Julie Anderson

The Man Who Caught Fish is an original story with an age-old moral: greed can be disastrous. Walter Lyon Krudop's gorgeous picture book evokes ancient Thailand and tells the tale of a king who insists upon taking more than his due.

A stranger comes to a village, and lifts fish after fish out of the water. Instead of collecting them for himself, he hands one to whomever is nearby. The amazed and grateful villagers gather to accept their fish from the stranger, whose only words are One person, one fish. A haughty king arrives, decked out in jewels and finery. He expects this stranger to offer him a whole basketful of fish, since even the humblest peasants received one apiece. But the king, too, is told One person, one fish by the mysterious stranger.

The king's greed won't let the issue rest. After bribing and jailing the stranger to no avail, he discovers through trickery the stranger's enchanted secret. Krudop's story is simple and eloquent, like the stranger's words. The Man Who Caught Fish offers a great chance to talk about morality and symbolism with children. It's right to be grateful, like the villagers, for an unexpected gift. But why is it wrong for the king to demand more, since he is, after all the king? Are some gifts for everyone, such that not even a king can take more than a poor person? Laughter, love, friendship? Is the king happy with the result when he tries to sneak extra fish? Can deceit bring happiness or bad outcomes? Krudop illustrates his book with fabulous, expressive paintings. The stranger's gaze is serene and intelligent; the king looks spoiled and sneaky. The king bursts onto the faded coastal scene like a radiant peacock, demanding attention and respect. The stranger blends in with the subdued colors of the coast and sky, the villagers, and the dungeon walls. Leaving out proper names and referring to characters by their roles enhances the fairytale quality of Krudop's book. Visually lavish and intelligently simple, The Man Who Caught Fish is a pleasure for both children and adults.

Julie Anderson is the mother of two.

The Man Who Caught Fish is an original story with an age-old moral: greed can be disastrous. Walter Lyon Krudop's gorgeous picture book evokes ancient Thailand and tells the tale of a king who insists upon taking more than his due. A stranger comes to a village, and lifts fish after fish out of the […]

Peggy Orenstein spent three years interviewing women single women and wives, mothers and childless women, women on the career track, women who try to balance family and work, stay-at-home moms. Flux is the result of these interviews, and it's fascinating.

Orenstein's findings lead her to conclude that, while considerable strides have been made toward equality of the sexes, women still have difficult choices to make. She explores the potential for material success and personal fulfillment that young women have, as well as the inevitable trade-offs that women make.

Orenstein introduces the reader to Shay Thomas, a medical student who discusses what it means to be black and female in a mostly white male professional world. We also hear from Mira Brodie, a young woman intent on making it in the corporate world, despite the inherent obstacles. Then we meet Denise Middleton, a woman who appears to have succeeded on the family and career fronts, but who honestly describes the painful hurdles she had to overcome.

A recurring theme is the career-family dilemma: It's very hard for a woman to push for a top position in the business world and have a family as well. Orenstein drives this notion home by revealing that while the vast majority of men in top tier positions are married with children, almost all the women in these top positions are childless, and most are unmarried.

Orenstein also delves into women's desire to have children. Some older childless women discuss their full lives, and alternate means of maternal satisfaction through nieces and nephews and neighbors' children. These women represent an increasingly acceptable option for women: no children, a strong network of friends and family, and a satisfying career.

Orenstein does not rely only on experiences of others, but reveals her own struggle with the decision to have children as she approaches her mid-30s. Flux is a thought-provoking book and a captivating aid for women who want to evaluate their goals.

Julie Anderson is a writer and mother of two.

Peggy Orenstein spent three years interviewing women single women and wives, mothers and childless women, women on the career track, women who try to balance family and work, stay-at-home moms. Flux is the result of these interviews, and it's fascinating. Orenstein's findings lead her to conclude that, while considerable strides have been made toward equality […]

K.A. Applegate's Animorphs series is hot, hot, hot, as throngs of young readers will attest. The popularity isn't only in print the Animorphs television show is entering its second season. For the uninitiated, these books are about the battle for Earth, between humans who have acquired the ability to morph into various animals and alien Yeerks who invade and take over human host bodies.

Applegate's latest book, Visser (ages 9Ð12), is another winner. It's the story of Visser One's trial for treason, including flashbacks of the initial forays into Earth. Fans will appreciate the background information about how it all began, as well as the added complexity favorite characters are given.

In a quest for the ideal set of hosts to parasitize, Visser One discovers Earth and lands with one assistant. They take over various humans, and along the way develop empathy and concern for their hosts and the children their host bodies bear. Visser One is accused of stalling the conquest of Earth, owing to emotional ties to the humans there. Eva, Visser One's host body during the trial, is the mother of Marco, one of the young resistance fighters. If Visser One is found guilty, the sentence is death, which will mean that Marco's mother will also die and never be reunited with her son.

Applegate's characters are fascinating. Visser One, although intent on the eventual annihilation of humans, has moments of self-doubt and despair that bring out sympathy in the reader. Eva and Marco, the main human characters, are bound by love for each other, but torn by the undeniable need to fight off the alien invasion. Their self-sacrifice and strength add a lot of thought-provoking depth to Visser.

First-time readers of the Animorphs series should probably start with an earlier book so that Eva's captivity, Marco's resistance role, and Visser One's plight will have more meaning. The Web site, www.

Animorphs.com, is a terrific starting point. Here, all the characters are introduced, the basic plots are described, and downloadable video clips are offered.

The Animorphs' world is an imaginative, exciting place for young readers, and Visser is a great example of the fun and thrills it has to offer.

Julie Anderson is a writer and mother of two.

K.A. Applegate's Animorphs series is hot, hot, hot, as throngs of young readers will attest. The popularity isn't only in print the Animorphs television show is entering its second season. For the uninitiated, these books are about the battle for Earth, between humans who have acquired the ability to morph into various animals and alien […]

The greatest pleasures of Reason for Hope are found in the passages about the chimpanzees of Gombe, Africa, to which Goodall is passionately devoted, and in her insights into spirituality and human moral evolution. Her stories are so brimming with emotion and her philosophical views so unpretentious and calming that one has the impression of sitting cozily with a friend.

Dr. Goodall portrays the events of her life as building upon each other and pointing her directly toward Africa, chimpanzees, and her work in environmental preservation. Early on she felt a deep empathy for animals and a desire to study them unobtrusively in their natural habitats. She relates a delightful memory of hiding out in the straw of a henhouse at the age of four to experience first-hand how a chicken lays an egg.

When Dr. Louis Leakey offered her a job studying the chimpanzees of Gombe, she began her life's work. Her chimpanzee observations are captivating, as are the comparisons between them and humans. The chimpanzees have tender, caring relationships, but can also be ruthless toward members of the outgroup. She sees human precursors to both altruism and savage brutality in the chimpanzees.

Religion and spirituality factor greatly in Goodall's life. She feels God (the same God all religions share) all around her, but especially in the jungles of Africa. What makes her book such a delight is her unbridled, intelligent optimism.

Although deeply affected by the genocide, terrorism, animal cruelty, deforestation, and other horrors of our age, she has faith in the potential goodness of the human race, and in the benevolence of God. Her strong views are delivered so rationally, and in such a serene way, that not a trace of condescension or bitterness shows through. She is a beautiful role model for these sometimes ugly days. ¦ Julie Anderson writes and stays home with her two sons.

The greatest pleasures of Reason for Hope are found in the passages about the chimpanzees of Gombe, Africa, to which Goodall is passionately devoted, and in her insights into spirituality and human moral evolution. Her stories are so brimming with emotion and her philosophical views so unpretentious and calming that one has the impression of […]

Leap for joy! Whistle and stretch, curl up and cuddle, wriggle and laugh with your favorite child. Judy Hindley's latest book is a tickly, giggly delight for parents and preschoolers. Her text, peppered with rhyme, along with Brita Granstrom's lively illustrations, invite readers to identify body parts and then get up and use them in play. It's great fun for the preschool set, and will have them moving, learning, and laughing.

A crew of friendly children demonstrates some of the amusing things kids (and grown-ups) can do with their bodies. Their smiles are contagious: Feel how it makes/your belly go/when you laugh /Ha-ha! /Hee-hee! /Ho-ho! Young children will have a blast imitating the moves: counting off fingers and toes, kissing, bending, bumping, and stomping. The acting and interacting opportunities are irresistible: A mouth is to yawn;/Open wide /See all the teeth and the tongue inside? And even grown-ups will find themselves hamming it up: A tongue is to talk/and to sing La-la! /La-la, /la-la, /la-la! The words lend themselves so effortlessly to imaginative and enthusiastic readings that even a distracted, grumpy three-year-old may be persuaded to listen and join in.

Says Hindley, This is a book to play with. I hope it encourages children to express and celebrate the sheer delight of owning a body. It certainly does, and in a refreshingly uninhibited, cheerfully goofy way.

Granstrom's good-natured children romp through rooms at home and play outside. Her scenes are full of activity, with a few quiet moments as well. Backgrounds are in a single muted color, with simple line-drawn details, which allow the bright, bouncy kids to really shine without being overwhelmed. The words themselves are visually appealing. There is plenty of variation in letter sizes and a playful disregard of margin alignment. Beginning readers will enjoy picking out letters in the super-sized words sprinkled throughout: Peek-a-boo! , Hooray! , Bump! Eyes, Nose, Fingers, and Toes is a warm book that celebrates the exuberance toddlers feel as they play. Read this book with a child you love, and get carried away together with the silliness and joy of it all.

Julie Anderson writes from Bell Buckle, Tennessee.

Leap for joy! Whistle and stretch, curl up and cuddle, wriggle and laugh with your favorite child. Judy Hindley's latest book is a tickly, giggly delight for parents and preschoolers. Her text, peppered with rhyme, along with Brita Granstrom's lively illustrations, invite readers to identify body parts and then get up and use them in […]

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