February 28, 2013

BUSHNELL ON BOOKS: A roundup of books for children

Bill Bushnell

THE ICIEST, DICIEST, SCARIEST SLED RIDE EVER!
By Rebecca Rule
Islandport Press, 2012
36 pages, $17.95
ISBN 978-1-934031-88-9
 
With a nostalgic nod to a time when kids could just play like kids, this debut children’s book by Rebecca Rule reveals just how much fun kids can have when left alone to just play.

Rule and Maine-based publisher, Islandport Press, have a hit with this funny and whimsically illustrated children’s book, suitable for ages 4-8.  Rule has also written the hilarious book, “Live Free and Eat Pie!”

This is a perfect book for winter  and takes place in February with seven children — four boys and three girls — excited about having fun sliding down an ice-covered, snowy hillside on their backs and in a snow saucer. But these kids want a bigger thrill — they want to go even faster.

They borrow Grampa Bud’s big, wooden runner sled and despite his cautions to be careful, they drag it to the top of the steepest hill in town. Then they all pile on and (afraid but not showing it), down they go — on the iciest, diciest and scariest sled ride ever.

What a thrill. Screaming and laughing, they all survive the ride, ready to do it again. Great fun for everyone — even their dog, Chipper.
 

HECTOR:  THE ADVENTURES OF A
LITTLE BIRD WHO NEEDS GLASSES

By Angela Nickerson and Robert Magnus
Maine Authors Publishing, 2012
32 pages, $15.95
ISBN 978-1-938883-07-1
 
A bird with eyeglasses? Sure, why not? Hector is born with poor eyesight, but Angela Nickerson and Robert Magnus, of Holden, help him fix that problem in their charming children’s book told in rhyming verse, for ages 4-8.

“Hector” is their first children’s book, a fanciful tale of a little bird who really needs eyeglasses. Nickerson wrote the story and Magnus did the illustrations, combining their talents to produce a funny story of thoughtful inspiration.

When Hector is born his eyesight is so bad he falls out of the nest, straight down, head-first into a chipmunk hole in the ground. He is not hurt, just stuck (this scene is really funny), until the two chipmunk homeowners, Skippy and Jiff (yes, just like the peanut butters), pull Hector out by his feet. The chipmunks then help Hector climb back into the nest.

Later, Hector’s mother takes him to the bird eye doctor who gives him a series of eye tests (check out the test specimens in this clever scene), and prescribes eyeglasses. Hector is overjoyed with his new glasses — he can finally clearly see all the beautiful colors and shapes in his bird world.
 

DUCK SAYS MOO

By Thomas D. Cashell
Maine Authors Publishing, 2012
29 pages, $12.95
ISBN 978-1-936447-16-9
 
Animal stories are always a hit with children and this debut, self-published children’s book by Thomas Cashell will be a hit with mothers, too.

Cashell lives in North Berwick and his clever little story has positive messages for both kids and moms, told in a simple yet enchanting style.

Mama and her five ducklings live on Farmer Tom’s farm. She is so busy doing errands, with her ducklings following her everywhere, the ducklings do not have time to play or visit with the other farm animals.  Mama is just too busy.

As Mama and her ducklings walk across the farmer’s field (to get to the other side, of course), one duckling stops to talk with Cowie, Lamb and Piglet, enjoying a funny conversation with each animal.

When Mama realizes the other farm animals are following her ducklings and that they are friends and want to play together, she finally understands that she should never be too busy to let her children play, have fun and make friends.

This cute book has a good lesson for everyone.

— Bill Bushnell lives and writes in Harpswell.

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