||March 9, 2009
Spencer the Spring Chicken and Other Stories
5.0 out of 5 stars two thumbs up!, February 12, 2010
By Wayne S. Walker - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME) This review is from: Spencer The Spring Chicken and Other Stories (Paperback)
How do you think a chicken who injures his wing would get around? A rooster named Spencer accidentally got his wing caught in some barbed wire. While it was healing, he came across a pile of old springs, put two on his feet, and started bouncing (get it--"spring chicken"?). He got an idea to sell the springs to other animals and make a fortune, but when his friends Randy Raccoon, Jimmy Squirrel, and Mildred Milk Cow are all injured, he just gives them the springs. Spencer also finds a couple of orphaned red birds whom he adopts and decides to take to Red Bird Valley. About half the book is taken up with several chapters about the adventures of Spencer, Sonny, and Sissy.
The second story is about Silly Earthworm who is always trying to find a new home for his family so that he might keep his wife Milly and their sixteen babies from being dug up as fishing bait, even though his friends all thought that he was silly. In the third story, shy Willy Chipmunk meets Herman Airplane who was dreamed up by a little boy named Billy and made real by love so that he could fly. But Herman was thrown in the junkyard by Billy, so Willy adopts him. When the animals learn that humans are planning to build apartments on their land, Herman helps them find a new home and move to it. Finally, we meet Whistles the Whistling Oak who, along with Mumbles Tortoise and Rudy Raccoon, helps the lost Lazy Lamb find his home and also learn how not to be lazy any more.
Most everyone knows that a fable is a fictional story, often involving animals with human traits, which has a moral. The first thing that comes to mind when we hear the term is Aesop's Fables, but others have written in this genre as well. Author Malinda Mitchell has created these charming fables with some memorable animal characters, adorably illustrated by Rosita Schandy and Neal Wooten, which children will enjoy reading and from which they can learn important lessons in the process. Spencer teaches us that helping others is much more profitable than making money. Silly Earthworm presents a message of love in spite of the discouragement of others. Willie Chipmunk and Herman Airplane emphasize the value of friendship and respect. And Whistles illustrates how that rewards are great when we are active and helping others. Two thumbs up for Spencer the Spring Chicken and Other Stories!
Spencer the Spring Chicken and Other Stories and Other Stories
5.0 out of 5 stars SFC 5 star review, March 18, 2008
By Virginia S. Grenier "Children's Author & Stor... (Ivins, Utah USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE) (REAL NAME) This review is from: Spencer the Spring Chicken and Other Stories (Paperback)
Spencer is a rooster who hurts his wing and comes up with a great idea on how to get around by using a spring - hence earning him the name "Spring Chicken". He decides his idea is so great that he ought to make money and get rich selling springs to other injured animals that can't fly so that they can bounce to wherever they want to go. He meets injured Randy Racoon, befriends him, then doesn't have the heart to charge him for the springs since his new friend is so grateful to be getting around again. The same thing happens when he meets and befriends Jimmy the Squirrel, Mildred the Cow, and others. Spencer discovers a bird's nest one day with two little orphaned red birds, and he decides to take care of them. He names them Sonny and Sissy. The baby birds soon learn to fly and talk Spencer into taking a vacation with them so that they can find Red Bird Valley, hoping to find their father. They arrive in Red Bird Valley and meet both Nora and Flip, the parents of Sonny and Sissy. Although invited to stay, Spencer returns to the barnyard and all his friends. After all, Spencer learned that by helping others, he feels warm inside and that he's rich with friends. Spencer was delighted to be back among the richness of his many new friendships! This story is the bulk of the book at 46 pages long. The illustrations are adorable.
The next story in this book is called: Silly Earth Worm. Imagine having a wife and sixteen earthworm babies to provide a safe home for! This delightful story again gives children the message of love and friendship in a unique and clever way.
The third story is called Willie Chipmunk Meets Herman Airplane. The end of this story made me sad, especially in today's "throw away" society. This will definitely teach children the value and uniqueness of each person they are friends with, and to respect their friends' feelings in every action they take in life. Bravo, Ms. Mitchell, for a very wonderful story to get this message across!
Whistles the Whistling Oak Tree is another great story, and my favorite in this book. I loved the idea of an oak tree comforting the forest animals and offering them counsel. What a wonderful message for the children to hear in such a unique venue!
Author Malinda Mitchell's expertise on each character's specific "voice" makes these stories very kid-friendly and approachable for clear understanding. Combined with the colorful illustrations, this 86-page chapter book is a keeper if you want your child to learn some valuable life lessons in a fun and understandable way.
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