Treasure Trove of Stories and More

A blast from the past along with a touch of new making this a treasure trove of stories and more!

A wonderful set of stories that  touch your heart, teach you facts and entertain! One of the treasure troves of stories I am talking about is online – International Children’s Digital Library (A Library for the World’s Children). I am finding delightful reading gems here and looking forward to discovering more. I have reviewed a few today – ‘The Quiltmaker’s Gift’, ‘Ciconia Ciconia’, and ‘The Clever Boy and the Terrible, Dangerous Animal’.

You can look for them at the ICDL website and read these wonderful books there if you wish or get them for yourselves using the provided links below.

Their mission statement  – “The ICDL Foundation promotes tolerance and respect for diverse cultures by providing access to the best of children’s literature from around the world.”

Treasure Trove of Stories

The Quiltmaker’s Gift 

Title: The Quiltmaker’s Gift
Author: Jeff Brumbeau
Illustrator: Gail De Marcken
Length: 48 pages
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Scholastic Press; Third edition (March 1, 2001)
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Age-range: 4 – 8 years (and up)
Source: Personal copy (and ICDL first)

When a generous quiltmaker finally agrees to make a quilt for a greedy king, but only under certain conditions, she causes him to undergo a change of heart. Each page highlights a different quilt block pattern whose name relates to the unfolding story.

Really a gift of a story. I am going to buy this for my home library. This is the story of a greedy king and a gifted quiltmaker. The king has a palace full of treasures he made sure he received from his subjects and guests from all over the world but he feels he can only be happy when he acquires a quilt made by the talented quiltmaker – who makes beautiful quilts not to sell, but to give away to the ones who need it the most. The king tries various methods to obtain a quilt and when he fails in face of the firm convictions of the quiltmaker, he must make a difficult decision. What he does next makes the rest of the story. With out-of-the-world vivid, detailed, and colorful illustrations, the story tells the reader the pleasure you receive when you give (even your most valued possessions to someone who needs it more).  I would happily spend as much time re-reading the story as I would just looking at the illustrations. I am also looking forward to reading ‘The Quiltmaker’s Journey’

You can buy it on Amazon here.

Jazz Fly

Title: Jazz Fly
Author: Matthew Gollub
Illustrator: Karen Hanke
Length: 32 pages
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Tortuga Press; 1St Edition (January 1, 2000)
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Age-range: 3 – 7 years (and up)
Source: Personal copy (and school library first)

The fly, who speaks jazz, asks different critters which way to town. “Rrribit,” replies the frog. “Oink,” says the hog. Although baffled, the fly hears music in their words, and that evening he uses the animal sounds to set the insect dinner club a hoppin.’

“ZA-baza, BOO-zaba, ZEE-zah RO-ni” – Are you lost? Well, so was the hero of this story, the Jazz Fly. He tries to find his way to town by asking various animals in fly speak (“ZA-baza, BOO-zaba, ZEE-zah RO-ni”). They do not speak fly and answer in their own language. He finally manages to reach town to make music and all goes fine until Queen Bee says,”I need a change else this is the end for the band”. How Jazz Fly rocks the evening and saves the band makes the rest of the story. This story illustrates that  Jazz is fun; Music is magic – even for bugs. The Jazz Fly scats through the book and before you know it, you are at the last page.

My daughter got it home from the school library – unfortunately, they did not include the CD in the book (guess it is in the library to use during school). I am looking forward to hearng the CD as well. Fun to read aloud and fun to repeat many times over. And the illustrations are great too, a right fit for the theme.

Get it here

Amazon || BookShop || Book Depository

Mommy’s Little Girl

Title: Mommy’s Little Girl
Author: Ronne Randall
Illustrator: Kristina Khrin
Length: 24 pages
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Parragon Inc (April 1, 2007)
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Age-range: 4 – 6 years (and up)
Source: Personal copy

Amy does everything with her mother, and is known as “Mommy’s little girl,” but she is surprised to learn that she was once a tiny baby, smaller than her doll.

My little girl loves this book – she fell in love with it even before she saw the cover because one of my friends (who is her favorite aunt-friend!) gave it to her when she was two (she is now five). Once she knew the title, it was ‘head-over-heels’ for her. The book itself is charming and every mommy’s little girl will enjoy reading this book and seeing a bit of herself as the little girl in the book does chores with mom, has fun with mommy (a picnic, reading a book), dresses up in mommy’s clothes and more. Sweet book with bright flowing illustrations.

Get it here on Amazon

The Night Before Kindergarten

Title: The Night Before Kindergarten
Author: Natasha Wing
Illustrator: Julie Durrell
Length: 32 pages
Publisher ‏ : ‎‎ Grosset & Dunlap (July 9, 2001)
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Age-range: 4 – 8 years
Source: Personal copy

It’s the first day of school! Join the kids as they prepare for kindergarten, packing school supplies, posing for pictures, and the hardest part of all–saying goodbye to Mom and Dad. But maybe it won’t be so hard once they discover just how much fun kindergarten really is! Colorful illustrations illuminate this uplifting takeoff on the classic Christmas poem.

This was another gift – again loved by my daughter for the fact that she got it from her preschool teachers with a personalized message written for her as she left preschool to enter Kindergarten. This book rings true for many parents and kids starting off school (no matter that they are used to going to preschool or a daycare before that). With fun rhymes and colorful illustrations,  the book conveys the preparations for the big day, the ‘I am officially a big kid now’ feeling, the transition from home or preschool environment to a school, and the feelings of both adults and kids at this time. The last two pages are a hoot and so cute! My daughter loves reading it even now though she is been in Kindergarten for a few months already!

Nov 2021 Update: The original review is from my Nov 2011 post, and now my daughter is a sophomore in high school!! But she still has this book and recalls it with fond memories!!

You can get it here on Amazon

Ciconia Ciconia

Title: Ciconia Ciconia
Author/Illustrator: Andrea Petrlik Huseinović
Translator: Ludwig Bauer
Length: 29 pages
Publisher: Kašmir Promet in 2003 ‎
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Age-range: 4 – 8 years (and up)
Source: ICDL

When the white stork’s Croatian village is destroyed by war, he searches for a new place to live. However, he finds out that there’s no place like home.

have to yet read this one to my kids. I read it yesterday in the online library I discovered. It illustrates the concepts of ‘East or west, home is best’, the sadness of war, and also information about Cigoc (fascinating!). The story is told by a stork who is forced to leave home in Croatia because of war. The stork looks for a new place to call home and it explores city after city and finds nothing like its ‘lost paradise’. Just as it decides to give up, it finds an unlikely savior in the most unlikely of places and returns to a place it can finally call home with the horrors of war far behind and the happy sounds of school children nearby.

It is a bittersweet story with colorful illustrations that fit the mood of the words. I also learned of a facinating city in Croatia called Cigoc (the Village of Storks!). What the author/illustrator says about herself – “When I was small I lived in a world I would draw. When I grew up I noticed that the world I lived in differed from that I created on paper. I have decided, therefore, to draw forever.”

I could not find a copy of the book anywhere except on ICDL. So please check it out here from the many books available via the book list.

The Clever Boy and the Terrible, Dangerous Animal 

Title: The Clever Boy and the Terrible, Dangerous Animal
Author: Idries Shah
Illustrator: Rose Mary Santiago
Length: 32 pages
Publisher: Ishk Book Service; 1st edition (September 1, 2000)‎
Genre: Children’s Multicultural Fiction
Age-range: 5 – 8 years (and up)
Source: Personal copy (and ICDL first)

When a boy visits another village, he is surprised to find the townspeople terrified of something that — just because they have not seen it before — they mistake for a terrible, dangerous animal. With his own knowledge and by demonstration, the boy helps them overcome their fears.

This is a folktale told here beautifully with colorful and humorous illustrations. A brave young boy who loves to explore reaches a village where he discovers the villagers terrified of a “terrible, dangerous monster”. When he decides to check out the monster for himself and realizes what it is, he has to convince the villagers that their fear of the unknown is completely unfounded and that the unknown can be wonderful, and in this case, delicious!

I found out that the author has written many other books and am adding them all to my list now. (Note: I also read another wonderful story by him which I will review next week – ‘The Boy Without a Name’) 

Get it here

Amazon || Book Depository || BookShop

All these books (six!) go went towards the Picture Book Read-to-me-Challenge which is no longer on the website I first saw it. But…

Blast From the Past Continues

Nov 2021 update: These books also went towards IMWAYR but I am not sure I did things correctly way back then (almost a decade ago). Anyway, here was my reading list that week (some of which are updated with links pointing to the reviews I wrote after this origial post!)

  • Completed reading: I have a lot of picture books to add here and nothing else for now – this includes all the books above in my Picture Book Entry.
  • Currently reading: ‘The Book Thief‘ (Kindle rental) and ‘The Hundred Dresses‘ by Eleanor Estes (My son has this as recommended reading for his third grade class and brought it home from the school library – I found it interesting!)
  • Next to read: Maid to Match (was on currently reading sometime back but put it away as I own the Kindle edition while the others are library rentals)
  • NOTE: American Rust (will have to extend my library Kindle rental on this!)

And Now, the End of This Post

3 thoughts on “Treasure Trove of Stories and More

  1. So many good recommendations. I am particularly drawn to Ciconia Ciconia. Probably as I have been to Croatia and have Croat friends.

    Very happy to read that 100 dress is recommended reading for you son's 3rd grade class.

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