Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Listen Buddy by Helen Lester - a book review

Quote of the Day:

                                  "The greatest gift is a passion for reading."   - Anonymous

Today's featured book:

TItle:  Listen Buddy
Author:  Helen Lester
Illustrator:  Lynn Munsinger

Let's take a peak inside shall we?


My take on the book:

I loved the whole theme of the book.  Listening is very, very important....that is why we have "two" ears and only "mouth."  Listening is an art all onto itself and one sadly we are losing in our culture.  Before we become too critical of our adorable, non-listening main character, Buddy ... remember we all are guilty of such an atrocity.  :)

Buddy was blessed with big beautiful ears. Ears that were soft and velvety and hung down his back but were not tuned in to do what they were designed to do....listen!  When his dad asked him to get a pen he brought his dad a hen.  When his mom asked him to get her a slice of bread, he sawed the bed.   This lazy little guy went through life oblivious of the importance of the wonderful gift he had been given....the gift of not only hearing what people were saying and asking of him but listening and comprehending what the words meant so he could respond appropriately.  

One day he was allowed to go on a solo hop, farther than he had ever been allowed to go before.  He was instructed to travel along and soon he would come to two paths.  He was only to choose the left  one because if he chose the right he would run into grave danger. Because of his careless listening skills you can guess which one Little Buddy chose and in so doing got himself into some very hot water indeed...but thankfully not literally.  He quickly learned his lesson of listening carefully and following instructions precisely.  The reader will be happy to know that Little Buddy had an epiphany right then and there and changed his bad listening habits right on the spot.  He recognized the errors and omissions of his ways and made up his mind to listen carefully from that day forth.  And he succeeded.

About the author:

When I travel around the country visiting schools, the children I meet have lots of wonderful questions, so I thought it would be fun to use these in an interview with an IMAGINARY KID:
Where do your ideas come from?
I taught elementary school for many years and now all my second graders have come back to haunt me! Tacky the Penguin (Tacky the Penguin book cover), Buddy Rabbit (Listen Buddy), Pinkerton Pig (Me First), Wodney Wat (Howay), Princess Penelope (& her parrot) and Twitchly Fidget (Something Might Happen) --they were all in my classes.
Do you ever illustrate your books?
I did illustrate Author: A True Story( Houghton, Mifflin, 1997) and the book explains why I usually work with an illustrator! The wonderful artist and person Lynn Munsinger, with whom I've done many books, draws what I would if I could.

What is your favorite book that you've written?
May I pick more than one?
Thanks, I guess this would be today's choices:
  • Hooway for Wodney Wat for its message;
  • Tacky the Penguin for its character; and
  • Author, A True Story because it encourages children to write.
Do you have any advice for young writers?
Yes, writing is like doing a maze. I have lots of wonderful ideas. And lots of un-wonderful ideas. So the trick is to keep trying to find your way. And the more you exercise your writing the better you get at solving that maze.
Are there ever any mistakes printed in your books?
Yes, I know of at least two. OK, detectives, look at:
Listen Buddy , p.26, and Author , p. 8 (hint: this one is in my own handwriting!) Can you find any more?
Have you ever won any awards?
Yes, and I especially treasure the ones that are Children's Choice Awards. Howay for Wodney Wat has been the choice of children in 17 states.

Wodney for Pwedsident?

What is your latest book?
Happy Birdday Tacky came out in May.The party gets out of hand but is ultimately rescued by Tacky and an Iglooslavian dancer named Twinklewebs.
Since everyone has a birdday it makes a great birdday present!
Do you plan to write any more books?
I'm very excited about The Loch Mess Monster which is coming out next Spring. To read more about it see HELEN'S NEWS. And I'm currently working on Tacky and the Haunted Iglooooooooooo in which the penguins go to the Not-So-Nice Icy Land dressed as Snow White and the five dwarfs. Guess who is Snow White?

Where do you live?
After living in Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, and Minneapolis, I've settled in the town of Pawling, NY, in a beautiful area of woods and hills and animals.

Do you have a family?
Yes. My husband Robin , who is an educator, historian and novelist (Look for Princes of New York in the fall of 2013 - it's a super read!)
and we have two sons - Rob and Jamie - two daughters-in-law, Jodi and Danyle, and four grandchildren: Kate, Andrew, River and Elsie.
Do you have any hobbies?
I love to play in the kitchen with Indian Food, Italian Food, French Food, and Any Other Kind of Food. I also enjoy drawing and hike a couple of miles daily.

Where can I find more information about you and your books?
We have a list of my children's books here. You can also try the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt web site [], any of the book stores on-line, and you might even try my name in your search box on the internet (I especially like to see some of the ways teachers are using my books in the classroom). 

      - source,  (check it out for complete info on her and her books)

About the illustrator:

Lynn Munsinger was born in Greenfield, Massachusetts. She attended Tufts University and graduated in 1974. The following year she enrolled at the Rhode Island School of Design, majoring in illustration. She received her degree in 1977 and continued her studies in London. Since her return to the United States, she has lived in Vermont and Connecticut, devoting her time to freelance illustration. She has illustrated more than a dozen popular books for Houghton Mifflin Company.

                                                 Book Review Rating:  8 (Fantastic!)

                           Read on and read always!   Have a wonderful day everyone!

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