BOOK REVIEWS

I am Birch Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-06-24 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings
ISBN:1944762396
LANGUAGE:English

"Why we chose this book:
Our shared interest in nature as well as the premise of dealing with panic led me to request this book to review with T. The publisher provided a copy for review.

Mom's Review (V)

A birch stump questions passing animals about a coming time of cold and darkness, and attempts to quell their panic.

What I didn't expect from I Am Birch was the humor. On nearly every page, the birch stump has a little comment about each animal that causes me to smile to myself (T doesn't appreciate the comments like I do). The main focus, illustrations and storyline, is appreciated by him though. First I'd like to address the illustrations. Animals who talk, but live in the wild, wear clothes designed with an eye for detail. According to Islandport Press's website, "Kelley used his portraits of Wabanaki tribal elders as a springboard" for the illustrations. The result is stunning and unique.

I've been trying for a while to figure out exactly what I want to say about the story. Asking T questions for his part of the review helped me pin down the idea that has been floating just out of reach. When I asked him the most important thing to know about this book, T told me that the book is about love. After a few seconds of thought, I saw what he meant: love that the birch has for the animals. The forest animals are panicking in the face of cold and darkness. The birch tries first to discern who started it all. Then it tries to calm the creatures. In the end, everything rights itself and the animals do regain their calm. I Am Birch conveys the ideas that nature will reassert itself after chaos and that trials will not last forever. The maintaining of calm and hope in the face of adversity is the idea, the feeling, that I've been trying to identify. So I ask myself, Why read I Am Birch? My answer: the little comments, the striking illustrations, and, primarily, the feeling of stability in the face of chaos.

Son's Review (T)
(age 3)

Mom: Do you have a favorite animal? ... What did you like about the deer so much?

Son: The deer was my favorite ... liked her hat.

Mom: If you met the beaver, what would you say to him?

Son: I would say, "Don't say the cold and darkness."

Mom: Do you have any advice for the beaver?

Son: Say, "It's warm, sunshiny."

Mom: If you saw this birch stump, would you expect it to grow new leaves?

Son: I would because it grows new leaves.

Mom: I didn't expect it, so I was surprised at the end.

Mom: If you could meet any animals or the birch tree -

Son, interrupting: Or the rock!

Mom: Or the rock. Which one would you meet? What would you say?

Son: The rock. "You are a rock."
(In the book, the stone's comment to the birch is, "I am a stone.")

Mom: What would the rock say to you?

Son: "You're a kid."

Mom: How did the story make you feel?...What part made you happiest?

Son: Happy. This [page where the birch grew all its new leaves].

Mom: When is it a good time to read this book? Why?

Son: When you're feeling sad. Because it makes me happy. Because it's about love. This part [the birch tree] is about love. I'd like to climb it. Look, it has a bunny on it!

Mom: Does the birch tree get love or give love?

Son: Give love. It's like a parent because because because it so many love in it!


A bit extra:
I would recommend checking out the interview with Scott Kelley found under the News tab on Islandport Press's website. He talks a bit more about how the illustrations and the story came to be.
" said.

September 2018 New Book:

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