Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Three New Volumes in the Children's Book Series by Ana Isabel Ordonez

Three new volumes are now available in Ana Isabel Ordonez's quirky and wise children's book series about the offbeat and hipster animals of the Musical Forest. They are: Volume 3, Aye Aye and Licec the Black Panther, Volume 4, Aye Aye, Professor Tekyp and the Hyperbrits and Volume 5, How Roibeard Helps Sorley the Cheetah.

The adventure continues where the first two volumes leave off (see my review of those volumes, The Extraordinary Love Story of Aye Aye and Fedor and How Aye Aye Met Roibeard the Giraffe, in my October 7, 2013 posting on these pages). The story starts with Volume One--the lemur Aye Aye falls in love with Fedor the lion and they subsequently manage to liberate all the inhabitants in the zoo where Fedor is kept captive. They end up in the Musical Forest, a savanna-like ecosphere where all the animals create a jazz-jamming nirvana of sorts.

Like all Ms. Ordonez's volumes these are a special sort of stories. They do not talk down to children but instead illuminate important human ethical values at the same time as they cultivate an appreciation of endangered species, the diversity and beauty of wildlife and the importance of human creativity, especially of the musical kind. There is with the wisdom a strain of playful nonsense and humor that pulls the stories together. Very importantly Ms. Ordonez both writes and illustrates each volume. The images have a rough-hewn singularity that adds much to the experience.

So the new adventures each center around a memorable character. Volume Three introduces Licec, the brilliant black panther who spews his wisdom virtually non-stop to Aye Aye. Her special banana recording device captures it all until, overwhelmed by his loquacious overabundance, she must slip away to contemplate all that he represents.

Volume Four gives us Professor Teykp, an endangered leopard and a most prodigious trumpet sensation in the savanna, who captivates all with his magnificent jazz band the Hyperbrits, that includes Pytt the wild piggy banjoman, and Anit, the beautiful butterfly trombonist with a strong set of communicative antennae. Teykp has a loyal pet cockroach named Euricoty. And Teykp has a yearly winter party trick where he assembles all, then rubs a solution of his stomach that coaxes the burning bees to assemble and singe all the hair off of him! Aye Aye meets Teykp and is in awe of the knowledge he imparts to her. The Hyperbrits treat the Musical Forest residence to a fabulous jam and, well, you have to read the whole thing. It's all great fun yet of course there is more to it as well.

Volume Five gives us Sorley the Cheetah, a complex, haunted musical titan who gazes at the night sky and dreams that his music will reach the stars and all who dwell there. But Sorley is troubled by insecurity and an egocentricity that Roibeard the giraffe helps him overcome with a good bit of wise advice.

No summary quite captures the sort of zany but smart fun that awaits children and parents in the recounting. It's the sort of story-telling that smart kids will no doubt take to readily. These volumes continue the fun and dada wisdom in Ms. Ordonez's very inimitable way. Grab these for your young ones and you'll be giving them something to expand their imagination--and appreciate the treasure of life on earth and how precious it all truly is!

These volumes are just out on Amazon in book form and in the digital Kindle format. Go there and do a search to get the full info.

Please note in the interest of full disclosure that Ms. Ordonez's Ruby Flower Org also puts out my music on their CD label. This is not a factor in my review--because I would not have written it if I did not find the books captivating!

I understand that the complete series is now available in Spanish and French versions, for those so inclined.

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