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Chickadees, Bumbelbeez, Pussy Willow Trees, and Two-and-a-Half!
by Jeffrey M. Politsky

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A vibrantly illustrated children’s book, Chickadees, Bumbelbeez, Pussy Willow Trees, and Two-and-a-Half! by Jeffrey M. Politsky seeks to encourage the intuitively exploratory traits in children through eye-popping illustrations and charming animal characters. Chickadees follows three different animal friends from three different regions in the world who find themselves coming together on Chickadee Island through their mutual desire for traveling and encountering new situations. The story begins with a young monkey and quickly comes to encompass a gray cat and a white pelican who unite in friendship on the island and, together, seek to discover the mystery of the chickadees in the pussy willow trees who speak the language “Bumbelbeez.” The unlikely trio roams freely in the beautiful landscapes that Chickadee Island has to offer, subtly presenting lessons on the importance of nature, friendship, and curiosity throughout.

Politsky’s children’s book is considerably longer than most texts in its genre, the fact of which may stimulate some young readers up for the challenge, but which may also cause it to drag on for others. The illustrations are an entertaining mixture of soft, brilliantly colored strokes and cartoonish accents. Throughout the story the mystery behind the chickadees is rife, but when the end of the book is reached, there is no satisfyingly juicy solution to that mystery, potentially leaving readers feeling robbed of a more complex and intriguing narrative. There seems to be a thematic element of respect and understanding for nature as well as for the diversity of others, which is commendable and useful for educating young children in important virtues early on. However, these themes could be much stronger and more appropriately melded into the primary storyline. Regardless, Chickadees, Bumbelbeez, Pussy Willow Trees, and Two-and-a-Half! is a sweetly imagined adventure of friends with memorable pictures sure to delight any young child.