Monday, April 2, 2007


Spiral Bound by Aaron Renier

This is a book that deserves to be read by anyone and everyone. Take one intrepid girl rabbit reporter, a reluctant elephant sculptor, and a blue whale teacher in a big glass ball, add a wicked-cool underground monorail and a mysterious swamp monster and you get one heck of a tale that proves you don’t have to dumb it down to create a great story that kids will enjoy. The rich detail and emotion of both the story and the art draw the reader in – the world Aaron Renier has created in Spiral Bound feels so real that by the time I finished reading the book, I felt like I’d lived there for years. The characters may be cute animals, but he gives them emotional complexity – especially effective are the little quirks that bring you closer to each character, like Turnip’s propensity for sculpting with his food. It was particularly nice for Shelby to see Turnip’s frustration in his striving for artistic expression; she really knew where he was coming from. I gave Spiral Bound to Sarah and fifteen minutes later she came running up asking if we had any clay. She spent the next hour sculpting – how’s that for artistic inspiration? The storyline may be a bit complicated for the littlest tykes (I doubt a three-year old will understand some of the social implications) but they will still love the characters and the action. A great book all around – highly recommended.

Shelby says: Spiral Bound is about all these animals that are like people, but there are no people in it. There’s an elephant named Turnip – he’s really shy and he’s frustrated and angry when his art doesn’t turn out the way he wants it to be, kinda like me. There’s a bunny named Anna – she works for a secret newspaper that has underground tunnels. There was a bird named Emily, and she takes pictures for the newspaper. There’s a dog named Stucky, who is making a submarine in the art show. The monster was cool looking – it was like a huge alligator. Little kids might be a little scared of the monster, but then they’ll figure out what’s going on. I liked it because the art was good and the story was good.

Sarah says: My favorite sculpture that the elephant does is the rabbit and bird. Too bad it broke. My favorite character is Turnip’s dad, the elephant, who owns the bookstore. I like him ‘cause he always shouts and he’s a lot bigger than everyone else. I like the secret passageways that the newspaper people have to go through. It would be cool if they were real in my town! When I was reading it, it made me want to do a sculpture like the animals in the book. I think that it’s for all ages and it would be fun for everyone


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