Showing posts with label Books for Kids. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Books for Kids. Show all posts

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Favorite Christmas Pop Up Books By Robert Sabuda

Pop Up books always bring a smile to my face! My favorite pop up book creator is Robert Sabuda. I was first introduced to Robert Sabuda when moonlighting at Borders Books (ah, I remember it well, we miss you Borders!). His pop up books bring the Christmas classics to life and are a must on the Christmas list for all ages!
Robert Sabuda pop up reindeer.

Christmas Pop Up Books By Robert Sabuda


 My first Christmas pop up book was The 12 Days Of Christmas! One of the special treats in the pop up books are the extra pop ups intertwined in the story. Loved finding a reindeer in my 12 Days Of Christmas !
The 12 Days Of Christmas

The Christmas pop up books by Sabuda cover the Christmas and winter classics like no other and are a wonderful addition to your library. These books will be a permanent addition to your library.


  • The 12 Days Of Christmas
  • The Night Before Christmas
  • The Christmas Story
  • Christmas Alphabet
  • Winter In White
  • Winter's Tale
  • Cookie Count
  • Believe




Who Is Robert Sabuda?


Robert Sabuda is the author, creator and renowned paper engineer who creates intricate pop up books for kids. The books are unique, whimsical and visually stunning. His artistic career spans many mediums with a specialty in 3-D paper engineering which uses to transform children's stories into stunning pop up books.

Find out more about Robert Sabuda in the video > (in his own words.) It is fascinating to hear the authors' view of his craft.

How To Make Pop Up's?


Feeling crafty? Robert Sabuda's website offers step by step tutorials on how to make your own pop up! The tutorials are organized by category and skill level plus provide pdf templates, instructional slideshows and motivation to DIY a pop up. My next DIY is the Pop Up Lion and Reindeer for the holidays.

Christmas Pop Up Books For All Ages


What I love about the Robert Sabuda collection of Christmas books is the appeal to all ages. If a book lover is on your Christmas list I guarantee delight when a Sabuda pop up book is received. Half the fun of giving a popup book is watching the facial expressions as the pages are turned and each page brings spectacular artistry mixed with the classic stories of Christmas.

More Robert Sabuda Pop Up Books


Classic children stories and topics are also artistically created by Sabuda and a wonderful gift for any occasion. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, The Wizard Of Oz, Beauty And The Beast, The Little Mermaid, The Movable Mother Goose and Cookie Count are among my favorites. Dinosaur fans will love -  absolutely love the Dinosaur book.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Stellaluna (Fruit Bat) Children's Book Reviewed

Stellaluna Children's Book Reviewed
If you ask my daughter what her favorite childhood book was, she would quickly answer, Stellaluna.  She loved that bat!  Actually, she still feels an affection toward the book and her Stellaluna plush bat. 

Based on a child's opinion, this is one of the best books in her library.  If I had to guess, I would say she felt genuine heartbreak for the little bat who was separated from her mother after an owl attack, and extreme joy when they were reunited. 

As an adult and parent, I rate the book as the best because of the writing style and real animal facts woven throughout the story.   Children are being entranced by the fiction story as well as educated about fruit bats.  Personally, I like all bats, but I think the choice of a fruit bat is perfect for a child's story.  After all, fruit bats eat fruit! 

The illustrations in this book are fabulous!  They are accurate depictions of a bats body features and give the bat a gentle, endearing face.  If you have ever looked at a fruit bats face, you would find they have rather cute furry faces in reality.  Bats are the only mammals that can fly.  Except for the wings, they look like other mammals.  As a matter of fact, they are called flying foxes because they facially resemble a fox.
 


Stellaluna - Recommended Children's Book

Stellaluna Children's Book Reviewed
Scanned photo of one of the Illustrations in the Book
Stellaluna is a baby bat who hasn't even learned to fly yet.  Her mother carries her with her when she is flying.  One night, Stellaluna and her mother are attacked by an owl.  Stellaluna is knocked from her mothers grasp.  As Stellaluna is falling to the ground, she snatches hold of a tree branch and cries out to her mother, but her mother doesn't answer.  When she can no longer hold on, she slips and falls further and lands in a bird's nest full of baby birds.  

Because Stellaluna is starving, she finally opts to open her mouth, close her eyes and accept the disgusting live lunch the mother bird is feeding her babies.  Stellaluna has to learn to live like a bird in order to survive, but she still sleeps hanging upside down.  Her adopted siblings are intrigued and want to hang upside down too.  The mother bird returns and reprimands the babies, saying they will fall and break their necks.  As the babies return to the safety of the nest, the momma bird refuses Stellaluna admittance unless she promises to behave and stop being a bad influence on her baby birds.

The birds and baby bat grow up together, eat together, and learn to fly together.  Landing gracefully like the birds proves to be impossible for poor Stellaluna.  Their differences are once again obvious and embarrassing for Stellaluna.

There is more to this fabulous story, including how Stellaluna is reunited with her mother, but I will let you discover the rest of the story for yourself.


My Opinion of Stellaluna

 StellalunaThere are several reasons why I would recommend this book for children.  I have already mentioned the educational value and the exceptionally entertaining writing style of the author.  But, I would also like to point out the real life lessons about how we can all learn to live and love others in spite of our differences.  How we can learn to survive even when we are out of our element.  Children won't recognize those lessons as they read the book, but they may well recall the lessons taught when they encounter challenges at school or later in life.

Not only are the differences between bird and bats evident when reading the fiction story, there are "Bat Notes" at the back of the book that share real facts about bats.  A wonderful addition to help children learn fact from fiction.

This book is loved by both girls and boys.  Our son also lists Stellaluna as one of his favorite childhood books.  How do I know?  He walked by while I was writing this review and said, "that is a great book!"


 Stellaluna Plush Bat

Stellaluna Plush Toy Animal

In 1994, the Stellaluna plush was available to purchase with the book.  Our daughter has the plush Stellaluna.  They are no longer produced and can only be purchased from secondary markets like Amazon.com or Ebay where they are pretty expensive.

However, a child will not recognize the difference in the original Stellaluna plush and a fruit bat plush.  I recommend choosing one that resembles Stellaluna and allow you child to enjoy having a little fruit bat of their own.  

 



Read More Book Reviews at
ReviewThisBooks.com




Stellaluna Children's Book Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Duck and Hippo in the Rainstorm Children's Book Review

Duck and Hippo in the Rainstorm Children's Book Review
Duck and Hippo in the Rainstorm Book
Page 1
Duck and Hippo in the Rainstorm is a delightful book for children written by Jonathan London and illustrated by Andrew Joyner.  It is the first book in a new series featuring Duck and Hippo.  Quite honestly, I look forward to reading about their next adventure together. 

You may wonder why I chose to read a book for children, but I did have my reasons.  First, I recently purchased a Kindle Fire and I love being able to see the pictures in color now.  What better than a children's book to look at pictures, right?  Second, the book was a free choice on Kindle First* in February 2017 if your are an Amazon Prime member.  And last, but by no means least, I wanted to be able to review the book for Review This!

The release of this book is perfect timing!  Since their day of adventure takes place in early spring, releasing the book on March 1, 2017 is consistent with the season and weather described therein. 


Duck and Hippo in the Rainstorm 


 Duck and Hippo in the Rainstorm
(Duck and Hippo Series Book 1)
This really is a precious story about two unlikely friends, clearly a duck and a hippopotamus, who venture out together in the rain.  They encounter a few mishaps with just enough intrigue and suspense that a child will be enthralled without being frightened.  The illustrations help with alleviating any stress because the characters are shown smiling even in the midst of possible disaster.  

As with many children's books, the pictures in this book are fabulous!  I love the way the artist dressed the animals.  The suit and bow tie are perfect for the more reserved hippo, while the red slicker and polka dot yellow umbrella reflect the ducks adventurous and outgoing personally.  I foresee that Duck will likely dream up all kinds of ventures for the more sedate Hippo in future books. 

This promises to be a great book series for children ages 3 - 7 and I would certainly recommend the delightful first book, Duck and Hippo in the Rainstorm.  


Children's Book on Kindle Fire


 Fire Kids Edition Tablet, 7" Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB, Blue Kid-Proof CaseI am thrilled to share that there are Kindle Fires made just for children!
 
As an adult I wanted a Kindle that would feature the images in color for my craft books and cookbooks.  After consulting with our in-house electronics expert, Susan Deppner, I selected the Kindle Fire.  It was an excellent choice.

Once I received it, I couldn't help but think how wonderful it would be for children, especially at bedtime or when riding in a car.  It would most certainly reduce the weight of books in a backpack too.  I did a little more digging and found there is indeed a Kindle Fire made just for children.  While I have no desire to replace the home library and real books, I do think Kindle Fires are fabulous when portability or weight is an issue.





*Kindle First gives Amazon Prime members the opportunity to read a new book that will be published the following month for FREE.  You can check it out by clicking here!

Read More Book Reviews at
ReviewThisBooks.com




Duck and Hippo in the Rainstorm Children's Book Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

5 Valentine's Books for the Youngsters in your Heart!

As a Grandmother, Grammie, Nannie or whatever your little ones call you, I know how special it is when they receive a gift that was picked especially for them.  I like to send books, so I will share with you my Reviews of 5 of my favorites.  I know that sometimes with distances between families being bigger than just a block away, it is difficult to be there for all those special occasions.   But, I have good news for you!

The world is truly becoming a smaller place.  It is easy to send a gift from one end of the country to the other and have it arrive in time to put a huge smile on the recipient's face!  What child doesn't like to be remembered by a Grandparent or Favorite Aunt or Uncle?  Just like we enjoy getting mail our children also like to receive something special too!


Here we go with my Review of 5 Favorite Books for Little Ones.


https://pixabay.com/en/
boys-reading-children-book-kids-932821/
Books are one of my favorite gifts for young children and they are great to send across the miles too!  There are endless titles for young minds and stories that will take them to all corners of their world or the larger world too.  Toddlers love picture books or books that teach little life lessons and there are so many lovely titles available for little minds.  One of my favorites is written by a friend of mine and I purchased it for my Grandchildren.  It's a great story about co-operation, helpfulness, and friendship.  Just like the story, the book is a wonderful show of support for Ronald McDonald charities that helps sick children and their families.  So I feel really good about supporting such endeavors.  Susan Zutautas has a way with words and my Grandchildren love the story.

The Day Mr. Beaver meets a Moose is a great story, with lively illustrations and a cute story too!

I love to send books to my favorite little people that are fun to read, teach lessons and support a great cause. Boy, oh boy, does this book ever cover all those bases.  It also helps my friend become better known as a Children's Author!  So for me,  this is a winner!

Books that support a great cause make me want to purchase that book even more.  


Susan has another book available too, I think this one will be the next one I purchase for my Grandchildren. Called Mr. Beaver Plans a Party, it looks like it too would be enjoyed by my Grandchildren.  Who doesn't like the idea of planning a party?


Children's books are easy to send or order on-line to be delivered.  You can add a little note inside to let those children know how special they are to you.  As the years go by, hopefully,  the children will have realized how special those books that Grandma and Grandpa sent means to them.  I know I have some books that were my favorites from when I was a child.  These books are the ones that come out when the Grandchildren come to visit.  So I know that more than two generations have enjoyed the same stories and that they make the same impression on little lives.

These Last Three Books are all time Favorites of Mine!  Some are in the top 50 List of Books for Children.  

I promised you 5 books at the start of this Review This article and I'll give you the titles of the next three Because a promise is a promise.  Sticking to 5 books though is really tough.

The next book is one of my son's favorites! Herbert the Timid Dragon. by Mercer Mayer is a great story that everyone enjoys.  My daughter in law resorted to buying one used, my son's copy had disappeared over the years, and he really missed it.  It has become his daughter's favorite book too!

There are a whole bunch of Mercer Mayer books and all of them are really fun and easy to read to your children or for them to read by themselves.  You may find a lot of them are out of print, so when you go to flea markets or Bazaars keep your eyes open for these treasures.

Another book I love to give as a gift to children is a Dr. Suess classic!  Oh the Places You'll Go!  This book has such a nice story and it's written by one of the best children's authors ever.  Who hasn't indulged their inner child with the writings of Dr. Suess?  I know I have and will continue so long as I have more grandchildren coming.  This is a winner in every sense of the word.  Engaging and entertaining for young minds everywhere.

If you have a child that needs some encouragement, this last book is a great find. 


Last but not least on this Review is another favorite of mine.  I love animals and they are always a hit with kids too.  This book makes you giggle as Gerald the Giraffe finds out that he can do things that giraffes aren't supposed to be able to do.  It's a story of encouragement.  It will touch those young ones who are having a hard time or don't quite fit in. Gerald the giraffe gives them a dose of, "I can do it", in the nicest way possible. Giraffes Can't Dance will have your children and grandchildren smiling from ear to ear.

Conclusion:  If you need a good book for a little one, any of these 5 will be a hit!

So there you have it, the 5 books that are my favorites right now.
It's just a small installment of books that I would love to see sent to all children and grandchildren all over the country.  They have great lessons imparted in a way that doesn't seem like a lesson at all. Children of all ages love these books, and they are fun too!

Reading to children and having them read to you is one of the nicest gifts anyone can give a child.  Their imaginations will soar when written words are read and become part of their lives.  A child who reads and loves to read will become an engaged adult with a deep love for the written word.

What a great Valentine's Day gift that is indeed!

Olivia Morris is an affiliate member of Amazon.com, if you purchase a book through her links, a small commission is paid.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Night Before Christmas Book Review

The Night Before Christmas by Rose Collin is a very cute vision of the beloved poem illustrated with bears instead of people.
The Night Before Christmas is a classic children's Christmas book that we all know and love! 

The poem, Twas the Night Before Christmas, is often one of the first poems a child memorizes.  Children quickly embrace the poem's meter without realizing they are being exposed to a true art form.  It has such a lyrical cadence that it could almost be sung instead of recited.   Most parents have it memorized so well that they are rarely actually reading when they select that book for the bedtime story.

Every home with a child has at least one copy of this wonderful holiday book and some of us have several copies.  It is fun to compare the different illustrations!  Actually, the pictures are every bit as important as the story itself. 


History of "Twas the Night Before Christmas"

 The Night Before Christmas - 1963
It may surprise you to know that the author of the poem is contested.  

The story was originally named A Visit from St. Nicholas and published anonymously in 1823, but claimed four years later by Clement Clarke Moore.  The validity of that claim has been disputed.  

The family of Henry Livingston, Jr. maintains that he was the actual author.  Henry Livingston, Jr. was in fact a distant relative of Clement Moore's wife.   

In my opinion, that dispute casts a bit of a shadow over this wonderful poem.  It is so very sad when someone tries to steal another's work.  Obviously, 200 years after the fact, we can't know for sure which is the thief.  

It is just a real shame that a story with such impact for centuries cannot be unequivocally attributed to the proper author.


Review of the Visual Art


 The Night Before Christmas
by Rose Collins
The classic illustrations are colorful and magical.  We can almost feel the warmth of the fireplace, the cold of the snow and the see the twinkle in Santa's eye.  They beautifully reflect the words of the poem.

I was recently given a copy of "The Night Before Christmas" by Rose Collins.  I discovered an illustrated version that evokes nostalgic feelings in parents, but has a whole new appeal for children.  Instead of people, this version features bears.   Santa Claus is still human, but he visits a family of bears on Christmas Eve.

This digital book appeals to me personally because I love teddy bears!  Of course, I still love the original illustrations, but this is a really cute way to embrace yesteryear while giving it a touch of current day fun.

Rose Collins also makes a few changes in the words to current day language.  For instance, instead of "the children were nestled, all snug in their beds", she writes "the children were sleeping all snug in their beds".  I also emitted a wee giggle when I noted that she renamed Donner, Donna, which is obviously current day influence as well.

http://amzn.to/2gvyps8
A Page from the Kindle Book, The Night Before Christmas by Rose Collins


Reading Books with Illustrations Digitally


For several years, I have enjoyed reading books on my Kindle Paperwhite.  However, I have often lamented that I wish I could see the images in color, especially when reviewing children's books or viewing cookbooks.  So often, those images really do make a huge difference.  I asked my fellow contributor, Susan Deppner, our resident electronics guru, if she had a solution for that.  Boy, did she ever!  

I quickly hopped over to her comparison review of the different Kindles and knew in just a few moments that I needed the Kindle Fire! 

You, too, can read Susan's excellent comparison of the digital readers by clicking this link.  It is a must read when selecting a new Kindle.


I will continue to read my novels on my Kindle Paperwhite, but I have to tell you.  I do love my new Kindle Fire that shows images in color.

The Night Before Christmas by Rose Collin is a very cute vision of the beloved poem illustrated with bears instead of people.
A photo of my own Kindle Fire opened to a page of "The Night Before Christmas" by Rose Collins

Encourage Your Child to Read with Their Own Kindle Fire





The Night Before Christmas Book Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Review This! Curious George and the Man in the Yellow Hat

I don't know whether to say Happy Birthday or Happy Anniversary, because each one of them would be correct. Curious George is still looking really good and he's only 75 years old! 


Curious George books have been making children happy for a long time.  They have been favorites of children since 1941.  Margret and Hans Augusto Rey were the author and illustrator of the books. They fled France, on home made bicycles, carrying the manuscripts for the first Curious George book with them. In those times, only H.A. Rey was credited with the work on Curious George because there were already a large number of children's books written by female authors.  Even then, marketing was everything and giving the credit to Hans, seemed to give Curious George more "attention".  As he (Curious George) became well known in the literature world of children, credit was given back to Margret and Hans was cast as the illustrator.

  



The original book started with George's capture in Africa by the man with the Yellow Hat. He takes George on a voyage to the 'Big City" where he will live in the zoo.

Much to George's dismay, zoo life was not for him and he escapes.  But George and the Man in the Yellow Hat (who never has a name) are reunited and thus begins all of George's adventures.

In 1947 George gets a job.  In 1952 he learns to ride a bike, in 1957 he get a medal and so his adventures are all about things that would interest and garner the attention of post war children.  Three more books would follow, George Flies a Kite (1958) Curious George Learns the Alphabet (1963) and Curious George goes to the Hospital (1966).  The years were full of changes and prosperity and relative peacefulness.  So the world as a whole was much more relaxed.  Stories of George and his antics were welcomed stories, read to children everywhere.

George and his "man in the yellow hat" are really almost like a father and son.  The man,  as he is referred to in many of the tales, takes George into situations where he will learn something new.  While the original Curious George was only made into 7 different stories, the publishing company adapted several of the Telefilm series into books edited by Margret Rey.  Most of these are out of print, but had been re-released with some new cover art. (For you collectors, keep your eyes open for these 1984-1993.)

A third series called the New Adventures of Curious George appeared in 1998, and still continues to the present day.  New illustrators continue the art work in the same vein as was started by Hans Rey. Children all over the world still seem to love Curious George.

Since his original release, Curious George stories have been made into  two  movie shorts.  He has been featured at water-parks, a Christmas film, and video games.  In 2010 Curious George was still being used for a live-action/computer-animated series.  Public Broadcasting Systems loves Curious George and you can still see him on their PBS channels.   To this day, there is still one toy store that carries everything "Curious George" and that is in Cambridge Mass.  If you get a chance, go for a visit, I'm sure that some childhood memories will be rekindled.


The Only Curious George Store , Cambridge Mass.
Photo credit: http://www.massvacation.com/


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Lyle, Lyle Crocodile ~ Review of the Book & Musical Video for Kids

Lyle is Like a Family Member

I would highly recommend Lyle, Lyle Crocodile to anyone!  You can read my review of the book and video here
When my children were preschool age and learning to read, I was always searching for good books for them.  Lyle, Lyle Crocodile was a favorite with both of my children.  We also purchased the video, Lyle, Lyle Crocodile: The House on East 88th Street, which quickly became a family favorite.  Even now when my children visit they will drag out Lyle and watch it again.  Sometimes they even sing along, which really entertains me.

It is also interesting to note that our entire family uses the name "Hector P. Valenti" as an expletive.   Hector is Lyle's original owner who returns to reclaim Lyle once he realizes he could make money by exploiting Lyle's talents.   Around our house it is not unusual to hear "Oh, Hector P. Valenti! "

When I was a young adult watching a musical like the Sound of Music, I used to say "That's so stupid!  People don't just break into song like that!"  Well, I am here to tell you, I have had to eat those words many times because we frequently break into song if someone is leaving with one of the songs from the video.  "Don't leave me now, I'll just die if you do. I'm trying to smile, but darn you Lyle, I would never leave you."

Because Lyles appeal has lasted over 20 years in our household, I would highly recommend the book and the video to anyone with or without a child.


Lyle, Lyle Crocodile ~ The Book

Written by Sylvestermouse


http://www.reviewthisreviews.com/
Lyle, Lyle Crocodile
When the Primms move into their new home on East 88th Street in New York City, they are shocked to discover a crocodile living in their bathtub.  At first, they are not too thrilled to have this interloper, but it certainly doesn't take Lyle the Crocodile long to find his place in their hearts, their home and in their lives.

Lyle becomes young Joshua's best friend and even helps Joshua with is homework.  During the day, while Joshua is in school, Lyle browses through antique shops with Mrs. Primm.  This fun loving crocodile even dons an apron to help with the cooking and the house cleaning!

This book easily charms young readers with simple, comical illustrations.  After all, who wouldn't love a pet crocodile who cooks, sings and dances?

(Ages 4 to 8)


Lyle, Lyle Crocodile:  The House on East 88th Street Video

Written by Sylvestermouse


http://www.reviewthisreviews.com/
In the video, we see a beautifully animated, musical version of Lyle come to life on the screen.  He sings, dances, cooks, and jumps rope with the neighborhood children.  All of his playful antics are true entertainment.

The children laugh and sing along with Lyle and the Primm's when they regale them with fun songs, crazy crocodile antics and a very heart warming story of love, friendship and true happiness.

Sadly, the video is much harder to find these days since it was released on VHS.  This is a scanned photo of our video cover so you know what to look for.

Lyle, Lyle Crocodile Musical Video is a fantastic & fun children's video!
Lyle, Lyle Crocodile Musical Video Photo

However, if you can find a copy, you really should get it immediately.  Lyle really comes to life on the screen!  The animated characters and the music is truly outstanding.  This is probably the best children's video I have ever seen. 

Occasionally, you may find a copy of the video on Amazon.com.  You can click here to see if one is available now


You may also check on Ebay below.

 


Lyle Photos Used in this Review: Scanned from Book and Video Box Covers



Lyle, Lyle Crocodile Book & Musical Video Reviewed by:
House of Sylvestermouse




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Animalese ~ Book Review

http://reviewthispersonalreviews.blogspot.com/

If Only We Could Hear or Speak Animalese!

I recently read "Animalese" by Ram Ramakrishnan and I found it quite engaging!

Have you ever wondered why the little bird is singing or why the squirrel in chattering? How about when your dog is barking and you don't see anything, and you say "what is it, boy" only to have the pup turn to you with a quizzical look that conveys, "Why don't you understand?" 

Wouldn't it be wonderful to know with certainty what animals are saying when they speak to us in Animalese?

Ramakrishnan has taken this idea and has written an enchanting fantasy that will tweak your imagination and have you looking across the room at your kitty and wondering what is she really thinking about your new sweater.


Prescription for Book Perfection 

A good book is entertaining, 
A great fiction injects reality, 
Add a bit of fantasy,  
Perfection!

 

 

From the Cover of Animalese

Deep within a remote forest in Central India, a village finds itself in disorder. As the humans and animals experience its ill effects, debris from a passing comet falls into the village lake, infusing its waters with a mysterious power that enables those who drink from it to communicate with other life forms.

Deciding to exploit this ability to set matters right within the village, the animals, along with the assistance of a village girl named Vennela, focus their efforts on the principal architect of their woes: local abattoir owner Ganju Hindolba.

Can Vennela and the animals possibly win against the like of a shady business owner?



My Review and Recommendations 

I am always searching for books that can be recommended to any age.  It is imperative that we educate our children to read.  Many years ago, when our own children started reading, I got in the habit of reading a book before they read it.  That served two purposes.  First, I was able to make sure that the book did not have content that I, as their parent, would not approve.  Second, since I also read the book, we were able to discuss the story, the value, the characters and our overall opinions with each other.  

While this book, "Animalese", certainly appeals to older readers like myself, it is also an excellent choice for the younger generation.

I thought this was a great book!  Thoroughly entertaining and enchanting.  Anytime I can identify with or empathize with a character, I know I have found a book that will either challenge or substantiate my own beliefs.  While reading Animalese, I found myself laughing with the animals, crying with the animals, cheering for the animals and I mentally joined their mission for fair treatment, just as I would literally do in reality.



A Must Read!  My highest recommendation for any age!



Ram Ramakrishnan

About the Author, Ram Ramakrishnan aka Wordwinder on Hubpages

You may already be familiar with the writing of Ram Ramakrishnan.  He has authored several beautifully written and illustrated articles on Hubpages.

His style is poetic and reveals the heart of a real artist. 


  
Animalese Book Review by:
House of Sylvestermouse





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Review of My Life in Greeting Cards

An Impossible Dream?

Some of My Favorite Greeting Card Lines
"You should make your own card line, " my friend said.

At the time I was a card buyer for Logos of Westwood, a Christian bookstore in Los Angeles, and I loved greeting cards. I loved reading them. I loved discovering new card lines I was sure my customers would love. I loved roaming the aisles at the Los Angeles Gift Show every year to find something unique, funny, lovely, warm or thought-provoking that stayed within the bounds of good taste.

Every day I when I arrived at work, I'd check first thing to see which cards were selling. I loved competing with the other card stores and departments in the rest of Westwood Village. It made my day when people came in to browse the card racks and walked to the counter with cards by the handful.

But make my own card line? I didn't see how it was possible. I couldn't draw, but I knew I could find the words to match pictures. In 1975, though, designing and printing cards was an expensive business. I didn't see how I'd ever be able to make it work.

Cards in this picture are from my Logos days. From left to right, a Fravessi card designed by Rose Shirvenian, a Marian Heath card, and a Suzy's Zoo note card published by Current and designed by Suzy Spafford.

My Kingdom

Card department of Logos of Westwood about 1975
What’s in this picture was only part of my department. It was my job to pick out each individual card that went into these racks. I did not allow the salespeople to inventory and stock them.I did it myself. When the reps came to call, I’d look at all the cards they had to offer in each line. I’d pick the ones for the store that I myself responded to or that met all the criteria I had. Cards that depended upon put-downs for their humor were rejected. I wanted cards that would promote and enhance communication between individuals.

 My target market was the people like me that liked to hang around card departments and just read cards. As we read, we’d see one we just had to get for this friend or that, or the perfect birthday card for Aunt Sue whose birthday was in two months, etc. Those who have the card browsing habit respond by buying the cards they like. In those days, email did not yet exist for the average person. Personal computers did not exist yet. So people still bought lots of greeting cards.

When people think of greeting cards, they often think first of Hallmark, at least they did back then. But we were a small independent Christian bookstore that hadn’t yet been in business for a year. Cards were supposed to be small part of our overall business. Hallmark wouldn’t even consider letting us stock their cards — not with a Hallmark store around the corner, Robinson’s across the street, and a stationery shop next door — all of whom carried Hallmark exclusively and would not appreciate the competition. So my job was to find alternatives.

Unlike many bookstores, we were a nonprofit organization, designed to be a ministry that reached out to college students searching for truth. We were also there to supply the books the Christian students at UCLA needed to grow their spiritual lives. The idea was to be within walking distance of the campus. Cards and gift items were what we called “bridge items” that were the first thing people saw as they entered the store.

Since most Christian bookstores of that day depended a lot upon selling church supplies, they tended to serve an older population of pastors and Sunday School teachers. They looked “churchy” from the moment the customer walked in. Logos stores like ours, which were always located near college campuses, did not want to look that way. The books were toward the back, and the cards and gift islands were at the front to engage the customers as they walked in.


Choosing Cards

As a card buyer, I had my personal dislikes. One of them was rhyming sentimental cards in iambic pentameter. I remember how I and the gal I was training to replace me (who left before I did) used to sit at the back with a box of these and laugh our heads off at the “syrup” that dripped from these cards. Ordinarily we didn’t carry this line except for Christmas and Valentine’s Day when we had a lot of men needing cards for their mothers and wives and other relatives. I often wondered why so many of the Christian card lines of the day were of this sentimental type and seemed geared to the tastes of the elderly — or their supposed tastes.




However, I finally found some Christian lines with a contemporary look. Dayspring was one of them.  Dayspring cards often have a lovely photograph with a Scripture verse. They still have such cards, as well as other Christian cards with both contemporary and more traditional and floral designs.

We were not limited to Christian lines, however. Our criteria for choosing was based on Philippians 4: 9: “…whatever is true…,honorable…,just…,pure…,lovely…,gracious.” That did not exclude humor, but it had to be warm humor, that made the recipient feel better rather than insulted. I was after beauty, clean designs, and sentiments that would enhance communication between people. I wanted the kind of cards that made the buyer think, ” I really don’t need a card, but this is perfect to send to my friend Myra who’s going through a tough time, so I’ll get it.” We had lots of “thinking of you” type friendship cards for such buyers.

One of the first major lines (meaning gigantic) we bought was a new one called Recycled Cards. Their first artist was Sandra Boynton, whose “Hippo Birdie” card pictured above, was an instant best seller with not only the college students, but also the senior ladies who liked to window shop in Westwood. Our section of Recycled Cards expanded to the point where we needed more card racks to hold them. I was thrilled to see that Sandra Boynton has chosen to market many of her products at Zazzle now. Visit her store:Sandra Boynton



Sandra Boynton Books


Boynton's Greatest Hits

After designing over 4,000 greeting cards, Boynton branched out into other products, including children's books. This set is a collection of some of them. It's not only Boynton's designs which make her work so popular, but also the way she plays with words. This boxed set contains four of Boynton's most popular board books. Toddlers love the bright colors, humorous drawings, and the short verses that beg to be read. Click the caption for a closer look. 

Suzy's Zoo


Suzy Spafford's Suzy's Zoo cards will brighten up anyone's day. She gives her animal characters very expressive personalities and paints them in bold colors. See the duck in my top photo. 

The cards above are a sampling of note cards at Amazon. There are also mugs, stickers, and many other products with her designs at Amazon. 




Leanin' Tree

Amazon has a number of Leaning Tree collections by different artists available. Susan Winget, featured below, is one of my favorites. 

Leanin' Tree is another line I have always liked. They have many styles of cards. Some are beautiful nature cards. Some are funny western style cards like the one to the right. 

Some are humorous with cute animals like the one below. You can see them all easily by following any of the caption links.


A Birthday is No Time to Show Restraint
From the Thoughts and Felines Package

Crocus Cards by Nancy Donohue

Designed by Nancy Donahue, Crocus Cards
One part of my job I really enjoyed was seeing what new cards the sales representatives had to offer me. I’ll never forget the day Camille, one of my favorite reps, introduced me to the D. Forer Company. She was short, and looked a bit weary. Who wouldn’t after lugging loaded display cases for several blocks? Parking in Westwood was very scarce and very expensive. When she came calling on me, she hit pay dirt. She pulled from one of her cases a line of cards called Crocus, published by The Forers, New York, and created by Nancy Donohue, about whom not much is written on the web. The only reference to her I could find was in a list of files belonging to an agent at the time of his death. Yet this woman must have brought smiles to thousands, if not millions, who read her cards.

In the card pictured here, one of the few I have left, the tissue box brand is “dripensnort facial tissues,” and the inside reads simply “and get you well soon.” I wish I had the entire collection to share with you. Born in the 1970′s, this line features the character you see here and some of her friends. It was obvious Nancy must have been a gardener, since there were so many references to plants in her greetings. I remember the punch line to one get well card was “All you need is a good mulching.” Another get well card and best seller showed our character with determined look, pointing a hose coming from a huge kettle of chicken soup. The inside read “You WILL get well.”

One of my favorite friendship cards she designed had a weary looking owl leaning on a young tree with only a couple of leaves. It said, “On occasion you must give into feeling dreadful and hope it will pass and everyone will still love you.” Inside it said simply, “It will and they do.” I still have this card, waiting for just the right time to send it.

If you think Nancy cared only about the sick, you’d be wrong. Her anniversary and wedding cards were among the most original and funny I’ve ever seen. Her Valentines were warm and wonderful and sold like hotcakes. And you couldn’t do better than one of her birthday cards. I have never yet seen any card on the market at any price I liked better than these, because they captured the depths of the human spirit, and they had an undertone of affection and kind humor. They were designed to make the reader smile.


Blue Mountain


Most of you reading this probably have always known about Blue Mountain cards and books. Many of you have probably sent their e-cards. In the 1970's though, Blue Mountain was a revolutionary step away from the gushy sentimental iambic pentameter verse that turned my generation off, to a fresh way to convey the thoughts of love and friendship many were feeling. These were the cards I sent my parents and loved ones that said just what I wanted to say, but better than I could say it. Logos of Westwood was the first in Westwood Village to feature a complete rack of these cards,and I was proud to introduce them. Unlike many of my favorite lines, these are still available today. The line of books has become very popular as well, and you can still get many of them.


Blue Mountain: Turning Dreams Into Reality






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