K-Gr 2-Karly's imaginary friend, Natasha, teaches her about her spirit, kept in an apartment in her heart. But as Karly goes off to school, she loses Natasha in all of the hustle and bustle of the classroom. Karly is a solitary child, and when other children begin to make fun of her reticence, she comes home feeling alone and blue. Luckily for her, Natasha is there to remind her about loving herself. They decide that Karly should live "inside out"-letting the people around her see who she is in her spirit, and that she will wear her socks inside out as a reminder. The text is preachy, and the story gets bogged down in the sheer number of messages. Not only does Natasha act as an invisible friend, but she also discusses Karly's soul and what happened to the child before she was born. Likewise, the illustrations get bogged down in the amount of details included within them. There are whirls of action that mimic the spirit of Natasha, causing her to be lost in the midst of them. As well, the most important action in several pictures is lost in the gutter. Overall, this book will be useful only in schools that have strong character-education components or in religious classrooms.-Susan Marie Pitard, formerly at Weezie Library for Children, Nantucket Atheneum, MA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
In a simple lyric paired to accomplished, atmospheric paintings, an 800-year-old Douglas fir introduces its timeless world, then hears its own demise in the sound of approaching bulldozers. This is followed by "children running, circling my trunk . . . hands soft and strong / People are holding on to my branches / So the wind may always carry my song." In smoothly airbrushed scenes, newcomer Danioth captures the misty Pacific Rain Forest from high angles and low, depicting flora and fauna-and a group of young preservationists-with naturalistic precision. Sans music, the sometimes mystical text makes an overly spare accompaniment for the elaborate art, but a page of rainforest facts are appended, and additional reading from, for instance, Barbara Bash's Ancient Ones (1994), will fill in the background for budding tree huggers. (author's note, forewords) (Picture book. 6-8)