I love books!  They are treasure chests of words and pictures that allow us to see the world and ourselves in a new way.  But I also love the way one treasured book will sometimes lead to the discovery of new book treasures.  That’s what happened when I read the book Catcall by Linda Newbery.  In the course of the story, one character gives the gift of a book to another character.  It was a book of poetry by Ted Hughes.  So I looked up Ted Hughes and discovered a children’s books of short stories that is absolutely delightful.  Reading books is like going on a never ending treasure hunt.  So now I’d like to share some of my new-found treasures with you.

Catcall introduces us to Josh and his family.  They are used to changes.  First his parents separated.  Then his mom remarried.  Now she and her new husband have a baby, Jennie.  Josh and his little brother Jamie — the two J’s — have been joined by a third J, and none of it seems fair.  Josh is doing his best to cope with all the changes, but strange things are happening to Jamie — ever since they came back from that visit to the wildlife park and the lions.  That’s when “Leo” showed up and took over Jamie’s life.  Now he eats when and what he wants and speaks only when he needs to.  Soon it becomes impossible for the family to cope with his frightening, unpredictable behavior.  This excellent book is full of drama and humor, but mostly it is a story about love and forgiveness.

How the Whale Became and Other Stories is a collection of charming creation stories by Ted Hughes. Here you will find stories that explain why the owl hunts at night, why the dog was chosen to guard farm animals, why polar bears live at the North Pole, and how the elephant came to accept its unique and wonderful qualities.  Ted Hughes invented these stories to tell to his own children, then decided to share them with everyone.  I’m glad he did because these stories are awfully fun to read.

In the science fiction movie The Iron Giant, Hogarth Hughes just rescued an enormous robot that fell from the stars to Earth. Now young Hogarth has one very big friend and an even bigger problem: how do you keep a 50-foot-tall, steel-eating giant a secret?  I’ve included this movie just because I like it.  It’s sweet and charming and it’s based on a story written by Ted Hughes.  Can you tell I’ve become a fan of Ted Hughes?  It’s a little surprising that the Poet Laureate of England is responsible for such a great kid’s science-fiction movie!   Anyway, my four year old nephew saw this movie a few weeks back and he loved it.  I hope you will too.

– Tamra

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