Books by Eric Beddows

CHANGING PLANES by Ursula K. Le Guin
Released: July 1, 2003

"Inventive and highly entertaining tales. Le Guin's touch is as magical as ever."
The inconveniences and exasperations of airplane travel (described in a bilious prefatory Author's Note) are the starting-point for a sparkling collection of 16 linked stories. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 30, 1996

From just out of the egg, Rooster is imbued with a sense of destiny. His fuzzy siblings make puny "peeps and cheeps," but he alone speaks in "glickles and gorks and flonks" that grow into a mighty pre-dawn "Cot Cot Cot Cot Ca-toodle tooooooo!" delivered from the coop roof. Day breaks, and Rooster exultantly takes credit. No one is more impressed than Rooster himself ("He felt lifted up, charged, holy") except for Smallest Hen, whose devotion he barely acknowledges. When Rooster slips in his timing and the sun comes up anyway, Smallest Hen saves his wounded pride by showing him how much better he can announce the sunrise than she can. It ends with the pair enjoying the sunrise together, Hen still clucking her approval (" 'Well done, Rooster,' bok-bokked Smallest Hen"). Although the overtones of gender entitlement are unfortunate, Conrad (Our House, 1995, etc.) provides a rousing comic tale and Beddows's brilliantly colored illustrations— appearing nearly three-dimensional in the use of detail, sculpting, and shadow—heighten the barnyard drama. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
Released: April 30, 1992

Noting that ``the most ordinary things can suddenly seem new and unexpected,'' Esbensen evokes the surprise and wonder in everyday images and objects. A sand dollar contains a delightful secret: ``Who can break a dollar?//What a bargain! Five/white doves/ready to fly to your hand//Sea change!'' In a note, the poet explains that sand dollars have dove-shaped teeth. Other images, like this one in ``Time,'' are vague or misleading: ``Until we invented clocks/we counted the hours/in sunlight/and shadow On cloudy days/everybody came in late or/early Everybody/apologized to/everybody There was/no order in the cave.'' Some metaphors intended to enhance the sense of wonder may merely confuse: in ``Pencils,'' the question ``Who/gives them their/lunch?'' puzzles rather than clarifies by muddling the pencil itself with the thoughts of the person who wields it. Beddows's softly rendered illustrations evoke each image with care, sometimes gently elaborating but more often remaining unnecessarily literal. But despite its flaws, the book as a whole does captures a child's imaginative response to the commonplace. A useful springboard for young writers and poets. (Poetry. 8-12) Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1987

A splendid collection of poems in many moods about the lives and dreams of insects. Vivid language, strong images, and the masterful use of two voices in musical duet make this an excellent choice for reading aloud. A charming pair of book lice ("We're book lice/ fine mates/ despite different tastes") set up home in Roger's Thesaurus to be "close to his Horace" and the mysteries she enjoys. Fleischman captures the character of empty-headed water striders, single-minded water boatmen, and the serene queen bee with her complaining worker. More somber pieces include "Requiem," an elegy for the insects that have died in the first killing frost; and "The Digger Wasp," who laments "I will never/ see my children." Soft, elegantly detailed pencil drawings enhance the whole, with the book-reading praying mantises on the endpapers a special treat. A joyful noise that should find a wide audience. Read full book review >