April 22, 2009
In this new picture book by Jeanie Franz Ransom, Joe Dumpty (Humpty’s detective brother) sets out to prove that Humpty’s fall was no accident. Kids will recognize lots of nursery-rhyme characters from Little Miss Muffet to the Three Little Pigs. Adults will recognize the spoof of classic detectives. The story, which has quite a bit of narration, includes mystery and crime, but not murder – Humpty is not dead, just broken (since all the King’s men can’t put him together). However, the bright, full illustrations will help readers who may have trouble with lots of words. All in all, this is a very fun book and would be great as a read-aloud.
April 1, 2009
You may recognize Allan Ahlberg’s name from the 1986 book The Jolly Postman (one of my favorites!), which he worked on with his wife Janet. His latest book, The Pencil, definitely belongs on Time’s list of Top 10 Children’s Books of 2008. (Also on the list – Bats at the Library.)
The Pencil is a wonderful book about a pencil that begins to draw. It begins with a boy and dog. Soon everything the pencil has drawn wants to be in color, so the pencil draws a paintbrush. After that the things the pencil has drawn are unhappy with parts of themselves, so the pencil draws an erase. But, uh-oh, the erase begins to erase everything! This book is fun, clever, and funny – especially when everything the pencil draws wants to know what its name is. I highly recommend it. Not only is the story great but the pictures by Bruce Ingman are fantastic!
December 23, 2008
Two batwings up for Bats at the Library, written and illustrated by Brian Lies. It came out this year and has been on lots of best-books lists. The story, written with fun rhythm and rhyme, is super cute: Bats discover that a librarian has left a window open to the public library, and since they love to learn, they fly in to read books all night. The pictures are beautiful, and there’s lots of clever literary references, particularly when the bats get “lost” in the book during storytime.
Brian Lies has several other books out, including another featuring the friendly bats – Bats at the Beach. I will definitely be checking that one out soon!
April 10, 2008
This book by Lane Smith was easily my favorite from the selection for class last week. It combines history, Beatles references, and humor to create a very entertaining book. I highly, highly recommend it. Actually, the more I read Lane Smith books, whether they are his own or an effort with Jon Scieszka, the more I love his work. Not only are these books fun for kids, but also for adults who read with kids (or just for the fun of it on their own). This story shows a look at five American leaders as children and how their actions as children may have impacted them as adults.
Like with Martin’s Big Words, Scholastic also put out a video for this book. The video is definitely just as good as the book. It works in some new animation as well as includes music that sounds very similar to Beatles songs. James Earl Jones also narrates. The video is great to watch if you have the opportunity, otherwise check out the book. It will absolutely make you laugh.
Here’s an advertisement for the book and video.
March 10, 2008
Since its publication in 2003, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! has been included on many “Best Books” lists and has received several awards, honors, and prizes, including receiving a Caldecott Honor in 2004. The book is a very simple in concept, pictures, and narrative. The story begins when a bus driver takes a break, telling the reader, “Don’t let the pigeon drive the bus!” For the rest of the story until the bus driver returns, the reader is in charge of preventing the pigeon from driving away. The book lends itself well to storytimes since kids will love to yell “No!” when the pigeon repeatedly asks if he can drive the bus. Parents will enjoy the similarity between the pigeon’s promises, pleads, and ultimate temper tantrum and situations they’ve gone through with their own child.
Once children have experienced the adventure with the bus, they can also enjoy other pigeon stories: Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late!, The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!, The Pigeon Has Feelings, Too!, The Pigeon Loves Things That Go!