Tuesday, February 16, 2010

a boy and his dog

a boy and his dog
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
My good friend, fellow nature appreciator, Jeff Streeter and Daddy, Kevin has recently introduced me to not one, but TWO great books. Part of what makes them great is that they're both 20 minute books. That is, you can read them in about 20 minutes, so if you're someone who has a hard time finding time to read, these books are perfect.

The first one he alerted me to is, Love That Dog, by Sharon Creech. Kevin referenced this book in a sermon he recently preached and I read it while I was visiting his house for a Superbowl party (Lord knows I didn't want to watch the game - a portion of us had a literary discussion for the best part of the game...)

I suppose that Love That Dog might be considered a children's book, but it's one of the great ones that can be appreciated by folk of all ages. I don't want to give away too much, because reading it is a joy, but it is a book of poetry that tells a story through a series of poems. In the process, both the protagonist - a young boy - and the reader learns that writing poetry is not "just for girls," nor for people who like to write. Writing poetry is something that anyone can do who is willing to give it a try.

The story has a way of making reading and writing poetry accessible to everyone and does so in a joyful, poignant way. I highly recommend it. Creech has a second (much larger) book, Hate That Cat which I might have to check out, too.

The second new book, Kevin loaned to me while I was at the aforementioned Superbowl party and I quickly read it and loved it. The Man Who Planted Trees, by Jean Giono, is the story of Elzéard Bouffier, who devoted his life to reforesting a desolate portion of Provence, in southern France. That's the whole plot, and there's little to the story beyond that. But it is a simple story, told elegantly, of the difference one person can make.

It's written in such a way that it seems to be based on a true story, but it's not. Nonetheless, it is a great inspiration and written in beautiful prose. The version I read was illustrated with delightful wood engravings by Michael McCurdy, which added to the stark beauty of this small but great story.

The Man Who Planted Trees (or L'homme Qui Plantait des Arbres, in its original French) has also been made into an animated short film which can be found online here.

You could do much worse than to pick up these books at the library and devour/savor them one day soon.

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