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  1. 1. Every Cowgirl needs a horseNellie Sue does everything with a western flair. Whether it is cleaning up the animal sty (picking up herstuffed animals) or rounding up cattle (getting the neighborhood kids together for her birthday party), shedoes it like a true cowgirl. All she really needs is a horse. So when Dad announces at her birthday party, "Igot a horse right here for you," Nellie Sue is excited. But when her horse turns out to be her first bicycle, itwill take an imagination as big as Texas to help save the day.Everything but the horse: A Childhood MenmoryThis gorgeous, resonant tale is a beautiful recollection from Holly Hobbies own childhood about her loveaffair with horses.When Hollys family moves from the city to the countryside, shes scared of this new worldat first, but gradually comes to love the animals she encounters. Soon she is drawing the horses in the localpastures obsessively, hinting to her parents what she wants more than anything. But will her one wish evercome true?A Fabulous Fair AlphabetAlphabet letters of all sorts of shapes and sizes and styles—from blinking neon ones, to unusual old-stylegraphic ones to rustic hand-painted ones have been photographed and collaged together into an exuberant,eye-popping, letter-and-word-finding tour of the glories of the state fair. Bursting with with bright, boldillustrations of favorite fair elements like dill pickles and Ferris wheels and midway games, here is analphabet-exploring adventure like no other!Fair CowEffie the cow dreamed of being a fair cow and winning a "billowing blue ribbon." Petunia Pig knows just whatit takes to transform the awkward bovine into a gussied up beauty. There are exercises to do, hooves to bepolished, a tail to be groomed, hair to be curled, and a walk to be perfected. As for Effie, all she wants to dois frolic in the field, but there is not time for such nonsense. At the fair Effie sizes up the competition... sillycows all consumed with looking beautiful. On the way to the judging Effie lets the wind ruffle her curls, stepsinto the rich green grass, and even drinks from the pond. She is a rumpled mess but comes home a winner.Her blue ribbon is awarded for Best Milk. Bold acrylics convey the pastoral setting with the facial expressionsof Effie and the pampered cows spot-on. The witty humor of the text extends to the illustrations that begthe reader to pause and take in all the details. The theme of remaining true to yourself is subtle and even ifyoung readers miss it, they are still rewarded with a satisfying and droll tale.the falling raindropAs a storm raged below, high in a cloud a small raindrop was born. Shouting "Im alive!" he plunged to theearth happily and with wild abandon. Suddenly, his exuberance vanished as fear took hold and he worriedabout falling on a rock or a house or in a field. As apprehension consumed him, the raindrop missed out onall the joy and excitement that free falling and racing with other raindrops should have brought. Alone andfrightened, he saw a red glow far below him and crashed into a roaring campfire. At first, there was nothing;then a small cloud appeared, followed by a "wisp of steam." Upward the steam rose, and the raindrop knewhe would join the clouds to fall another day. This is certainly a unique and whimsical explanation of thewater cycle that will have great appeal among the very young. The raindrops inability to live in theexcitement of the moment and his preoccupation with his fears may be too abstract for children. Themarrying of text to illustration is masterfully executed. Cream-colored pages with minimum large blacktypeface show only a small blue anthropomorphic raindrop moving closer to the earth. Rapidly fanning thepages that chronicle his journey can turn this section into mini flipbook. The bright red campfire explodesfrom the page, making the raindrops crash landing more intense and final. His "rebirth" will have childrencheering. This is brilliant in its simplicity.
  2. 2. Fancy Nancy: Poet Extraordinaire!Fancy Nancy Clancy is so poetic, even her name rhymes. And with limericks, couplets, free verse, and more,poetry is plenty fancy! So when her teacher Ms. Glass gives Nancy and her classmates an assignment tocome up with their very own poems, Nancy is determined to write one that is superb. But what happenswhen she cant think of a good idea?Complete with Nancys very own poetry anthology, Fancy Nancy: Poet Extraordinaire! shows how a true loveof words can be très fancy. Ooh la la! And with a little inspiration, which is fancy for something that helpsyou get good ideas, Fancy Nancy just might be a Poet Extraordinaire after all.FarmCooper (Beach) creates a joyful tribute to family farms in this luminous and lyrical picture book. The text isstately, quiet, and poetic (―Morning chores would be better if they didnt happen every morning‖), and thebook slowly takes readers through a year of planting, good and bad weather, and ordinary details aboutfarm life. At the same time, Cooper includes enough specific portraits and names to make the book seemlike a felicitous cross between fiction and nonfiction. Like a puzzlemaker, Cooper begins with a sequence ofcumulative phrases and sketchbook-style paintings: ―Take a farmer, another farmer, a boy, a girl. Add ahouse, two barns, four silos.... Then cattle, chickens, countless cats, a dog. Put them all together and youget...‖ A page turn reveals ―...a farm,‖ broad and serene, stretched across the palest of skies. Delicatelyshaded watercolors, outlined in black, are a mix of spot art, clustered images, and spectacular spreads thatportray the farm and its inhabitants from diverse points of view. The graceful text and serenely stunningillustrations create a portrait both reverent and realistic. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)Feeding the SheepPreS-K—There are a number of childrens books that trace the steps from sheep to wool to clothing,including Tomie dePaolas Charlie Needs a Cloak (S & S, 1982); Cynthia Millens A Symphony for the Sheep(Houghton, 1996); and, most amusingly, Leslie Helakoskis Woolbur (HarperCollins, 2008) and Teri SloatsFarmer Brown Shears His Sheep (DK, 2000). This book doesnt cover any new ground, but its approach isunique, showing the loving relationship between a mother and her daughter through the seasons as theanimals are fed and sheared; the wool is cleaned, carded, spun, and dyed; and a sweater is knitted.Schuberts musical text has a predictable, soothing structure: "What are you doing? the little girl asked.Feeding the sheep, her mother said. Snowy day, corn and hay. What are you doing? the little girl asked.Shearing the wool, her mother said. Soft and deep, sheepy heap." Particularly rewarding is the way thecharacters come full circle, exchanging roles by the books end. URens gently outlined watercolorillustrations contribute a vivid look at farm life, at the expansive pastureland, and at the roomy farmhouse.The sheep are both realistic and winsome. The daughters play beguilingly echoes her mothers work; forinstance, when her mother is dying the wool, the little girl is painting on paper, and they both hold up theirblue-stained hands. Children will want to examine the pictures for funny little details, such as a painting of asheep jumping over the moon. Feeding the Sheep will teach and entertain the very young, and theyll beexamining their sweaters with greater appreciation.—Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten SchoolDistrict, Spencer, NYFinn McCool and the Great FishK-Gr 3—Finn McCool is one of the real "giants" of Irish mythology. In this story, he is not very bright, but hewishes to know the "secret of wisdom." An old man tells him to catch a red salmon and eat it and then hewill have the wisdom. Finn catches the fish but is unable to sacrifice it. When he releases it, he catches thehook, cutting his finger, and then puts it in his mouth to suck on it. Then "something strange and beautiful"enters his body, the "secret of wisdom." Bunting makes this unfamiliar story accessible to readers. The artbeautifully illustrates the green Irish countryside and makes Finn a real gentle giant. A fine introduction to alegend that might be unfamiliar to children.—Carrie Rogers-Whitehead, Kearns Library, UTFireboy to the RescueGr 1–4—Fireboy, clad in a red superhero suit, is ready to defend children from all things that burn byexplaining how to be safe. From the first inkling that a house is on fire, he gives sound advice—get out andthen call 911. When firefighters come to the rescue, stay on sidewalk out of the way of the fire truck.Fireboy almost rolls off the page when demonstrating "stop, drop, and roll." Visual representations of themany ways fires can start are dramatic and especially impressive. Fireboy recommends having an escapeplan and checking fire alarms each month. If trapped in a high-rise building, the vigilant hero demonstratessimple procedures to keep safe while waiting for help to arrive. Finally he goes over procedures for fire drillsat school. Millers brightly colored graphic style is reminiscent of 1960s art, while skillful layout and design
  3. 3. pack a lot of information into each page or spread. The back cover features a firefighter with his gear clearlylabeled. This is a solid choice for elementary collections.—Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School,Lebanon, TNFirehouseEdward, the dapper yet hapless dog last seen mucking around the barnyard in Teague’s Funny Farm, is backfor another adventure, this time to the firehouse. His sensible cousin Judy returns as well, accompanyingEdward on a tour during which the all-Dalmatian crew of Engine Company 5, led by the chief, Mrs. Speckle,includes the visitors in its daily routine. From trying on a shiny fire hat to...The firehouse lightThe true story of the miraculous firehouse light begins in the days of horse-drawn buggies. When there is afire in a small town one night, the volunteers must light a lantern to get the firefighting equipment from itsshed. One day they receive a gift: a wire burning in a glass ball—a four-watt lightbulb. They take the bulbwith them ten years later to a new firehouse, where it keeps burning. Autos replace buggies, and aftertwenty years, despite brighter bulbs, the firefighters keep the bulb burning. Thirty years later, as childrenwatch moving pictures, the bulb burns on. In forty years, as the bulb burns, trains and planes arrive intown. After fifty years, the town has grown. Firefighters are paid rather than volunteers. Sixty years pass,then seventy, eighty, ninety, and one hundred. A birthday party celebrates the still-burning bulb. Lafrancecreates a dollhouse-like town; acrylic paints produce smooth surfaces, smoothly articulated people, andsharply defined details. The double-page scenes clearly display the changing technology while keeping thefocus on the amazing light that will not quit. A note fills in the details on the actual bulb given in 1901 to thefirefighters of Livermore, California, complete with photo. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia MarantzThe first PupThis is the true story of how a very special pup came to live in the most famous house in America. Not toolong ago, a man by the name of Barack Obama ran for president of the United States and won! He had a lotto share with the American public on the night of his victory and an even bigger announcement for his twodaughters, Sasha and Malia. Once his family moved into the White House, the girls would receive a newpuppy. Oh, how to choose? There were poodles and schnauzers and terriers and beagles, and spaniels andcollies and retrievers and Labradors. During this decision making process, a sweet little pup had been bornon a farm in Texas. Thanks to a very special senator, this chosen pup made his way to our nations capitaland found a home on Pennsylvania Avenue. This sweet story is a treasure for parents, teachers and readers.It is a fine example of nonfiction and contains a very pertinent history lesson. Staakes illustrations werecreated by using both traditional and digital means and are sure to evoke smiles from all who partake.Reviewer: Summer WhitingFirst RainGr 1–3—When Abby and her parents depart for their new home in Israel, the rain mirrors the girls sadnessin leaving her beloved grandmother. They keep in touch through phone calls, emails, and letters. Abbyshares everyday experiences like going on a tiyul (hike) and buying the freshest dates and figs at the shuk(marketplace). Their letters to one another are incorporated into the artwork, and an insert of Grandmaexamining a jar of Dead Sea mud shares a spread with Abbys letter and a view of the water. Grandmathinks of her granddaughter when it rains, and another insert shows them splashing through puddlestogether. She sends Abby brightly colored autumn leaves to share with her classmates. With summer over,Abby waits for the first rain, which also brings her grandmother for a visit. Mitters acrylic illustrations alsoportray a scene at the Western Wall and the diversity of the Israeli population. Besides being a realistic lookat another culture, this well-written book is heartwarming and reassuring.—Mary Jean Smith, SouthsideElementary School, Lebanon, TNFloras Very Windy DayBirdsalls (The Penderwicks) crisp and delightful first picture book shares the virtues of her successfulmiddle-grade novels: believable characters, a tightly constructed story line, and a nod to past childrensliterature--here, to the no-nonsense magic of the Edwardians. Big sister Flora must kick off her cherished"super-special heavy-duty red boots" to be borne aloft so she can rescue her brother, Crispin, when thewind blows him away. They meet a cloud, a sparrow, and other characters, all of whom make the samerequest: "Will you give me that little boy?" Although Crispin has spilled Floras paints, and the creaturesseem to know that she sometimes wishes to be rid of him, the encounters only strengthen Floras resolve tobring Crispin home. "My mother wouldnt like it if I lost him," she says. Phelans (The Storm in the Barn)rosy-cheeked Flora and dumplinglike Crispin float idyllically all the way to the moon. Yet the story containsthe occasional whiff of menace ("If the wind lets you," each creature replies when Flora says shell be takinghim home). Never mind--the danger is no match for Flora. Ages 5-8. (Aug.)
  4. 4. Fly FreeYoung Mai feeds the sparrows in a cage at the Buddhist temple in Vietnam. Setting them free would be agood deed, but she has no money. She invites another girl named Thu to help her, repeating the song, "Flyfree, fly free,/ in the sky so blue./ When you do a good deed,/ it will come back to you." On her way home,Thu gives her slippers to a girl who has cut her foot, repeating the "Fly free " The grateful girl in turn givesfresh water to a weary cart driver. He hears her "Fly free..." song. He gives a ride in his cart to an oldwoman. The next morning she gives some rice to a passing monk, whose thanks blend in with the song. Hethen cures a sick boy. The boys father, going to the temple to give thanks, sees Mai feeding the birds andsinging her song. Seeing how good deeds are passed along, he pays so the sparrows can "fly free." Neilanuses watercolors to depict quiet landscapes and more intimate scenes, applying them like stains on rawboards. The wood grain becomes a unifying factor, a subtle horizontal texture, perhaps a visualrepresentation of the Buddhist belief in the one-ness of all living things. The costumes and scenery have anageless but Asian character. The author adds a background note. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia MarantzForever FriendsThis quiet book about friendship retains many of the design elements and collage devices from Berger’s TheLittle Yellow Leaf—red polka-dot mushrooms pop up in the forest setting, dotted lines indicate the pathstaken by the main characters, lined paper serves as an occasional backdrop, and words are tucked into thepainted bark of trees and other vegetation. This time a blue bird and brown bunny become friends in spring,and because the bird must fly south for the winter, they are separated for months. When, ―at last, the sunchase[s] away the snow,‖ they play together once more as ―forever friends.‖ While Berger’s illustrationsconvey moments of both joy and isolation, this undemanding tale about friends being separated andrejoined isn’t quite as moving or poignant as Berger’s previous story. Nonetheless, fans of Berger’s spareaesthetic will enjoy scenes of pink tree blossoms arching over a log and the animals cavorting under fuzzyglobes of firefly light in summer, as well as the basic message that real friendship overcomes distance. Ages2–6. (Mar.)The fox and the henYoung Mai feeds the sparrows in a cage at the Buddhist temple in Vietnam. Setting them free would be agood deed, but she has no money. She invites another girl named Thu to help her, repeating the song, "Flyfree, fly free,/ in the sky so blue./ When you do a good deed,/ it will come back to you." On her way home,Thu gives her slippers to a girl who has cut her foot, repeating the "Fly free " The grateful girl in turn givesfresh water to a weary cart driver. He hears her "Fly free..." song. He gives a ride in his cart to an oldwoman. The next morning she gives some rice to a passing monk, whose thanks blend in with the song. Hethen cures a sick boy. The boys father, going to the temple to give thanks, sees Mai feeding the birds andsinging her song. Seeing how good deeds are passed along, he pays so the sparrows can "fly free." Neilanuses watercolors to depict quiet landscapes and more intimate scenes, applying them like stains on rawboards. The wood grain becomes a unifying factor, a subtle horizontal texture, perhaps a visualrepresentation of the Buddhist belief in the one-ness of all living things. The costumes and scenery have anageless but Asian character. The author adds a background note. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia MarantzFrogsThis set introduces the squirming, wiggling, leaping world of amphibians. From frogs to mudpuppies,emergent readers will delight in the big, colorful photos and simple text.gray and rayPreS-Gr 1—Gary is lonely because the other forest animals find a gorilla too intimidating to play with. A tinysunbird named Ray sees his sadness and befriends him. Gary is happy, but still wishes he could have afamily of his own. Ray finds Susan for him, and the rest is history. The extremely simple story line holdslittle drama, and the human names and anthropomorphized attitudes of the animals are at odds with thenaturalistic illustrations. Despite the flatness of the story, readers will be entranced by the textured linoprints, reminiscent of the woodcuts in Gail E. Haleys A Story, A Story (Atheneum, 1970). Stylized andblocky but full of movement, the artwork is the highlight of this book. Purchase where jungle stories are inhigh demand, or for use in an art-appreciation lesson.—Heidi Estrin, Feldman Childrens Library atCongregation Bnai Israel, Boca Raton, FLGive me winsThirteen poems are presented using flying and wings as themes for the freedom to dream, to wonder, tosing, and to laugh. Children will want to soar and whoosh while hearing these imaginative verses read aloud.The poems are brief yet demand creative thought from the listener. The language used in the poems is richfor beginning readers and writers. All of the poems display common childhood experiences such as watching
  5. 5. birds migrate, singing in a group, and dreaming of flying. Each verse is accompanied by a lovely double-page illustration using colored-ink lines with an acrylic wash. Most of the illustrations feature a single childdreaming, flying or wearing wings. The poem, "Fairies" by Langston Hughes, is beautifully paired with avivid illustration of sprites sporting rainbow wings. The selection of poems comes from a diverse group ofpoets and would be a welcome addition to a science and poetry study for young children or story hour.Reviewer: Nancy BaumannGo-go GorillasIn the jungle at the Great Gorilla Villa, the gorilla King Big Daddy calls for his royal messenger, a mouse ona moped, and says, "Summon every last gorilla / to the Villa, dont be late. / I expect them all by sundown-/ please dont make Big Daddy wait!" She visits relations one by one to pass on the message, and everygorilla hops on a different form of transport to make the appointment. Niece Isabel rows her boat. UncleMario drives his truck. Cuz Clementine sets off in her hot-air balloon. "Go-go gorillas! / Gotta go, / gorillas,go!" All ten arrive just in time for the announcement of a new member of the family . . . whos already onthe go. Durango amd Taylor follow Cha Cha Chimps (2006) with a snappy simian tale of family and vehiclessure to have toes tapping and audiences giggling. The cartoon watercolor illustrations are full of verve andplenty of monkeyshines. A great addition to any storytime collection; by the end listeners will be chantingalong with the refrain. (Picture book. 2-6)GoalWe are on a street in South Africa where it is "soccer time," but "the streets are not always safe." Our youngnarrator has called his friends to play with his prize possession, "a new, federation-size football" declaring"No more old plastic ones." Setting a guard to watch for bullies, they begin the game. Suddenly, a gang onbicycles appears. Hiding the new ball in a bucket, the boys set the old ball on top. If one of the guys knocksit over, they fear their new ball will be taken. Luckily, the taunting gang takes only the old one. The playersfeel as if they have won the World Cup. Although the streets are not safe, they feel unbeatable when playingtogether. Their joy in the game shines clearly through the fear. The large size of the book gives Fords oilpaintings room to create portraits of the boys while demonstrating the action of their playing. We also sensethe atmosphere, the ramshackle buildings and spare vegetation. The naturalism is modified to emphasizethe drama, the intensity of the game, and the danger sensed during their encounter with the gang. Theterse text, set in short phrases, gives the words a poetic quality. A note adds factual information. Reviewer:Ken Marantz and Sylvia MarantzGoodnight Baby Beargoodnight, little monsterLittle Monsters bedtime ritual starts with howling at the moon. He takes a bath and gets his scales scrubbedclean. Then he gets the bugs picked off his ears, dries off, and puts on his pajamas. Next comes a yummysnack of worm juice and baked beetle bread, after which Little Monster brushes his fangs and snuggles in fora story. A thorough check under the bed shows no children lurking to nibble his toes. Finally, with his sheetpulled up snug and his night light on, Little Monster is ready to sleep. With Mama nearby, Little Monsterknows he can sleep through the night. The illustrations are adorable and the authors imagination of what alittle monster might like—he takes his favorite toy slug to bed with him—make this book a cute addition tothe nighttime reading list. Some discerning readers might notice that the rhyming meter was occasionallyoff. Reviewer: Sarah Maury Swangrandmas giftK-Gr 3—This companion to Grandmas Records (Walker, 2001) is another memoir of Velasquezs boyhoodvisits with his grandmother in Spanish Harlem. This time it is Christmas. After helping to shop foringredients and make her famous pasteles, Eric and his grandmother venture from El Barrio to theMetropolitan Museum of Art. The boy has a school assignment to complete and together they discover thework of Diego Velázquez, including the famous portrait of Juan de Pareja. The woman nurtures the boysfascination with painting by giving him art supplies for Christmas. This beautifully illustrated slice-of-life issprinkled with Spanish phrases (all translated into English) and rich details about Puerto Rican traditions andculture. Velasquezs full-bleed paintings transport readers to another time and place and expertly capturethe characters personalities and emotions. A gift, indeed.—Virginia Walter, UCLA Graduate School ofEducation and Information Studies
  6. 6. grandmas glovesIn this loving, moving tribute to her gardening grandmother, a young girl helps her mother, and readers,deal with death. She and her grandmother share a delight in the garden, and after work the pleasure ofspecial tea and cookies or doughnuts. But one day Grandma is in the hospital, her memory failing, herspecial smell gone. And even though she knows that everything dies eventually, the girl finds hergrandmothers death painful. Still, she is the only one who thinks of caring for the plants and flowers leftbehind. As she and her mother grieve together, she gets her grandmothers familiar gardening gloves andputs them on her mothers hands. Together they will grow a garden of their own in loving memory. Thegirls portrait on the jacket/cover, surrounded with flowers, the gloves on her hands, effectively conveys thebittersweet emotions of the story. Sketchy watercolors, colored pencils, and digital collage illustrate themystical connection of generations through the love of growing things. The lively drawing is imbued with ajoyful spirit and intergenerational love despite the sadness of loss. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and SylviaMarantzGranny gomez and jigsawGranny Gomez lives in a large house and has room for all the things she enjoys. But living in this big houseby herself also brings loneliness. She thinks about getting a pet, but she does not know what kind. One day,a basket is left at her door, and to her surprise, she discovers an adorable piglet inside. What fun they havetogether. They listen to television and eat watermelon together. Most of all, they liked jigsaw puzzles, sothat is what Granny names him. At first, there are not any problems, but as Jigsaw grows, he gets stuck inmany things. Once he got stuck in the kitchen cupboard, and then he put his head through Grannys bassdrum. After putting a big hole in the stairs through which both of them fall to the floor below, Granny knowsit is time to build Jigsaw a barn for himself. After it is finished, Jigsaw will have to stay there. She fixes upthe barn with a television, kitchen, and wonderful pile of hay, but when it comes time to say good night,they both miss each other very much. The ending is wonderful and shows how problems can be solved tothe happiness of everyone. This warm story touches the heart and would make a great read-aloud. Theillustrations add much interest, and children will read this one repeatedly. Reviewer: Kathie M. JosephsgumptionYoung Peter is thrilled to join his favorite Uncle Nigel on an expedition to Africa to search for the rareZimbobo Mountain Gorilla. But the trip is not an easy one, and when they start climbing a mountain in thejungle, Peter finds it hard to get through a thicket. Uncle Nigel assures him that it just takes "a bit ofgumption," And they continue on. At each difficult spot, his uncle repeats his advice. But as we see in theillustrations, unnoticed by Uncle Nigel, Peter is coping with a series of amazing adventures. Full-page anddouble-page pictures in vine-bordered frames display Peters encounters; we follow his predicaments andtheir solutions in four framed scenes across the pages. Pen and ink and intense watercolors create attractivejungle scenes while our main characters are shown in explorers outfits complete with backpacks and pithhelmets. Theres a sense of comic silent films in the almost-retro illustrations, making the text almostredundant. Perhaps more amusing adventures of Peter and Uncle Nigel are to come. Dont miss the lushendpapers. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia MarantzGuykuBecause poetry is not considered a "guy" thing, Raczka has written twenty-four poems in haiku formcelebrating the seasons, with direct appeal to boys. He begins with a section for spring, with subjectsranging from wind and kite to grasshopper and fishing. In the summer, mosquitoes and toastedmarshmallows are included. For the fall, there are falling maple tree "helicopters" and leaves: "Fromunderneath the leaf pile, my invisible brother is giggling." Then, "Winter must be here. Every time I open mymouth, a cloud comes out." Finally, "Last weeks snowman looks under the weather. Must be a springallergy." Reynolds offers lively drawings of boys in all sorts of activities as visual interpretations, withwatercolor yellows, browns, and greens plus digital additions. The text is hand printed. Notes from bothauthor and illustrator on why they did this book add background interest. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and SylviaMarantzHallowilloweenWhat lies behind the cats big orange toothy grin on the cover? It might be a lyric about the battle betweentwo alley cats. Or it might be Calef Browns latest collections of whimsical and original poems aboutHalloween. Brown has put together some very clever and amusing poetry for the ghoulish time of year;something that one does not see very often. Each poem takes up about a page with some very unusualrhymes. Gory Rene suffers from a "hideous mange" while a square-headed green individual claims to be"Frankensteinesque" but not Frankenstein. Other poems focus on a vampire, a mummy, witches from Texasand the Grim Reaper. The large, bright acrylic illustrations also are atypical for many Halloween illustrations.They use other colors in addition to the expected orange and black and may appeal more to reluctant middle
  7. 7. school readers. It is nice to see a book of poetry for Halloween that could inspire similarly written poems bybeginning writers and to see some unique settings for some traditional Halloween characters. The opening"table of contents" page is a bit challenging to read but it hints wonderfully at some of the characters thatare to soon appear in the books contents. This original collection can be a new way to celebrate the Octoberholiday. Reviewer: Elizabeth FronkTHE HANDKERCHIEF QUILTWhen frozen water pipes break, flooding the school, longtime elementary teacher Miss Anderson ralliesstudents and their families to make a quilt from handkerchiefs shes collected, gifts from those shes taughtover the years. The quilt is sold for money to replace lost books and supplies. Crane, author of numerousalphabet and counting books, has based her first published fiction on an incident from her mothers life. Sherecounts events journalistically, chronologically and with little effort to provide tension for the narrative arcor to develop character. Although the time and place arent identified in the story, the afterword sets it inFlint, Mich., in the early 1950s. Palmers watercolor-and-pencil illustrations reflect the times, both in theclothing and in the classroom Thanksgiving artwork, which includes a Native American wearing a PlainsIndian headdress, which will make some modern readers cringe. The people appear stiff and distant; theylook away from the reader. Although the story has emotional potential, it isnt been realized in this telling.(Picture book. 6-9)HELLO PUPPY!PreS-Gr 1—This feel-good book shows a preschooler interacting with her pet. It opens with the question:"Whats that puppy doing? Shes sleeping. Puppies need lots of sleep." The simple sentences are paired withcozy pastel illustrations. The youngster explores the puppys behavior indoors and out with a specialemphasis on play and fun. The story gives young readers a good sense of the responsibility of taking care ofa pet.—Katie Cerasale-Messina, AC Whelan Elementary School, Revere, MAHIBERNATION STATIONGr 2—The hibernation train, fashioned of hollow logs, is filled with all sorts of animals, including bears,snakes, chipmunks, frogs, skunks, hedgehogs, and mice. On its way to the station, it hits a few snags—crowded conditions, leakage from a stream, and a lack of snacks and pillows. As the snow falls heavier andheavier, the bears in charge manage to get everyone squared away just as the train enters hibernationstation. The track is made of tree branches, and the season is clearly heading from fall into winter. Theenjoyable rhyming text provides the perfect platform for the wonderful illustrations that accompany it. Cyrusblends realistic depictions of the animals with just the right anthropomorphic touches—they are all clad inpajamas. The best example is the snails complete with slime trails wearing pjs, while the snakes slitheringin their nightwear is quite amusing. An authors note on hibernation is included. Good for storytime or one-on-one reading.—Catherine Callegari, Gay-Kimball Library, Troy, NHhIGGLEDY-PIGGLEDY CHICKSPreS—Night in the barnyard gives way to the crowing rooster. Then: "Banty hen feels…broody." She lays hereggs, waits, they hatch, run around getting into trouble, and finally night falls, leaving them safe with theirmother. The story is minimal, but the pleasing sound effects and adventurous chicks testing theirindependence will engage young listeners. The time structure is uneven,...HOME ON THE RANGEBanty Hen feels broody and lays seven beautiful eggs for the Aunties to bucka-buk over. She keeps themsafe and warm, and "[s]oon tiny beaks pip the shells. / Pip. / Rip! / Peek. / PEEP!" Seven fluffy, curious,energetic chicks race around the barnyard. They dont know whats dangerous and what isnt, so Banty Henhas to keep them safe. Is a cat dangerous? A snake? A raccoon? Good thing Banty Hen has the help of theAunties, Rooster and Duck. With its onomatopoeic kaks, kuks and bucka-buks, Joosses latest straddles theline between cartoon and natural-history narrative. There are several opportunities for short countinglessons of eggs or blue-eyed chicks as they race across the pages. Chrustowskis full-bleed collageillustrations, a departure from his usual highly saturated colored-pencil artwork, are the real standout here.The authors "How Little Chicks Grow" note at the back leaves out Roosters part in the process but isotherwise complete; the illustrators note discusses both his models and his methods. For larger collectionsor where the authors books are a draw. (Picture book. 2-5)HONK HONK BEEP BEEPPreS-K—A father and child, both dolls, take a nighttime jeep ride through a human boys bedroom. Beforelong, other toys—bunnies, a road-construction crew, a farmer, sheep, a monkey, and ladybugs—join theevent-filled excursion. The crowded jeep rolls across the sleeping childs bed and, when it stops, thepassengers look out a window at the sunrise. In the final spread, the wide-awake boy looks out the window,
  8. 8. too. Kirks colorful oil-on-canvas illustrations are similar in style to his artwork in Kevin Lewiss Chugga-Chugga Choo Choo (1999) and Tugga-Tugga Tugboat (2006, both Hyperion). Playful details capture theinterest of young children, while the rhyming text bounces along. Listeners will want to chime in on therepetitive "Honk Honk!" and "Beep Beep!" This imaginative story makes a pleasing choice for bedtimereading and storytimes.—Lynn K. Vanca, Akron-Summit County Public Library, Richfield, OHHOW DO YOU READ TO A RABBITProbably not. After all, he would most likely eat your book. How about a bat? Maybe thats not such a goodidea either -- youd have to read upside down and in the dark!Youngsters will laugh out loud at the antics ofthe 13 animals -- and the child who tries to read to them -- in this delightful picture book. From bats to boasand camels to kangaroos, the animals demonstrate the many challenges of reading to them: a boa mightwant to hug you a little too tight, and youd have to jump pretty fast to keep up with a kangaroo. All endswell, however, as we see the child reading to his parents. Now thats something easy to do!The comicalcharacters and repetitive text make this an ideal book for preschoolers, who will be only too happy to comeup with a host of other animals and the reasons why it would be difficult to read to them.HOW HIGH CAN A DINOSAUR COUNTHelp Heloise add her dimes, nickels, and pennies to buy a hat at Madame Millie’s Millinery; tell time on theclock at the Tutti-Frutti Zoo; and calculate with Bertram the cost of his colossal birthday cake.Clever text and imaginative art mesh to create playful, simple math problems right on target for ages 6—99. . . anyone who loves the magic of numbers! Valorie Fisher has created fifteen miniature worlds, eachshowcasing an ingenious math problem (with more questions at the back of the book). In a starred reviewPublishers Weekly raved, ―Math made fun? Problem solved.‖HOW ROCKET LEARNED TO READLearn to read with this New York Times-bestselling picture book, starring an irresistible dog named Rocketand his teacher, a little yellow bird. Follow along as Rocket masters the alphabet, sounds out words, andfinally . . . learns to read all on his own!With a story that makes reading fun—and will even help listenerslearn to read—this book is ideal for kindergarten classrooms and story hour or as a gift for that beginningreader. Fresh, charming art by Tad Hills, the New York Times bestselling author/illustrator of Duck & Goose,will make this a favorite.hOW TO CLEAN A HIPPOPOTAMUSWho better than a husband and wife team to spotlight intriguing partnerships in nature? Among the manyrelationships Jenkins and Page (How Many Ways Can You Catch a Fly?) explore is that of the upside-downjellyfish and the crab it lives upon. ―The jellyfish’s stinging tentacles provide protection in return for crabmeal leftovers.‖ Jenkins’s meticulous cut-paper illustrations, as eye-catching as ever, reveal fascinatingstories of animal symbiosis on each page. The paneled layout—graphic novel style—offers a dynamic formatfor these concise, present-tense stories of mutualism, complete with catchy titles. ―Dinner is served‖ readsthe spread about a seagull and a sunfish (the massive sunfish attracts the seagull with its fin, and in turnthe bird eats parasites living on the fish). Closeups, aerial views, and vignettes of animals realisticallyrendered in Jenkins’s trademark collage have a cinematic quality. An author note about the different typesof symbiotic relationships, as well as appended pages detailing each animal’s size, habitat, and diet,reinforce the book’s value as a scientific introduction to the topic. Ages 6-9. (May)HOW TO CLEAN YOUR ROOM IN 10 EASY STEPSThis simple, laugh-out-loud picture-book guide to cleaning your room is sure to make picking up a snap.Here is the first rule: Always wait until your mother hollers, "GET UP THERE AND CLEAN YOUR ROOM—NOW!" using all three of your names. Once she does, youd better get moving. From dumping out drawersand dividing stuff into piles to arranging all eight zillion of your stuffed animals, heres the kind of advice onroom tidying that everyone can relate to.With funny, direct text by Jennifer LaRue Huget and amazing illustrations by New Yorker artist EdwardKoren, this book is sure to appeal to messy kids everywhere.
  9. 9. HOW YOU GOT SO SMARTMilgrims (Best Baby Ever) breezy yet tender celebration of childhood achievements opens with a nod to itsgift-book potential: a diploma proclaims, ―Youve made us all proud/ By who youve become,/ And wed liketo review/ How you did what youve done.‖ The focus on the hows rather than the whats ofaccomplishments broadens the books relevance. While the lilting verse supplies general observations (―Youwandered and wondered./ You loved to explore./ For every answer you got,/ you had three questionsmore‖), buoyant, digital cartoons—supplemented by lighthearted speech balloons—furnish examples.Accompanying a shoutout for trying new things is a picture of the cheerful boy being served a squidlikecreature as his mother insists, ―It tastes like chicken!‖ In an endearing scenario, he goes fishing with hisgrandfather (―You had many teachers./ You learned from them well‖), and when things arent going so well,he takes out his aggressions on an inflatable toy. Amusing recurring graphics include frosted doughnuts—afavorite of the family dog—and a colander that serves as a helmet. Its an uplifting look at the dividendschildhood curiosity can pay. Ages 1-up. (May)I AM A BACKHOEPreS-K—An imaginative little boy pretends to be a succession of trucks: backhoe, bulldozer, crane, dumptruck, and steamroller. Near the end, Daddy joins his sons creative playtime as a flatbed, which is followedby the two sharing a book on trucks. Richly colored, digitally enhanced spreads depict the boy at play,intermingled with illustrations of the actual vehicles. The text is set in white and includes plenty of actionwords. This is a worthy choice for preschoolers and kindergarteners with a big appetite for truck books.—Lynn K. Vanca, Akron-Summit County Public Library, Richfield, OHI AM GOINGPreS-Gr 1—Once again, Willems shows his talent for distilling the most profound human emotions to just afew words. Gerald the elephant is exhibiting anxiety, and his issue is the fact that Piggie says, "I am going!"For young children, this fear of abandonment can surface even when a friend or caretaker leaves for a brieftime. It turns out that Piggie is just planning to go get lunch, and in his typical, reassuring way, Willemsshows a picnic spread at the end with the two friends enjoying the meal together, Geralds worries havingbeen assuaged. Fans of the series will recognize that sometimes Gerald is the in-charge character andsometimes it is Piggie; as in real life, different people show their vulnerabilities in different situations. Onceagain, Willems uses just two colors, showing pink Piggie marching on the front endpapers and gray Geraldhopping on the back. He uses text bubbles to indicate who is speaking and includes plenty of white space.The illustrations are hilarious while at the same time capturing the truest of feelings. Be sure to add thiseasy reader to your collection as an addition to the series or even as a stand-alone.—Gloria Koster,I AM THE DOGJacob and his dog Max are best friends. One night, they decide to trade places—Jacob will be the dog andMax will be the boy. In this whimsical story of walking in another persons shoes, children can come to theirown conclusion on whether it is best to be a boy or a dog (hint, a dogs life is better). Jacob gets theopportunity to eat kibble out of his dish on the floor, while Max gets to eat spaghetti and meatballs at thetable with the family. Jacob later gets punished for eating Maxs homework while Max is rewarded withplaying videogames. Jacob learns that he loves playing in the park as a dog as much as he loves runningaround the yard. Max loves all the attention and treats he receives at school from all the other children.After a long day of activity Jacob gets to take a nap while Max has to re-do the homework that his "dog"ate. Pinkwaters comical story and Daviss illustrations provide a hilarious story that children will want toread over and over. Reviewer: Denise HartzlerI CAN DO ANYTHINGThe small child leaping across the opening spread of this book wonders, "Of all the many, many jobs, whichone will be best for me?" Each following page offers a possible, alluring way to pass time, ranging frompumpkin grower to dandelion blower, and from honeysuckle smeller to funny joke teller. Five little bunnieshelp the child try out each possibility, as depicted in Liaos colorful drawings. In the end, the graphics andlanguage-play build up to a double fold-out spread in which the child decides to choose every one of the funjobs. Preschool teachers are likely to find many ways to use this book to build phonemic awareness andimagination. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry
  10. 10. I DIDNT DO ITFourteen simple poems, written primarily in short, blank verse give the reader a delightful glimpse into theworld as seen by a puppy. The well chosen vocabulary emphasizes objects a puppy would understand—vacuum cleaner, food, slippers, and jelly beans. But the real power of the poetry comes from the actions—flopping, pecking, shaking and from the repetitive phrases, "I didnt do it", which form the refrain of severalof the poems. Schneiders broad brush strokes evoke the specific mood in each poem—joy, regret, love,curiosity, and mostly love. Her illustrations figure prominently in this picture book as they occupy more thanhalf of the available space. Schneider has chosen to use a different breed to represent each poem. Thisensures that each has a distinct personality and that children are likely to find a dog much like their own petsomewhere in these pages. This would be a delightful "read aloud" for both home and school use. It couldalso be used to start a conversation about responsibility and owning up to ones mistakes. Reviewer: LeighGeiger, Ph.D.IWONT COMB MY HAIRK-Gr 2—Tanya has a full head of glorious kinky hair that she refuses to comb. It keeps growing and getsbushier and bushier. Soon a bird moves in, builds a nest, and hatches five chicks. Tanya stops running,playing, and swimming so as not to disturb them. Then one night she hears strange sounds from deepwithin her locks. A panther, snakes, monkeys, parrots, and some "I-dont—know-whats" have all take upresidence. Thats too much! The girl banishes all the animals and starts combing her hair. Soon shes doingit twice a day and trying hairdos with ribbons, bows, and beads of all kinds. Now when her parents try tohurry her along in the morning, she shouts, "Not yet! Im still combing my hair!" The illustrations are a goodcomplement to the story. As Tanyas hair grows it takes up more and more of the pages. When jungleanimals move in, it takes up almost an entire spread. The front cover has an oval hologram that switchesbetween Tanya in pigtails and Tanya with the jungle on her head. This is not the first story about a childwith wild hair, but it is a pleasant addition to the list.—Ieva Bates, Ann Arbor District Library, MIIF YOURE A MONSTER AND YOU KNOW ITIn this rollicking interpretation of "If Youre Happy and You Know It," brightly colored, digitally createdmonsters à la Caldecott Medalist Ed Emberleys Big Scary Green one run amok, wriggling and roaring,stomping and twitching! The never-frightening creatures are rendered in eye-popping psychedelic colorsagainst a flat black background and feature horns, antennae, claws, teeth and any number of eyes. Its afamily affair: The father-daughter pair cleverly interprets the text with lots of satisfying onomatopoeia andmonstrous movements, while Rebecca Emberleys daughter, performing songwriter Adrian Emberley,provides an online version available for download. Monsters are instructed to snort and growl, smack theirclaws, stomp their paws, twitch their tails and perform other monster-appropriate activities on command,and its impossible not to picture young children dancing along to the dynamic beat, with glee. Not for aquiet storytime but great for nursery and school groups or lively one-on-one reading, this will be a favoritewith adults and children alike, allowing for both imaginative play and a raucous but structured outpouring ofenergy. Roar roar!(Picture book. 2-6)IN THE GARDEN WITH DR. CARVERK-Gr 3—In this story set in the early 1900s, African-American elementary-school students Sally and herclassmates get scientific lessons from Dr. George Washington Carver, who arrives in a "funny-lookingwagon" pulled by an old mule, his "movable school." Everyone in the small Alabama town has heard of thefamous plant scientist, however, and pays attention to what he has to say. The setting seems slightlyidealized. The characters look healthy and well-dressed, although they do talk about the difficulties offarming land depleted by years of growing cotton. The focus of the story is on Carver teaching the childrenabout plants though, not economic conditions, so Tadgells sunny color palette, rich with earth tones, isappropriate. Sally, in a bright red dress and white pinafore, stands out in the gardening spreads. Thewatercolor illustrations include many humorous asides of children acting like children—making horrified facesas they taste Dr. Carvers menu of "chicken" made from peanuts and wild-weed salad, or being silly withfriends when they are supposed to be listening. Scientific and historical information is well-presentedthrough the gentle text and lighthearted illustrations. Teachers will find many uses for this appealing book.—Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St.
  11. 11. INTERRUPTING CHICKENSIt is the young chickens bedtime, and Papa has agreed to read a favorite story. And she has promised notto interrupt. But no sooner has Papa begun "Hansel and Gretel" when the little chicken jumps into the tale towarn of the witch. And that ends that. So Papa tries again, this time with "Little Red Riding Hood." In jumpsthe chicken again, warning about the wolf, to end that story. The chicken promises to be good for one morestory. Tired Papa begins "Chicken Little," but is foiled when the little one tells everyone it is only an acornand not the sky falling. Out of stories, Papa asks the little chicken to tell him a story. And so she does. Andguess who falls asleep? The anthropomorphic pair of fowls sport elaborate red head appendages that add tothe humorous effects. The loose illustrations of the parent and child at bedtime, done in water color, water-soluble crayon, china marker, pen, opaque white ink, and tea, contrast with the double-page illustrations inthe books being read, done mainly in a black and white sketchy style set in oval frames. A further contrast isprovided in the pages of the little chickens original story book, Bedtime for Papa. Parents reading aloud willbe very sympathetic; savvy listeners will be amused. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia MarantzIS YOUR BUFFALO READY FOR KINDERGARTENPreS-K—As the title indicates, this is a silly book about the first day of kindergarten with ones own buffalo.The analogy here is that kids react and behave differently, and that there is a place for all of them in school.The story prompts readers to remind the buffalo that finger painting is fun and its okay to get messy; thosehooves could create a masterpiece. Buffaloes (and children) learn how to get along without using theirhorns. "Cooperating and taking turns are both Very Big Deals in kindergarten." This wacky picture book,with its bold cartoonlike illustrations of a buffalo that snorts, dances, and makes faces, may helpapprehensive youngsters to be more at ease about going to school. "Everyones special in his or her ownway. Thats the kind of thing you learn in kindergarten." Vernicks amusing tale will prove handy as a first-day-of-school book recommendation for children and teachers alike.—Lindsay Persohn, Crystal LakeElementary, Lakeland, FLIZZY IMPALAS IMAGINARY ILLNESSESJIMI SOUNDS LIKE A RAINBOWGolios rich text, filled with images and sounds, takes us back to the childhood of rock musician Hendrix inSeattle. Hendrix was not only "crazy about music" and involved with all the sounds around him. He was alsodrawing all the time. His good friends are not judgmental of Jimis offbeat clothes or hair or his familysconstant moving. Together they go to the record store or bicycle to the lake, as Jimi wonders about paintingpictures with sound. When his dad buys him a guitar, he begins to try. Moving to an electric guitar, he findshe can create "new worlds with the colors of sound." Steptoes intensely colored mixed media illustrationsare demanding and visually complex. Pages are packed with Jimi and his friends as sort of cutouts in theforeground with posters, shadowy environmental shapes, and colorful symbols trying to become sounds fortextured backgrounds. Sometimes the book must be turned on its side to follow the story. Along withadditional factual information about Hendrix with sources, there are informative notes by both author andillustrator. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia MarantzJUST ONE BITEA large book is needed so that Schaefer can show us not only creatures life-size, but also what each can eatin "just one bite," for example the Komodo dragon and a snake. A worm can eat a crumb of dirt "with justone scoop;" a butterfly three drops of nectar "with just one sip;" a frog a beetle "with just one flick." Theothers we observe include octopus, macaw, rabbit, bear, giraffe, microorganisms, and whale. Waringsimages, rendered in brush, crayon, and computer, focus on the biting parts of most of the characters: thecurving elephants trunk, the whole frog with extended tongue and a trio of beetles on a plant just waiting tobe caught, and the sperm whales "GULP" with a the writhing squid that requires a double fold-out. There isa degree of naturalism, but also enough abstraction to make it easier to focus on the bites and gulps. A fold-out page at the end adds facts about each of the creatures depicted. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and SylviaMarantzLIBRARY MOUSE Sam the library mouse is content reading and writing about far-off places and events.When he meets Sarah, a daring mouse from the other side of the stacks, Sam is happy to pass on his book
  12. 12. knowledge. But when Sarah tries to share her love of exploring the highest shelves, Sam struggles betweenhis fears, Sarahs encouragement, and his own desire to be brave. Sams realization that "readers andwriters are explorers, too" is refreshing, but its Sarahs response--"just think of the books you could write ifyou really got to see the world!"--that gives this story depth. Ages 6-9. (Aug.)tHE LIFE OF RICEThis photographic narrative of the life of rice in Thailand from the beginning at the Royal Plowing Ceremonyto the food made with rice, this work includes photographs of farmers and rice fields, and illustrates withwords and images the effort that goes into growing such a crop. Beginning with the receipt of an officialinvitation from the king of Thailand to the Royal Plowing Ceremony, Sobol portrays the importance of rice tothe people of Thailand, through the many celebrations of rice throughout the year. Children will gain anappreciation of the culture, traditions, and life in Thailand. Written in a child-friendly manner, this workeducates as it entertains, teaching about the process of growing rice as well as the life of a farmer ingeneral. Sobol has included a list of rice facts, the types of rice, a glossary, a list of rice holidays by month,and some Thai rice dishes. This work is a valuable addition to any cultural studies or agricultural collectionfor children. Reviewer: Sara Rofofsky MarcusLITTLE RED RIDING HOODThere are endless ways to visually interpret familiar folktales. Spirins lushillustrations in the style of the seventeenth-century Dutch paintings accompany a mostly traditional retellingof this familiar Grimm tale. For the ending he has drawn from a Russian version he heard as a child in whichtwo hunters who chase the wolf outdoors before they cut open his stomach. Instead of a cape, this little girlwears just a red cap. She is youthful and innocent. The roguish wolf on the other hand is quite a dapperdandy in his flamboyant suit and plumed hat. His sharp claws and white teeth, always visible, let the readerknow he is dangerous. Careful attention has been given to the layout of this book. The title page presentsthe birds of the forest, large cameos of the wolf and Little Red Riding Hood, and smaller cameos of motherand grandmother and beckons the reader to meet these characters within the story. The staging of eachturn-of-the-page makes the reader feel as if she is watching a play. What a contrast between the well-dressed wolf who approaches Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf who is confronted by the hunters. Thescene where the wolf is pouncing on grandmother sends shivers down ones spine. Recommended for aslightly older audience than the Trina Schart Hyman version, which has the traditional Grimm text and acozier feel to the illustrations. Reviewer: Sharon SalluzzoTHE LITTLE WHITE OWLPreS-Gr 1—A little white owl has no parents, no name, and few possessions, but he has the courage toexplore the world and meet new friends. He does it through storytelling, even when facing the mostreluctant of listeners. Setting out with his backpack, he swoops down from the sky to meet a group ofcolorful owls. Although they shun him at first, they eventually become immersed in his tales of adventureand fantasy. When he leaves, they follow him home, and when he sits under the stars drinking cocoa andeating toast, they keep him company. The little white owls enthusiasm for life is as obvious as the rainbowof colored feathers on the bigger owls. The belief in the magic of stories is catching and continues to thevery end of this book. This tale could be read aloud in a storyhour about owls, friendship, or acceptance, orto encourage storytelling.—Tanya Boudreau, Cold Lake Public Library, AB, CanadaLIVELY ELIZABETH PreS-Gr 2—When lively Elizabeth pushes Joe Fitzhugh at school, she sets off a dominoeffect with falling children and broken toys in its wake. In the aftermath, as the children sort themselvesout, the blame eventually falls to Elizabeth. Joe shouts at her, "What have you done? You pushed me andhurt everyone!" Luckily for her, Joe and her classmates (there are no adults in evidence) accept her sincereapology, and they all head outside to play with no further incident. The text is placed in and around theillustrations for maximum effect as it describes in detail who falls into whom and the ensuing damage.Thomass illustrations make the whole thing work. The action is clear, as are the consequences of that ill-fated push. The myriad children wear wacky costumes, have expressive faces, and are awash in detail thatmakes multiple readings a joy.—Catherine Callegari, Gay-Kimball Library, Troy, NHTHE LONELY PHONE BOOTH Evoking the same kind of New York charm as favorites like The Little RedLighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge and The House on East 88th Street, screenwriter Ackerman celebratesa humble phone booth (still standing at 100th Street and West End Avenue) that saves the Upper WestSide--and vice versa. Fellow newcomer Daltons retro vignettes set the scene with square-jawed men in
  13. 13. skinny ties, Girl Scouts in braids, and assorted neighborhood clowns, ballerinas, and secret agents whileAckerman explains how things used to be. "Each week, phone company workers came to clean and polishthe Phone Booth, to collect the deposited coins, and to make sure that its buttons were working properly."The booth has plenty of customers until people start holding "shiny silver objects" to their ears, puzzling thephone booth and eradicating the long lines of callers waiting "just to wish their grandmas a happy birthday."An electrical storm reveals the vulnerability of the cellphone network ("Hey, does this old thing work?" aconstruction foreman asks, eyeing the dilapidated booth), causing the locals to reevaluate its worth. Culturalhistory of the best sort. Ages 5-7. (June)LOTS OF SPOTS Gr 2—In keeping with her traditional bold, collage illustrations, Ehlert portrays an array ofanimals with spots and stripes. Each one is described in a catchy, four-line rhyme. The subjects include awood duck, an iguana, a turtle, a goose, a goat, a Dalmatian, and a cow, among others. Lots of Spots wouldmake a good addition to an author/illustrator unit on Ehlerts work, but its stand-alone value as a poetry oranimal book falls short of remarkable.—Lindsay Persohn, Crystal Lake Elementary, Lakeland, FLLOPUISE THE BIG CHEESE AND THE LA-DI-DA SHOES K-Gr 2—Louise Cheese wants wants a change fromthe same old, boring clothes, especially her brown-laced school shoes with sticky rubber soles that squeakwhen she walks. What she wants is a pair of black and sparkly shoes so she can go to Paris fashion shows.Louise tries to convince her friend Fern to get rid of her grass-stained sneakers for a pair of "la-di-da" shoesas well. When she and her mother go shopping, she has great hopes, but she ends up with another pair ofbrown-laced school shoes. The next morning, Fern is wearing black-leather pumps with sparkles on the toes,and Louise is jealous. When school ends for the day, Louise offers the olive branch by suggesting they walkhome together, but Fern cant move. Her shoes are scuffed and ruined and her feet hurt, so they trade, andLouise discovers that her feet hurt, too. Louise is a lovable, spunky character with big dreams. The bright,expressive illustrations, filled with splashes of hot pinks and dialogue balloons, capture her personality to thefullest. Girls will appreciate her feelings, dilemmas, and desire for "la-di-da" shoes.—Linda Staskus, ParmaRegional Library, OHLOVE STINKS When grungy dog Bill, digging in the rubbish bins, sees perky white poodle PeachySnugglekins walk by, he immediately falls in love. Jolly rhymes describe his attempts at courtship. Herowner, Great Aunt Bleach, shoos Bill away immediately. "My Peach is far too good for you!" she hollers. Thatnight poor Bill howls at the moon. The next day his family is surprised to see him beg for a bath. At the dogparade that day, Bill looks shockingly different. He no longer smells, but looks "like a walking toilet brush!"He walks away in dismay. But a giant hound arrives to chase all the dogs, particularly poor Peach, who fallsinto a bog. Bill manages a rescue, and ends a hero. In a jacket/cover portrait, the smiling pooch holds arose in his mouth. The hairy letters that spell the title add to the comic adventure inside. In his sketchy,wildly comic style Postgates imagination creates an appropriate cast with just enough props to supplementthe fun. For the finale, the two pups, with Great Aunt Bleach as chaperone, sit atop the roof to watch thehuge orange sunset. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia MarantzLOVE THAT KITTYBeing a human is okay, but being a cat is a lot more fun—at least, thats what a little boy named Peterdecides. After transforming himself into a cat, he learns how to sleep in a basket, take catnaps, purr,pounce, and even use kitty litter. His parents are not amused, however, when Peter also begins to scratchthe furniture, climb the curtains, and shed hair on the sofa. So, Peter decides to be a boy again, and hisparents are pleased until—wait, has Peter now turned into a frog? In this humorous story, young childrenwill learn about cat behavior, both good and bad. Nevertheless, the real star of the book is the artwork. Thepictures are big, and cover the entire page with bold, bright colors. They are also funny and creative: theinside front cover shows a picture of Peter as a cat, while the inside back cover portrays Peter as his newalter ego, a frog. Little boys that like cats, or those who have active imaginations, will probably enjoy thistale. Reviewer: Leona IlligNOBODY Wordplay adds a fresh twist to this humorous tale about a small boy and his imaginary playmate.George wakes up early one Sunday morning: "Nobody was up and about." Turn the page, and readers areoff on a romp into the kitchen with George—and Nobody. Nobody flies through the air, clambers up therefrigerator door, and hangs upside down while breaking eggs. He is drawn in gentle blurry grays thatcontrast with Georges own eye-poppingly striped red-and-green pajamas. Nobody earns his keep in the textas well. The hilarious, escalating omelet preparation sequence, for example, involves the rapid-fire additionof progressively unconventional ingredients, all shown mainly in the pictures. Oh, the delights of strawberry-
  14. 14. tossing! The pictures lead the eye to a single line of text: "Nobody mopped up the first few mistakes." Pageturns are artfully placed as well. The parents are saints, naturally, and when George is diverted to the causeof pancake preparation, Nobody begins to shrink. A final story turn ends the book on a suitable note ofaffirmation of the young duo. There is more than enough here to reward both the adult reader and the childlistener. The straightforward text is a nice foil for the wild antics of the illustrations. In all Nobody is assatisfying as a good stack of pancakes. Reviewer: Uma KrishnaswamiNOT ME PreS-Gr 1—On the title page, five children are introduced and largely identified by the clothes theywear and the objects they hold. Jake is into dinosaurs, Paul carries a paintbrush, and so on. Jess the Pup isthere, too. The book works as a guessing game. "Whos been dropping all these peas?/Not me! said Louise."Clues will delight young listeners, who can study the illustrations for tell-tale signs, such as a dinosaur lefton the scene. Then an offstage voice pipes up: Who is going to clean up the mess? At the end, Jess the Pupshows his face and, with a wink, ties things up. The illustrations and typeface will melt hearts and delightand inspire potato-printing young readers. The simple, expressive shapes, mostly in muted tones withdapples of red to keep things cheery, are utterly fresh and warm, and the textures feel organic. Children willdelight in this sweet-natured picture book.—Sarah PaulsonoH NO OR HOW MY SCIENCE PROJECTSantat and Barnett collaborate seamlessly on this slapstick adventureabout a pigtailed, bespectacled science fair entrant trying unsuccessfully to control her prize-winning robot."I probably shouldnt have given it a superclaw, or a laser eye, or the power to control dogs minds," shesighs as she watches the metallic monster storm across her city. Barnetts (Billy Twitters and His Blue WhaleProblem) telegraphic text packs wicked humor into economical, comic book–style lines, while Santats(Always Lots of Heinies at the Zoo) skylines pay homage to old monster movies. In one scene, the robotlooms Godzilla-like, railroad car in hand, over an urban Japantown; another sequence is viewed through itsfish-eye lens, with crosshairs trained on its creator. When the robot reacts with fury to the girls futileattempts to stop it ("I should have given it ears," she laments), the girl and text become blurred, testimonyto the impact of its stomps. Blueprints for the robot and the genetically altered toad she deploys to defeat itare included on the endpapers, but, kids, dont try this at home! Ages 3–7. (June)ONE OF US Gr 1 3—When Roberta James arrives at Baker School, its only natural for her to seek out otherstudents with common interests. The only problem is that when she joins various groups of students who,say, wear their hair a particular way or play specific games on the playground, she finds that they tend toexclude anyone who isnt exactly like them. Roberta feels discouraged—it seems there are no groups whovalue individuality—until she is hailed by a table of kids eating pita roll-ups, and they proclaim their diverseinterests with pride and acceptance. When Roberta itemizes some of her interests, expecting to be oustedyet again for not being the same, her newfound friends claim she is "perfect" because she is different fromeveryone else. This is a simple but powerful story about diversity, friendships, acceptance of others despiteapparent differences, and the importance of being oneself. The bright, detailed illustrations, many of whichabundantly fill two pages, include children whose facial expressions clearly reflect their distain or approval ofothers.—Maggie Chase, Boise State University, IDORANGUTANS ARE TICKLISH A behind-the-scenes look at the photographers craft, and more. A two-pagespread featuring several small pictures of Grubman working with animals accompanies a full explanation ofhis work methods and introduces the main event. Then come 13 animal essays, in serviceable text(punctuated by rather too many exclamation points) and accompanied by terrifically vivid pictures that alsoshow personality in abundance. The aardvark close-up highlights his huge pink ears and a wrinkly hide. Thechimpanzee displays more poses than Tyra Banks. The tiger just stares into the camera with a knowing look.Also included are the hippopotamus, western gray kangaroo, grizzly bear, lion, alligator, orangutan,elephant, giraffe, zebra and the exotic coatimundi. Although the organization and presentation suggest thatthe animals were selected for inclusion on the basis of their photogenic qualities alone, theres no denyingthey have child appeal. The nifty four-page backmatter features more bulleted facts about each animal, aswell as an additional picture of each, but there is nothing to point kids to further resources. (Picture book. 3-9)OUTFOXING THE FOX A young fox feels he does not need to go to school, for "foxes are clever enoughalready." Desiring chicken fricassee for dinner, he decides to visit the hens, but, fearing a hunter may shoothim, he goes in the dark night. In the hen house, asking for a chicken, he is invited to come in and discussit. He notices that the chickens all look sick, so he decides to wait until they feel better. As the visual storyhas proceeded across the double pages, unmentioned in the text, a white hen has been busy in a corner...After waiting a week, the impatient, angry fox is feeling a bit sick as well as hungry. The next morning,
  15. 15. dreaming of a rabbit stew, he encounters a sleeping hunter, grabs his sausage sandwich, runs away, feelsbetter, and determines to get a chicken tomorrow. The smart chickens, however, are not waiting around.Most of the fun here is stimulated by the shrewd white hen that paints across the end papers and whiteareas of each scene with a different tool, unmindful of the foxs actions. The sketchy, colorful illustrationsare light-hearted; the "sick" chickens wear mufflers and treat fox as if they are housewives, while thepainter hen steals the show. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia MarantzTHE PATTERSON PUPPIES AND THE MIDNIGHT MONSTER PARTY There is only one word that perfectlydescribes this book—delightful! Petra Patterson is fast asleep in her bunk bed when she wakes up terrified.It is quite dark. And there is a monster in the room! She saw its shadow! She heard it scratching on theroof! The other puppies—Andy, Penelope, and Zack—sleep all through the night, but Petra is so frightenedthat she wakes Mama and Papa. Papa carries her back to bed and tucks her in, but she is still frightened.Now the other puppies are awake, and try to help her. Penelopes magic wand, Andys T-Rex, and evenZacks "super strength" and special cape are not enough. Even "sixteen of her favorite stuffed animals"cannot chase away her fear. The monster is real, and Petra knows that "it wants to eat us all up." What canfour puppies do? Andy has read (in a book) that monsters love cookies. Mama helps them bake some specialcookies, and "they filled a big plate for the monster—and ate the rest, of course." They write a nice note forthe monster, set the table with cookies and milk, and go upstairs to bed. That night when Petra wakes up,she wakes the others, and they all go downstairs to see what has happened to the cookies. But no one isthere, and no one has eaten the cookies, so they decide to have a snack. When Petra hears something, "ITSTHE MONSTER!!" "Cover your eyes, so it cant see us" says Zack, but when Petra peeks, she sees that themonster is hiding—from THEM! When Petra persuades it to come out, it has sixteen stuffed animals (fourunder each arm), and is happy to try a cookie. Snack time turns into party time, dance time, and having-so-much-fun time, until Mama and Papa show up. They, of course, do not see the monster, but "marched thepuppies straight back to bed. And this time, Petra went right to sleep." Highly recommended. Reviewer:Judy SilvermanTHE PERFECT GIFTLori, a small lorikeet, found a perfect strawberry the bigger lorikeets overlooked. And she knew the perfectperson to have it—her grandma. But Lori grew tired as she flew with the berry, so she stopped to rest.Unfortunately, the strawberry rolled and hopped and plopped into the river where it sank to the bottom. Achipmunk heard Lori crying but, though she tried, could not retrieve the berry since chipmunks are not verybig. Next came a goose who tried to help but alas her neck was not long enough to reach the rivers bottom.Finally came a frog, who swam to the rivers bottom and brought back the strawberry. He also brought backa crocodile, though he hadnt meant to. The crocodile scoops up Lori, chipmunk, goose, and frog in histoothy mouth and means to swallow them. Quick thinking Lori saves them all when she tosses herstrawberry in the air. Greedy Mr. Crocodile opens his mouth to catch the berry and the four friends jump outto safety. At first Lori is sad she could not take the strawberry to Grandma, but then she comes up with theperfect solution. The four friends write and illustrate a story about their adventure. Grandma says it is theperfect gift. Sweet story with nice illustrations. Reviewer: Sarah Maury SwanPERFECT SOUP Most readers, along with Murray and his animal friends, would agree that there is nothingmore perfect on a snowy day than a bowl of warm soup. But Murray the mouse must find a carrot to makehis soup perfect. This quest develops into new tasks as each encounter brings a new demand before he canget the carrot. This is a story about friendship as each character rises to the occasion so the perfect soupcan be made. Young readers will be delighted as the shopkeeper, horse, old lady, farmer, Millers son, andsnowman do their share to make it happen. The whimsical illustrations show the snowy winter day and theactivities of the respective characters. Murray is a perfect illustration of someone on a mission to achieve hisgoal. He is a good role model for children as his determination shows through in both the text andillustrations. Why then does Murray make his perfect soup without a carrot? The final illustration will bring asmile to readers of all ages as Murray enjoys the soup with his new friend, the snowman, who wears a newcarrot nose. Reviewer: Annie Laura Smith
  16. 16. PIERRE THE PENGTUIN Gr 2—Stories dont come any sweeter than this. Pierre the penguin lives at theCalifornia Academy of Sciences. Being an African penguin, he prefers warmer climates. For some reason (itsnot clear why), he loses his feathers and thus will not swim because he is too cold. In addition, the otherpenguins are afraid of him and bray at him. Pam, his caring handler, designs a neoprene wetsuit that keepshim warm when swimming. Over time, his feathers grow back, and the story ends with Pierre making a"nest for his very best friend." Regans realistic paintings work well with the text and enhance the dramaand appeal of the storytelling. The book concludes with "Questions from Kids with Answers from Pam." Theyinclude "What is neoprene?" and "How many kinds of penguins are there?" This is an excellent book to sharewith children as it offers multiple discussion points and curriculum connections.—Stephanie Farnlacher,Trace Crossings Elementary School, Hoover, ALPIGGY PIE PO This pig definitely is a relative to the little pigs in the picture book, Piggies, also written by theWoods. Unfortunately the corresponding hand games are present here as in their previous pig book. Thispicture book tells the story of Piggy Pie Po who can do many things: dance, swim, boat, dig and splash inthe tub. He is as smart as the beginning readers who might find Piggy interesting. Piggy can count and paintand read by himself but not tie his shoelaces. It is in the third story that Piggy has a true adventure byeating a hot pepper. The pepper sends him to bed. One cannot help like Piggy Pie Po with his verve for life;his disappointment and enjoyment are very evident on each page. The rhymes are helpful for beginningreaders; what may be missing is real action. If one can be patient and read to the third story and seePiggys reaction to the pepper, this book could be amusing. Kindergarteners in particular may find therhymes and jubilant pig entertaining. There is also a small amount of counting and vocabulary shown butotherwise, this early reading book is best for big fans of Woods pigs. Reviewer: Elizabeth FronkTHE PIRATE CRUNCHER Even before the title page, we are invited as fellow pirates to follow a map andclaim a prize. The adventure begins on a dark night on the docks. Inside an inn, dastardly CaptainPurplebeard and his crew are intrigued by the song of an old fiddler. Displaying a map, the fiddler promisesto take them to a treasure island. Off they sail, as the captain scorns the mention of a monster that eatsboth pirates and ships. Told in alternating jolly rhymes and speech balloons, the tale gradually reveals themenace awaiting the greedy captain at the end of the voyage. The pirates and their ship have a digitally-created sculpturesque solidity to them; somber blues and browns produce the desired melodramatic aura inthe prologue and the scenes at sea. Line drawings on white backgrounds show the horrible dreams of thecrew; the top of an octopus-like arm intruding in early scenes gives fair warning of the reality of thesedreams. A foldout page displays the dramatic scene of the bug-eyed monster with tooth-filled mouth agape,followed by a double-page "CRUNCH!" as it swallows pirates and all. On the final spread, we see a lifeboatwith a parrot and the old man—who seems to be a marionette manipulated by the sated monster—plus anenigmatic sign stating "the END?" This is great scary fun. The map is also available on the endpages.Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia MarantzA PIRATES GUIDE TO FIRST GRADE This rambunctious first day tale is fit for any young buccaneer. Leadingan imaginary crew who are drawn in pale pencil, the red-haired protagonist shines his ―snappers‖ (brusheshis teeth), breakfasts on grub and grog, and boards the ―great, grand jolly boat‖ (also known as the schoolbus), journeying to meet his teacher: ―Silver was her name, and a fine old salt was she!‖ The pirates areever-present companions, sharing in the ups and downs of the day (―We counted and spelled ’till we nearlydropped, brain-addled and weary‖). Preller’s buoyant pirate-inflected storytelling and Ruth’s illustrations,which have a decidedly vintage flair, form an exuberant tribute to imagination and a spirit of adventure.Ages 3 6. (Aug.)PLEASE TAKE ME FOR A WALK Told in first person by a small white dog with brown ears and a brown tip onhis tail, the storys message is clear on the first page. The dog has his leash draped around his body andsays, "Please take me for a walk." He then elaborates on his ideas about the activities of a walk. He wouldchase the neighbors cat, send birds to their nests, and keep squirrels in the trees. He would greet peopleand some of them would pet him. The local business people are waiting for him to stop by and say hello,especially his friend the butcher. He could watch children scamper in the schoolyard and old men play chessin the park. Take along a ball or a Frisbee, and he will catch them and bring them back. The dog wants tofeel the wind lift his ears and the sun warm his belly. He could visit with other dogs, but most importantly,
  17. 17. people would see "my best friend and me." Colorful pictures fill the pages with action and humor in this funread aloud. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.POLAR OPPOSITES K-Gr 1—Alex the polar bear and Zina the penguin live at opposite ends of the world butare best friends. In a succession of cartoon images, young readers can easily see the numerous ways thetwo are opposite: e.g., "Alex is BIG and Zina is small. Alex gets up late. Zina rises early. Alex is loud. Zina isquiet. Shhh...." Liking sour or sweet, messy or neat, their preferences may be dramatically different, but thetwo find ways to come together-by phone, mail, or a visit in the middle of the globe. Theres no lack ofmotion and detail in full-page and (spilled-over) framed pencil, charcoal, and watercolor cartoonillustrations. Predictable, but a child-friendly way to explore friendships and differences in individuals, thisbook might provide an opportunity to introduce youngsters to geography or the actual habitats and activitiesof animals found at the poles.—Mary Elam, Learning Media Services Plano ISD, TX