Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

These Children's Books Should Entertain, Educate and Amuse

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

These Children's Books Should Entertain, Educate and Amuse

Article excerpt

Title: Electra and the Charlotte Russe

Author/illustrator: Corrine Demas Bliss/Michael Garland

Publisher: Boyds Mill Press

Price: $14.95 Ages: 7 and older

When Electra's mother plans a tea party, Electra is responsible

for visiting Mrs. Zimmerman's bakery to purchase six charlotte

russes. A charlotte russe is a little cake topped with swirls of

whipped cream.

On her way back from the bakery, Electra trips over a cat and

the russes get mushed: "Electra went inside her building, but

just before she started up the stairs she took a look at the

charlotte russes. Three were much shorter than the others ...

Electra sat down on the stairs and went to work, smoothing the

whipped cream, licking her fingers clean. Finally all the

charlotte russes were just about the same height."

When Electra gives the desserts to her mother, Mamma wonders,

"Where is all the lovely whipped cream and why does Electra have

a tummyache?"

Children are sure to identify with the oops-I've-been-caught-

feeling Electra gets after eating the tops off those very tasty


Title: K is for Kwanzaa: A Kwanzaa Alphabet

Book Author/illustrator: Juwanda G. Ford/Ken Wilson-Max

Publisher: Scholastic

Price: $10.95

Ages: 6 and older

Kwanzaa is a non-religious holiday from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 that

honors African-American people and their heritage. Kwanzaa was

started in 1966 by Maulana Karenga, an African history teacher

who wanted to help African Americans learn about their African

history, culture and customs.

This book is a perfect tool for teaching the principles of

Kwanzaa: unity, self-determination, collective work and

responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and

faith. Each page contains the definition of a word associated

with Kwanzaa and a drawing that illustrates the concept.

Phonetic spellings help readers pronounce the African words.

For example, the entry on Page 2 reads, "B is for bendera. The

bendera (behn-DEH-rah) is the African-American flag that is

displayed during Kwanzaa. It has three colors: black represents

African-American people, red symbolizes their struggles and

green stands for a happy future. …

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