Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Book Review : Fritz, Mandy, and sunshine!

We might just see sunshine today! And 40mph winds they're predicting as the system blows out should certainly help dry up the mud - lol. It seems like a good morning for something happy & encouraging.

These two picture books definitely qualify. The first deals with having the confidence to be yourself, and the second does as well, but in a completely different way.

Fritz and the Beautiful Horses by Jan Brett
Alternately overlooked and mocked for his short legs, tangled mane, and whiskery face, poor Fritz longs to be one of the honored few horses who carry the city's children. Unfortunately, only beautiful horses are permitted within the city walls, so Fritz can only gaze wistfully from a distance. But when a bridge gives way, with the children on the wrong side, and none of the elegant horses are sure-footed enough to carry the children safely back across the rocky ford, Fritz saves the day and earns himself a spot in the city folks' hearts.

Absolutely lovely illustrations - if you don't fall in love with stout little Fritz with his round barrel body and plaintive expressions, you're a stauncher reader than I - and a charming story to accompany them.
Fritz's tale has been a Christmas present for friends' children on more than one occasion, and I finally broke down last year and purchased my very own copy. Now I can enjoy flipping through the pages whenever I like. :)

Mandy Sue Day by Roberta Karim
Mandy Sue and her brother younger Jeremy have both worked hard through the summer helping their parents around the farm. As a reward, during Indian summer each child is given one day to spend doing exactly as they like with no chores or other responsibilities. Mandy Sue spends the day with her horse grooming and riding and feeding and brushing. Although each activity is denoted by counting, smelling, tasting or touching, it isn't until the story has unfolded completely that a starling fact is revealed: Mary Sue is blind.

The plot is gentle, and the text is blank verse as easy on the ear as the illustrations are on the eye. While I question the realism (and wisdom!) of a sightless person taking a solo ride through the woods on a horse, it's a lovely, beautifully illustrated story.
Don't you just love the idea of a "Mandy Sue" day of your very own to spend with your four-foots? Here's to hoping your day has plenty of sunshine and quality horse-time, too!

1 comment:

Jennifer MacNeill-Traylor said...

Love Fritz! One of my favorite illustrators in Jan Brett.