Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Friends and Family

Friends: True Stories of Extraordinary Animal Friendships
by Catherine Thimmesh
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011
review copy provided by the publisher

The first thing you'll do when you pick this book up is look at all  of the CUTE photos of unusual and extraordinary animal friends -- monkey and macaque, giraffe and ostrich, capybara and squirrel monkey...and my favorite, the toad and mouse.

Then you'll go back and enjoy the rhyming text.

A friend connects...
A stretch, a slight strain, 
a balancing feat,
friends go to great lengths 
in order to meet.
(Asian camel and Vietnamese miniature pig)

No matter
who has
a snout
or a beak,
connecting with friends
is something friends seek.
(giraffe and ostrich)

Finally, you'll want to know the story of how each pair of animals became friends, and you'll go back to the nonfiction paragraph below each poem to find out more about the animals, where in the world, and how they became friends.

Little Treasures: Endearments from Around the World
by Jacqueline K. Ogburn
illustrated by Chris Raschka
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2011
review copy provided by the publisher

Jacqueline Ogburn, author of A Dignity of Dragons: Collective Nouns for Magical Beasts, seems to be the kind of person who loves words, and language, and quirky terms.

In Little Treasures, Ogburn has collected parental terms of endearment in fourteen languages. There are three or four terms from countries as far-flung as Uganda, the Slovak Republic and Argentina. The borders of many countries are dissolved by including terms that Russian-speaking or Arabic-speaking or Hindi-speaking people use. For the non-English languages, there is a pronunciation guide, and for the languages that do not use the Latin alphabet, the term is written in the alphabet of the language, and the pronunciation guide includes a Latinized version of the term.

Through it all, Chris Raschka's illustrations emanate love and joy and playfulness. You'll want to pick up your own "little coconut candy," your own "habibi/beloved," your own "Knuddelbaerchen/little huggy bear" and snuggle and cuddle and call them whatever it is that YOU call your little one.

There are no little ones in my house (well, not counting the cat...), but I can't wait to take this book to school and see if my students can add to this list. One my mom calls me, "pumpkin," is in the book, but "sugar plum" is mine, all mine!

What are YOUR favorite terms of endearment for your children, and what were YOU called as a child?


  1. The first book of friendships reminds me of the Owen and Mzee books, so wonderful to hear about those friendships in nature. The second one I agree would call for a terrific conversation in classes of all ages. What a sweet idea! My one endearment for my children when little was 'sweet pea'. Don't know where it came from, it just started!

  2. I just found your post through Barbara's post about her brother. These look like great books!!

  3. YAY - I agree that these look like amazing books. Thanks for the lead! I'm going to add you to my blog roll!

    The Corner On Character

  4. I love the Little Treasures idea...seeing your "sugar plum" gave me a start. No one ever called me that, but I call my kids that, and "sweet pea" too! Did we once discuss "sugar plum"?

    I can see a wonderful Kindergarten conversation around Valentine's day...


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