Hero Cat: Guest Post by Huyen MacMichael

Please note: Vegbooks has moved to vegbooks.orgThis is the last review that will be posted at this URL. This review, as well as all of your favorite past posts, are up on the new site. See you there!

After much searching in winter weather, a homeless cat finds an abandoned building to deliver her kittens. When she leaves her kittens to find some nourishment, she returns to find the building up in flames. As the firefighters work to put out the fire, the mother cat works to save her kittens, walking through the fire to find and carry them out one at a time. Hero Cat is a story about mother love as much as it is a cat story.

Spinelli describes a mother determined to do the best she can for her young and it is not so much that she’s a cat that makes the story amazing to me, but that she goes repeatedly into the burning building to save every single one of her babies. And then I read the final page and discover it’s based on a true story with a picture of the burnt cat and her kittens at a shelter. It brought me to tears seeing the photo and reading the biographical note. Stammen’s illustrations are
appealing and my daughter fell in love with the cat and the book. So did I.

Ages 4-8.

About Huyen: Huyen MacMichael is a stay-at-home mom, artist, and art therapist. She feels lucky to have found the sweetest rescued blue tick coonhound at the local no-kill shelter. She is raising her daughter vegan with her husband Ryan of Vegblog.org. As a mom, she enjoys the opportunity to read large quantities of children’s books to her daughter. As an advocate for the creative process, she appreciates a well-told and well-illustrated story.

Run, Turkey, Run: Guest Post by Jacqueline Bodnar

Please note: Vegbooks has moved to vegbooks.orgThis is one of the last reviews that will be posted at this URL. This review, as well as all of your favorite past posts, are up on the new site. See you there!

In this holiday story, the poor turkey remains on the run, even when he thinks he is finally safe. The farmer plans to cook him for Thanksgiving and when he sets out to get him, the turkey runs. He ends up using multiple methods around the farmyard to camouflage himself from the farmer, who ends up sparing his life for this feast.

As the farmer’s family sits down to Thanksgiving dinner, the farmer is shown dreaming of a cooked turkey. The woman is staring at the empty turkey platter on the table, while the two children happily dine on grilled cheese sandwiches, peas and mashed potatoes. No turkey is served at this holiday feast, much to the disappointment of the adults in the story.

This is a fun book that gives kids a chance to root for the turkey as he continues running away from the farmer. Vegetarian parents and kids alike will appreciate the way the turkey outsmarts the farmer. It is important to note that the story takes place at an old-fashioned farm that depicts other animals, such as pigs, horses, and ducks.

Ages 4-8.

About Jacqueline: Jacqueline Bodnar is a professional writer who blogs about vegetarian issues at VegBlogger.com. She and her husband have been ethical vegetarians since 1995 and are raising two vegetarian children. She is also a nature lover, environmentalist, and avid reader. Jacqueline is a Michigan native, who now resides in Florida, after spending almost a decade in Las Vegas.

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First Dog Fala: Guest Post by Jennifer Gannett

In one sense, First Dog Fala is the ordinary story of the loving relationship between a dog and a human.  However, the human in the story is President Franklin Roosevelt, who, at the time this book takes place, was facing extraordinary situations: re-election for an unprecedented third term, war in Japan and Europe and declining health.  Throughout the story, the Scottie brings the president joy and moments of light and laughter, and the book does not shy away from mentioning that these were moments President Roosevelt sorely needed.  Fala was clearly a small dog with a big of personality and the book describes him riding on President Roosevelt’s lap as he was wheeled throught the White House, escaping from the grounds and having a birthday party.  My son and I had a laugh when the book described Fala taking the train with President Roosevelt– the Secret Service had to walk him at different stations, thereby giving obvious signals about the president’s location.

This book not only illustrates the meaningful friendship between a man and his dog (Fala is buried with President Roosevelt) but also provides a concise history lesson about important events of our collective past.  Because of the complexities of some of the situations described, such as discussions about World War II and President Roosevelt’s decline and eventual death, this book may be better suited for older children. More here and here.

Ages 4-8.

About Jennifer: Jennifer Gannett lives outside of New York City with her family.  A long-time environmentalist, in her free time she enjoys cooking and eating mouthwatering vegan fare and advocating for animals in need.

The Baby Shower List

My sister-in-law and one of my dearest friends are both expecting.  So me being me, I’m planning to give them books and diapers!  (What else do you really need for a baby anyways?)

While I’m shopping, I decided to compile a list of my favorite (veg) parenting books.

  1. Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron: How-tos of preparing homemade, organic baby food with a strong emphasis on plant-based and vegetarian foods.
  2. Raising Vegetarian Children: A Guide to Good Health and Family Harmony by Joanne Stepaniak and Vesanto Melina: Nutritional and social advice, plus fantastic vegan recipes.  We love the muscle muffins!
  3. New Vegetarian Baby by Sharon K. Yntema and Christine Beard: Age-by-age feeding guidelines and nutritional information.
  4. Healthy Eating for Life for Children by Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine: Draws on nutritional research, such as the China Study, to make the case that children should be eating exclusively vegan foods.  Includes a section on healthy eating during pregnancy.
  5. Vegan Lunch Box: 130 Amazing, Animal-Free Lunches Kids and Grown-ups Will Love! by Jennifer McCann: From the simple to the fancy, this cookbook provides great menu ideas and recipes that the whole family will enjoy.
  6. Vegan Family Favorites by Erin Pavlina: Lots of kid-friendly recipes.  Our favorite is the lemon-garlic asparagus!

Any other suggestions?

Kids Can Cook: Guest Post by Jacqueline Bodnar

As most parents know, it is important to get vegetarian kids in the kitchen. The more they cook, the more they learn how to prepare healthy and tasty vegetarian food, which are skills that can last a lifetime. Those kids that have their own cookbook like the idea of getting in the kitchen and cooking even more.

Kids Can Cook is a vegetarian cookbook that is specifically for kids. The recipes are designed to be easy to follow, with manageable tasks. Most recipes will require the help of an adult if kids are not yet ready to use a sharp knife or use the stove.

Some recipes call for honey, eggs or milk. However, it is simple to make substitutions in order to have vegan recipes. There are a limited number of black and white photos included, which makes being able to imagine the prepared dishes a little more necessary.

The recipes are tasty and the kids will likely enjoy them, especially such dishes as the BBQ tofu, apple walnut salad, and banana pudding. This book is a great way to get vegetarian kids more interested in cooking — especially if given the opportunity to choose what recipes to prepare.

Ages 9-12.

About Jacqueline: Jacqueline Bodnar is a professional writer who blogs about vegetarian issues at VegBlogger.com. She and her husband have been ethical vegetarians since 1995 and are raising two vegetarian children. She is also a nature lover, environmentalist, and avid reader. Jacqueline is a Michigan native, who now resides in Florida, after spending almost a decade in Las Vegas.

Lucky Boy: Guest Post by Huyen MacMichael

Susan Boase tells a touching story about a neglected dog who luckily finds himself a better home with a widower. “He didn’t start out lucky.” The black and white illustrations depict the dog’s life with a family that considered him an “afterthought” and “had no time for him.” The descriptions and drawings portray the dog’s loneliness and boredom as well as the casual neglect that might be found in a busy family that does not include their pet as a part of the family. They feed him plenty but offer little else- not a bath, not admittance into their home (he has a fenced yard and doghouse), not even a name other than Boy.

Fortunately, Mr. Miller, the next door neighbor, plays the unwitting hero by providing Boy the care and attention a dog needs, true companionship, a real home, and even a real name: Lucky Boy. The key to the relationship between Mr. Miller and Lucky Boy is the statement “You and I are lucky to have found each other, Boy!” The author cleverly shows that Mr. Miller gains as much as Lucky Boy when they become friends and that the family never realizes or appreciates what Lucky Boy offers.

For animal lovers and activists, the family’s neglect would raise hackles but I feel like the author was accurate in the descriptions. That family could easily describe the many families that go out to get a dog but don’t have time to walk him or take him anywhere. The tone the author takes is a gentle criticism of the busy lives of families which to me, makes it more effective than painting them with a black brush for their neglect.

Ages 4-8.

About Huyen: Huyen MacMichael is a stay-at-home mom, artist, and art therapist. She feels lucky to have found the sweetest rescued blue tick coonhound at the local no-kill shelter. She is raising her daughter vegan with her husband Ryan of Vegblog.org. As a mom, she enjoys the opportunity to read large quantities of children’s books to her daughter. As an advocate for the creative process, she appreciates a well-told and well-illustrated story.