Felina’s New Home by Loran Wlodarski

Title: Felina’s New Home
Author: Loran Wlodarski

Illustrator: Lew Clayton
Paperback or hardback: 32 pgs, hardback or paperback
Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing

Publication Date: March 2010
ISBN-13: 978-1607-180685 (H)  $16.95/978-1607-180791 (P)  $ 8.95

Reviewed by Kathy Stemke

Felina the Florida panther’s beautiful forest home began to shrink, as humans take over more and more of her space.  Loran Wlodarski tells the story of this scared and confused animal as trees are disappearing and roads are being built in her habitat.   Felina finds many other animals are suffering as well.  Will the animals adapt?  Can children help to make the animals safe and happy? 

Lew Clayton’s illustrations help bring this important story to life.  Whether we see garbage in the water supply or sharp cans that cause injury to the animals, Ms. Clayton’s colorful illustrations transport you to the Florida forest. 

“Fun Fact: If panther’s catch a large meal, they may eat it over several days.  If so, they will frequently cover it with leaves and sticks to keep it fresh and hidden from other scavengers. “ 

The fun facts and life cycle information in the back of the book will help parents and teachers to continue the learning process.  The activities encourage children to think about endangered animals and how they can help. As a teacher I recommend this book for everyone’s library.

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Mr. Vinegar and the Frozen Sea by Chris Wardle

 Mr. Choli, Mr. Ginger, the Tinfish family, and the others from Daphne Wood return in Mr. Vinegar and the Frozen Sea.

Winter has come to the colony. While Mr. Choli, the head detective, has managed to gain a lofty reputation based upon his previous adventures to help the colony survive after the sudden climate changes impacted the community, the winter has brought on a whole new set of problems to be addressed. The fish supply is dwindling and the ice shelf continues to shift and thicken, making fishing an arduous chore.  Other supplies are low too. When Mr. Vinegar suggests another expedition, this group of adventurers begins putting together their plan. Of, course, no one figured that Mr. Vinegar planned to come along.

Chris Wardle’s series of quirky characters returns in this third installment featuring the cats, Mr. Choli and Mr. Ginger. As with The Lighthouse of Mr. Tinfish and Mr. Choli’s River Trip, the animals left behind after the sudden climate changes forced them to leave their homes to seek out a new place to live, continue to deal with issues that are a matter of life and death. 

The community in Daphne Wood is made up of a diverse group of characters: cats, birds, squirrels, penguins, a walrus, a polar bear and more. Each animal having its own food and shelter needs, the members of the colony have worked together to ensure everyone’s survival and comfort.  Winter becomes a large obstacle for them to overcome as their food supplies dwindle. The forest being mostly wiped out from previous fires, means the colony must seek new plants farther away and bring them back to Daphne Wood. These will have to be drought resistant crops, since the overwhelming heat of the summer burns the plants and makes it hard for them to grow.

Wardle introduces more new characters in this book. Amazingly, each character is unique and has some type of quirk that will leave an impression on the reader. The creation of these zany characters is definitely Wardle’s strong point.  That the animals have managed to work together for so long for the betterment of everyone, provides young readers an excellent example without being preachy. The illustrations add a special touch to the book.

I enjoyed the second book in the series better than the first, and this third installment is my favorite. Wardle consistently puts together fun, humorous stories filled with adventure that address the global issue of climate changes in a way that children will enjoy. If the author takes the time to seek a copyeditor to clean up the typographical errors, future books in this series will be perfect.

Mr. Vinegar and the Frozen Sea is a delightful read that kids will devour with zest.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: Lulu
  • SRP:  $7.83

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Marie and Her Friend the Sea Turtle by Nicole Weaver

Discover a wonderful story of friendship and compassion in Marie and Her Friend the Sea Turtle by Nicole Weaver.

One day Marie is walking along the shore collecting seashells, when she spies what she thinks is the largest seashell she has ever seen. Rushing over, she discovers that it is not a seashell at all, but a sea turtle.

The turtle explains that she came ashore to lay her eggs, but her sore flippers prevented her from making it back into the ocean. She asks for Marie’s help. Marie soon finds out that she can’t lift or push the heavy sea turtle back into the water. And that’s when the trouble really begins.

This is a delightful book about the friendship that develops between a young girl and a sea turtle. One of the many great aspects of the book is that the sea turtle can talk and Marie can understand her. The quick friendship that develops and Marie’s desire to help her new friend is something that everyone will enjoy.

Marie’s parents play an important role in this book, but I don’t want to share too much or I’ll give it away.  All I will say is that Marie teaches them a lesson about compassion they won’t soon forget.

The illustrations provided by Ruben Chavez are absolutely wonderful. My favorite is the close-up of Marie’s face found on page 26.

A veteran teacher of French and Spanish, Weaver has written this book in English, French, and Spanish. This will allow it to be used with a diverse group of children. Locally, we have a children’s hospital who will just love having a trilingual book in their library.

If you’re looking for a sweet story, pick up a copy of Marie and Her Friend the Sea Turtle by Nicole Weaver.  You’ll be glad you did.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: Outskirts Press
  • Language: English, French, Spanish
  • ISBN-10: 1432723774
  • ISBN-13: 978-1432723774
  • SRP:  $14.95

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Troy Truck Explores Maui by Julyn Watkins

Tap dancing crabs, hockey playing reef shark pups, and hula dancing seals are just some of the animals your young reader will discover in the rhyming story of Troy Truck Explores Maui by Julyn Watkins.

Troy Truck is a solar-powered and eco-friendly monster truck who loves animals, traveling, and making new friends. Troy Truck decides to take a trip to the lovely Hawaiian island of Maui, where he snorkles, swims, drives the Road to Hana, and discovers some new animal friends.

Not only is Troy Truck Explores Maui a great way to teach your children about one of Hawaii’s islands, they’ll learn about the animals that live there, and the beauty of nature. The illustrations provided by Mandy Hedrick are absolutely beautiful, even when depicting a purple octopus playing a ukulele. But these illustrations will also delight your young children by bringing Troy Truck, the animals, and Maui to life in a plethora of colors.  The book is also printed on recycled paper.

An outstanding book with so much to offer, your three- to eight-year-old will enjoy these adorable characters and be looking for more Troy Truck adventures.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: TJW Books
  • ISBN:  978-0-9824838-0-0
  • SRP:  $16.95

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