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You’ll Never Believe This One

neverbelieveThe Land of Neverbelieve ($17.99, Candlewick Press, Ages 7 and up) will take you deep inside an imaginary wonderland of nature. British author/illustrator Norman Messenger writes from the perspective of an explorer who happens upon a most unusual island called “Neverbelieve,” which following his exploration, magically disappears from sight.

Like typical Candlewick Press titles, The Land of Neverbelieve is an extraordinarily sturdy, big and beautiful, high-quality book. The illustrations, which dominate the book, really pop on the thick satin paper, and each spread has a flip flap that opens to reveal more pictures you will not tire of viewing.

As I read the story I was reminded of the animal adventures of Charles Darwin who documented the many different species he observed on his famous journey that led to his theory of evolution. Luckily for the reader, Messenger documented The Land of Neverbelieve adventure in both words and glorious illustrations. Each of these pictures has a lengthy caption describing details of the whimsical “pretend” species, the inhabitants there and other highlights. The book is very imaginative; there are trees made from rope and chocolate, snakes so long they get tied up in knots, catfish that look like cats and so much more.

insidespreadneverbeleive

I like the way the book is presented as an explorer’s findings of a most unusual place and that readers can take their time to study each creative description.  The Land of Neverbelieve is sure to stir the imagination and get every reader thinking about all the wonderful species of plants and animals out there, whether real or pretend.  No one would argue that this is a really unique book and that the illustrations are outstanding. It would make a great gift for any child interested in science or one who loves to make up stories. And what child doesn’t like to do that?

Reviewed by Debbie Glade.

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Live for Each Moment

mayfly-day

Debbie Glade, who absolutely loves insects, weighs in on a picture book for young readers.

Mayfly Day ($8.99, Anderson Press, Ages 3 and up) is a special picture book about the insect known as the Mayfly. Why write a book about a Mayfly  you ask? Well, Mayflies are not your typical insects. They live only for one single day. But as we learn in this story, they make the most of every single moment of that most important day.

I love the way author Jeanne Willis writes about the Mayfly’s daily activities. Her style is informative, yet poetic and reads much like non-rhyming verse.  Readers learn about about how the Mayfly lives –  being born, mating, laying eggs and dying all in the same day.  And they also learn what she is thinking; the book is very positive, giving the perspective of a creature most grateful for the life she has, no matter how short that may be.

English artist Tony Ross (perhaps best known for his Horrid Henry work), who has illustrated other Jeanne Willis books, does a marvelous job with Mayfly Day. His pastel illustrations are colorful and wispy and and are just perfect for this wonderful story.

If you love insect books, you might want to also check out these other titles: Step Gently Out and What’s Lurking in the Garden?

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