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Book Whimsy: The Raft, Fish, Animal Teachers

book whimsy 2Today’s Book Whimsy features three short books. Honestly, I love short books. There’s just something about being able to finish a book in one day, which could be accomplished with all three of these. These are all short for different reasons–one is a YA novel, another is a graphic novel and the third is a picture book. However, being short isn’t a good enough reason for me to love a book, but cute animals are, so you can guess which of these three I loved!

The Raft by S.A. BodeenI had been planning to read The Raft by S.A. Bodeen* for a few years, but I’m not sure exactly why I picked it up in the end because I did dislike Shipwreck Island another book she wrote about a shipwreck…seems to be a theme. But I had The Raft and wanted to cross it off my list, so since the book was just over 200 pages I decided to finally read it. It’s a survival novel about Robie, a teenage girl whose flight crashes near Hawaii over the Pacific ocean. It’s a cargo flight, so she’s the only passenger (there are quite a few contrived reasons to help make the book scarier), and as she and the co-pilot Max struggle to survive the odds seem increasingly worse with each passing hour.

Basically, The Raft has one character, as Max isn’t conscious for a lot of the book, which means you spend a lot of time with Robie. For me, this wasn’t a good thing. Granted, she’s in an awful situation, but she also complains a lot, which combined with a simplistic writing style had a surprisingly difficult time keeping my interest for a story with so much built-in tension. I mean, it’s really life-or-death. There was a twist at the end which was pretty well done, although I had definitely considered it, I still thought it was a welcome addition to keep the book from being too repetitive. Still, I’ve now given Bodeen’s books two tries, so I can officially say they are not for me…

20949669At only 24 pages, Fish by Bianca Bagnarelli* is definitely one of the shortest books I read in 2014. It is a graphic novel–well, more like a graphic short story–about a twelve-year-old boy named Milo whose parents died in a car crash and were later found washed ashore. When a girl is found drowned, Milo thinks seeing her will help give the closure he never had.

This is a quiet and melancholy story, with lovely artwork, but the brevity of the story means Fish feels more like a glimpse than the entire thing. The short format is intended to introduce readers to new authors, and while it accomplished that, I did want more depth and time from Bagnarelli’s book to make it feel complete. For me, Fish was just too brief, but it did provide a good reminder that I should pick up more graphic novels in the future.

18077935Hello Picture Book! I know this is a bit unusual on the blog, but I have friends with babies and I love artwork so I do read the occasional picture book. One adorable option I picked up last year is Animal Teachers by Janet Halfmann, illustrated by Katy Hudson*. This is a gorgeous book with stunning illustrations and the perfect combination of information and story. I love that there are both animal facts, and ways for the child to participate (although, not sure I’d want them actually having shouting lessons!)

AnimalTeachersShoutOverall, Animal Teachers is a great choice for the child who loves animals, which does a great job relating their experiences to human ones, has amazing illustrations, and even includes extra information on the animals at the end.

Have you read any short books lately? Let me know if you have any recommendations, like I said, I do love the short book…

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