Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Charley's First Night - a book review

                                      Quote of the Day!

"Books are not made for furniture but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house."

Title:  Charley's First Night
Author:  Amy Hest
Illustrator:  Helen Oxenbury
Ages:  4-8

Puppies and kids, the perfect combination!  I read this book and remembered all those times when I was little and loved on my new puppy.  I was one of those kids that collected every stray animal in the neighbourhood, would come back home and say, "Please can we keep him?"  My parents were so wonderful.  They would look at each other and then grant me my wish.  For as long as I can remember I had a love affair with all kinds of animals....but especially dogs .... so I could certainly identify with Henry when he bonded to his little puppy, he named Charley.

I was thinking of words that would aptly describe the feelings and ambiance of this story.  These words came to mind:  tender, gentle, sweet, compassionate, loving...all very good words that will imprint on your mind and heart, a perfect take away from the tale.  The story begins by saying; "I carried him in my old baby blanket, which was soft and midnight blue, and we were new together and I was very, very careful not to slip in the snow and I thought about his name." Oh the responsibility of taking on a new puppy.  Henry Korn had been warned by his parents that the sole responsibility of taking care of this pup was on his shoulders and the final straw was that the new addition to the family would sleep in the kitchen and not in Henry's room - period.

The illustrations are soft and muted and quite dream-like.  They add warmth and coziness to the text as they are done in pencil and watercolours. Excellence would be the best word to describe them and they are portrayed in a very classic style.

Around midnight Henry hears his little puppy starting to fuss and cry, so out of his bed he creeps and heads on down to the kitchen to comfort the poor, little, lonely guy that is in need of his mother.  The second time around Henry's heart is hurting because he needs to comfort this little puppy and give him warm contact.  He scoops Charley up and takes him to his room to show him around.  Well you can guess what happens next.....the close encounters and cuddles do the trick and both of them snuggle down for a good night's sleep.  The perfect solution for both parties involved.

About the Author:

Amy Hest's many acclaimed children's books include the New York Times bestseller Kiss Good Night. A three-time winner of the prestigious Christopher Award, she lives in New York City. She claims to have absolutely no hidden talents, unless you count an uncanny interest in coffee ice cream and certain dogs in the Wheaten Terrier or Airedale family. Amy likes to take long walks (in the city), ride a bike (in the city), and swim (also in the city). She likes movies and reading, of course!

About the Illustrator:

  • Helen Oxenbury
  • Helen Gillian Oxenbury is an English author and illustrator of picture books. She lives in North London with her husband John Burningham, another children's literature author and illustrator. Wikipedia
    AwardsKate Greenaway MedalNestlé Smarties Book Prize

                                                     Book Review Rating:     8   (Fantastic!)

    Read on and read always!

    If you enjoyed learning about this book please leave me a comment.  Have a great day!

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