Book Bag: Three children’s stories from Interlink Books of Northampton




Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Three children’s books by Crocodile Books, an imprint of Interlink Publishing Group of Northampton. interlinkbooks.com


Retold and illustrated by Ruth Sanderson

Easthampton illustrator and children’s book author Ruth Sanderson has long carved out a niche crafting lush, romantic images for fantasy tales, stories about horses and classic fairytales such as “Cinderella.” All told, she has illustrated more than 75 books for children.

Her newest book is a recasting of another well-known tale, “Goldilocks,” about the little girl who, on a walk through a forest, comes upon a cozy cottage and, finding no one home, proceeds to wander in and get up to a little mischief: sampling porridge from bowls on the kitchen table, accidentally breaking a chair, falling asleep in a small bed.

The cottage’s owners, of course, are three bears — a father, mother and cub — who are a bit puzzled when they return home and discover an empty bowl of porridge, a broken chair and a little girl asleep in the little bear’s bed.

But the story has a happy ending: Goldilocks, feeling a bit chagrinned about what she’s done, offers the bears the blueberries she’d picked before she came to their cottage, and Momma Bear uses them to whip up some muffins. A sweet touch: The book comes with a recipe for “Papa Bear’s Blueberry Muffins.”

Sanderson’s illustrations also enhance her version of the story: The bears’ cottage has wide-planked wood floors and simple but attractive furnishings, all of it bathed in plenty of warm sunlight. Goldilocks will not need to run in terror from these friendly, good-hearted bears and their comfortable home.


By Wendy Hartmann

Illustrated by Joan Rankin

In “This is the Chick,” South African children’s writer Wendy Hartmann uses rhyming text to tell an amusing tale of how a tiny chick, in the wilds of nature, lets out a little “cheep” that sets off chaos among other animals.

As the story plays out, the chick’s tiny cry causes an elephant to stomp the ground, which prompts a kudu (a type of antelope) to jerk up its head and accidently prick a monkey in a tree with its antlers. The monkey’s resulting screech startles a jackal, which in turn begins howling … and so on down the line.

Hartmann, whose book is illustrated by fellow South African artist Joan Rankin, has fun playing with notions of typical animal behavior. In one sequence, a zebra, normally a type of prey for lions, bowls over the King of Beasts as it runs in panic from all the racket.

It’s a wise old owl that, near the story’s conclusion, convinces the other animals (and a forest ranger who’s also been awakened by the tumult) that they’re not facing some monstrous beast but only a little chick — who at that point has fallen fast asleep.


By Nicola I. Campbell

Illustrated by Julie Flett

“A Day With Yayah” is a collaboration between two Canadian artists, children’s author Nicola I. Campbell and illustrator/author Julie Flett, both of whose work covers Canadian First Nations issues. Campbell, who is Interior Salish and Métis, and Flett, who is Cree-Métis, both live in British Columbia.

In the story, set in the Nicola Valley of British Columbia (from which the author draws her first name), a First Nations family goes on a trip to the meadow and forest to gather mushrooms, wild potatoes and other edibles with their grandmother, Yayah.

Yayah also teaches the children in the story about the other benefits of plants, such as the beads that can be made from the berries of Silver widow. And she shares several terms from the language of the Salish people, called Nle?kepmx. Look it up: The book includes a glossary with several of these terms.

Flett’s naturalistic illustrations, which combine both simplicity and detail, emphasize the space and beauty of the outdoors as the family looks for wild edibles and enjoys a picnic.

Steve Pfarrer can be reached at spfarrer@gazettenet.com.