Friday, April 10, 2009

Martin Waddell's Birthday

Born during a bombing raid in Belfast in the middle of World War II, Martin Waddell celebrates his 68th birthday today. Along with the picture books that he is most famous for authoring, Waddell also enjoys writing ghost stories. Martin Waddell also has a second name that he uses to author books, Catherine Sefton. He uses this name when he writes serious books that show how people relate to one another, where as, when you see the name Martin Waddell for author, you know these books are intended for amusement purposes only!

Waddell, Martin.
Tiny's Big Adventure.
Candlewick Press.
Guided Reading Level: I

Tiny and his sister Katy are field mice. Tiny, as his name indicates, is literally tiny and has never been to the cornfield before. He convinces his bigger sister Katy to take him and the two set off on the adventure of a lifetime. Couldn't you predict that playing hide-and-seek in a cornfield as a tiny mouse would bring about adventure? Tiny suddenly finds himself separated from and unable to find his sister as the game begins. Maybe being curious wasn't such a good idea after all! He calls and calls and calls Katy but before she reappears, Martin has discovered all sorts of scary things - a snail, a spider and a boot among them! After a busy day, the two return home but not before Katy promises Tiny that they'll explore the cornfield again sometime!

This is a very cute story that shows just how big these ordinarily small objects (in the eyes of humans) are so big and scary to a little mouse like Tiny. The concept of Tiny actually being a tiny mouse only adds to the story! Animal lovers are sure to enjoy this one!

Waddell, Martin.
Farmer Duck.
Candlewick Press.
Guided Reading Level: J

Who's typically in charge down on the farm? The farmer right? Well, in this backward tale, the farmer's the lazy one and one unfortunate duck is stuck doing all the work - fetching the cows, bringing the sheep from the hill, putting the hens in their houses, all while the lazy farmer lays in bed all day! The animals, noticing how tired the duck is becoming call a meeting for one morning and come up with a plan! The next day, just before dawn, they invade the farmers house, creep down the hall, up the stairs and hide under the bed causing it to begin rocking above them all. As the farmer awakens, they lift his bed and start to shout, scaring him away. Together, the animals all set to work after taking control of the farm themselves!

Kids will be laughing as they discover a lazy farmer! Who knew? As the animals overtake the farm, at least they've planned to help duck out in completing the work from now on! This sort of reminded me of my own reading of Animal Farm by George Orwell way back in high school!

Waddell, Martin.
Owl Babies.
Candlewick Press.
Guided Reading Level: J

This story would be perfect for children who are anxious about facing the separation from a parent, whether it be for a vacation, heading to school for the first time, being left with a babysitter... whatever the case, the story would likely do a wonderful job assuring young children that Mommy or Daddy or whoever it be will return for them!

Three babies owls awaken one night to discover their mother is gone. Sarah, who appears to be the biggest of the three babies, tries to reassure the smaller two in a positive way,
"I think she's gone hunting," said Sarah.
Percy, the middle owl, tries to reassure herself after hearing Sarah's words,
"To get us our food!" said Percy.
Bill, the littlest of the owls, can only reply with
"I want my mommy!"
And of course, as 99.9% of mothers do, Mommy returned for her babies!

If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to