Children’s Book Review: The Emperor’s Ostrich

The Emperor’s Ostrich, by Julie Berry, is a whimsical adventure with humor and quirky, lovable characters. While its intended audience is middle-grade readers, it will also appeal to younger readers as well as adults who are young-at-heart. Set in the Empire of Camillion, it is a fun romp through both the castle and the English countryside, and is reminiscent of both fairy and folktales of yore. Even so, this story is also both contemporary and unique in its telling.

The adventure begins when the spoiled, self-obsessed Emperor of Camillion goes missing from the castle. Soon after we are introduced to Begonia, who lives in the countryside and has lost her cow Alfalfa. Begonia, far from being a damsel in distress, embarks on a determined search to find Alfalfa. Along the way she encounters a mustard maker and a mapmaker that are really ancestral spirits in disguise – and a poetic, aptly self-defined “hopeless romantic” boy named Key. These characters, in addition to being both funny and kind, are helpful to her on her journey, even though Begonia is at first quite certain she will travel alone.

This is a story, then, of friendship and the power of kindness as much as it is about having a grand adventure. It is also about embracing differences and loving each other not in spite of, but because of them. This is also perhaps the only book in which you will find a cow and an ostrich in love. And why not? Berry is showing young readers that love is possible anywhere, between anyone – and that life is always better enjoyed with our friends. With fast-paced, witty prose, characters that jump off the page and frolicking fun, The Emperor’s Ostrich is a unique tale with a big heart sure to be enjoyed by many readers.

*I received a free copy for review from KidLit Exchange. Review also posted on Goodreads & Amazon:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2109971151

https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/RYJV1YDNNTKP/

Stacie Eirich is a writer as well as an avid reader & book reviewer. She holds a Masters Degree in English Studies from Illinois State University. She has published four books of poetry and a children’s novel: Tiger Kingdom & The Book of Destiny. She lives north of New Orleans, and is currently writing her second children’s novel.

Stacie’s Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Stacie-Eirich/e/B01D1QV79W/

https://www.facebook.com/writerstacieeirich

https://www.instagram.com/stacieeirich

https://www.soundcloud.com/stacie-eirich

 

Children’s Poetry Book Review: Ivy in Bloom

Ivy in Bloom: The Poetry of Spring from Great Poets and Writers from the Past, is an absolute pleasure to experience. Readers will delight in Kristen Blackwood’s charming illustrations, both gray and colorful – as they read original verses from Vanita Oelschlager along with excerpts from famous poems in history.

The story blends a narrative about young Ivy, a girl who eagerly awaits the colors and adventures of springtime, with the beautiful language of poets such as Dickinson, Wordsworth, Shelley, Whitman, & Frost. Children and adults alike will be drawn to the nostalgia and dreamlike quality in this celebration of the seasons.

Ivy in Bloom is a joyful experience reminding us that change is inevitable, childhood and the world around us is magical, and poetry comes from both nature and human experience. The final pages of the book include brief biographies of each historical poet, plus the full text of each poem that an excerpt was drawn from. Not only could this story, then, serve as a child’s first experience with poetry, but also provides them with a point of reference for who wrote these poems, when and where.

My hope is that when finishing a poetry book like this one, students will also want to find out why writers write poetry, and delve deeper into understanding questions like: What makes a metaphor powerful? How is a rhyme musical? Why is a verse funny or joyful or sad? Even the youngest child can answer questions about how a poem made them feel. In order to understand poetry we must experience it, the younger the better – and Ivy in Bloom would make a wonderful addition to any home or school library.

*I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Follow this link to NetGalley: https://www.netgalley.com/book/17186/review/424591

Review also posted on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2098681415

Thank you for visiting Space to Dream! Have a lovely day. -Stacie

Stacie Eirich is a writer as well as an avid reader & book reviewer. She holds a Masters Degree in English Studies from Illinois State University. She has published four books of poetry and a children’s novel: Tiger Kingdom & The Book of Destiny. She lives north of New Orleans, and is currently writing her second children’s novel.

Stacie’s Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Stacie-Eirich/e/B01D1QV79W/

https://www.facebook.com/writerstacieeirich

https://www.instagram.com/spacetodreampoetry

https://www.soundcloud.com/stacie-eirich