Slight missteps with puns and humor do not detract from this charming children’s fantasy that deftly integrates real-life...

TARA'S TIARA

The natural world of the redwood forest and a fantasy world of fairy-like creatures combine in Powers’ children’s tale of a treasure quest and justice served.

The faexie, the tiny winged folk that helm Powers' debut, live on Redwood Isle, where they are ruled by Queen Darkwing. All are able to fly but young Tara, who lost her wings in a mysterious incident; as a consequence, where other faexies live high in the towering redwoods, Tara and her family make do on an ancient stump on the forest floor where they operate pumps that feed water to the redwoods’ roots. But a build-up of dead plant material is making the water pumps less efficient after the queen banished banana slugs from Redwood Isle. Without them, an important symbiotic part of the redwoods’ ecosystem is missing. When the queen announces that she will burn away the plant matter on the forest floor—taking Tara’s tree stump home with it—the little faexie is propelled on a quest to save her home and the environment. Along the way, she is aided by a motherly salmon, an injured red-tailed hawk, a banana slug named Benny and other new friends of various species. Powers wastes some time initially by setting the scene with a financial crisis in Redwood Isle due to “seedy financial schemes” at the “Goldwing Sacks Bank.” Heavy-handed puns abound, most of which are not applicable to the story. Nor is the tale enhanced by illustrations that appear to be homemade crayon drawings. However, younger readers—and adults too—will have fun with the fantasy and much of the humor, best evoked in scenes depicting a tangle of worms offering plays on the word “banana,” a stinkbug using his natural talents in a boat race and the faexies storing pollen in the “Fort Knots Treesury.” The author also excels at weaving real information about the flora, fauna and life cycle of the great redwood forest into the fabric of his tale.

Slight missteps with puns and humor do not detract from this charming children’s fantasy that deftly integrates real-life facts about an important ecosystem.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9853817-0-7

Page Count: 121

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: March 12, 2012

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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I AM NOT GOING TO GET UP TODAY!

After an eight-year interval, a Beginner Book by this well-loved originator of the series is welcome; and since Seuss hasn't chosen to illustrate it himself, we are lucky to have Stevenson as alternate. In the familiar Seuss pattern of a simple premise exaggerated to comic effect, a boy declares, "My bed is warm. My pillow's deep. Today's the day I'm going to sleep"—regardless of his mother, various arguments, successive waves of reinforcements, including the Marines, and a TV crew filming the momentous event. Actually, the development of the idea is a little tame compared with Seuss' other extravaganzas (and such determined all-day slumber is more the province of teen-agers and the good doctor's contemporaries than of readers at this level); but the book is delightfully enlivened by Stevenson's vigorous illustrations, which considerably augment the text by showing the full extent of the consternation caused by the hero's stubborness. Though there is plenty of the repetition required by learning readers, there are also some unusual words like Memphis, suggesting that this is not the easiest easy reader; but it has enough appeal to keep beginners entertained.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 1987

ISBN: 0394892178

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1987

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