Monday, June 16, 2014

Stop Thief! - a book review

Happy Monday everyone and welcome to Storywraps.  I hope your weekend was great and you are ready to leap into another busy week with all its potentials and possibilities.  The book I have for you today is a fun read for sure....

Title:  Stop Thief!
Author:  Heather Tekavec
Illustrator:  Pierre Pratt
Ages:  3-7

There you are now!!! I see you....there's the thief....

Rabbit doesn't understand that perhaps he has something to do with the missing carrots.....

No, that is not blush on Mrs. Pig....strawberry blush maybe....authentic, strawberry blush.....

My take on the book:

I love this book because I fell instantly in love with the main character, an adorable little dog named Max.  His master, the farmer, gave Max a very important mission.  A lot of the farm's carrots, beans and cherries are missing because of an unidentified thief. The farmer asks Max if he can track down the burglar and eradicate him from the property forever.  Max eagerly jumps at the chance to show his love and loyalty.  Will it be a mission impossible?  Not with Max, no sir, he is on it.  

He scoots off to the carrot patch and hears a buzzing sound.  He locates a blue bug sitting on top of  the feathery green leaves and actually chewing happily away.  This is Max's "Ah-ha" moment.  He barks,"Stop Thief!" and is so focused on this intruder that he totally misses a clue that rabbit has surfaced while chewing on a carrot too.  Max keeps his eyes on the thief and tracks that blue bug right into the strawberry patch where he encounters a red-stained pig who is having a very fulfilling time. (literally).  Next he zooms after the bug and off into the bean patch where he converses with a goat who actually has a bean protruding from his mouth during their conversation. Max, so intent on catching the insect misses that clue too.  The three crows he stumbles upon next, in the cherry trees are more than happy to stand guard while Max makes a valiant effort to chase that blue bug off of the farmer's property forever.  The farm animals are oblivious to the fact that perhaps they might have a part in the mystery of the disappearing food.  They decide to bless Max and throw him a victory party, after all the real culprit is gone isn't he?  But what is a party without great party food!  Off they go to gather the last of the farmer's crops. They construct a huge pile of goodies to share with Max and celebrate together on his return.  

The animals begin to worry what might happen if the thief returns. The huge pile of food they see in front of them seems to grow fingers and beckons them forth to it.  What if the thief eats all the party food?  The anxiety monster prods and pokes them enough to succumb to temptation and they hide the food in a very safe place where the robber will never, ever find it.  The fun part as a reader is that you get to solve the mystery and find out exactly where that is hidden.  No pressure, you will figure it out no problem and smile as you do so.

The illustrations are gouache on paper and the colour pallet is warm and inviting to look at.  The story drops clues along the way as to why Max may be on a mission impossible and you the reader, can make the mission possible indeed.  You have to love Max's heart, he truly wants to do a great job and please his master, the farmer, although his detective skills do need to bit of honing.  

About the author:

Heather Tekavec was born in Manitoba, Canada, but moved at a young age to British Columbia. After graduation, she returned to Manitoba for two years where she got her certificate in Christian Education, then completed her Early Childhood Education in Vancouver, BC. The preschool classroom is where Heather developed a love for children’s books.
After taking a writing course through the Institute of Children’s Literature, Heather started her writing career with curriculum-based articles for preschool teachers. In 2002, she published her first picture book, Storm is Coming! A follow-up to it, What’s that Awful Smell?came two years later. Both books, published by Dial Books for Young Readers, were selected as IRA-CBC Children’s Choices. Book club and audio rights to the first have recently been bought by Scholastic. She has also written for older children, including her first YA Novel, The Cost of Passage (Herald Press 2004), and short stories for various magazines.
Heather lives with her husband, her three daughters, and a pet rabbit in Langley, BC. She now works full time at home, but stays connected with children by teaching her daughter’s girl’s club and visiting schools to do author talks.
About the illustrator:

Being born in 1962 isn't easy, but that's exactly what Pierre Pratt did, on a February 8th. Little by little, he began to grow. Like any growing artist, he drew the objects around him, the people he met, in the quiet atmosphere of his little room, his face a mask of perfect concentration. He still retains that expression. He studied graphic design at Ahuntsic College in Montreal. At the beginning of the 1980s, he began drawing small comic strips. Then he turned to illustration. He did his apprenticeship with several different magazines in Quebec. Since 1990, he has been illustrating (and also writing) books for children, some 50 by now. He has won several prizes, including the Governor-General's Award of Canada three times, a Golden Apple and a Golden Plaque in Bratislava, a Totm at the Montreuil Salon du Livre, a UNICEF Prize in Bologna, IBBY's Elizabeth Cleaver Prize, the Mr. Christie Book Award, the Trois-Rivières book fair prize, an Honor Book from the Boston Globe Horn Book Awards...

He lives and works in Montreal, but also in Lisbon, when the weather makes it necessary.

Book Review Rating:  8 (Fantastic!)

Read on and read always!  Have an amazing day everyone!


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