Official Review: Fantasy Animals by Janis Kirstein #1 by Shelle


Official Review: Fantasy Animals by Janis Kirstein#1 by Shelle

img_0681

» Feb 14, 2017
[The Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of “Fantasy Animals” by Janis Kirstein.]


Book Cover

3 out of 4 stars

Review by Shelle

Share This Review

Learning to get along with someone you don’t share similarities with can be tough. In Fantasy Animals, a children’s book written and illustrated Janis Kirstein, we follow two very different characters who must learn to work together and learn to appreciate their differences. I rated this book 3 out of 4 stars. The story is sweet and fun for kids, but there were some spacing irregularities, odd formatting errors, and strangely-worded sentences that led me to believe the book was not professionally edited.
Fantasy Animals introduces us to Vortex, an anteater, and Scoop, a lion. These two don’t have much in common, aside from the fact that they were born joined together at the torso. Scoop must endure Vortex’s loud ant eating and Vortex has to put up with Scoop’s need for speed as they race through the jungle. The conjoined animals do not always get along and often become quite annoyed with each other. They often complain loudly, argue with each other, and disagree on pretty much everything. When the duo learns it’s possible to be separated surgically, they jump at the chance to be free. However, once they begin to work together and appreciate the positive attributes of the other, they aren’t so sure being separated is the best choice.
This story is sweet and has a great lesson about getting along. The author and illustrator, Janis Kirstein, is an educator and likely drew from her own “getting along” experiences for this book. The importance of appreciating another’s talents and skills is highlighted, as well as the importance of friendship and compromise. The illustrations are bright a fun and make the story feel like an old-fashioned folktale. I liked the lesson this book taught and think the story was very creative and imaginative. A helpful links for educators section included at the end of the book is a nice resource for teachers wanting to expand on the book’s themes.
My second-grade daughter read this book along with me and she liked it very much. Her favorite parts were the illustrations and the funny arguing the characters did. She was also very happy with the ending and seemed to understand lesson of the story. Some words in the story were too difficult for her (anesthesia, proboscis, nauseated) so I think this book was likely intended for readers in grades 3-5.
I would recommend Fantasy Animals to anyone who appreciates fun and creative children’s stories. Kids will like this story and anyone with a sibling will identify with the characters. This would be a fun book to read aloud to younger kids and would definitely inspire some deeper conversations about appreciating differences and getting along.


Fantasy Animals

View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon :  www.amazon.com/dp/B01LYJAGLK
Like Shelle’s review? Post a comment saying so!

Hispanic Heritage Month Celebrated in Our Classrooms


Click on images to enlarge

Dawn Smith’s Spanish class and my Visual Art class joined together for a week long unit on creating paintings influenced by Mexican Alebrijes this week at Western Hills High School in Frankfort, Kentucky.  Painting and creative writing combined together for a learning experience in Social Studies, Spanish and Fashion Design.

To learn Global challenges of how to resolve conflicts, students had to work in groups and combine at least 2 animals from 2 different continents. They had to paint the animals, list their conflicts, how the animals could resolve those conflicts and capture these conflict resolutions in their choice of creative writing from poetry to dialogue to narrative writing. The writing portion was inspired by the book “Fantasy Animals” by Janis Kirstein, where a South American anteater and African lion are joined together and have to learn how to get along. This book was inspired by Mexican Alebrijes from Mexico, created with bright floral patterns in the 1930’s of conglomerations of various animals all in one being.

To see lesson plans for this unit,  go to:  https://kirsteinfineart.com/2016/07/27/lesson-plan-for-fantasy-animals/

To see the book written by Janis Kirstein inspired by Alebrijes,  go to: www.amazon.com/author/janiskirstein

 

image

 

 

 

 

This Painting was inspired by Mexican Alebrijes, by Janis Kirstein in Mercedes Harn’s art class this summer. This class was for a teacher Inservice given by The Academy with the Kentucky Center for the Arts, combining the teaching of Social Studies, Visual Art and Spanish Language.