Books by Gloria Rand

A PEN PAL FOR MAX by Gloria Rand
Released: Oct. 1, 2005

Young Max and his family live and work on Don Manuel's Chilean fruit farm. The idea that the grapes his father picks are bound for faraway places fascinates Max, and he secretly stashes a wistful note, "let's be friends" into an outgoing crate. Some time later, an envelope arrives from ten-year-old Maggie in the U.S., and she and Max become pen pals. After an earthquake threatens his home and damages his school, Max and his classmates receive a note of concern and boxes of school supplies and clothing from Maggie's class. This is not a look at farm work and living conditions, but at the heartwarming result of a small boy's effort to befriend the wider world. Especially in these post-Katrina days when children may be trying to make sense of tragedy, worrying about the fate of children just like them and wondering how they might help, this gentle story, accompanied by the late Ted Rand's familiar, comforting watercolors, may be just the thing. (Picture book. 5-9)Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2004

Another successful team effort that encourages responsibility and caring, in this case for an abandoned sheep—well, not really abandoned, call it forgotten by its mother who has just had twins and the second lamb has slipped her mind. The sheep, born on a deserted farm on an island, is found by a citizen, taken in, and named—what else?—Mary. Soon, Mary is a full-fledged member of the community. But as she grows, as sheep do, she becomes a minor destructive force, putting dents in floors with her sharp teeth, eating homework assignments, and the like. Since Mary will have no truck with her flock, she finds a new home—and many new admirers—in a petting zoo. Low, low key—and a true story, to boot—definitely suitable for nighttime reading, though Ted Rand's saturated colors and lovely brushwork that resembles sophisticated finger painting will keep young readers' interest constantly refreshed. (author note) (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
SAILING HOME by Gloria Rand
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

The Rands do a merry job of painting a family's life at sea on a four-masted sailing bark during the end of the 19th century. They take as their inspiration the true life of the Madsen family on their ocean-faring vessel the John Ena. Ted Rand's atmospheric watercolors manage to make the colossal ship quite cozy, and Gloria Rand employs the cheery voice of the captain's youngest daughter to explain the layout of the bark and how they spent their time aboard. Young readers will marvel at the menagerie the children are in charge of, including a kangaroo, a monkey, more yeomanly creatures like ducks and chickens, and an unfortunate pig that falls in the tar being used to patch the deck and gets a burial at sea. They may be less enthralled to learn that a governess taught the children lessons six days a week, mornings and afternoons, "with only an hour off for lunch and no recesses"; the son of the captain plays hooky and gets his ear twisted for his trouble. But climbing in the rigging, playing on the deck, and arriving at the exotic ports of call bestow upon the life many of the qualities of an idyll. Then a brutal Christmas storm puts the precariousness back in the life of the family balancing keeping it all real. All ends happily and an afterword describing the source of the story adds the necessary authenticity. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
LITTLE FLOWER by Gloria Rand
Released: April 1, 2001

Sweetly winning as the main character may be, Rand's story is mildly confusing enough to keep readers from fully enjoying the book. Little Flower is a potbellied pig in the care of Miss Pearl. Little Flower is darling, all grins and feathery bristles as drawn by Paddington's illustrator, and she is most proud of a trick she has learned: to roll over, poke her trotters at the sky, and play dead. Miss Pearl has Little Flower perform this stunt for her neighbors, who roundly applaud the pig, all except for the Highchews, a stuffy couple from next door who are not amused. When Miss Pearl falls and injures her hip, it is up to Little Flower to get help. But how? Little Flower figures her trick might garner attention, but it is not until she plays dead in the middle of the road that anyone notices. Of course, in the middle of a busy road she could just as well have been standing on her head or dancing the polka as playing dead. Then, seemingly out of the blue, the Highchews agree to care for the pig (the one they didn't find amusing) until Miss Pearl returns from the hospital. Later, readers learn that they took her in because they considered her a hero. Would they have given her the bum's rush if she weren't a hero? Have they turned a new leaf or are they opportunists? Little Flower is a simple pig, and her adventures should be equally so. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1999

This bittersweet tale takes readers into a dark, ancient woods in the American Northwest. A father and son make this forest their special place to commune with the wild, to visit with the creatures that live therein, and to revel in the mesmerizing views. One day they find spots painted on the trees, markings for loggers. The boy and his father and family ignite a small grassroots resistance to the felling of the trees. They fight for something they believe in—it is almost a sacred obligation for them—but they are unsuccessful: the laws governing private property prevail. The trees are cut and, luckily, the father and son find another stand in which to take solace. The Rands (A Home for Spooky, 1998, etc.) offer a bright fusion of the cautionary and the inspirational, and the artwork is effective in conveying the outsized majesty of the old growth. (Picture book. 6-9) Read full book review >
A HOME FOR SPOOKY by Gloria Rand
Released: March 1, 1998

In this tender but slim story, Annie saves a starving stray dog's life. She is riding home from school when she notices the dog, whom she starts to call Spooky, picking through garbage. Every day thereafter, Annie seeks out the emaciated dog, hoping to feed him and help him get well, but the dog runs away. One day, when Annie finds Spooky by the side of the road, she realizes that the dog needs professional care, and her family pitches in to help her help the hound. The doctor's news is that the stray should be put to sleep, but with Annie's hope and love, Spooky miraculously recovers and becomes her new pet. This story is based on a real incident, but it isn't very interesting. Although Annie wears a modern bike helmet and her brother uses the ubiquitous "Whatever," as a response, both text and art have an old-fashioned feeling; this heartwarming tale is given a flat- footed treatment. (Picture book. 3-6) Read full book review >
BABY IN A BASKET by Gloria Rand
Released: Oct. 1, 1997

Adventure and high drama unfurl in this true story that carries all the seeds of tragedy, but ends happily. In the harsh Alaskan winter of 1917, a mother and her two young children, baby Ann and three-year old Betty, climbed into a horse-drawn sleigh, hoping to spend the winter in the kinder climate of Washington. During a violent snow storm, the horses tossed and scattered the passengers; Betty was pulled out from a swift current under ice, but baby Ann was swept away. Later in the day, two trappers found the baby in a basket floating down the icy river, and returned her, unharmed, to her mother. It's a story of miracle, hardship, survival, and hope that is strongly enhanced by the author's suspenseful telling and the illustrator's exquisite winter scenes. His art is full of detail, from the red-cheeked, cherry-nosed travelers, to the cold clouds puffing from the horse's nostrils, to the evident ferocity of the winter storm. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1992

After a huge oil spill in Prince William Sound, Denny finds a slimed baby seal on the beach and takes him to a vet. The seal is cleaned, nursed back to health, and elaborately taught to fend for himself in the wild; meanwhile, Denny witnesses volunteers working to wash beaches, contain the oil slick, and rescue wildlife. This book is completely issue-driven; the writer makes no effort to enliven the bland plot with dramatic tension or details of character. Meanwhile, the big illustrations' yank at the heartstrings seems calculated—after weeks of rehabilitation, the once pathetic seal pup is seen sleeping happily on a pillow, a fuzzy toy seal under his flipper. In an afterword, the author describes children joining the rescue effort after the Alaskan oil spill of '89; those brief paragraphs are a better motivator than the rest of this heavy-handed effort. (Picture book. 7-9) Read full book review >