Saturday, November 28, 2015

Book Review & Spotlight on Chickadees, Bumbelbeez, Pussy Willow Trees and Two-and-a-Half! by Jeffrey M. Politsky

Chickadees, Bumbelbeez, Pussy-Willow Trees and Two-And-A-Half, by Jeffrey Politsky, is a vibrantly illustrated adventure book meant to inspire children to follow their urges to explore and to appreciate diversity. It is recommended for ages 4-9.

“Kids who still have their parents read to them really like the book, as do kids who are independent readers,” says Dr. Politsky. “The reviews of parents and children who have read the book are very favorable: adults really like the message and the children just love the story. I hope many more children will get to read it.”

The book starts off when “One day a little brown monkey with dazzling olive green eyes, a friendly smile, and a long curly tail asked his father if there was more to the life than just hanging around with other monkeys and eating bananas.” Before long he meets a lovely grey cat and a majestic blue pelican each on their own quests. Together, they explore a foreign island and when their journey takes them into a private swath of land, they befriend a local dog who takes them further than they ever imagined.

Chickadees, Bumbelbeez, Pussy-Willow Trees and Two-And-A-Half emphasizes several significant values, which help us subsist and ultimately thrive: learning through independent exploration, the need for friendship, the importance of respect and tolerance for other cultures, languages, and lifestyle diversity, along with a healthy understanding of the powers of mother nature. 

What do you get when a little brown monkey wants to see if there is more to life than just hanging with his monkey friends and eating bananas all day?  Well, you get a delightful story that involves discovering new things, making new friends (a cat, a pelican, and a dog), going on great adventures and along the way trying to locate the "little chickadees, who speak Bumbelbeez, up here in the pussy willow trees. Tee-hee, tee-hee! I seriously loved saying Bumbelbeez out loud!

This was a charming story that any child will love.  With delightful illustrations and a storyline that was absolutely darling, this book will keep any young mind engaged.  The book is divided into four parts so it is the perfect bedtime book as you can read one part each night.  But with such a fun story, your child will probably beg you to continue to the next part, eventually finishing the whole book in one sitting!  For those children who are reading on their own, the vocabulary is simple enough for them to understand.

I really liked the fact that even though the characters were all different and coming from different 'walks of life', they came together and not only learned about each other but learned about different cultures.  This book is the perfect gateway for a child to understand and learn that even though a person may look and act different, they are still a person and can learn something new and exciting by being around them.  Plus they learn that it's fun to explore and see new and exciting places.

Another plus for this book is that half of the proceeds of the purchase of each book will be donated to neurocognitive and breast cancer research.  So by purchasing this book, your child gets a fun read and the half the money goes to a great cause.  It's a win-win situation either way you look at it!

5 stars

Dr. Jeffrey Politsky grew up in Toronto, Canada. He obtained undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Toronto and his medical degree at the University of Western Ontario before moving to Vancouver for his residency training in Neurology. He moved to Boston in the late 1990’s to complete his epilepsy fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital and has lived in the United States ever since. Today, Dr. and Mrs. Politsky live in New Jersey with their two children and two giant schnauzers. While he has written numerous articles and chapters related to the neurologic sciences, Chickadees, Bumbelbeez, Pussy-Willow Trees and Two-And-A-Half is Dr. Politsky’s first serious non-academic venture.

Dr. Politsky began writing Chickadees, Bumbelbeez, Pussy-Willow Trees and Two-And-A-Half on Formantera, one of the Balearic Islands in the western Mediterranean Sea off of the east coast of Spain.

“As I began pondering what makes free-form travel so interesting, I decided to try and create a story that would be appealing to youngsters. All of my back-packing adventures, like so many other travelers, had common themes: selecting a location, landing in a foreign place and feeling very foreign, attempting to understand the culture and fit in, survival, discovery, problem solving, raw happiness. I incorporated several of my own experiences in the text,” says Dr. Politsky. “I decided to weave into the story the linguistic nuances that my grandfather used when he would joke with my brother and me when we were youngsters - in essence we would ask him a question and he would answer using neologisms and in a manner that made absolutely no sense at all and then start laughing in a jolly fashion, quite amused with himself. I cherish my memory of my grandfather. His good nature and terminology stuck, much of it is incorporated in the book. In fact, some of his favorite expressions make up the book’s title.”

Dr. Politsky’s grandfather died in 1989 of complications related to multi-infarct dementia.

Tony Santiago illustrated the book with Dr. Politsky’s children and grandfather individually represented in the characters.

In 2011, Dr. Politsky’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is fine now; but the process was quite an ordeal. Anyone who has been through this or a similar experience understands this. Dr. Politsky sees and treats patients every day with epilepsy and related neurologic & medical conditions - in many cases illnesses appear like an unexpected storm and can turn people's lives upside down and inside out like a tornado. By the end of 2012, Kim had been diagnosed, treated, and had achieved full physical recovery.

Fifty percent of the proceeds of the sale of each book will be donated equally to research programs dedicated to the study of dementia and memory dysfunction, and to the study of breast cancer.

To purchase a copy of the book, go to

Readers can connect with Dr. Politsky on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

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