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A Christian tale of the bond between humans and animals with thoughtful prose.

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A woman and her pet parakeet learn the value of their connection in this dramatic, faith-centered children’s book.

Munchie is a parakeet who lives with Grandmommie, an older woman whom he adores and who loves him dearly. Despite their affectionate relationship, Munchie does find himself yearning to be free outdoors, and has escaped from his cage several times. He especially admires blue jays, birds he considers cool, confident, and beautiful. One day, Grandmommie decides to treat Munchie by bringing him outside in his cage while she gets some gardening work done. While she has her back turned, the neighborhood cat decides to cause some mischief by knocking over Munchie’s cage and freeing the bird, who immediately takes to the skies. Grandmommie is beside herself with grief and guilt, and begins to search for Munchie, to no avail. The next day, she sees him outside on a telephone wire amid a group of the blue jays he reveres. He flies off before she is able to recapture him, convinced that freedom is better than captivity. While Grandmommie is away tending to some neighbors, a fierce thunderstorm persuades Munchie that he is not ready to live outdoors after all. He gets Grandmommie’s attention from the window and immediately flies back indoors, appreciating the goodness in his life. This enjoyable tale is richly illustrated with bright, digitally rendered artwork by Honasan. Grandmommie displays a deep Christian faith, and much of the time she is praying for guidance or thanking God. The premise is not very original, but Barr’s prose is engaging: “Hiding beneath an overgrowth of ivy covered bushes, an unseen presence, dark and sinister, watched and waited for the perfect opportunity.”

A Christian tale of the bond between humans and animals with thoughtful prose.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-973670-60-5

Page Count: 74

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2020

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The tables are turned and the big bad wolf from traditional fairy tales is cast as a mild-mannered, aspiring cook in this hilarious topsy-turvy tale from Fearnley. Determined to assuage his yearning for pancakes, the gastronomically-challenged Mr. Wolf sets out to make a stack himself. However, the would-be chef discovers a staggering amount of hurdles that must be overcome before he can enjoy his repast: reading the recipe, making a list, purchasing the ingredients. Like the little red hen, Mr. Wolf requests help from his neighbors along the way, and these characters—Chicken Little, Wee Willy Winkle, Gingerbread Man, and others—have shed their more benign personalities to reveal themselves as a rude, scurrilous bunch. Mr. Wolf retains his poise with each rebuff and ends up doing the work alone; when the pushy neighbors barge into his kitchen to share the food, Mr. Wolf enjoys—in true fairy-tale fashion—far more than pancakes for his meal. Fearnley’s light tone keeps the abrupt demise of the ill-mannered bunch from being morbid, and the switch in Mr. Wolf’s demeanor, from polite to hungry, is more funny than frightful. The brightly hued illustrations conjure up an imaginary land that tickles the funnybone, where “Little Jack’s Plum Pies” can be purchased from “Simple Simon’s Pie & Cake Emporium.” Wryly funny and childlike. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2000

ISBN: 1-888444-76-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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From McDonald (Tundra Mouse, 1997, etc.), a haunting, dramatic glimpse of the Bone Keeper, a trickster with special transformational powers. Some say Bone Woman is a ghost; some envision her with three heads that view past, present, and future simultaneously. Most, however, call her the “Skeleton Maker” or “Keeper of Bones.” Chanting, shaking, moaning, and wailing, the Bone Keeper is frenzied as she sorts bones; not until the end of the book are readers told, in murmuring lines of free verse, what the Bone Keeper is creating in her mysterious desert cave. Out of the darkness, a wolf springs to life, leaps from the cave, howling, a symbol of resurrection and proof of life’s cyclical nature. Also keeping readers guessing as to the Bone Keeper’s final creation are Karas’s paintings; they, too, require that the final piece of the puzzle be placed before all are understood. The coloring and textures embody the desert setting in the evening, showing the fearsome cave and sandy shadows that wait to release the mystery of the bones. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7894-2559-9

Page Count: 30

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1999

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