Mar. 15th, 2011

booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
These are reviews of two short picture books I read... there's not enough content really to give proper reviews and both of them are for very young children, there's not much in them for adults (unlike some other short books like Hawk, I'm Your Brother which any age can enjoy). But, to be complete, and for the sake of anyone who wants to buy books for their children, I'll give these short reviews.

Leonardo's Dream... I actually found it by chance. I made a long list of library books that I wanted to review. By chance, I was going by the picture shelves and I saw this book, with a penguin on the front wearing artificial wings strapped to his small penguin wings. I thought, haha, what a lucky find! So, I picked it up.

This book is basically what it looks like on the cover. All the other penguins like to swim, but one penguin feels different from the others. He only wants to fly. As in many books, this part of the book is written well with his descriptions of longing to fly. But as in many books, too, the story gets let down later on. He manages to build his artificial wings, but crashes. The crash landing helps him find a plane which he then uses to finally fly and take all the other penguins flying too... but the plane runs out of fuel. The albatross who was standing by him all through the book tells him sadly that it was his first, and last flight because now the fuel is gone. (If a penguin can fly a plane with goggles and a pilot's hat, he can't also find more fuel?) But he doesn't mind, because he got to have his dream and now practices swimming with all the other penguins.

Obviously, from the story you can see that there is good and bad to this book. Good, because the penguin found something amazing by following his dreams. But it's bad in terms of representing winged people... because for any real winged person I really imagine flying once would not be enough... and part of the message seems to be that after you've tried your dream once, you should go back to being normal. It's hard to say what the message was... and I don't think it is that good because of that. What will children get out of this book? It's hard to say. So, with a mixed message like that, I don't think it is very useful.

Flamboyan is quite a simple and dreamy story about a girl who sits under a tree and dreams that she is flying... or, by the end, is she really flying? It isn't explained. There's nothing negative in this book... it's just a story about a girl who takes joy in flying. It's suggested too that she will fly many more times in the future. As a joyful book for children, I recommend it, just to show children that dreams are beautiful, that loving who you are is beautiful, and to have a book about that with no harsh messages, or feelings that you should give up your dreams. For Flamboyan there is a time to fly and a time to be with family, but she can always fly again.

I don't think I can give scores for either of these books. The plot is described simply here, so that should be enough to decide whether you want these books for your children.
booksofafeather: A book and candlestick, with a feather lying across the pages. (Default)
Short review: The second in the series from Mercedes Lackey (which begins with The Black Gryphon). Has a less of a confusing plot, and stronger and more interesting plot, than the first book... although slightly less content for winged people I think, there's still a lot of attention to the culture of gryphons that is built around flying creatures, and the plot will keep you reading. The villain is also not as badly done this time... still evil with no good qualities, but he is more of a full character and not just mysterious darkness in the distance. I recommend reading both books, but this is still a great book!

Writing: Again, this is a greatly-written plot with lots of twists and turns, just like the first book. Lots of fun to read!

From a winged person's perspective...: Like the first book, this has lots and lots of little details that make the gryphons feel like real winged people... not just humans with a different shape that is "conveniently" forgotten for most of the book. There is a little more in the first book that might be interesting to otherkin and winged people specifically, such as the "species-queer" elements, and the discussion of human-centric thinking... they are not so much in this book. There's not a lot of flying either so people who look for detailed descriptions of flight, it's not the book for you. And the gryphons are in it a slight bit less I felt. But there are still lots of details and realism to make winged people happy, and a society that seems to have grown naturally around these people with lots of bird metaphors common. Also, there are two adorable baby gryphons! ^v^

Trigger warnings: Violent torture with some sexual aspect. May spoil the book ) One of the characters gets stressed and becomes close to plucking her own feathers. As far as triggers go, this is not nearly as bad as the first book, for winged people, though there is still a lot of violence.

More thoughts... )
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