Sunday, April 13, 2014

Book Review: The Sand Dollar by Michael Woodworth and Nicky the Little Nail by Jane Urick

A pair of interesting titles by Michigan authors are aimed at young readers, but that doesn't mean adults can't enjoy them as well.

Each thought-provoking book is just over fifty sentences long, filled with many striking visual images.

"The Sand Dollar" by Lansing attorney Michael Woodworth (Bella Vista Books, $18.95) is the first in a series called "Legends of the Sea of Cortez".

It is set on the shore of the vast body of water between the Baja California peninsula and the mainland of Mexico.

The main human character is never identified, but he's walking on the beach, picking up a few seashells but leaving most behind.

He spots a large seashell that seems unusual, but before he can grab it, it's washed away by a giant wave and disappears. He looks at the spot where the shell had been and sees another shell, a sand dollar.

As he bends over to pick it up, the sea rises high in the air. The waves don't come near him and there is no sound -- until the sea breaks the silence and speaks to him.

The unusual conversation in not just one-way. The man listens and follows the instructions of the Sea, reluctantly breaking the sand dollar into five pieces.

The rest of the environmentally-themed, self-published book explores the relationships of Sea and assorted challenges it has faced; symbolism abounds as intriguing insights are offered.

The excellent illustrations are provided by award-winning Williamston artist Craig Pennington, who graduated from the Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids.

The author and his family reside in Laingsburg; more information is available at .

"Nicky the Little Nail" by Linden author Jane A. Urick (Tate Publishing, $8.95) is an entertaining children's paperback that focuses on a very special little nail.

Nicky has a wish -- he wants to be used on the roof of a house, where he can be useful, feel the sun and rain and count the stars at night.

Things don't go exactly as he hopes, but the unexpected conclusion is believable and satisfying.

The colorful artwork by Kenny Abigae Badana brings the charming story to life.
The author, who is a great-great-grandmother, can be contacted at .

Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop,
 has reviewed Michigan books and crime novels regularly since 1987.

Find these books and other great titles
at the Curious Book Shop, an independent 
book shop in East Lansing, founded in 1969.

Curious Book Shop
307 East Grand River Avenue
East Lansing, Michigan

This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on  April 13, 2014.

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