Children’s Imagination Runs Wild in Animals A-Z

Once children begin connecting with the natural world, it can be hard to stop them. Perhaps that is why the lovely new book by the young artists of Featherstone Center for the Arts, called Animals A-Z, has 49 paintings despite the potentially limiting 26 letters of the alphabet.

Sleuthing in Vineyard Settings, Cozy, Scenic and Psychological

TOUCH-ME-NOT. By Cynthia Riggs. Minotaur Books, $24.99.

Camp Ground Where Holy Meets Happy-Go-Lucky

Circle of Faith,> The Story of the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting, By Sally Dagnall, Vineyard Stories, Edgartown, Ma. 2010 $24.95.

T here is no other place quite like Oak Bluffs — the color and charm, the hustle and bustle, the beaches and parks and fireworks and festivals, open and free and inviting. And to think it all started as a religious retreat.

Social Networks Without Screens: Take Time, Turn Off Technology

One spring day a few years ago, alone on his boat off Cape Cod, writer William Powers fouled his propeller on a mooring line. He leant overboard to free it and fell in, drowning his mobile phone.

Being a man used to constant electronic contact with the world, Mr. Powers first considered this a “disaster.” But actually, it was an epiphanous moment.

Margo Datz Illustrates A Child’s Magical Night


NIGHTTIDE ON A VINEYARD FARM. Lyric by Patty Schaal, Illustrations by Margot Datz. Vineyard Stories, Edgartown, 2010. $21.95, hardcover.

Sadly, I am no longer a child. Far from it. I may act like one at inappropriate times, but that’s a skill that probably hinders rather than helps write a children’s book review.

But I’ll have at it. Reviewing other people’s artistic creations is far easier than creating one’s own.

Four-Line Lessons in Life, Art from a Linoleum Knife


LIFE LESSON, The Verses of D.A.W., Volume 3. By Daniel Waters. The Indian Hill Press, Martha’s Vineyard, 2010. 35 pages. $15, in paperback.

Honestly, what’s not to love about the verses of Daniel Waters? He takes a passing thought, an offhand observation, a grand world view, and cooks up four or more lines of hilariously insightful poetry.

Cases in point:

Valentine’s Day

“The more you ignore it,

Lovable and Winning Dog Tale Is New Work by Susan Wilson

If there’s such a thing as a literary Rocky, in other words, a writer with a solid professional record, yet missing that big knockout punch that lands him or her the championship, then our Island’s own Susan Wilson is that phenomenon.

Vineyard Bookshelf

HUNDRED-DAY HAUL: 27,000 Miles in 100 Days. By Chris Huff. Vitallight Press. 285 pages. Soft cover, $19.90.

M aybe you know Chris Huff because back in the 90s he mowed your lawn. Or because in that same party-hardy epoch, you and he knocked back some serious drinks at the Lamppost, the Rare Duck and the Ritz. Or you joined the throngs who donated, over the brand new World Wide Web, cash to fund the guy’s road trip throughout the 48 contiguous U.S. states, this madcap laying of rubber to take place in the last hundred days of 1999.

Personal and Political in Playful Pages

But I Wanted a Baby Brother, by Kate Feiffer, illustrated by Diane Goode, Paula Weisman Books, $16.99

Two books from Little Pickle Press by Rana DiOrio, one illustrated by Chris Hill, the other by Chris Blair, both $16.95.

A child’s book works best when it operates on two levels, appealing to both child and parent. All the classics — Wind in the Willows, the Eloise and Madeline sagas, and Winnie the Pooh, accomplish this. But at bottom, the best books in this category impart something for children and grownups to ponder.

Novel Delves Into Seedy Side of Birding

COOLER HEADS. By William Harlan Richter. Small Fry Books, Santa Monica, Calif. 2010. 333 pages. $14.95, softcover.