A fish learns how to identify a good friend—and how to become one himself—in this deceptively simple story geared toward preschoolers.
Beginning with the classic fairy-tale opening, the story tells of a fish named Tyler and his friend Dolphin. Dolphin can do amazing water tricks. Tyler envies his friend’s ability and decides to learn tricks himself. But it doesn’t come easily. When Dolphin finds Tyler, the fish is ready to give up. Dolphin offers to help Tyler learn, and after practicing every day, Tyler succeeds. Cash doesn’t beat her audience over the head with this lesson, but it’s valuable, especially for preschoolers, to hear that practice feeds success. Without belaboring the point, the story moves to the next conflict. Tyler’s so thrilled with doing tricks, he stops paying attention to Dolphin. When Tyler begins to get bored of showing off, he realizes that the new friends who have admired him only like him for his skill, not his personality. Tyler seeks out Dolphin and apologizes for not being a very good friend. The pair have an open discussion about their feelings and can be friends again. Cash uses simple sentences and a limited vocabulary to create a straightforward narrative that tackles problems preschoolers encounter: how to be good at something, how to be a good friend, and how to value people who like you because you’re you. The illustrations appear to be hand-drawn marker-and-crayon creations; the art looks like it could come out of an elementary classroom, and preschoolers will find a great deal of familiarity in the character designs. They may well aim to copy the colors and expressions of Tyler and Dolphin in their own work. Newly independent readers in lower elementary school will appreciate the repeated words from sentence to sentence, and lap readers will fall into the cadence as their parents (or preschool teachers) read aloud.
A useful picture book on friendship that succeeds because of, not despite, its simplicity.
A highly organized, informative discussion of the immigration system in the United States.
In this politically charged environment, Afrasiabi manages to broach the volatile issue of immigration in a well-rounded, surprisingly effective framework that combines case studies, historical research, statistical analysis and personal anecdotes to detail the current issues and propose solutions. Invocations of Kafka, “The Twilight Zone” and “Alice in Wonderland” prove warranted as illustrations of the often surreal circumstances that confront immigrants facing deportation. Immigrants usually lack access to quality legal representation, while their situation can be made doubly difficult due to language barriers and significant cultural differences. Afrasiabi incorporates his work with colleagues and students at the Chapman University School of Law to deftly weave together the facts of several compelling cases and their underlying legal issues, with a genuine sense of suspense as readers wonder if justice will be truly be served. Occasionally, though, the narrative becomes overwrought—two federal laws passed in 1996 are “dark storm clouds depositing their sleet”—although, considering the life-changing effects of court decisions, it’s difficult to overstate the ramifications: extralegal rendition of individuals with pending cases and the de facto deportation of native-born children whose parents are deported. Afrasiabi also addresses the legacy of various anti-alien laws in California, as well as marriage equality for same-sex couples when one partner is a noncitizen. As the subtitle asserts, Afrasiabi employs his additional experience in the field of property law to contrast the stark differences between immigration judges and constitutional judges, like their qualifications, vetting processes and even the oaths they take. His arguments culminate in seven concrete reforms proposed in the conclusion. In order to make the immigration system more just and effective, Afrasiabi claims the solutions are closer than we may think; we can implement procedures and safeguards already in place within the constitutional courts.
A persuasive, valuable addition to the ongoing immigration reform debate.
Walkley pits CIA agents against a maniacal Saudi prince intent on starting World War III in this debut thriller.
Delta Force operative Lee McCloud, aka Mac, finds himself in Mexico, trying to rescue two teenage girls kidnapped by a drug cartel. But things go from bad to worse when the villains don’t play by the rules. Framed for two murders he didn’t commit, Mac has two options: go to prison or go to work for a CIA black-op group run by the devious Wisebaum, who hacks into terrorists’ bank accounts and confiscates millions of dollars. However, there’s more going on than meets the eye; Saudi Prince Khalid is in possession of nuclear canisters, with which he hopes to alter world history. Khalid also dabbles in trafficking young women, and harvesting and selling human organs. When Wisebaum’s black-op team targets Khalid’s father, the action becomes even more intense. With so many interweaving subplots—kidnapped girls, Israeli undercover agents, nuclear weapons and a secret underwater hideout—it could be easy to lose track of what’s going on. But the author’s deft handling of the material ensures that doesn’t occur; subplots are introduced at the appropriate junctures and, by story’s end, all are accounted for and neatly concluded. Mac is portrayed as a rough and ready action-hero, yet his vulnerabilities will evoke empathy in readers. He finds a love interest in Tally, a hacker whose personality is just quirky enough to complement his own. All Walkley’s primary characters are fleshed out and realistic, with the exception of Wisebaum—a malicious, double-dealing, back-stabber of the worst ilk; the reader is left wondering about Wisebaum’s motivations behind such blatant treachery.
Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.