“Book Reviews,” Friend, Nov. 2005, 20
Apples to Oregon: Being the (Slightly) True Narrative of How a Brave Pioneer Father Brought Apples, Peaches, Pears, Plums, Grapes, and Cherries (and Children) Across the Plains, by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter. This is the silly tall tale, based on truth, of how young Delicious and her family faced rivers, storms, drought in the desert, and other obstacles on their way across the plains to the West. The colorful oil painting illustrations give even more life to this exciting tale.
A Christmas Dress for Ellen, retold by Thomas S. Monson, illustrated by Ben Sowards. On Christmas Eve in 1927, a young mother was getting her five children ready for bed. She was very sad because she had nothing to give her children for Christmas in the morning. But their mailman had a surprise in store!
Kumak’s Fish: A Tall Tale from the Far North, written and illustrated by Michael Bania. “Good day for fish,” agrees everyone in the village. Kumak is excited because he will be using Uncle Aglu’s amazing hooking stick. But the fish has a different idea!
The Chicken Salad Club, by Marsha Diane Arnold, illustrated by Julie Downing. Nathaniel’s grandpa is 100 years old and tells wonderful stories about his life. Every day, Nathaniel visits Greatpaw and listens to his stories while munching chicken salad sandwiches. But when no one wants to join the storytelling club, it’s up to Nathaniel to think of a way to lift Greatpaw’s spirits.
The Blind Hunter, written and illustrated by Kristina Rodanas. Chirobo is a wise and kind man who also happens to be blind. One day Chirobo joins a stranger from another village on a hunting trip. Even though he is blind, Chirobo shows that he can see with his ears, with his nose, and with his skin. He also teaches the stranger that he can forgive from the heart.
September Roses, by Jeanette Winter. Based on a true story, this book tells about two sisters stranded in New York in the aftermath of September 11. The women, who are flying with thousands of roses for a flower show, land right after the Twin Towers are hit. A stranger offers them a place to stay. Wanting to repay this kindness, they take their flowers to Union Square and arrange them in the shape of the fallen towers.
The Search for Delicious, by Natalie Babbitt. This story is about a quest, a young boy, a mermaid, a key, and an ancient land and its residents. When Prince Gaylan searches the kingdom for the definition of the word “delicious,” he finds what he’s looking for and more.
Ida B … and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World, by Katherine Hannigan. Ida B is a smart, fun-loving, and happy girl who lives on an apple orchard and loves going to school at home. But when change comes, Ida B is neither happy nor willing to accept it without a fight. How does Ida B set out to change the world? Read and find out!
Ravine, by Janet Hickman. Jeremy enjoys staging battles with his collection of ancient warriors and is proud of his beautiful but willful collie, Duchess. Ulf also loves the dog, but calls her Magic, since it seems that something unexplainable brings her to him. The ravine behind Jeremy’s house is where the two boys meet, brought together through a time slip found by Duchess—a slip through which two boys and two completely different worlds collide.
An Elephant in the Backyard, written and photographed by Richard Sobol. Raised by her human family, Wan Pen, a four-year-old domesticated Asian elephant, lives in Tha Klang, Thailand. The book is filled with interesting facts about elephants (“just one day’s worth of food would fill an entire garage”) and day-to-day life in Tha Klang. This is a fine introduction to a special place where elephants live safely with humans.
Thomas Locker, the illustrator of more than thirty books for children, has written three beautiful books about the lives of notable people who loved and wrote about nature. The books are: John Muir: America’s Naturalist; Walking with Henry: Based on the Life and Works of Henry David Thoreau; and Rachel Carson: Preserving a Sense of Wonder. If you enjoy nature and appreciate our beautiful world, you will like reading these books.
These reviews do not constitute official Church endorsement of these books, but the books have been carefully reviewed to ensure that Church standards are observed.