A book that will charm dreamy children and spark questions and imaginative theories about where we all came from.

LITTLE DREAMING PLANT

Hudson’s debut children’s book tells a magical story about the origin of the world.

In this gentle, dreamy creation story, a little plant imagined herself into existence one day. Then she dreamed up a circle—the first shape. That shape became the planet on which she planted herself. And from there, she kept dreaming: the sky, snowflakes, jellyfish, dancing flowers, toadstools, bumblebees, poppies and everything else that’s magical in the world. Hudson infuses this sweet-natured children’s book with quiet humor. The jellyfish, for example, are extraterrestrial beings who floated down from a world where everything is made of plastic bags. They speak a foreign language, but the wise seaweeds they live with have learned to make out certain sentences such as, “These long tendrils aren’t dangerous, really!” But all is not sweetness and light in the little dreaming plant’s world: She finds herself in a “strange mood” one day and dreams up poisonous nightshade that almost puts an end to her and her nascent world. Hudson’s two dozen illustrations are luminous collages: Deeply colored, richly layered and semiabstract, they call to mind a curious combination of batik cloth and the illuminations of medieval monks. The book doesn’t fill an obvious niche; it’s a read-aloud book that may be a little too long to get through in one sitting, and at times, its language of magic feels a little forced. It almost seems to come from another time: There’s the sense of wonder you find in The Little Prince, the humor of the Just So Stories, a bit of otherworldliness from the The Water-Babies and a touch of the late children’s book author Tasha Tudor’s elevated diction and unhurried storytelling. It’s easy to imagine an adult someday looking back and attributing her sense of wonder and creativity to this quirky little book from her childhood.

A book that will charm dreamy children and spark questions and imaginative theories about where we all came from.

Pub Date: Nov. 30, 2011

ISBN: 978-1467887182

Page Count: 60

Publisher: AuthorHouseUK

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2013

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A YA novel that treats its subject and its readers with respect while delivering an engaging story.

BROTHERS IN ARMS

BLUFORD HIGH SERIES #9

In the ninth book in the Bluford young-adult series, a young Latino man walks away from violence—but at great personal cost.

In a large Southern California city, 16-year-old Martin Luna hangs out on the fringes of gang life. He’s disaffected, fatherless and increasingly drawn into the orbit of the older, rougher Frankie. When a stray bullet kills Martin’s adored 8-year-old brother, Huero, Martin seems to be heading into a life of crime. But Martin’s mother, determined not to lose another son, moves him to another neighborhood—the fictional town of Bluford, where he attends the racially diverse Bluford High. At his new school, the still-grieving Martin quickly makes enemies and gets into trouble. But he also makes friends with a kind English teacher and catches the eye of Vicky, a smart, pretty and outgoing Bluford student. Martin’s first-person narration supplies much of the book’s power. His dialogue is plain, but realistic and believable, and the authors wisely avoid the temptation to lard his speech with dated and potentially embarrassing slang. The author draws a vivid and affecting picture of Martin’s pain and confusion, bringing a tight-lipped teenager to life. In fact, Martin’s character is so well drawn that when he realizes the truth about his friend Frankie, readers won’t feel as if they are watching an after-school special, but as though they are observing the natural progression of Martin’s personal growth. This short novel appears to be aimed at urban teens who don’t often see their neighborhoods portrayed in young-adult fiction, but its sophisticated characters and affecting story will likely have much wider appeal.

A YA novel that treats its subject and its readers with respect while delivering an engaging story.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2004

ISBN: 978-1591940173

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Townsend Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2013

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A short, simple, and sweet tale about two friends and a horse.

Mary's Song

From the Dream Horse Adventure Series series , Vol. 1

A novel tells the story of two spirited girls who set out to save a lame foal in 1952.

Mary, age 12, lacks muscle control of her legs and must use a wheelchair. Her life is constantly interrupted by trips with her widower father to assorted doctors, all of whom have failed to help her. Mary tolerates the treatments, hoping to one day walk unassisted, but her true passion involves horses. Possessing a library filled with horse books, she loves watching and drawing the animals at a neighboring farm. She longs to own one herself. But her father, overprotective due to her disability and his own lingering grief over Mary’s dead mother, makes her keep her distance. Mary befriends Laura, the emotionally neglected daughter of the wealthy neighboring farm owners, and the two share secret buggy rides. Both girls are attracted to Illusion, a beautiful red bay filly on the farm. Mary learns that Illusion is to be put down by a veterinarian because of a lame leg. Horrified, she decides to talk to the barn manager about the horse (“Isn’t it okay for her to live even if she’s not perfect? I think she deserves a chance”). Soon, Mary and Laura attempt to raise money to save Illusion. At the same time, Mary begins to gain control of her legs thanks to water therapy and secret therapeutic riding with Laura. There is indeed a great deal of poignancy in a story of a girl with a disability fighting to defend the intrinsic value of a lame animal. But this book, the first installment of the Dream Horse Adventure Series, would be twice as touching if Mary interacted with Illusion more. In the tale’s opening, she watches the foal from afar, but she actually spends very little time with the filly she tries so hard to protect. This turns out to be a strange development given the degree to which the narrative relies on her devotion. Count (Selah’s Sweet Dream, 2015) draws Mary and Laura in broad but believable strokes, defined mainly by their unrelenting pluckiness in the face of adversity. While the work tackles disability, death, and grief, Mary’s and Laura’s environments are so idyllic and their optimism and perseverance so remarkable that the story retains an aura of uncomplicated gentleness throughout.

A short, simple, and sweet tale about two friends and a horse.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Hastings Creations Group

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2016

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