Thanksgiving Is…

thanksgiving is a

Thanksgiving Is…

Gail Gibbons
Holiday House, 2004

From the dust jacket: “Thanksgiving is turkey, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. It is parades with giant balloons.  It is a holiday for remembering the Pilgrims and the Indians they met. Most of all, it is a time to share with family and friends, and a time to give thanks for many blessings.”

The author of this picture book gives the reader a nice overview of why Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, both past and present. She also covers harvest festivals of the way, way back past – like ancient Egypt and Greece as well as the Middle Ages. The illustrations are nice watercolors of mostly the same face just in different clothing. There aren’t enough persons of color in the scenes, but like I said the paintings are nice.

Rating 3 out of 5 paws because the overall message of the book is to be thankful for our many blessings!

Reviewer:thanks-dana Simon

 

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And Tango Makes Three

and tango makes three

And Tango Makes Three

Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Illustrated by Henry Cole
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2005

From the dust jacket, “In the zoo there are all kinds of animal families. But Tango’s family is not like any of the others.”

This is a true story of 2 male penguins at the Central Park Zoo who became a couple and built a nest for an egg that never came. One of the zookeepers placed an extra fertilized egg in the boy penguin’s empty nest and they each took turns to sit on it and eventually, a female chick, Tango, was hatched.

The penguins in the story are so sweet – they’re like any other animal couple – playing, sleeping and eating together; and, most of all, their inborn desire to have a chick. When I was reading it, my heart hurt a little when Roy and Silo built their little nest and tried to hatch a rock – which of course, didn’t hatch. Thank goodness for attentive zookeepers who care for their charges and want to provide the best for them.

Rating 4 out of 5 paws for cuteness of the penguins, of course, but more importantly, for the honesty and forthrightness with which the story is told. No apologies or excuses, here. Just the facts, ‘mam, just the facts. Two boys can make a family!!

If you want to read about the multiple times this book has been challenged and banned, please scroll past the adorable illustrations!

 

 

 

You can imagine why this book is banned and challenged… The ALA reports that And Tango Makes Three was the most frequently challenged book from 2006 to 2010, except for 2009 when it was the second most frequently challenged…and thank you to the ALA for the following information.

2014 –
• One of three books about gay couples withdrawn from libraries in Singapore (2014), where gay sex is illegal. In a statement, the National Library Board suggested that gayness and family values are incompatible. And that copies of the book would be pulped. It was announced later that authorities in Singapore reversed their decision and stopped the national library from destroying the children’s books, after its decision in July produced a public outcry over literary censorship. Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim ordered that the books be moved to the adult section, where parents can borrow them for their children.
• Frequently challenged in the U.S. for the following reasons: anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, as well as “promotes the homosexual agenda”

2011 –
• Pulled from the Gibbs Elementary School in Rochester, Minn. (2011) as inappropriate for elementary school students and removed from school library shelves. This decision was later reversed as a mistake for failing to follow district policy. Eventually, a “temporary resolution” was reached requiring that one of the parents who challenged the book be present when their child checks out books from the school media center in the future.

2009 –
• Challenged, but retained in the North Kansas City, Mo. schools despite a parent’s concern that the book wasn’t age-appropriate, didn’t follow the district’s policy on human sexuality education, and tries to indoctrinate children about homosexuality. In subsequent discussions, the schools appear to be headed towards segregating elementary school libraries according to “age appropriateness.” Students might be restricted to view or check out materials in their own age-class or younger.

2008 –
• Returned to the general circulation shelves in the 16 elementary school libraries in Loudoun County, Va. despite a complaint about its subject matter.
• Withdrawn from two Bristol, England, U.K., primary schools following objections from parents who claimed the book was unsuitable for children and that they had not been consulted on their opinions.
• Challenged, but retained at the Eli Pinney Elementary School in Dublin, Ohio despite a parent’s concerns that the book “is based on one of those subjects that is best left to be discovered by students at another time or in another place.”
• Challenged in the elementary school library in Ankeny, Iowa by parents who do not want their children to read the story of two male penguin parents in the Central Park Zoo due to concerns that it promotes homosexuality. On Dec. 15, 2008, the Ankeny school board members voted six to one to keep the book.
• Retained in the Chico, Calif. Unified School District, over complaints that the book is inappropriate for elementary school students. The district review committee determined that the book meets library selection standards and district policy.
• Retained by the Calvert County Library in Prince Frederick, MD after requests that the book be removed from the children’s section and shelved in a labeled alternative section.
• Retained in the Meadowview Elementary School in Farmington, Minn. despite a parent’s concern that “a topic such as sexual preference does not belong in a library where it can be obtained by young elementary students.”

2007 –
• Challenged at the Lodi, Calif. Public Library by a resident deriding what she called its “homosexual story line that has been sugarcoated with cute penguins.”

2006 –
• Moved from the children’s fiction section to children’s nonfiction at 2 Rolling Hill’s Consolidated Library’s branches in Savannah and St. Joseph, Mo after parents complained of its homosexual undertones.
• Challenged at the Shiloh, Ill Elementary School library. A committee of school employees and a parent suggested the book be moved to a separate shelf, requiring parent permission before checkout. The school’s superintendent, however, rejected the proposal and the book remained on the library shelf.
• Pulled from 4 elementary school libraries in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg, NC area after a few parents and Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James questioned the controversial but true story. The books were returned after the local paper questioned the ban. It should be noted that there was no formal request for the book’s removal.

Reviewer:

jack-loc

Jack, North Carolina Division Chief and Banned Books Librarian

My Little Easter Story

my-little-easter-story

 

My Little Easter Story

Christina Goodings
Illustrated by Claudine Gevry
A Lion Children’s Book, an imprint of Lion Hudson plc, 2011

From the back of the book, “Let this story take you to the heart of the very first Easter… from the excitement of Palm Sunday, through the sadness of Good Friday to the good news of Easter morning… the day when Jesus showed his friends that God’s love is for ever.”

This small book is perfect for reading to young kittens to help them understand the story of Jesus, Palm Sunday and the week that followed leading up to and including Jesus’ Ascension. It provides a very brief overview of the events without delving into details.

Although the book follows the Bible, I was bothered by the lack of continuity – something kittens won’t notice I’m sure, but it bugged me. It was like the author felt she had to make the story fit within so-many words and on so-many pages so some stuff got left out. The illustrations are simple but colorful. There’s even a cat in one of them – but it’s a black cat like me shown on the same page as Judas talking to the Pharisees. Hmmm, that gives me paws to think of why the illustrator did that and is she perpetuating the terrible superstition of black cats bringing bad luck? I hope not, but as there is no other cat shown it does make me wonder.

Rating 2 out of 5 paws because it’s a nice book that is basically a condensed version of the Bible Story and I personally object to the suggestion of lingering black cat superstitions.

Reviewer:

simon-loc

Simon

 

The black cat shown on the same page as Judas betraying Jesus. I don’t like the implications of this scene. my-little-easter-story-cat

 

Sarah Gives Thanks

Mercy

mercyMercy
The Incredible Story of Henry Bergh
Founder of the ASPCA and Friend to Animals

Nancy Furstinger
Illustrations by Vincent Desjardins
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016

Henry Bergh was born in 1813 to a wealthy family and lived a privileged lifestyle. As many rich children often do, he had no desire for real work and instead wandered the globe as a young man living off his family’s wealth. He eventually settled down and got married. While on his honeymoon in Europe he and his wife witnessed the horrific and bloody end of 25 horses and 8 bulls in an afternoon of bullfighting. His response to the enthusiastically cheering crowd  was “Never before has a similar degree of disgust been experienced by us, or such a hearty contempt for a people calling themselves civilized and at the same time Christians.”

Later on he spent time in Russia where he came to the defense of a wagon driver beating his horse. In 1865 he moved back to New York with a new found mission in life – that of saving animals from a life of abuse and cruelty. February of 1866 saw Bergh form the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to animals. From that time forward he spent his life fighting for the rights of abused animals everywhere. Through the hard and diligent work of Mr. Bergh we have laws against animal cruelty today.

I enjoyed reading this book – it is written for middle grade kittens but is easily accessible to all ages. For younger kittens, it might be wise to have an older cat read this to them so they may skip over the abusive parts. Although not overly graphic in description, the abuse suffered is nonetheless terrible and for sensitive kittens, it might be nightmare inducing. The illustrations are interesting but don’t necessarily add anything to the overall message of the book. There are photographs as well and it is always interesting to look at records of a long-gone era.

This biography provides a good overview of Mr. Bergh’s struggle with changing the way society looks and treats its animals. It reinforces a lesson of perseverance in the face of resistance. Mr. Bergh endured years of humiliating articles and cartoons in newspapers as well as ridicule and mocking. But he continued to work without fail. Through his life we can learn to fight for what we believe in, and know that it is okay to go home, have a good cry and get back up the next day and do it all again. If you are in animal rescue and need encouragement, want something uplifting and very quick to read (I read it in about 3 hours), consider this book. It may have you reenergized to get out and fight the good fight.

Rating: 4 paws

jackReviewer: Jack

 

027

Mr. Bergh was known for stopping overloaded trolley horses and making people get off. (The average life span of a trolley horse was TWO years.)

029

Mr. Bergh developed a humane rescue system for horses stuck in water and mud.

030

Stray dogs were tempted into service by food then when they could no longer work they were abandoned.

 

We read this book as a part of the Summer Reading Challenge!

Topic: Read a book of Non Fiction!

Click on the logo to go to our SRC 2016 page!

VBPL_Logo_w tag

 

Also published on Sunny Book Garden under the non de plume, Debby.

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