Castles, Caves, and Honeycombs

Castles, Caves, and Honeycombs

4.9 12
by Linda Ashman, Lauren Stringer

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Many places can make a home--a silent cave, a secret den, a silky web, even a sticky honeycomb. Each one is safe and snug and just right for the families who live there. Linda Ashman's spare, lyrical text and Lauren Stringer's sumptuous paintings invite you to explore some of these wonderful homes and see how different--yet alike--they can be.
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Many places can make a home--a silent cave, a secret den, a silky web, even a sticky honeycomb. Each one is safe and snug and just right for the families who live there. Linda Ashman's spare, lyrical text and Lauren Stringer's sumptuous paintings invite you to explore some of these wonderful homes and see how different--yet alike--they can be.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With glorious acrylic paintings, Stringer (Scarecrow) shows how, in debut author Ashman's words, "A home's a house, a den, a nest./ A place to play,/ A place to rest./ A place to share,/ A place to hug,/ A home is someplace safe and snug" for a wide range of animals (including humans). Using a palette of deep, smudged hues, Stringer works her heady visual magic in two formats. Most of the illustrations are single-paged, womb-shaped vignettes on white backgrounds; in one picture, a beaver family waits in a cozy stick den for the arrival of father beaver, who swims in a swirled arc of blue-green, tree-fringed water that seems to cradle the home. In double-page spreads, the artist renders a monarch butterfly cocoon close-up, its luxuriant ripeness foreshadowing the being about to burst forth; in another, a sinuous, olive-green snail coyly slides away from view, all the better to display the hypnotic allure of its coppery, spiral shell. "There's no place like home" has been said many times and in many ways, but rarely so convincingly. Ages 2-5. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Nonfiction for the very young perhaps began with Margaret Wise Brown; it continues to satisfy curious young eyes and ears. Is there any book more charming than Henry Cole's Jack's Garden (Greenwillow, 1995)? Or Doug Cushman's Mouse and Mole series? Or Gail Gibbons' oeuvre or Anne Rockwell? Here is one more superb addition to this valuable niche. Castle, Caves, and Honeycombs is a nonfiction book that warmly describes animal's homes. Linda Ashman's simple rhyming text describes in a nutshell, the many places nature's creatures live: bats in a cave, wolves in a den, starfish in a tidal pool. Rather than disseminate strictly scientific information, the author gently unfolds details with a soft, lyrical tone that makes it a fun, rudimentary science lesson. Lauren Stringer's beautiful, painterly illustrations [seen before in Mary Lyn Ray's Mud (Harcourt, 1996) and Red Rubber Boot Day (Harcourt, 2000) and Cynthia Rylant's Scarecrow (Harcourt, 1998)] and spare design make this book a particularly handsome package. Castles, Caves, and Honeycombs concludes with, "A home is someplace safe and snug." Subtly suggesting that a house (structure) is also a home (safe haven), making this book particularly appropriate for very young children. This is a book for repeated readings in the classroom, on a family vacation, or in the coziness of one's own home. 2001, Harcourt, $16.00. Ages 2 to 5. Reviewer: Stephen Fraser SOURCE: The Five Owls, September/October 2001 (Vol. 16, No. 1)
Children's Literature
A poetic picture book is transformed into a sweet bedtime story when written by this new mom and illustrated by a gifted watercolor artist. Perhaps more descriptively titled something like "Everyone Has a Home," we visit a variety of places called home, from caves and dens to cliffs and tidal pools. Young children are introduced to a variety of animals and their habitats, with humans only added to convey the commonality among the species. We all have one thing in common, whether people or animals: we need some place safe and snug to call home. The large, page-filling colors, characteristic of past Stringer books, readily will engage the preschooler. With sometimes only three words to the page and pleasantly rhyming, the pictures truly do tell the story. The book is a worthwhile introduction for children to a selection of animal habitats. By the end, it just seems natural to tuck a sleepy little one into bed. Sweet dreams are all but guaranteed. 2001, Harcourt, $16.00. Ages 2 to 5. Reviewer: Kathleen Orosz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-Written in verse, this book looks at the many varied and unique dwellings that different creatures live in: "Many places make a home-/A heap of twigs./A honeycomb./A castle with/a tower or two./An aerie with/a bird's-eye view." The various habitats are described in a well-balanced rhythm, as single-page illustrations move to double-page spreads. The short phrases and rhymes make the text accessible to beginning readers. Because the names of the animals are not mentioned, children can try to identify the creatures that live in each place, adding an element of participation to the story. Done in swirling acrylics, the bright and cheerful art provides visual clues to the text and reinforces the message about homes being "safe and snug." This title can be enjoyed as poetry or paired with Mary Ann Hoberman's A House Is a House for Me (Puffin, 1982) as part of a unit on dwellings.- Maura Bresnahan, Shawsheen School, Andover, MA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
"Many places make a home-a heap of twigs. / A honeycomb. / A castle with a tower or two. / An aerie with a bird's-eye view. . . ." In her simply phrased rhyme, Ashman surveys a variety of shelters, natural and artificial, leading up to the moot but reassuring assertion that "A home is someplace safe and snug." In big, richly colored scenes of beaver, bear, and other animal families curled up together, or solitary creatures from cocooned caterpillar to a rippling, spread-sized snail, Stringer expresses the cozy theme brilliantly, composing each picture with strongly drawn lines that curve around and in like cupped, protective hands. The message may be an arguable one (especially considering that the "honeycomb" in one picture has just been discovered by a bear), but except perhaps for Mary Ann Hoberman's classic A House Is a House For Me (1978), it has never been better conveyed. (Picture book. 5-8)

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Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.38(d)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

LINDA ASHMAN has explored caves, slept on sandy dunes, and even stayed in a castle, but she now lives with her family in a house in Los Angeles, California.

LAUREN STRINGER is the illustrator of several picture books, including Scarecrow by Cynthia Rylant. She lives with her family in a pink Victorian house in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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