Everything is Different,
Surprise in Auntie's Garden, &
Mommy & Mikel Go for a Walk

by Ann (Ana) Morris
Mascot Books

"Dad told me that's the way they do things there, so I thought of it as a game and kept learning the new rules."

Bilingual children's author Ann "Ana" Morris delivers a delightful trio of books aimed at young children and focused on opportunities to explore and learn.

In Morris’ most recent, Everything is Different, Brett and his father travel from the United States to England for a short visit. What begins as a confounding experience transforms into a game fueled by natural curiosity. Brett is struck by the differences between England and home. The cars seemed backward and travel on the opposite side of the road, and the people sound different, even though they speak the same language. The bulk of the story centers on a visit to Bolsover Castle, a historical restoration and learning center. This creates an excellent opportunity for Brett to hear about the old days in England and ultimately how to accept and understand the differences among various peoples.

Surprise in Auntie’s Garden takes Erin into her auntie’s backyard and the variety of fascinating flowers and insect life. The story centers on the metamorphosis of the Monarch butterfly. Beginning with the caterpillar stage, Erin returns to Auntie’s garden to witness the cocoon and transformational emergence of the beautiful Monarch in the spring. While a gripping learning experience for the average child, the garden itself, tied to Erin’s early childhood memories, is a familial bond between her and her Auntie, and much like the life cycle of the butterfly, Erin learns about her own journey.

In Morris’ first book, Mommy & Mikel Go for a Walk, Mikel and his mother take a stroll through the woods. Repeatedly, young Mikel’s normal curiosity leads him toward trouble. He wants to touch poison ivy or spill into the deep creek after the American Mink, but each time his mother comes to the rescue and teaches him about the aspects of nature at hand. Later at home, his mother extends the lesson by encouraging Mikel to explore books about the very things they encountered that day, demonstrating that vital habits of discovery begin at a very young age.

Each of these books are self-contained narratives with unique and engaging characters. The books contains bright and captivating illustrations, and the story framework is approachable for pre-reading children, while allowing more early readers to absorb slightly higher concepts. However, the theme of each book is discovery and learning about the culture and especially the environment that surrounds us.

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