December 12th, 2013 · Books
Review By JANE COWLES
Almost an Animal Alphabet by Katie Viggers is a sensory delight. First of all, I love the feel of the book. The cover is like a wood panel with a smooth suede surface. The color palette soft yet harmonized. The style of the illustrations is diverse.
The title intrigues me. Why “Almost”? Because each letter does not represent an animal? N is “night time” and U is “underground.” Because all the varieties within the species starting with that particular letter of the alphabet are included? There are many types of cats but the author mentions only cat.
I would like to think that the author used the “almost” to suggest that no matter how comprehensive, no guide or reference will cover all possibilities. In this way the title is inviting and encourages the reader to use his imagination. Rather than limiting the letter N to nematode, nighttime gives way to a number of nocturnal animals.
The book has an open ended style. So the author refers to six types of owls, but how many more types of owls exist? If an owl does not fall into one of these six categories, is it still an owl? In this light the book invites acceptance of diversity and encourages individuality.
Although the word whimsical is overused at times, I feel it is quite fitting for this charmingly quirky introduction to A to Zs. As an artist, I personally would love to have this book on display as a conversation piece for people of all ages.
To finish, I love the map on the back cover that identifies the indigenous habitat of all the animals mentioned in the book.
Bravo to Katie Viggers, Nas and Wally Molly.
The publisher powerHouse Books sent a review copy of this title.
Tags:Animals·Illustration·Jane Cowles·Katie Viggers·Owls·Preschoolers
December 10th, 2013 · Books
Review By ROBYN MOORE
Ruby Roth, the author of That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals and Vegan Is Love adds another book to her collection. This one, V Is for Vegan: The ABCs of Being Kind, is geared more towards younger kids than her other two. First is the fact that it’s an ABC book, and secondly, the language is lighter and the illustrations are not quite as graphic. Each page has a letter of the alphabet and a concept associated with that letter related to veganism. For example, I is for Insects, P is for Protein and R is for Rescue. My favorite page is the Y page because “Y is for you, because your choices matter.” I think that’s the most important message for kids in the book. This page offers a good opportunity for discussion.
V is for Vegan (Amazon affiliate link) is a really good book for toddlers. It addresses healthy eating by talking about legumes, nuts, grains, veggies, fruits, oil, and seeds. It also touches lightly upon vegan issues including zoos, clothing, shelters, animal testing, in an age-appropriate way. If you are raising vegan kids, definitely pick up a copy of this book for your collection.
The publisher, North Atlantic Books, provided a review copy of this book.
Tags:Alphabet·Best Books for Vegetarian Kids·Good for Toddlers·Healthy Choices·Healthy Living·Kindness·Kindness to Animals·Nutrition·Preschoolers·Raising Vegan Kids·Robyn Moore·Ruby Roth·vegan·vegan kids
December 8th, 2013 · Books
Review By JENNIFER GANNETT
A gold-hearted alien monster has come to visit us, and he seeks to spread the message that chickens are incredible creatures who deserve to be treated better than their human co-Earthlings are treating them. We can get behind that idea!
Dave is incredulous that on Earth, chickens are eaten. Although there is a silly, playful tone as he delineates the many reasons that chickens are too neat to eat, the underlying message is very thought-provoking (yet appropriate) for kids. For those not currently eating meat, this little gem will buttress that decision. For kids thinking about a veg lifestyle, the perspective of an alien monster is a great vehicle for reframing the way that children are socially instructed about chickens.
With bold graphics, bright colors and a positive message about caring for all life on our planet, Dave Loves Chickens is a great find. Featuring a lovable alien monster and clever rhymes about chickens, this book will resonate with young veggie and veggie-curious kids and their adults, whether or not they are gold-hearted chicken aficionados (though we think by the end of this story, they will be).
The publisher, Vegan Publishers (yes, that’s their name!) provided a copy of this book for review. Order directly through their site here.
Tags:Aliens·Animals as Food·Best Books for Vegetarian Kids·Carlos Patino·Chickens·Early Elementary·Preschoolers·Raising Vegan Kids·Raising Vegetarian Kids·vegan
December 5th, 2013 · Books
Review By JESSICA ALMY
I would have reviewed this book sooner, except as soon as a review copy came from the publisher, kiddo disappeared with it into her room. She’s never expressed much interest in graphic novels, so I let her take her time with it. In the end, she reported that she was enraptured by the stories at the beginning of the book but began to lose interest at the end.
This book is unlike any I’ve ever seen before. It resembles a graphic novel but is in fact a series of seven short stories, each told in graphic form. My favorite is the first story — “Rabbit Island” by Jake Parker — which depicts a hardworking rabbit society gone soft after a robot takes over the manual labor. The robot explodes and the rabbits rebuild the village themselves using parts of the robot on their homes and shops. Order is restored.
What makes this collection so interesting is that all of the stories tie into the ocean somehow. The rabbits in “Rabbit Island” go to the beach when they’re not working, for example, and some of the stories have a much stronger connection, such as the final story, “The Fishermen” by Kazu Kibuishi (the editor of the collection), which is entirely set out at sea. Vegetarian and vegan parents should be aware that this final story is ambiguous about fishing: on one hand, the fish as big as islands rise up against the fishermen; on the other, the story seems to extol fishermen as having a humble calling, in contrast to the greed of explorers.
Overall, I found this collection to be much darker than I expected, and I strongly disliked the second story, “The Mask Dance” by Chrystin Garland, which was scary without a very satisfying ending. That said, some of the artwork is stunning, and the slim hardback volume is quite alluring — you will want to read all the stories in one sitting. Whether this is a book that you and your kiddo will like is a matter of taste.
Ages 9 to 12.
Tags:Chrystin Garland·Graphic Novels·Jake Parker·Kazu Kibuishi·Short Stories