Monday, October 7, 2013

The Extraordinary Love Story of Aye Aye and Fedor; How Aye Aye Met Roibeard the Giraffe, by Ana Isabel Ordonez

I don't ordinarily review books online, but I continue to devour them voraciously. Children's books are somewhat rarefied ground for me these days, though growing up they were central to my existence. However Ana Isabel Ordonez was kind enough to send me the first two books in her children's series and I was so taken by their unusual nature that I decided, "why not write about them?" So I am doing that.

First off, I would think that these are ideal books for the intelligent kid who needs not to be talked down to, is intensely curious and loves a good yarn. That's what she/he will surely get with both The Extraordinary Love Story of Aye Aye and Fedor 46 pp, paper, Ruby Flower Publishing, and How Aye Aye Met Roibeard the Giraffe 41 pp., paper, Ruby Flower Publishing.

Ms. Ordonez has a doctorate in Animal Biology. That and her creative, insightful, artistic nature gives these two books a special tone. Ana wrote the stories and also did all the illustrations, which have a refreshingly naive, youthful quality that kids should identify with. I did, too.

It's all about Aye Aye, an endangered species of lemur, and her adventures. In volume one she meets and falls in love with Fedor, a rare white lion, when she wanders unwittingly into a zoo. She ultimately rescues the zoo inmates from their captivity after a powerful storm disturbs the equilibrium, knocking off roofs and scattering the human zookeepers. All the animals go to live in the Musical Forest, a hip place where you can get some jams going, be cool natural-habitat style, etc. (sounds good to me).

In the second volume Aye Aye gets to know Roibeard, a brilliant but maladjusted giraffe who has wings and can fly. Aye Aye is restless and uninspired but Roibeard is worse off--he cannot connect with people and has isolated himself, disgruntled with life. In the end Roibeard learns the virtue of giving and Aye Aye finds in turn fulfillment in helping Roibeard discover his way.

These are books with a didactic message--kids learn the value of freedom, of directedness, selfless concern for others, and love, and also begin to appreciate the collective value of each animal on this earth and the need to preserve their habitats. Ana has a warm way and a quirky humor kids will appreciate, as well as adults. The volumes are only the first two in a projected series. They are available in Spanish and French as well. Go to Amazon for info.