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Thursday, February 27, 2014

For the love of...progress (& picture books, take 2)!

Hi guys!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers, the place that aims to please your curious mind with flights of fancy…and then some.

 The “and then some” mentioned there is referring to that instance that happens when you pick up a book expecting one thing, have that preconceived notion satisfied, but ALSO walk away with something to think about.  That is just what today’s featured book offers, along with a host of illustrations that I found quite appealing.  That’s right!   Today we’re heading back to the land of Picture Books with an author who’s well known in her field (40+ works published!) and an illustrator whose work is new to me, but if I had to make a snap judgment, I like it!  Get ready to step into the future through a window from the past, today’s book of choice is…

Illustrations by
Marie Lafrance
A Groundwood Book

Meet the Tweedles.  They’re an innovative family even if at first they seem more backwards than forwards.  I mean in an age of gas and steam cars (early 1900’s), they’re choosing to ride bicycles!  How quaint…or perhaps, how GREEN.  Ever been hip before your time or catch a trend before it even was one?  That’s the Tweedles in a nutshell with their first venture into automobiles.  You see, one day Papa decides they are taking all the money they saved from riding their bikes and investing it in a vehicle!  (Way to go Papa!)  Mama is deliriously happy, Francis (aka Frankie) is beside himself with glee and young Frances (aka Franny), well she’s happy but would frankly rather not be interrupted as she is currently reading a very interesting book (yes….a bookworm! ~tiptoes past her page~).  With this monumental decision made, all that’s left to do is actually PICK one…a task much simpler than you might think.

Now remember, we’re in the early 1900’s so options are limited to begin with but not so much so that choosing should be down to only one model in either gas or steam.  Well, it wasn’t but you see the Tweedles are, as the title implies, going ELECTRIC.  They want a motor vehicle with a quiet heart that doesn’t belch gases in the air and leave a trail of toxins behind it…and the best place to get one of these beauties is Mister Mo’s Motors.  The man behind the dealership is Mister Mo himself and he has a green vehicle just right for this family…in both function AND color.  The Tweedles couldn’t be more pleased.  But wait, what’s this?  Not everyone is welcoming of their chosen mode of transportation, in fact some are downright disturbed by it…like one Mr. Hamm.  *ahem* Why exactly remains a mystery for YOU to ponder (or discuss…hello eco conversation!) but the reality of it all (and the author’s viewpoint) comes to light when a crisis strikes and the Tweedles, as well as their motor car, are placed front and center.  Will they save the day or fizzle out like the last sparks of electricity from a broken socket?  *dun dun dunnnn*

If you can’t tell, I had a great time with this little read.  The story is socially and environmentally aware without being overbearing.  It makes a good case for the cleaner and quieter electric vehicles that we’re starting to see more out and about today but also opens the door for discussion as to why we need or still use the other varieties.  The Tweedle family is diverse enough and well written that most readers can easily find themselves in one of their pairs of shoes.  As for the illustrations, they strike me as more painting-like and yet they are still accessible to eyes of all ages.  You can see the elation on the young boy’s face when he’s playing with wheeled objects, the concentration in Franny’s features as she delves into another book, and the consternation in the motion stills of the citizens of their small town as they share their discontent of the little green wonder.  All in all, it amounts to a wonderful addition to the author’s many works and a great introduction to an illustrator with obvious talent.

Author Monica Kulling

Review copy courtesy of author Monica Kulling and Groundwood Books.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title as well as her complete body of works, be sure to stop by her official site or friend her on Facebook.  Oh and don’t forget to friend the Tweedles themselves on Facebook!  That’s right….they have their own page to celebrate their romp within the pages.  (^_^)  This book is available now via Groundwood Books, House of Anansi Press, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore or virtual shelf near you.

Until next time…happy reading!

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