Mother Osprey: Nursery Rhymes for Buoys & Gulls

This is a reprint of my review for BookPleasures.com.

Title: Mother Osprey: Nursery Rhymes for Buoys & Gulls
Author: Lucy Nolan
Illustrator: Connie McLennan
Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing
Age Level: 3-7
ISBN: 978-1-934359-96-9 (hardcover)
ISBN: 978-1-607180-41-8 (pbk.)

As the title of this book implies, with ingenuity and an obvious love of the sea, Ms. Nolan took some wonderful old standard nursery rhymes and wove them into sea and coastline themed poems. Within these rhymes, Ms. Nolan introduces bits of nautical history and information. Instead of Jack and Jill, it’s Jack and June who go up a dune. Sing a Song of Sixpense includes a trawler crew, first mate, captain, and deckhand.

Ms. Nolan takes these old standards and makes them her own. Some of the rhymes go over very well, such as Sleep Baby Sleep, and Buoys and Gulls; others may leave a young child a little puzzled, such as Tweedle-Dum & Tweedle-Dee, and Two Skippers from Texas.

I love the concept of Mother Osprey, introducing sea lingo, history and information in a wonderfully illustrated rhyming book - much of it works. I do think that a couple of the rhymes include words and themes that are geared for an older reader. One rhyme in particular is One Flamingo. It is an amazingly intricate and informative rhyme, but verses such as: “First a goose, and then some geese—a gaggle in the lane. But if the geese are flying, the gaggle is a skein,” I believe would lose many young readers of 3-7. Another is The Witch of November, 1913 with verses such as: “The lakes heaved and tossed—so many lives lost. Howling wind, high seas and snow. More than two hundred souls filled those sorrowful rolls—the crewmen of long ago.” Again, this may be a wonderful piece, but not for the intended age group.

With colorful and realistic illustrations, Mother Osprey is, overall, an entertaining, fun and educational book that celebrates the sea and coastline. Phrases and words such as okra pods, Puget Sound, shark, pirate, and shoal of bass will peak children’s interest. Although, I do feel the book would be better intended for ages seven through ten.

Mother Osprey also includes a “For Creative Minds” section that sheds insight and gives information on each rhyme. Also included is a two-page map of the United States and its surrounding waters highlighting the geographical areas the rhymes reference, along with a “Map Activity Questions” section.

About the author: Lucy Nolan is an award-winning author who spent many childhood days roaming two very special islands: Pawleys Island, SC, and Amelia Island, FL. Ms. Nolan is also the author of Down Girl and Sit chapter books. She lives in Columbia, SC with her daughter and two rambunctious dogs.

About the illustrator: Connie McLennan has been a freelance artist for over 25 years, since attending Academy of Art College in San Francisco. In addition to illustrating Mother Osprey: Nursery Rhymes for Buoys and Gulls, she has also illustrated four other children’s books for Sylvan Dell Publishing. Ms. McLennan lives in northern California with her husband, teenage son, and a playful kitten.

Direct Link to Amazon Page:Click Here.

Karen Cioffi
Reviewer for BookPleasures.com
Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

What's New at the Zoo? An Animal Adding Adventure


Title: What’s New t the Zoo?
Author: Suzanne Slade
Illustrator; Joan Waites
Reading Level: 4-8
Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-934359-93-8 (hardcover)
ISBN: 978-1-607180-38-8 (pbk.)
Rating: 5 Stars

What’s New at the Zoo? takes the reader on an animal adding adventure. This learning zoo adventure begins: “Two hungry pandas eat a bamboo lunch. One cub joins the meal. How many crunch and munch? 2 + 1 = ?” Through delightful rhyming text and numerals Ms. Slade creates a wonderfully engaging learning experience for children. Each page offers a new addition problem.

Within the rhyming text Ms. Slade cleverly weaves information about animals and the names of the baby animals pictured. Did you know that a baby mammoth boa is called a neonate? But that’s not all: the illustrations are striking - they are vivid, realistic and elaborate. Children will love reading this entertaining and educational picture book, in fact, they may not even realize they’re learning in the process.

An added feature to this book is the “For Creative Minds” and “Animal Matching Activity” educational section in the back. It offers additional math problems and solutions as well as information on the animals mentioned in the book. It also explains the differences in the animal classes: mammals, birds and reptiles, and asks the reader to put each of the animals shown within the book into their correct class.

I read this book to my three-year-old grand son. He said his favorite part was the picture with the peacocks. I then had my eight-year-old great nephew read it to me while answering the addition questions. They both enjoyed this book as will all children within the intended age group and even those a little younger. I highly recommend What’s New at the Zoo?

About the author: Suzanne Slade is the author of over 60 books for children. Her works include picture books, and biographies, as well as many non-fiction titles about animals, sports, insects, planets, and various science topics. During an earlier engineering career, she worked on Delta rockets and designed automotive braking systems. Ms. Slade lives near Chicago with her husband, two children, and their tiny dog, Corduroy.

About the illustrator: Joan Waites spent 15 years as a neo-natal intensive care nurse prior to studying illustration and launching her freelance career. In addition to What’s New at the Zoo? Joan has illustrated nearly 40 books for the educational and trade marketplace. She is also an adjunct member of The Corcoran Museum School of Arts and Design in Washington, DC, where she teaches various children’s classes for the college’s Aspiring Artists programs.

You can purchase What's New at the Zoo? An Animal Adding Adventure at: Amazon.com.

Karen Cioffi
Reviewer for BookPleasures.com

VBT - Writers on the Move July 10th Viewpoint

The 10th of each month a VBT member hosts the Viewpoint segment; this month it's Cryatalee Calderwood at: http://crystaleecalderwood.blogspot.com. Crystalee is the author of a wonderful children's book, Angeline Jellybean.

The topic is about self-published and small press authors: What is their role in the promotion of their books.

It's an insightful post with great comments; please be sure to stop by Crystalee's site and let us know what you think.

Karen Cioffi