Monday, December 20, 2010

Miscellaneous Monday - Animal Rescue Team

I think I've mentioned before, but I'll say it again.  We love books!  We own way too many of them, yet we still go to the local libraries up to three times a week to check out more.  The kids love to listen to a book together so I read hours and hours of books to them, but I also rely on audio books.  This way, I get a break, they get to hear other readers (for us, an audio book can be a yea or nay, depending on the reader), I am able to do some housework while they are mesmerized by the story, and the kids can listen as they drift off to sleep with no lights on.  We have so many books I intend to review, but Animal Rescue Team Gator on the Loose by Sue Stauffacher is this week's pick.

We have been in need of light and fun entertainment, lately.  My grandfather passed away (more on this in a later post) and my husband was laid off so there has been quite a lot weighing on all our minds, especially the kids.  They are super sensitive to our moods and to life changes.  Our three are at very different developmental stages and with three distinct personalities, so they have different ways of dealing with grief and loss.  This also makes it challenging, at times, to find a book which will be of interest to them all.  The Animal Rescue Team series seems to fit the bill.

Of course, the animals is what originally caught my eye for this audio book.  As vegans, I have always gone out of my way to pick books which portray animals as respected beings.  A large portion of our children's books are nonfiction books about animals or fiction books about people respecting nature and all creatures.  Unfortunately, even in the best books, there is often meat-eating as part of the story.  The kids were quick to pick up on Charlotte's Web and the consumption of bacon.  This in itself can lead to interesting reflections.  Animal Rescue Team Gator on the Loose is no different, food plays a part, possibly a bigger part than one would expect.  While there is certainly animal eating, I was pleasantly surprised to hear quite a lot of talk about jicama and other foods which don't often make it into children's books.  One of my pet peeves is children's books which promote over-consumption of junk foods.
Although we listened to the audio book, it was clear from the cover that the family in the book is biracial and multi-generational.  Two big pluses before we even listened to a word.  Listen, we did, and all three of my kids (3, 6, and almost 11 years old) loved the book.  The book has a great family focus with lots of community.  The inter-sibling relationships are believable, yet adorable.  The family rescues wild animals and returns them to the wild, when possible.  There was just the right amount of factual information about the wild animals for us all to learn something and spark interest in learning more.  This information was presented in a fun and engaging way so as not to bore or lose the younger audience.   The story was interesting enough for me to listen along with the kids.  We can't wait to visit the library for the next book in this series.  If you have animal lovers in your family, you might want to check it out.

2 comments:

Sue said...

Hi Linda, I am the author of the Animal Rescue Team series...courtesy of Google Alerts I see where the book shows up. I was so delighted to find your blog--I can't wait to try the veggie burger recipe! As an interesting aside, I have been researching the leap from vegetarianism to veganism. I have never tried the recipes in the Animal Rescue Team book! But since I write about all different kinds of people, they have all different appetites. I hope you and the kids are still in the Chicago area this spring when we ride our bikes there from Grand Rapids (tillieride.com). We are still looking for qualifying schools. Best wishes. Please email me through my website and I'll send a message to your kids. P.S. If the series is continued, I think Grandma is going to become a vegan : )

VeganLinda said...

Sue,

Thanks so much for leaving a comment! I will definitely send you an email through your website. How cool about Grandma! She is one of my favorite characters from the book. I love her spirit. We look forward to reading more of your work. We are cyclists as well, but mainly just getting around town (we don't own a car). We would like to try some longer cycling trips. Thanks for the The Tillie Ride link.