Friday, February 09, 2007

Book Review Contest: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Stone Fox

Title: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
Author: Judi Barrett
Illustrator:Ron Barrett

Title: Stone Fox
Author: John Reynolds Gardiner

Reviewer: Honglien123

I SO do not want to work today and I'm currently on a conference call. The odds of me paying attention are very low anyway. I saw your post on Rice Daddies and while there are several books that I will be shoving into my children's faces when they get old enough, as soon as I became pregnant, there were two that I specifically went out to buy for them because I loved them so much as a child. One of the books, I've already shared with the kids, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett, about a small town called Chewandswallow where food comes down from the sky. It's a fun picture book that I loved when I was in elementary school and so I bought it and read it to my daughter everyday when I was pregnant with her and every now and then she'll request it. Food coming down from the sky, what's not to like?

The other book I had to get, since my copy had long since been lended out and disappeared, was Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner. Stone Fox is about a young boy named Willy who lives with his grandfather and his dog Searchlight on his grandfather's potato farm. One day, Willy's grandfather becomes ill and Willy finds out that there are property taxes due on the farm. While Willy and Searchlight work hard to keep the farm running, their only hope of earning enough money to save the farm is for Willy to win a big dog sledding race where he has to go up against a large silent Native American man named Stone Fox who wants to win the race for his own noble reasons. I had to buy this book for my kids and I will read it to them when they are ready because it was one of the first books to really hook me onto reading. I read it in fourth grade, but I remember so clearly being able to see in my mind Willy and Searchlight training for the big race. I remember admiring Willy for working so hard to help his grandfather, not because he had to, but because he loved him and that's what you do for people you love. This book speaks volumes about love, loyalty, and compassion; even the reason for the taxes is explained in a manner that makes them seem fair. It is a book that didn't hold back any hard realities about life and assumes that the child audience reading it is smart and mature enough to handle all the issues that Willy faced, even down to the heartbreaking ending. Reading Stone Fox as a child took me away from my world and put me in the shoes of a young boy who had problems so much bigger than my own, but who managed them with levelheadedness and determination. I was rooting so hard for Willy that the ending took my breath away and made me cry for days. In fact, I'm tearing up as we speak just thinking about it.

Of course I have to share this book with my children and with you. That's the real reason why I'm telling you about it. =)

Thanks to longtime RD reader Honglien123 for being our first contest entrant! Don't forget, you have until Feb. 23 to send us a review of your favorite children's book from your childhood that you want to share (or have already shared) with your kids, for a chance to win some great new books. For complete details, see this post.


la dra said...

I bet the images of food falling out of the sky are great-we'll have to check that out. And since you didn't give away the ending to Stone Fox, I'll have to read that as well. Thanks, I hadn't heard about these books before.

kim said...

OMG, I totally forgot about Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs! That was such a great book back when I was in elementary school... I'll have to go look it up again for Em. Thanks for the memory!

Stephanie said...

I have been reading Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs to my almost five year old daughter for a while now. She just loves it!