Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Two Books with the Right Ingredients

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Two Books with the Right Ingredients

Article excerpt

Byline: Brandy Hilboldt Allport, Times-Union staff writer

Recipe for a good book:

Entertaining plot.

Interesting writing.

Illustrations that beg for lingering. (Vivid colors, bold design and captivating details are the most desirable spices.)

Today's two book selections are examples of well-done books. Don't forget the most important ingredient: time. Curl up on the sofa. Turn off the television. Open the pages and escape with your children into a picture book world for a few minutes.

The experience is delicious.

-- Title: A Twisted Tale

-- Author and illustrator: Carolyn Fisher

-- Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf

-- Price: $15.95

-- Ages: 3 to 7

A tornado hits Bailey Tarbell's family farm and leaves the animals all twisted up.

. . . The cow fly[s) over to the chicken coop and sit[s) on the nests. "Cluck, cluck!" She squawked. "Quack, quack!" rasped the pig. She dove into the pond. Chickens wallowed in the mud . . . The cat chased the dog, who climbed a tree and yowled.

Reviewer's forecast: I predict Twisted Tale will blow readers away with its zany charm. Young readers love to point out incongruities. Expect to hear listeners shout "cows moo; they don't cluck." "Dogs can't climb trees." "Pigs wallow in mud, not chickens." The nonsensical animal behavior makes for a lot of guffaws, and adults reading aloud will appreciate Fisher's quirky phrasing. The wind howled like a prom queen steppin' on a cow patty.

The vibrant, textured illustrations complement the wacky tone of the story. Note the cow crowing earnestly from the roof, the astounded expressions of Ma, Pa and Doc Smoot surveying the crazed critters and the consternation of a duck trying to chew its cud.

Bailey stops the weirdness (with the animal behavior, at least). No giving away the plot, but here's a hint. The carnival, complete with its topsy-turvy rides, is a mere truck ride away from the farm.

-- Title: The Very Busy Day

-- Author and illustrator: Diana Hendry/Jane Chapman

-- Publisher: Dutton Children's Books

-- Price: $15. …

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