Thursday, March 5, 2009

Wild on Books

Animal characters make a real impact in newly published children's books.

"First Dog Fala"
By Elizabeth Van Steenwyk
Illustrated by Michael G. Montgomery
For ages 4 – 8
After President Barack Obama took the oath of office americans turned their attention to one question — What kind of dog will his family bring to the White house? Van Steenwyk brings us a tale of another President's dog in "First Dog Fala." it is the story of Franklin D. roosevelt and his beloved dog. during the darkest days of World War II 
FDR had a loyal friend in his Scottish terrier. Steenwyk relates true anecdotes of their relationship including when Fala was left behind on a Pacific island and a destroyer was sent to retrieve him. It cost American taxpayers millions of dollars and kicked off a public outcry. 
Montgomery brings the story to life with rich oil paintings in a retro 1930s style. The color palette is subdued but textural and helps create a visual backdrop to this wonderful story of friendship and history.

"Critter Sitter"
By Chuck Richards
For ages 4 – 8
Henry is an industrious young boy who started his own critter sitting business. his neighbors are his first customers. With a house full of unruly animals including a cat, dog, bird, fish snake, and a frog it is really no job for a beginner. But Henry never loses his cool.
This book takes readers on a first rate thrill ride as the bird flies the coop, the snake makes a dash for the drain and the cat tries to free a jar full of crickets. Chuck Richards further draws us into the mayhem with his colorful and expressive action illustrations of Henry hard at work.
"Critter Sitter" is a fun-filled story tat may just inspire budding entrepreneurs — or maybe just scare them away.

"Madame Pamplemousse and Her Incredible Edibles"
By Rupert Kingfisher
Illustrated by Sue Hellard
For ages 8 – 12
Each and every summer Madeline is sent to work in her uncle's restaurant in Paris. he is a horrible bully of a man named Lard and his restaurant, the Squealing Pig, isn't any better. madeline loves food and cooking. One day on an errand to the market she discovers a tiny shop with wondrous and amazing delicacies — Sea Serpent Pate, Minotaur Salami, Pterodactyl Bacon, and Roast Piranha. Madeline even discovers the most incredible ever on the shelves.
Before long Lard is trying to steal the recipe for the most incredible edible ever tasted and Madeline is stuck in the middle, between the mysterious Madame Pamplemousse and her horrid uncle. She must learn to stand up and believe in herself and her talents before this modern fairytale can end happily ever after.
Children who enjoyed Disney-Pixar's Ratatouille will also enjoy this jaunt through the Paris food scene. Although the lead character is a girl this is not a princess-style book. Boys, girls and grown-ups alike will enjoy this tale.

You may also enjoy...
"The fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau"
By Dan Yaccarino
For ages 6 – 12
Yaccarino uses his bright and inviting illustration style to present a wonderful doorway into the life of Jacques Cousteau. Children and their parents will eagerly read and learn about the man who brought everything under the sea to the rest of the world. You will be amazed by his inventions and awed by how one man changed the way we explore and understand the sea.  

Thank you Dan Yaccarino for shedding color on Cousteau's life and making it accessible to a new generation.

For a copy of these reviews, reprint permission, or pricing guides contact McGeath at

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