The Ansgar Kids Treasury

A Windflower Saga Collection, The Windflower Saga Volume 15

Children - Animals
175 Pages
Reviewed on 07/04/2018
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Author Biography

Aleksandra Layland is a retired civil engineer and federal civil servant who worked primarily for the United States Air Force as a senior installation engineering manager responsible for buildings, airfields, infrastructure, fire protection, and emergency preparedness. She also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Western Caroline Islands where she helped build school classrooms and cafeterias, low income housing, and simple village water distribution systems.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite

The Ansgar Kids Treasury by Aleksandra Layland is part of the Windflower Saga Collection. Tiyo: The Dog Who Saved Ansgar and Bright Star: A Pony of the Kimbrii focus on two animals from The Windflower Saga. First, follow the adventures of a dog named Tiyo who spends his days as a herding dog. Tiyo's also quite the hero as he helps rescue a man he discovers injured in a cave. After Tiyo's story, explore the life of a pony named Bright Star who starts life in a herd before being chosen by a little girl named Keho. In a Land Far Away is a poetic and lyrical depiction of life in Kimbria, which includes mentions of the characters introduced in this collection. Keri and Kalina ends the collection by exploring daily life in Kimbria through the lives of two little girls who live at a boarding school run by nuns.

Layland brings to life the stunning world of Kimbria through four stories written for children. Tiyo and Bright Star are written in the style of a picture book with a couple of paragraphs on a page at a time and paired with vibrant illustrations. The illustrations have darker hues and scenic backgrounds, often with either animals or people as a focal point. The beauty of Kimbria is stunningly portrayed through the illustrations, with several even showing off the more magical qualities. The writing is kept simple and descriptive with both the animal characters breaking the fourth wall and speaking directly to readers, creating a personal conversation where the animals tell about their lives and adventures while also teaching and asking questions. While Tiyo shares his adventure about saving someone from a cave, he also teaches about deserts and caves, even adding advice such as never venturing into a cave alone. Bright Star's story takes on a similar style with Bright Star teaching about horses and herds while exploring daily life in Kimbria. Both of these animals have several animal friends that are introduced, but the focus is primarily on the bond with the human characters whom the animals assist in daily chores and situations. Tiyo herds sheep and goats while Bright Star and the other ponies teach kids how to ride.

In a Land Far Away is a poem with a lovely lyrical quality and rhyme scheme paired with illustrations. The poem weaves in the three stories in the collection by mentioning the main characters as the narrator dreams about spending an ideal day with friends at the beach. The collection ends with Keri and Kalina, which is written in a prose format with illustrations used as headers for chapters. The story explores the daily life of two little girls whose lives, though touched by sadness, are happy and almost idealistic as both girls are living life to the fullest, playing, doing chores, and spending time with loved ones. A personal arc for Kalina is explored as she has a chance to remain with her grandparents instead of returning to the school, so she has a choice to make about which path to take. Aleksandra Layland weaves through time as she explores the lives of these characters from significant moments to far off life milestones. The Ansgar Kids Treasury has wonder-filled adventures perfect for children and parents to enjoy the beauty of this world and the captivating characters.

Bruce Arrington

The Ansgar Kids Treasury: A Windflower Saga Collection, written by Aleksandra Layland, can be divided into three different parts comprising this collection. This is aimed at children from preschool to the third grade reading level. The first two stories, “Tiyo, the Dog Who Saved Ansgar” and “Bright Star, A Pony of the Kimbrii,” are directed at very young readers. The narration comes from the animal character in each story, the first a dog, the second a pony. They “talk” to the reader about their roles and responsibilities, especially in regards to their interactions with people. It has some educational value as well, discussing topics such as caverns vs. caves, the roles of stallions vs. lead mares, etc. I found the accompanying pictures to be an important part of the stories, as they give a pictorial representation of the story offered. I found the artwork to be excellent and believe that young children will certainly enjoy them.

The third story, “In A Land Far Away,” is a first person story, set in rhyme, about the dreams and wishes of being with horses and dogs. Some of the pictures are duplicated from the first two books, but can also serve as good repetition. Most of the lines scan well, making it a lovely way to present a story. The final offering by Layland, called “A Windflower Saga Chapter Book,” is a gentle adventure of two girls, Keri and Kalina. It covers a good part of their lives as friends, their family members, and their journey in obtaining supplies. Numerous characters are introduced in the story, which might be overwhelming for readers to follow and cause them to become lost. But in all, this is a rich, childlike experience that young readers will enjoy. The Ansgar Kids Treasury is definitely a recommended read for children.