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Kids’ Book Corner: Celebrating love and animals

Posted By Karen Young On February 4, 2010 @ 12:36 am In Family,Featured,Kids' Book Corner,spotlight | 2 Comments

JoPerry75BY JO PERRY

Think back to your first love and most likely you’ll remember the profound and generous affection you felt for an animal or a pet, and the love that animal returned to you.  My Valentine’s Day-themed picks, two classics and one new, celebrate this love:

Our Farm by The Animals of Farm Sanctuary, poems by Maya Gottfried, paintings by Robert Rahway Zakanitch is a cheery and loving celebration of the inhabitants of The Farm Sanctuary farms in Orland, California and Watkins Glen, New York, both shelters for neglected and abused farm animals.

OurFarmPoet Maya Gottfried volunteered at the New York farm and got to know the subjects who speak to the reader in poems illustrated with brilliant watercolors. Children will adore Ramsey the sheep, goat Clarabell, Gabriella the chicken, and the haiku written by rabbits Cece and Barnaby.

the-goat-ladyThe Goat Lady by Jane Bregoli tells the true story of French Canadian Noelie Houle, an elderly Dartmouth, Massachusetts neighbor of the book’s author and illustrator, Jane Bregoli. Houle’s rundown property is full goats, geese and chickens that fascinate Bregoli’s children. Bregoli’s children finally meet Houle, who introduces them to her “kids,” Darcey, Dottie, Elaine, June and Vincent, and teaches them how to feed, care for and milk them.

goat-ladyHoule explains how raising goats and drinking their milk helped her overcome an illness, and explains that she shares her goats with needy people in other countries through the Heifer Project. But neighbors think Houle’s ramshackle property and her animals are a public nuisance.  Bregoli paints a series of portraits of Houle that reveal to her community what a treasure Houle and her kids really are. The paintings in the book are the paintings from Bregoli’s show.

EveryLivingThingEvery Living Thing by Cynthia Rylant collects a dozen short stories about the human-animal connection.  Kids 10 and up (up means adults) will long remember these deep, powerful and elegant stories about animals –a wild boar, a dog, a goldfish named Joshua, a hermit crab, among them—and their indelible effect on the people who know them.

Jo Perry has a Ph.D. in English, taught literature and writing, and worked as a college administrator and as a television writer and producer. She is a reviewer for BookBrowse.com and is an ongoing contributor to kidsLA Magazine for which she writes about the city, children’s books, and conducts interviews. For two years she wrote the Kids’ Book Club column for the L.A. Times’ Kids’ Reading Room page.

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