Monday, February 26, 2007

Guido's Gondola

Renee Riva brings us another delightful tale in her newest book Guido's Gondola. This story of contentment is introduced by Eccleciastes 4:6 "Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind." How much is enough? Guido is a rat with a big heart. He ferries tourists in his gondola in Venice. He is quite happy with his simple, quiet life, until one day when a client suggests Guido needs a motor. "Your life will be much better. Business will grow." Guido is convinced and immediately goes to buy a motor. Before long another client convinces him he needs a bigger boat. Then another persuades him to carry shipments across a bigger sea. Guido finds himself in the midst of a big storm in a big sea with a very big boat. "He suddenly realized what mattered most. It wasn't the boat or stuff that he had. The small things in life were what made him glad." After completing his shipment, Guido rushed home. There he found the young rat who purchased his old gondola and traded his big new ship for it. He found happiness in the simple quiet of a sweetheart serenade. Illustrated by Steve Bjorkman in vibrant colors and sharp contrasts, this book is appealing to children and adults alike.

What I Like: This story is sweet and unique. While the rhyme is not always perfect, it definitely flows. The message of contentment is very appropriate for today's materialistic society. And the illustrations are just fun! My kids love this book.

What I Dislike: Nothing really. While the virture of contentment is obvious, the tie-in to Scripture and faith is extremely subtle.

Overall Rating: Very Good.
Age Appeal: 3-8

Publisher Info: Waterbrook Press, 2005; ISBN: 1400070600; Hardback; $9.99

Special Info: See also my review for Izzy the Lizzy by this same author and illustrator.

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