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Spring Break Gems

Spring Break Gems

Spring Break Gems

My kids were home this week so I had a legitimate reason to check out a whole stack of children’s books. Here are a couple that stood out…

One Proud Penny, by Randy Siegel and Serge Bloch

“Whatever you are, be a good one”. – Abraham Lincoln

See a penny pick it up all day long you’ll have good luck. If you happen to pick up the penny in Randy Siegel’s latest book, you can’t help but see the little copper coin in a slightly different light. The main character in the book proudly touts his history, from his birthplace in Philadelphia, to his travels all around the states and meeting his temporary demise getting stuck under a US post office stamp machine.

Penny tells his readers what he’s been used to buy in the past and how now many people don’t see him for his true worth. While penny admits that life isn’t always easy for him and that sometimes things that happen seem like non cents (sorry, I couldn’t, resist) he rolls with the punches and seems optimistic about his future.

They say one is the loneliest number. The lone penny in this book does not seem to be lonely at all. In fact, he seems content “helping change the world, or to be more exact, helping the world make change”. A great little read!

Cleo, by Sassafras De Bruyn

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul – and sings the tunes without the words – and never stops at all”. – Emily Dickinson

Cleo is a melancholy little girl. She is slight, perfunctory and tired of always having to hurry. She dreams of a day when people no longer make fun of her for wearing glasses and she can take off to a place with just her and Amadeus, her brave black cat.

So she sails away towards the horizon.

The world around her opens up and it is amazing. Every day starts with a spectacular show. There are magic sea woods and mermaid caves and finally, someone special to share these experiences with. Together Cleo and her new friend defy all conventions battling sea monsters because they are brave.

This is a stunning book. The illustrations are simply fantastic. The contrast of light and dark, the delicate interplay of characters and the use of color is divine. I love this book because of the heroine in the story. She is tired of life as usual and takes matters into her own hands. The world she sees on the other side is far more than she can ever imagine and she is alive. Oliver Jeffers and Aaron Becker fans will enjoy this book.

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