Friday, August 29, 2014

Flare by Kallie George, illustrated by Genevieve Cote

I was in a busy hurry when I read the first book in the Tiny Tails series, Spark, so I only had time to write a brief "this is adorable" note. Now I have more time, the next book in the series, and all the words in the world, so settle in and enjoy.

Flare is a magical bird, a phoenix. Wind, Sun, and Cloud watch over him. But Flare has a problem - he is strong and tough, but he does not cry. Wind and Cloud both try to show him that it's important to cry sometimes, but it's not until Sun shows him something very sad that Flare cries - and discovers his tears are magic.

One of the things I love about this new series, Tiny Tails, is that you think the author is going for an "issue" - everyone has to cry, it's ok to be sad, etc. and then she flips it around and AH HA his tears are magic! He has to cry to fix the baby bird! So, it incorporates a gentle lesson, that it's ok to cry, without being didactic and still having a fun story that doesn't need the lesson to work on its own.

The font isn't extremely large, but it's still bold enough to be very readable. The text is about midway for an easy reader; more than a beginning reader can handle, but just right for kids who aren't ready for paragraphs and chapters yet. The text has the simple repetition and short sentences of an easy reader without being bland or boring.

Genevieve Cote's illustrations complete the delightful books. They're brilliantly colored, but still adorable, cute, and other small and cuddly words. Bright swirls of color are outlined with bold charcoal lines and light, sketched in outlines. When Flare listens to the wind, the sky is full of blue swirls, a ladybug flies by upside-down, and he's just a bundle of feathers crouched in the grass. When Flare finally cries, his blazing color and flaming tears pop right off the page.

Verdict: If, like me, you're ready for something new in easy readers, these are a perfect choice. Accessible text and lovely illustrations will make these a favorite with both parents and children. Highly recommended.

ISBN: 9781927918597; Published August 2014 by Simply Read Books; Review copy provided by the author; Donated to the library

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