Friday, April 9th, 2010
Book Review: Jasmine
Today’s book review comes by way of my 5-year-old daughter. Here is the backstory…
Our elementary school celebrated César Chávez Day on March 31. It’s a state holiday in California for the Mexican-American labor leader and civil rights activist. The day is commemorated through community service.
Each grade level performed a service project for the community or one that built school pride. Second graders cleaned up a walking trail, fifth graders worked in a community garden, and so forth.
Chinn later gave a talk at the school about her childhood persecution in China under Mao Zedong and the life lessons she has learned. She essentially lived homeless, eating garbage, and not talking until she was 4-years-old. Chinn eventually walked 1,000 miles to Hong Kong, and then found her way to America. In the US, she had the following observation: “Sesame Street became my best friend. [I learned that] if Oscar the Grouch can be happy living in garbage, I can be happy too.”
Anyhow… my daughter’s kindergarten class project was reading books to seniors from a neighboring assisted living facility. The students could bring their own book or read a classroom book, so my daughter jumped at the chance.
She chose a home book from a series by the Humane Society of the United States that she has enjoyed since she was about three-years-old. Some of the stories detail the real experiences of abused animals and their rescue and rehabilitation. Other stories detail real experiences of wild animals, such as a manatee or grizzly bear.
I enjoy the illustrations in the series, most color pencil drawings by Randy Houk, who also authored the books. A few of the books have other authors and illustrators featuring painted scenes.
My daughter’s review is below. She typed it on an old laptop we picked up for free (thanks Craigslist!). She referred to it as her “work” as in, “Can I use my computer Papa? I need to do my work.”
She also learned the importance of proper back-up procedures when she lost most of her review and had to retype it. We haven’t begun her computer education, so she types quite slow. The following review was composed over several sessions over several days:
Written and illustrated by Randy Houk. The Humane Society of the United States.
“Jasmine was a city cat.
She stayed in, and that was that.
She had water, she had kibble.
She could sip at will or nibble.
She had no need for kitty sitters.
She’d just use her kitty litter.
She had learned to wait all day.
While her owners worked, she’d play.”
I like it because it tells you what will happen to your pet if you leave it by itself too long or if you move away and leave it there.
She lived in the city. She stays home. When her owners moved away and left her there, she got skinny, then a different person moved in and saw she was too skinny and took her to the vet and then took her to the pound. Thank you for reading. By Little Miss.
In summary, Jasmine’s owners move out of their apartment, but leave Jasmine trapped inside. She survives licking water from a leaky bathtub faucet and eats bird seed from a bag she rips open. The landlord is in the hospital and doesn’t discover the cat until it’s near death. He takes Jasmine to the vet to recover, but she won’t eat. They mix bird seed into her food to entice her back to health. Then, at the Humane Society shelter she is adopted to a family with children who play with her. The last page has a photo of the real Jasmine.
The bad news is that this book series is discontinued. Here are used sale links via AbeBooks.com. You can also find some of them used on Amazon.
- Jasmine (cat abandoned in an apartment)
- Chessie, the Travelin’ Man (A manatee that travels well beyond his Florida home, as far north as Connecticut)
- Ruffle, Coo and Hoo Doo (owls and escaped parrots that live in the same tree)
- Chocolate, a Glacier Grizzly (a bear gets too close to humans and is air-lifted to a remote area by forest rangers)
- Star Comes Home (a pony given as a birthday gift isn’t cared for and goes through several homes until it finds a loving owner. )
- Freefall: A Sea Turtle Falls from the Sky (a baby turtle is snatched by a seagull, then it falls onto a windshield. He is raised by humans and then returned to the sea)
- Hope (a pig raised in poor conditions is abandoned because she’s unsellable due to health problems, but is discovered and adopted to a farm where she is kept as a pet)
- Bentley and Blueberry (A dog owner rescues a stray from the animal shelter to be a companion for her existing dog)
- Kirsty’s Surprise (a lame baby cow is taken to a farm sanctuary where it greets school kids)
- Wolves in Yellowstone (the story of wolves being reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park)
(There could be more titles. These are just the ones we own.)
Do you have any children’s books you’d recommend that promote animal welfare?