Wednesday, December 19, 2012

All God's Critters by Bill Staines illustrated by Kadir Nelson

"Big. . . small . . . quiet. . . loud. . . feathered, flippered, or furred. . . All God's critters have a place in the choir! And this jubilant and raucous bunch is waiting for you to join in because everybody has a part to sing. It doesn't matter if you sing like a bird. . . howl like a wolf. . . or croak like a frog!" (book jacket)
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The first thing to pop out at me are the AMAZING illustrations by Kadir Nelson. They are absolutely gorgeous and I almost feel as if I can touch the hippo an feel the bumps on her skin. My favorite little critter has to be the duckling in the middle of the book who just quacks while he's on his way. So adorable!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

When I was Little: A Four-Year-Old's Memoir of Her Youth by Jamie Lee Curtis, illustrated by Laura Cornell

"When I was little, I could hardly do anything. But now I can do a lot of things, like braid my own hair, paint my toenails bubble-gum pink, and go to nursery school. I'm not a baby anymore. I'm me!" (book jacket)

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When I was Little by Jamie Lee Curtis is an adorable young girl's look back on her previous years. As some of us grown ups do on occasion, she's reminiscing her early childhood. This book is a great way to get a conversation started about things kids can remember from when they were younger.

It may be a way to get our children to start trying to make more memories and a way to start an early journaling project with them. While your child is still too little to write on their own, maybe if you write their memories down in his or her own words, it would be a way to have your child continue the process as they grow.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Monster Who Lost His Mean by Tiffany Strelitz Haber illustrated by Kirstie Edmunds

"Meet a little monster with a BIG problem! Everyone knows that the M in "monster" stands for MEAN. But what happens when a monster can't be mean anymore? Is he still a monster at all? One young monster's attempts to live up to his name go hilariously awry as he discovers-- with a little help from his friends-- that it's not what you're called but who you are that counts.
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Monster books seem to be all the rage lately and with a book like this one, I can see why. The illustrations are absolutely adorable and I absolutely fell in love with "The Onster." I love how the overall message of the book is "Who care what other people think of you. Their opinions are not what makes you who you are."

This book is great for all ages. I know it's target age group is 4-8 years, but any child would sit and listen to this one. The rhythm of the text will keep their attention.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Hey Presto! by Nadia Shireen

"Presto is a brilliant magician! So when he and Monty join the carnival to start a magic show, their future looks bright. But as their success grows, fame goes to Monty's head-- he begins bossing Presto around, and he steals the spotlight. Soon, Presto has lost both his show and his friend. Will Monty realize how much he needs Presto before it's too late?" (book jacket)
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A very good way to introduce the more complicated aspects of friendship-- drifting apart and coming back together again. Poor Presto takes as much of Monty's demands and inconsideration before he leaves. Much like life, when friendships go a little sour, it usually takes one friend walking away before the other has realized what they let go.

This book is targeted for ages 4-8, but a really patient 3 year old would probably sit through it as well.

The Count's Hanukkah Countdown by Tilda Balsley and Ellen Fischer illustrated by Tom Leigh

"At an awesome Hanukkah party on Sesame Street, Grover and the Count welcome visiting Muppet friends, Brosh and Avigail. They tell the story of Hanukkah, feast on latkes, and learn that EIGHT is the perfect Hanukkah number." (book jacket)
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This book is a nice introduction to the Hanukkah story. Using the Muppets  we grew up with was a really fun touch. As I read this book, Grover and the Count's voices were in my head the whole time. I loved it.

Turkey Claus by Wendi Silvano illustrated by Lee Harper

"Turkey is in trouble. Again. He made it through Thanksgiving without becoming a turkey dinner, but now it's almost Christmas, and guess what's on the menu? Turkey decides the only thing to do is to ask Santa for help. He sets off to the North Pole, but getting to see Santa at Christmastime isn't as easy as Turkey expected. It's going to take all his ideas--and his clever disguises-- to find a way into Santa's house. After many hilarious attempts, Turkey comes up with the perfect disguise, and Santa has the perfect solution!" (book jacket)
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Poor Turkey has no desire to become Christmas Dinner-- not that I blame him one bit. I actually enjoyed reading this one. It was amusing watching Turkey try to disguise himself to get into Santa. I think my favorite disguise was Mrs. Claus. This is a delightful book to use in your Christmas story times.

Charlie the Ranch Dog by Ree Drummond illustrated by Diane DeGroat

" Meet Charlie. He's a ranch dog. Breakfast is his life, especially when bacon is involved. Charlie has dangly ears, floppy skin, and big, fat paws. And he loves living in the country. That's because he works like a dog . . . fixing fences, gardening, and helping his family out on the range. Yep it's all work, all the time for Charlie the ranch dog. In fact, he's probably working right now . . . zzzzzzz. . ."
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I will say I immediately liked the illustrations in this book. The text, however had to grow on me. The first couple of pages really annoyed me. I thought the sentences were kind of choppy and lacking. That being said, it got better. When the story started progressing it got much better. By the time the book ended, I actually did enjoy the story. I think this may have been a case of trying to write for a child's level and making it too young and childish for a picture book. It began much like a board book but by the end was much closer to its target age range of 4-8 years.

Little Chick and Mommy Cat by Marta Zafrilla illustrated by Nora Hillb

"It's true that most little chicks have mothers who are hens, that puppies have fathers who are dogs, that elephants have elephant families, and ants have little baby ants, but then there are families who are different. Like mine! It's great being different! I'm a chick, and my mommy is a cat. And I think it's amazing! My mommy's got lovely soft fur, whiskers that tickle me, and a long, beautiful tail. What more could I ask for? Would you like to hear my story?"

"Little Chick and Mommy Cat is a story that explores diversity in a fun way, raising awareness of how every child is entitled to a family based on a love that goes beyond the color of one's skin or origin to embrace differences." (back cover of book)

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I love the approach Marta Zafrilla used when broaching this topic. What a beautiful way to briefly mention a birth mother who knew she couldn't take care of her baby and an adoptive mother who was unable to have a baby of her own. This book is adorable and great for a family story time for 4-6 year-olds.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Victricia Malicia Book-Loving Buccaneer by Carrie Clickard, illustrated by Mark Meyers

"Victricia Malicia Calamity Barrett may have been born on a pirate ship and raised in all the best pirate ways, but she sure is a wreck on deck. Her knots slip, she falls from the rigging, and rats abandon the ship when she cooks. No wonder she's sick of the sea!

Perplexed by Victricia's love of dry land and strange addiction to books, her pirate family tolerates one maritime mishap after another-- until the fateful day when her slippery new swabbing soap sends half the crew overboard! Will the buccaneers ground this nautical nuisance or will Victricia find a way to save the day?" (inside book jacket)

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This book is absolutely delightful! I enjoyed how Mark Meyers illustrations brought Carrie Clickards rhyming words to life and I was able to watch how Victricia Malicia grew up being different from her family.

This book is a great addition to a pirate story time, especially since most of the really good pirate books are about boys- little girls may love this one.

The authors have also included a website where you can find pirate activities, file folder games, scripts and much more. Go to Victricia Malicia for more information and pirate fun.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Night Before Christmas, Deep Under the Sea by Kathie Kelleher

Now that the Christmas season is fully upon us, it's time for Christmas books!!! The first Christmas book of the season is . . . The Night Before Christmas, Deep Under the Sea by Kathie Kelleher.

In The Night Before Christams, Deep Under the Sea, Kathie Kelleher takes a beloved Christmas poem and brings it to our underwater friends. The lobster in the story takes the place of the man in his cap of the original.

I thought this book was adorable. Switching the children in the original with mermaids and making Santa's reindeer seahorses instead was genius. I will say as I tried to read this aloud, it was difficult for me to not recite the Clement Moore version instead.

This is a great addition to a Christmas collection for anyone living in one of the ocean states.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Princess in Training by Tammi Sauer

Princess in Training by Tammi Sauer is an adorable book about Princess Viola Louise Hassenfefer. Princess Viola isn't like other princesses. Instead of being prim and proper, Viola is a karate chopping, water diving, skateboarding princess. When an invitation to Princess camp comes along, Viola quickly decides to go-- so she can learn to be a proper princess. But before the day is done, she learns that sometimes, it's better to be yourself instead of what others think you should be.

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I absolutely LOVE this book. The illustrations by Joe Berger are amazing and give the book a semi-comic book feel in a couple of places. I also adore the message in the book about being yourself. We don't all fit into the same mold and we shouldn't ever be afraid to be who we are.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

New Feature Coming Soon!

I'm really excited to announce the arrival of a new feature on this blog. As I was shelving books the other day I realized we don't always look at our award winners with the exception of putting them on a shelf or when a kid has a reading list. So starting soon, there will be a Caldecott Corner. I will go through different Caldecott winners and honor books and review them. I'm excited about it and I hope you will be excited about it also.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Amelia Bedelia's First Vote by Herman Parish

Amelia Bedelia's First Vote by Herman Parish is adorable! I love that Herman Parish was able to take his aunt, Peggy Parish's, grown up Amelia Bedelia (that I grew up loving) and recreate her for a whole new generation to love.

In this book, Amelia Bedelia's class learns about the voting process. The story starts out with Amelia being sent to the office with the daily attendance and her literally running into her Principal Mr. K. From that moment on the book spins in its typical Amelia Bedelia fashion of taking things too literally. When some says "hug the corner" meaning do a tight turn, Amelia actually hugs the corner of the building. Moments like that continue through the whole book and give a glimpse of what Amelia will be like as a grown up.

LOVE IT!

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce

Morris Lessmore lived a life surrounded by color and books. Then a terrible upset occurs, his books are destroyed and the color in his life disappears. For a few pages, Morris' life is black and white until he is led (by a character who looks like Humpty Dumpty) to the library where he lives out his life taking care of the books and getting lost in their pages.

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With illustrations that are typical of William Joyce you're brought into a tale that is reminiscent of both The Wizard of Oz and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The story was well done and I like how Joyce depicted someone getting lost in the story. One really good point about the book is while Morris was content to get lost in someone else's story, he was determined to write his own.