RECENT READS: Reviews of Two Children’s Books

The two books I read this past week are both love stories from a child’s point of view but with very different messages and very different viewpoints.

The first, The Day I Became a Bird, written by Ingrid Chabbert and illustrated by Guridi, a Spanish artist, was published in 2016 by Kid’s Can Press.  It is a very special book. The story goes: Boy meets girl and wants to catch her eye.  Girl cares about nothing but birds, “…There are birds on her pants and dresses.  She wears birds barrettes in her hair.  She draws birds on her notebooks and folders.  And when she speaks, her voice sounds like birdsong.” So, the boy makes a bird costume and wears it to school despite all the teasing and hard-to-maneuver times, for he has eyes for her. Then, attracted by the costume, their eyes meet, and the rest is a beautiful story of young(est) love.  Done in greys and blacks on beige paper, the drawings, and especially the grey cover are simply lovely and convey the gentleness and guilelessness of the story.

The Tadpole’s Promise, on the other hand, published in 2005 in the US; 2003 in Britain, by Jeanne Willis and illustrated by Tony Ress, is downright depressing.  Or maybe it was me; I was a bit “down” the day I read it. It is the story of a tadpole and a caterpillar who leans out over the pond on a blade of grass.  Their eyes meet, and they fall in love. The caterpillar makes the tadpole promise he will never change, as she calls him her “shiny black pearl,” and he agrees to his “beautiful rainbow” (Her stripes are multi-colored). He promises with good intentions, but breaks his promise three times as he goes through the development of a tadpole into a young frog.  She is broken hearted and is so sad, she breaks off the romance and crawls into a cocoon. You guessed it!  They both change and no longer recognize each other.  As a butterfly, she glides over the pond, the frog zaps out his tongue and swallows her! The depressing ending has the frog sitting on a lily pad, longing for his “beautiful rainbow” and waiting, waiting, waiting…

Two very different endings. Two very different emotions conveyed. Both worth reading for the illustrations alone.


Author: Rae Longest

This year (2019) finds me with 50 plus years of teaching "under my belt." I have taught all levels from pre-K "(library lady" or "book lady"--volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the "difficult years." I had some of the "funnest" experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the "young, fun teacher," I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a "dream-fit" for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is "in my blood," so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to "come out and play."

7 thoughts on “RECENT READS: Reviews of Two Children’s Books”

  1. Great reviews Rae:). I had a copy of The Tadpole’s Promise and read it to my granddaughter – and when we got to the end, she burst into tears! The other book sounds like fun, though. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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