Saturday, August 7, 2010

Book Review - Animal House

Author: Candace Ryan
Illustrator: Nathan Hale
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers (July 20, 2010)
Reading Level: Ages 4 to 8
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4 Stars

Description from GoodReads:
Jeremy's teacher Mrs. Nuddles thinks he belongs in a zoo?and she isn't far from the truth. Jeremy lives in an animal house, where refrigergators roam free, floormingoes don't mind being stepped on, and manatee-vees broadcast the news. When Mrs. Nuddles visits Jeremy's house herself, she witnesses the amazing animal house firsthand: the snailbox full of mail, the armapillow happy to let her rest her head, and?unfortunately for Mrs. Nuddles?the vulchair, who might be a bit hungry today. Young readers will delight in the silly wordplay and bright, detailed illustrations of this wild story.

Several months ago, I met Candace Ryan at an event for another author/illustrator. We started talking about her new book. I told her that she had "lucked out" in getting Nathan Hale as her illustrator. The concept sounded wonderful and I was excited to see what Hale would do with her text.

Ryan's book entitled Animal House was released finally and I got my hands on a copy. It is bright and colorful. It made me giggle and laugh. And most of all it made me wonder what is was like to be in the heads of both Ryan and Hale. The text and the illustrations complimented each other beautifully.

Jeremy, the main character, lives in a gorvilla (a house in the shape of a Gorilla). He tells his teacher, Mrs. Nuddles that a "vulchair" ate his homework. She is skeptical and wants to do a homevisit before allowing Jeremy on a class field trip. To Mrs. Nuddles surprise the "snailbox" is actually part snail and part mailbox. The "condoor" is really part door and part Condor. And of course, a the hybrid chair vulture did really eat Jeremy's homework and almost Mrs. Nuddles.

Children will laugh at the pictures, and feel for Jeremy's dilemma. Parents will enjoy the book along side their young readers. Teachers can use the book to help students expand their writing and to think in new ways. This will be one book that is coming to school with me. Congratulations Candace on a great debut picture book.
I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~