Children's Book Reviews

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Sir Frettirick and India!

You might well wonder what does a delightful children's book and India have to do with one another? I was trying to scan the book cover to add to this page, but was having trouble with my scanner. So, I called Hewlett Packard and spent two very nice hours with a young technician in New Delhi. While we waited for the computer to uninstall and reinstall, etc. she and I had a lovely chat about Indian food, which I love to cook; travel to India, which I haven't yet done and to London, where she's not yet been, and Indian authors. I've just finished reading two of Amitav Ghosh's novels, The Glass Palace and The Hungry Tide. His way with words and imagery is admirable. I wish we could all write with such a command of English!
That's another reason good children's books are so important. Lou Stratten, the author of Hello, I'm Sir Frettirick! promotes not only fun with words in her rhymes, but also child interaction with adults. After all, it is in hearing those around us when we are small that determines how well we speak and then write later on. Good quality education adds to that early modeling. Here is my review of Fretti, as the main character is called:

Hello, I’m Sir Frettirick!
Author: Lou Stratten
Illustrator: Lou Stratten and Sal Denaro
Shaggy Creature Productions
ISBN – 10 0-9747173-1-2
What a delightful and enjoyable book for young children! This rhythmical and heartening story brings in characters and scenes much like in an old-fashioned vaudeville scenario where one act follows another. "Sesame Street" successfully uses this format. Sir Frettirick, also called Fretti, introduces himself and acts as a master of ceremonies bringing his young readers into his World of Zandooney. In this world, which is inhabited by other friends like Skunkooney, Lou, and Skip, children soon discover that learning colors, numbers, and the alphabet is fun.
Author Lou Stratten manages to bring diverse elements into a whole with the continuity of her rhymes, musical sensibilities, and her and Sal Denaro’s playful collage illustrations. The illustrations not only give a warm and colorful feel to the book, but they also create a sense of movement and rhythm. The fonts dance as well, using different colors and sizes to emphasize each concept.
Included in the book are interactive opportunities for both dialogue and activities. There is a thorough parent/teacher guide available, which sparks more ideas and discussion. This book is a plus for teachers who are always on the lookout for fresh ways to approach a subject or unit. Parents too will welcome this book into their homes. Highly recommended for preschool and early elementary children.
The book can be ordered on-line at


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