Pic Credit: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13235740-summer-in-the-city
Authors: David Homel and Marie-Louise Gay
Illustrator: Marie-Louise Gay
Publisher: Groundwood Books (March 27, 2012)
Setting: The story is set in Montreal, where the main character lives with his family.
Main Characters: Charlie, Max, Mom, Dad and Flor
Summary: Instead of spending the summer vacation elsewhere, Charlie’s parents decided that they would have a staycation this summer (aka no concrete vacation plans) simply because dad had work commitments in the city. Charlie dreaded the thought of having to spend the entire summer with his younger brother, Max, but decided that he would try to make the best out of it anyway. He embarked on various adventures in Montreal, from getting a job as a dog walker, to helping his neighbour look after he goldfish, to helping his uncle out at the farm, amongst others. He even tried camping in his own backyard with Max, which proved to be quite an experience too. The most exciting event would be him getting caught in a storm with his dad in the car on the expressway. He learnt that his dad had a phobia of heights and was more concerned about his car than anything else. They were eventually rescued by firemen and sent home in a police car. The highlight of his vacation was his birthday and a baseball game was specially arranged for him. He was also treated to a birthday surprise in his backyard by all his neighbours and he realised that adventures could happen right at his doorstep after all.
Pic Credit: http://www.randomhouse.com/book/185611/varmints-by-helen-ward
Author: Helen Ward
Illustrator: Marc Craste
Publisher: Candlewick Press (October 1, 2007)
Setting: The story is set in a place on earth where varmints live.
Main Characters: The few and the others (no names given)
Summary: The story is decided into three parts with each section depicting a turn of events of the varmints’ experiences. The first section describes how the earth used to be a beautiful place and the only sounds that could be heard were the bees, wind and birds singing; and these sounds could be heard by the few who listened. One day, the others came and everything changed. They built high-rise buildings that blocked the sunlight and created so much noise that the gentle sounds of nature were lost and they could not even hear themselves think.
Pic Credit: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8768986-the-red-piano
Author: André LeBlanc
Publisher: Wilkins Farago (December 1, 2010)
Main Characters: A talented young pianist and Mother Han
Setting: The story is set in the period of China’s cultural revolution at Zhangjiake Camp 46-19, where a young girl is separated from her parents and four sisters.
Summary: The author begins the story with a young girl sneaking out of her hut to Mother Han’s house, where a piano is hidden in the store room. With the communist party in power, pianos were forbidden and the only time she could practise was at night, by sneaking out to Mother Han’s house. In the day, she was subject to menial labour and had to work in the farm and chop wood like everyone else. For several years, her father sent parcels to her and hid sheets of Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier in each package, but whenever there was an inspection, her package would be confiscated. She started to write out the music score of the Clavier in her handmade notebooks and hid them in her Little Red Book (everyone had a copy of the Little Red Book, which contained Mao’s words and commands).
Pic Credit: http://buttonsinthebread.com//12/12/a-single-tear-by-dr-k-k-seet/
Author: Dr K K Seet
Illustrators: Susanna Goho-Quek & Kenneth Quek
Publisher: Image Printers Pte Ltd (2010)
Main Characters: The female lead and male lead (no names given)
Setting: This story is set on earth, at different places, at different times.
Summary: There are four parts to this story, which represent the reincarnations of the main characters. In the first life, she loved him dearly but he never reciprocated. As a warrior, he fought his battles like a real man until one day, he was defeated and as “his woman”, she was abducted by the enemy. She wept furiously in front of him and he finally understood why she never left him. On his deathbed, he murmured in his heart, “I owe you a single tear.”
Pic Credit: http://allpoetry.com/poem/8538991-The-Giving-Tree-by-Shel-Silverstein
Author & Illustrator: Shel Silverstein
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers (October 7, 1964)
Main Characters: The apple tree and the boy
Setting: The story is set within the perimeter of the tree, where the boy frequently goes to talk to the tree.
Summary: The story revolves around two main characters, the boy and the apple tree, and how the boy never learnt to appreciate the love that the tree unconditionally gave. The boy visited the tree every day, climbed up her trunk and played king of the forest. He would eat her apples and play hide-and-seek with her. As time passed, the boy grew older and he visited the tree less often. When he did, he went with his partner and the tree felt lonely. One day, the boy asked the tree for some money. The tree couldn’t give him any but suggested that he take her apples and sell them to earn some cash. On another occasion, the boy asked the tree for a house. The tree suggested that he chop off her branches and build one. After a long time, the boy went back again to ask for a boat. The tree suggested that he chop off her trunk to make one, and he did. Finally, when the boy went back to the tree as an old man, the tree said, “I’m sorry, Boy, but I have nothing left to give you – my apples are gone, my teeth are to weak for apples, my branches are gone…my trunk is gone…I wish that I could give you something but I have nothing left. I am just an old stump. I am sorry…” But this time, all the boy wanted was a place to sit down and rest. So he sat on the stump and the tree was happy.
Pic Credit: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15958182-my-happy-life
Author: Rose Lagercrantz
Illustrator: Eva Eriksson
Publisher: Gecko Press (August 1, 2012)
Main Characters: Dani, Ella and Dad
Setting: The story is set in primary school that Dani is attending; and where she meets Ella, her best friend.
Summary: The story begins with Dani being nervous on her first day of school because she was afraid that she wouldn’t be able to make any friends, but her dad reassured her that everything would be fine. On the second day of school, she noticed Ella standing all by herself at the playground and approached her. They started talking and became best friends. They did everything together – they played on swings, sat next to each other in class and during recess, and partnered each other for games. One day, Ella took out “The Surprise” and there were two necklaces in it – “two halves of a heart”. Ella called it a friendship necklace and they both put on their “part” of the necklace. Dani was very happy. They even started the Night Club, where they would spend a night at each other’s place and stay up all night talking and eating sandwiches.
Pic Credit: http://www.childrenseyefoundation.org/index.php/news/news-detail/great-patching-resource-jacobs-eye-patch
Authors: Beth Kobliner Shaw & Jacob Shaw
Illustrator: Jules Feiffer
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (September 24, 2013)
Main Characters: Jacob, Mom, Dad, Adam the brother and Rebecca the sister
Setting: This story is set along the streets where Jacob hurries his Mom to the store to buy a light-up globe he has eyed for a long time.
Summary: Jacob faced a series of events on the way to the science store which questioned his willingness to explain why he had to wear an eye patch. Each time a stranger stopped him to ask, he would drag his Mom away before she could finish her story. The first incident happened when they were on the way to pick Adam up from school, followed by the ice cream stop where Dad was getting dessert for them. When they finally made it to the science store, Adam stared at the shelf in disbelief as his favourite light-up globe was gone! Furious, he ripped off his eye patch and threw it away. Suddenly, Rebecca walked towards him with the globe in her hands. He jumped right at her and held the globe in his arms.