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  • Writer's pictureClover

Animal Friends, Tried and True

Clover has a confession. While your bee bud loves stories about lots of subjects, she has a soft spot in her heart for books about critters in the animal kingdom. For that reason, this May she’s chosen three honeys that focus on “Animal Friends, Tried and True.”

You’ll be delighted to read two superlative picture books, one about a dejected bovine, the other about two hummingbird orphans. And just wait until you see what Clover’s got in store for her Oldest Pick—a tale about a gorilla we’ve all come to know and love.

Page On!

The Community Literacy Foundation, in partnership with Neighborhood Reads and with support from its sponsors, provides these books to 40 school and public libraries in Washington, Union, Pacific, St. Clair and surrounding communities.

Youngest Read

Emotions slipping into overdrive is an issue for Milton, the bull in “Moo Hoo,” by Audrey Perrott. Though Milton has a sweet life, with plenty of ice cream, his favorite treat, Milton is miserable.

No matter the situation, Milton overreacts with floods of tears. Naturally, he cried when he was sad, but he also cried when he was happy, nervous, embarrassed or excited. Feelings were just too much for him to process in a healthy way.

To quell his angst, Milton made a drastic decision. He’d become a bully. But being a meanie doesn’t work, neither does “crying himself out” of tears.

The fab fix for Milton comes from a wolly friend he makes named Wanda, another ice cream lover and an animal with a boatload of emotions. Together, they learn a valuable lesson about the importance of feelings your feelings, no matter what they are.

Colorful, bold illustrations by Ross Burach give personality-plus to the characters in this tale with a happy ending.

Middle Read

Though Clover competes for nectar with other bees and birdies, she’s doesn’t mind sharing nature’s bounty with a tiny winged wonder, the subject of her Middle Pick.

Learn all about our smallest bird in “Brave Baby Hummingbird,” by Sy Montgomery.

This gorgeous book, with realistic illustrations by Tiffany Bozic, details hummingbirds, and is based on two real-life, orphaned hummers the author got to meet when they were being raised by a trained rehabilitator, a person who spent “…ten years learning how to help orphan (hummingbirds).”

Perhaps you already know lots about hummingbirds, but did you know they hatch from eggs as small as navy beans, and when they’re born they’re no bigger than Clover.

Another claim to fame a hummingbird holds is its ability to hover and to fly upside down, the only bird capable of doing so. They also have great intuition, seem to know when to head south, traveling thousands of miles to areas abundant with flowers and others species of hummingbirds. And like magic they know when they’re supposed to fly back north again.

“Brave Baby Hummingbird” is full of fun facts and just might prompt an interest in attracting these lovelies into your backyard. The author includes tips to do just that.

Oldest Read

Katherine Applegate made her wise, art-loving ape Ivan a household word. The author won our hearts with tales about the Silverback gorilla, beginning in 2015, with “The One and Only Ivan.” Three more Ivan books followed.

This month, the series draws to a close with “The One and Only Family,” wrapping up the story of Ivan and his menagerie of steadfast pals. In Applegate’s newest, Ivan has news—a surprise big enough to blow the top off a circus tent. Ivan is going to be a father, something neither Ivan or his companion feel they’re quite ready for.

Boy or girl, you might ask? Clover will let that announcement be one kids can find out for themselves—goodness knows Clover can’t let this bee out of the bag.

Suffice it to say that fatherhood ends up being eye-opening and miraculous for Ivan, a joy and a reflective experience that causes him to look back on his past, and to make peace with a changing world his offspring will inhabit.

Clover gives this page turner a ripe 5 bananas.

Written by Chris Stuckenschneider.

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