Reviews - What do customers think about The South Overlook Oaks?
A wonderful story for everyone! Dec 17, 2006
This book is beautifully written and illustrated. It contains a series of heartwarming stories that describe the things we all cherish--friendship, nature, and the simple joys of life. This book makes a wonderful gift for the holidays, for children and for anyone who likes to read a good book!
Wonderful first effort! Aug 25, 2006
The South Overlook Oaks is a gentle, heartwarming childrens tale about the rythyms of life and nature. As you might have guessed, South Overlook is a pleasant street lined with oaks, and our narrator, Silver Leaf Oak, has seen and heard a lot over the years. This is a very clever device first-time author Reardon has chosen. Who better to be the chronicler of both the winds and blue skies of life on South Overlook than a sturdy, spreading oak? As Silver Leaf observes; "If there is one thing I have learned while standing in the same place for 30 years, it is to be a good listener. In this book are true stories I have learned simply by listening to other trees, animals, and People."
And the stories, translated from the native tongues of South Overlook's inhabitants (including, among others, Antpatch, Squirrelchatter and Peoplespeak)tell of the great adventures (and occassional misadventures) of South Overlook's trees, animals and people. One of the book's great accomplishments is the subtle instruction in the workings of nature or natural history that Reardon weaves into Silver Leaf Oak's stories. For example, a discussion of long-ago occupants of the South Overlook area, the Powhatan indian tribe, emanates naturally from a picnic held beneath Silver Leaf's sheltering boughs. Other stories incorporate lessons on acorn production and tree aging in a mannger sure to keep young audiences engaged. Readers are not spared nature's cruelties either, as when Tim, a mouse, loses his mother to an owl. Reardon's gentle pen is less frightening than poignant. Undefeated, Tim's daring food raids win him the respect of even the cat! His light touch is especially evident even when the local predator, a fox, is defanged through the ingenuity of the local prey species. The story of the ladybug and lightning bug, trapped together by a storm away from their homes, turns into a lovely tale of mutual respect and cooperation that resonates with the need to get along in an increasingly diverse world.
Reardon's gift for writing for children is never more apparent than in his description of the decline of Old Rag Oak, Silver Leaf Oak's aging neighbor across the walk. As Silver Leaf rises in vigor, the declining Old Rag comes to lean against the younger tree's strong forked branch. Silver Leaf steadfastly keeps the wise old oak upright until the accumulations of old age result in his demise, leaving us all wishing for a friend as good, and to be as good a friend.
The South Overlook Oaks tinkles with laughter, is saturated with sunny childhood pleasures, and takes the reader or listener through the cycles of life in a vastly entertaining, thoughtful, child-friendly and compassionate manner.