Sunday, February 25, 2018

Book Review: 'STORIES FOR CHILDREN - BUNDLE 1' by Francois Bissonnette

In 1983, Fran├žois Bissonnette, created the early versions of the Zirons. But it was not until 1998, a few years after the birth of his two daughters, that the author published his first book of Zirons. And lucky for all that he has embraced a new direction. These little stories involve imagination, realism, surrealism, and magic and are bound to be favorites of children throughout the world.

Stories for Children 1
THE BLUE PRINCESS is actually a king's daughter named Kalia - beautiful, intelligent and love the color blue. The aging king wants to see Kalia marry before he dies and Kalia is not to eager: she replies, "Alright, Father, I will marry the first man who brings me a blue dog." The march of potential mates begins with a rich merchant who comes with a blue puppy, but Kalia pets the dog and discovers the dog has simply been painted blue - and she rejects the suitor. The next in line is a brave warrior with hard eyes (a true hunk!) how gives Kalia a dog carved out of blue sapphire - not a real dog. Next, a nobleman presents a painting of a blue dog, and he too is rejected. The, in the royal garden, Kalia meets a handsome young man walking his white dog and he apologizes for being in the garden but he is Roby, the son of the gardener, and he and Kalia walk his dog Snowball, and continue seeing each other as they fall in love. Despite the fact that Snowball I s white, Roby approaches the king to marry Kalia, and the king, seeing that Roby does not have the requisite dog...but is obviously in love with Kalia...agrees that the two can be married: Kalia sees Snowball as a blue dog!

THE TIGER, THE PEASANT AND THE DOG shares the tale of a tiger caught in a cage. The tiger pleads with the peasant to let him out, but the peasant fears that if he does the tiger will eat him. The tiger pleads but the peasant walks away until he hears the tiger sobbing so he gives in and releases the tiger - who immediately attacks him because he is hungry form being locked up. The peasant pleads for is life - he must take care of his mother and brothers. The tiger decides that he will spare the peasant if he can question three things and if one believes him, he will be spared. He asks a banana tree who tells the peasant to accept his fate, and the response comes from the water buffalo and the road, and finally the peasant comes in contact with a Golden Retriever who asked to meet the tiger and assess the situation. The Golden Retriever tricks the tiger with questions until the tiger, frustrated, enters the cage to satisfy the dog's questions and bingo! The tiger is once again caged and the peasant is saved.

Stories for Children 2
The first story is A COLORFUL ARGUMENT and involves a far away magical world where all of the colors are discussing the merits of their colors - Green for grass, Blue for sky, Yellow for sun, Indigo for dawn, Orange for sunrise and sunset, Red for autumn leaves - and they all vie for most favorite color. They argue that the colors of the Christmas tree or Christmas stocking, or Santa's suit, or Halloween, or Valentines, or Kings. They visit the magic unicorn who encourages them that when all the colors are together as in a Rainbow, that is when they are the most beautiful - `Together you are magic!'

The second story is THE DRAWING and is a continuation of the interaction of colors and how they enhance each other when creating a landscape drawing. Once each color adds a dimension to the drawing they crown it with a rainbow in the sky - the perfect marriage of all colors.

Stories for Children 3

THE PRINCE AND THE MAGIC ORANGES begins when the prince has a spell cast on him by the young witch Melinda: the prince had refused to marry him. `From this day forward you will be sad forever.' The king gathered his advisors who recommend going to see the fairy in the woods who could break the spell. The prince finds the beautiful fairy who tells him she can break the curse if the prince finds three magical oranges in a cave guarded by pumas. The prince succeeds in attaining the three oranges - the first orange begged for water and when given a drink turned into a beautiful white horse. The second orange made the same request and turned into a beautiful black horse. The third orange pleaded for water and became a beautiful princess and the prince rides off to the castle and marries the princess and they have a baby. While selling under a tree Melinda touches the princess and turns her into a dove. Melinda becomes the princess until a dove changes the outcome of the story.

THE MAGIC WAND tells us of a knight who meets a strange lady on the road who promises the Knight money if he climbs a tree and enters the hollow tree where the dark lady says there are three doors with three keys and behind each door is a bear guarding coins. All the lady asks in return is the return of her magic wand. The Knight fails to give her the wand but the bears behind the doors lead to his success in finding a beautiful princess - courtesy of his magic tricks with the magic wand.

The stories are charming, illustrated with beautiful photographs of the animals and the people involved and together they make perfect bedtime stories for children. Fran├žois Bissonnette wins again! Grady Harp, August 15

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.