Posts Tagged ‘Books for Kids’

The Cat That Made Nothing Something AgainGenerally, I think it is of poor taste for an author to do a review of his/her own story.  But a recent article was written about my book in the “Minnesota Christian Chronicle,” and as great as that is, they removed the mention of where my book is available for purchase. That and they misspelled my name (James Mason not Maxon) in one instance.

Thankfully they mentioned this blog, booksforyouth.com, therefore, motivations of self grandeur aside, I’m adding this post to make it easier for anyone who is genuinely interested in finding out where to purchase a copy.

It can be purchased on Amazon.com at this link for $6.99 .

Below are some excerpts from the article:

“Since the 1990s, American children have been growing up in a wired world. By the time they enter Kindergarten many kids already know how to use a mouse to navigate through menus on a computer. Not to mention they are proficient at playing videogames, downloading music and even sending text messages.

While these are skills children will eventually need to learn, Dr. David Walsh, president and founder of the National Institute on Media and the Family, says parents need to make sure exposure to technology doesn’t replace brain building activities like reading, imaginative play and storytelling during a child’s preschool days.

James Maxon, 31, of Maple Grove, Minn., has witnessed the effects overexposure to technology has on children first hand. While watching his wife’s Godson grow from a child to a teenager he noticed how little imaginative play the boy engaged in.

Realizing that children have so many activities that are easier to do than reading vying for their attention these days, Maxon says he purposely made the book [The Cat That Made Nothing Something Again] easy-to-read with short chapters that are designed to help children stay interested. ‘They need to be able to pick up a book, knowing that if they only read for a few minutes they will be able to easily put it down without feeling like they never got anywhere.'”

Click here for the full article.

Here is a quick synopsis:

The Cat that Made Nothing Something Again, published in Dec. 2008, is a whimsical tale about a nameless cat that is bored in a land of dry everything – people, trees and land. He remembers a time when the landscape was green, flowers bloomed and people cared about him and each other. He wants to experience the joy he remembers so well again, so he sets out on a journey to figure out who sucked the moisture from his world and get it back.

Along the way he meets some colorful characters, including a wise old turtle, a seemingly sinister troll, a smart little bird, an overwhelmed mayor and a simple seed who remind him how important it is for people to do what’s right and take care of each other. Other Christian-themed messages delivered in the book: if you know something is wrong you must do what you can to make it right; don’t worry about that which you cannot change; it is better to serve than to be served; and faith is an important tool for getting through difficult times.

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MomoAs mentioned in my post on The Neverending Story, Michael Ende has become one of my all time favorite authors, and I’ve found that this story, Momo, is often unheard of, which is a shame.

I have two copies in my collection, one hardcover and one soft cover. Though it is currently out of print, I’ve often seen it at libraries (that’s where I bought one of my copies) and used online book stores. Let me just say that it’s more than worth the money.

Like The Neverending Story, there was a movie adaption of Momo. However, unlike The Neverending Story, it is not in English (there’s an audio book too, but that is also not in English). Thankfully I was able to obtain a full version of the movie that had subtitles created by a fan–otherwise I’d have been lost. Even though the quality of the production isn’t bad, I just didn’t get the same feeling from the movie that I did from the book. For one thing the character of Momo was all wrong; they used some popular, cutesy looking girl who’s hair and personality were totally different. Still, it was interesting to see Ende, who played a small part, and they did a great job with the other characters, particularly the Men in Grey (or, The Grey Gentlemen).

Story overview:

A little girl, age unknown, lives in an abandoned amphitheatre just outside an unnamed Italian city. The neighborhood learns about her and, rather than send her off to be dealt with by the law–or the orphanage she escaped from–they all end up doing their part to take care of her. She, on the other hand, ends up doing more for the town than they do for her. You see, there’s something very special about Momo. She has the remarkable ability to listen to people, really listen, in a way that offers the utmost therapeutic relief. In addition, she has a wonderful imagination and comes up with all sorts of creative and fun games for the neighborhood children to play. When not playing, she often spends time with two of her closest friends: Beppo, a street-cleaner, and Guido, a poetic tour guide.

One day a man in grey shows up and convinces a store owner that he can save money by storing time in a savings bank. The logic seems sound, and many people buy into the scheme. Eventually the town becomes full of these “Gray Men” and the people find that they no longer have time for one another. Not only that, but they become miserable. Momo works her magic to bring the people back, but the Men in Grey see her as a threat and so they seek for a way to shut her up.

Momo avoids capture, with the help of a turtle, Cassiopeia (who can see several minutes into the future). After several close encounters with the Men in Grey, Cassiopeia leads Momo to the home of a Time Professor named Secundus Minutus Hora. But it’s only a matter of time before the Men in Grey find a way to break through Hora’s defenses, and Momo finds herself traveling to the future only to discover that the Men in Grey now rule her town and have darkened the hearts of everyone she loves. It’s all up to one little girl to find a way to destroy the Men in Grey and give back the lost time to all her friends.

My thoughts:

I absolutely love this story, and have read it at least three times. Each time I get a great reminder of the need to focus on the important things in life. The translation is good and the characters are beyond brilliant. You cannot go away from this book without feeling a strong sense of the importance of life.

Things to consider:

Good for both girls and boys, this book is probably best read at around the age of eight (as Ende said, children ages 8-80). There is nothing questionable about it that I can see. The only thing is that some elements might be a little too scary for younger children.

Opportunities for discussion:

The biggest theme here is time, and how important it is to use your time for the simple and amiable things in life. Very, Very relevant to our society today, and this story can help to show us (and your kids) the need to stop and think about what we/they are doing with our time. In addition it shows the power of stories, importance of friendship, childhood, and the power of compassion.