Tag Archives: laurel snyder

Review! Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder

24 Aug

Orphan Island
By Laurel Snyder
288 pages – ages 9+
Published by Walden Pond Press on May 30, 2017

Synopsis From Publisher- “On the island, everything is perfect. The sun rises in a sky filled with dancing shapes; the wind, water, and trees shelter and protect those who live there; when the nine children go to sleep in their cabins, it is with full stomachs and joy in their hearts. And only one thing ever changes: on that day, each year, when a boat appears from the mist upon the ocean carrying one young child to join them—and taking the eldest one away, never to be seen again.

Today’s Changing is no different. The boat arrives, taking away Jinny’s best friend, Deen, replacing him with a new little girl named Ess, and leaving Jinny as the new Elder. Jinny knows her responsibility now—to teach Ess everything she needs to know about the island, to keep things as they’ve always been. But will she be ready for the inevitable day when the boat will come back—and take her away forever from the only home she’s known?”

What I Thought- I have mixed feelings about this book. It’s not quite about responsibility, or growing up, but it is not not about them either. It’s odd. While the writing was good, it just didn’t resonate with me. I thought the plot dragged a bit, but I also loved the specific details about life on the island. As a reader, it was an odd relationship. There were times when I felt I was about to get totally immersed in the story but never got fully engaged. The story is very whimsical, and has a basic almost-utopia feel to it, and you really do begin to feel raw emotion as things twist about, but then it would get lost. I just couldn’t get into it. I think there was too much left unresolved. Overall, this is a well-written book with interesting characters, just not one I was head-over-heels for. That certainly doesn’t mean others won’t be.

I give this book three out of five bookworms.

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Swan by Laurel Snyder

25 Sep

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a beautiful nonfiction story.

Swan_jkt_Bologna.inddSwan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova
Written by Laurel Snyder
Illustrations by Julie Morstad
52 pages – ages 6+
Published by Chronicle Books on August 18, 2015

Theme/Topic- Perseverance / Kindness

Genre- Nonfiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: 

“The city is big.
Anna is small.
The snow is
everywhere
and all around.”

Synopsis: From Goodreads; “One night, her [Anna’s] mother takes her to the ballet, and everything is changed. Anna finds a beauty inside herself that she cannot contain.

So begins the journey of a girl who will one day grow up to be the most famous prima ballerina of all time, inspiring legions of dancers after her: the brave, the generous, the transcendently gifted Anna Pavlova.

Why I liked this book- This is an amazing book! The illustrations are top-notch, and really bring you into the story. They are incredibly beautiful and awe-inspiring. The ratio of detail to blank-space is very compelling. The story line itself is a great blend of the biography of Anna Pavlova and emotion-tugging heart-strings. Ms. Snyder puts it in a marvelous free-verse poetry style, with repetition and a rhythmic feeling. This is an amazing book, and one I would definitely recommend to anyone! There is a great balance between learning, and a great story!

Activities and Resources- Learn more about Anna Pavlova HERE.

The author includes a little bit of info in the back for an older reader, if they are interested.

Here is a video of Anna Pavlova in her “Dying Swan” role:

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

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