap, it's the Tailor of Gloss-ter.  

The Tailor of Gloucester, a poor old man, sews finery for the town in his little shop.  He begins to make a cherry coat for the mayor, who will be married on Christmas day.  But, the tailor runs out of cherry colored silk twist and before he can stitch the coat he begins to fall ill.  At home in his one little room, he tells his cat Simpkin to get some food and some cherry colored silk with his last pennies.  While the cat is out the tailor hears a scritching under the tea cups and finds a little mouse trapped under each one, undoubtebly the work of Simpkin.  He lets the mice go as he is still worrying over the cherry silk.  By the time the cat returns, the Tailor is feeling very ill indeed and goes to bed without his cherry silk that the cat hides in a teapot as retribution for the tailor releasing his mice dinner.  The week passes by and the tailor is too ill to sew, but who has listened to his moanings about sewing up the cherry coat?
I've already run on here too far and so I shall leave you to guess who would sew for the old tailor. 


My Favorite Bit: Again I am cheating with my favorite bits in this book but I have two and there is nothing you can do about it.  My first is a line from page 38:

"But it is in the old story that all the beasts can talk, in the night between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the morning (though there are very few folk that can hear them, or know what it is they say)." 
... "From all the roofs and gables and old wooden houses in Gloucester came a thousand merry voices singing the old Christmas rhymes--all the old songs that ever I heard of, and some that I don't know, like Whittington's bells."

The other favorite bit is on page 46 when Simpkin (the cat) sees the little mice in the tailor's shop, singing merrily and working by candlelight and he mews to be let in.

"The mice only laughed, and tried another tune--
Three little mice sat down to spin, 
Pussy passed by and she peeped in.
What are you at, my fine little men?
Making coats for gentlemen.
Shall I come in and cut off your threads?
Oh, no, Miss Pussy, you'd bite off our heads!" 

Suitable Age For Reading It To:This is a suitable story for an older than 3-ish child (who I must say would love the illustrations but not understand much of the story nor sit for so long).  The pictures are delightful for all ages and the story is one of my favorites out of this series.  Read on, dear friend.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Beatrix Potter Review of Book Two: The Tale Of Squirrel Nutkin

Name of book: The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin
Author  / Illustrator: Beatrix Potter
What's It All About: Many people don't know that this is the second book in the series and would assume that the Tale of Benjamin Bunny would be, but this is not true.  Squirrel Nutkin has been named as second.  
This is the story about a cheeky little squirrel named Nutkin.  When all the busy little squirrels sail across the lake to Owl Island to collect nuts, Nutkin plays about and teases Old Mr. Brown, the owl who gives the squirrels permission to hunt for nuts on his island in return for little gifts they bring.  Nutkin teases him terribly until Mr. Brown suddenly grabs hold of him and tries to eat him.  Nutkin gets away but leaves his beautiful tail behind.  Ever after he is a squirrel without riddles and jokes who knows when to keep his mouth shut.
My Favorite Bit: The page where the squirrels sail across the lake with their tails in the air is especially lovely.  I also love the way Potter illustrates the owl.
Suitable Age For Reading It To: This is perhaps for a little older of a child, mostly because there is a little violence and a moral at the end (and perhaps because old Mr. Brown is a little scary just sitting there).  This one is still one we read fairly often and I love the depiction of red squirrels, which are quickly disappearing from the UK.