Posts Tagged gift ideas

book review: The Fox and the Star

fox and the star

The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith. Penguin Books| November 2015| 128 pages | $20.00| ISBN: 9780143108672

RATING: ****/5*

Detailed drawings, an exquisite cover design, thick quality pages and a beautiful layout make this quite the gorgeous book. It looks and feels like a classic, quality book. Artist and author Coralie Bickford-Smith illustrates classic books and book covers for Penguin’s hardcover classic series. The Fox and the Star is a charming story about a solo fox and the star that guides him through the forest. With the star illuminating his way, the fox does the things that foxes do: forages for food; runs among rabbits; plays in the rain. It’s G-rated so no bloody catches or devouring of the rabbits. The fox subsists as a kind vegetarian in this story. Bickford-Smith uses etching and a blocking style that reminds me of embossing or stamps on wooden blocks. Black, white, grays and vibrant orange for the fox. It starts out: “Because Fox was small and the trees reached far higher than the tips of his ears, he was timid, and afraid to stray far from his den.” Later on “Star would light the way for Fox as he foraged for beetles and ran wild in the tangled thorns.” A pretty fable about resilience and one’s fears perfect to read to and with children.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Penguin.

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book review: SHAKE CATS

<em> Shake Cats </em> by Carli Davidson. Harper Design| October 27, 2015| $17.99| ISBN: 978-0-06-235174-6


Somehow I manage to miss most viral videos and pictures and memes. When I hear that something went viral I think oh really? Where? How did I miss it and yet it doesn’t matter that much. Unless it’s Chrissy Tiegen’s Instagram picture of her stretch marks. I follow Tiegen. I never understood the popularity of Grumpy Cat. Like resting bitch face, this is simply what that cat looks like and should we make fun of a cat? But we all know cat and dog and cute animal pictures and videos are extremely popular. 

Being a GenXer I didn’t grow up in the age where every moment gets captured on video or on one’s social media and I’m grateful. High school and college and my 20s proved a challenging enough time to find myself and be fairly comfortable with who I am and what I look like. At a Dumblonde concert last week I was appalled that one woman recorded the entire set using a selfie stick and as soon as Shannon Bex and Aubrey O’ Day hit the stage cameras flew into the air. I’ve never seen it in my 30 years of concert-going and music criticism. Yes I will snap a few pictures at a show but I am there to enjoy the music and be in the moment.

I’m not sure I understand the appeal of SHAKE CATS. Buzzfeed says: “Get ready for a permanent smile.” I say these cats are unhappy and uncomfortable. 

Photographer and animal rights advocate Carli Davidson explains how she got the cats to do this: “I had a professional vet tech and another animal care specialist help me give the cats an ear cleaning–for some, a much needed ear cleaning with Epi-Otic cleaner, not water –and a nail trim. The ear cleaning was to solicit the shake.”

Davidson composed a warm introduction about rescuing pets. She explains: “People who know me know that I am a huge supporter of adopting animals from shelters, especially older animals, and giving them a second chance. Ask anyone who has ever rescued an animal, and they’ll tell you that the appreciation they get from that pet is palpable.” True. I too adopt don’t shop. 

Davidson states: “Even with the extensive shelter system in the U.S., only 37 percent of cats in shelters are adopted compared to the 41 percent that are euthanized. By spaying and neutering your pet, or helping a friend in financial need get their own pet sterilized, you are preventing needless suffering and helping create more resources for the animals already in shelters.”

SHAKE CATS features one hundred and thirty pictures of cats of varied ages and sizes. These are great pictures. I’m not amused by the photos though I’m a tough one to make laugh. I find the photos more intriguing and endearing. I love cats. The book will serve as a fantastic conversation starter. Adopt a cat or dog. Volunteer at an animal shelter. Appreciate your pets.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Harper Design.

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