Tall Tales can be Telltale Windows to the Heart

H.O.R.S.E.HORSE.51r8Mq9hcDL._SY372_BO1,204,203,200_ written and illustrated by multi-award-winning author, Christopher Myers  riffs on the tall tale tradition of folk heroes like Paul Bunyan, It also connects to kid’s admiration of contemporary basketball heroes. One part poetry and ten parts hyperbolic imagination, this delightful book entertains and inspires.

Kids will get discern the difference between utter fantasy and all out fun. They’ll also see their own thoughts about wanting to be the best, the champion that outshines all the competition. Readers will delight in the dare-and-double-dare s exchanged between the two characters as each tries to out shine the other’s assertion of superiority. The chest-puffing story unfolds with good humor and a complete absence of bullying and intimidation.

The text of H.O.R.S.E. is a visual delight as it twists and spins, bounces and stretches across the pages. The illustrations enhance the soaring and exaggerated words in a perfect partnership of color, stroke and energy.

The accompanying CD delivers are vibrant narration of alternating voices which bring the story to life and offer a listening treat for readers.

Imani's Moon.61YPVqXJl2L._SX398_BO1,204,203,200_

Imani’s Moon by JaNay Brown-Wood touches on a topic all too familiar to children: teasing or bullying. Imani is unusually small and the other children in her village tease her about her diminutive size and disparage her efforts to accomplish things. Their dismissive taunts hurt but Imani is unbroken. Instead, she is galvanized into action. Determined to outshine her larger–and less compassionate–peers, Imani sets a goal and then doggedly pursues it.

Mimicking her tribes famous jumping dance the adumu,  Imani practies her and practices jumping as she strives to achieves her goal of touching the moon. Readers will enjoy Imani’s spunk and can identify with wanting to prove themselves. The taste of Masai culture is an added bonus. Vividly colored illustrations serve the story well.

Imani’s Moon has won Children’s Book of the Year Principal’s Award from the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

#AAQ Spin: Adoptees have the unique experience of knowing their lives might have been vastly different had they been raised by their birth families instead of being adopted. This reality lends itself to wondering various possible scenarios of their alternate, “unadopted” lives. Sometimes these thoughts are wildly thrilling and include royal lineage, lavish wealth and indulgent parents. Sometimes these fantasies can be more conservative while other versions may include dire circumstances, and tragic figures.

A light-hearted story like this one could segue into conversations that explore how they might spin a tall tale about their own lives. Adoption needn’t be mentioned but it might seep into the story at the edges. Parents can assess if it makes sense to insert it into the discussion.

Discaimer: I won these books and have received no compensation in exchange for these unbiased reviews.

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