Unification News for July and August 1998

Great Books for Children

by Zella Steward Forster

There is a marvelous series of books for children that I would like to bring to everyone's attention. The Serendipity books are written by Stephen Cosgrove and published by Price Stern Sloan in LA. There must be 40 books in the series but each story stands alone. These are small, inexpensive paperback books with a beautiful illustration displayed at the turn of every page.

These books are intended to be read *to* children. They are longer stories, which are perfect for bedtime, but the vocabulary is difficult for very young readers to read themselves. Every story has some sort of moral lesson. Here are a few examples...

"Leo the Lop"-The story of a little lop-eared bunny rabbit who wants to be like the other bunnies who have ears that stand straight up. The lesson... "You're special because you're you."

"Fanny"-The story of a 3-legged farm cat who is treated badly by the other animals until one of them actually becomes friends with her-"on a dare". The lesson ... "Being handicapped is only a state of mind".

"Sassafras" (this was a favorite with the littlest orphan when I worked on ANNIE)-The story of a very sassy little elephant who learns that words can hurt. The lesson... "Kindness is always appreciated more that sarcasm".

The lessons go from listening to your parents, to taking care of the environment, to taking time to play and appreciate life, to dealing with loss.

Each book has its lesson printed right on the cover -in case you're in a hurry or looking for something specific. The illustrations are beautiful, bright watercolor paintings and each little animal character is full of personality.

This is my all-time favorite series of children's books-for many reasons.

I have yet to find anyone-child or adult-who doesn't love these stories. And this is really a good thing when you have to read them more than once.

Helpful Hint-To help prolong the life of these (or any) paperback books I put clear Contact paper on the cover. This not only helps to keep the books from getting torn-it helps to protect them from spills and sticky fingers. You can wipe them right off.

Zella Steward Forster has two degrees in Education, is a certified teacher in Elementary K-8 and Vocal Music K-12.

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