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Happy New Books!

January 9, 2013

Fiction!

Caillou: Dress-Up with Daddy is a simple book about how Caillou’s mom is so put upon that she literally has no clothes lying around for Caillou to wear while she’s doing the laundry. Oh, and then Caillou wears his dad’s clothes with hilarious results that you can see right on the cover. I guess they didn’t need a consultant for this one.  By Marilyn Pleau-Murissi.

The Caldecott people and I rarely agree on anything, as they are snobbier than I am (in other words: I like crap books, and fun books, and silly books), and their choice of The House in the Night is just one of those selections where we diverge in our tastes.  I guess this book is from 2008, but it feels very ’70s, almost trippy in a sort of dull, plodding way.  I like the little touches of yellow that Beth Krommes gives the artwork, which is otherwise black and white, but there are too many of them.  I’d rather see one or two that go with Susan Marie Swanson’s text, rather than too many.  The color could have built up better.  I’m just saying.  The note at the end tells us where the inspiration for the book’s pattern comes from, but it wasn’t so inspiring that I felt like running out and changing my mind about how I’m not fond of the book. (Note: I read it in college and adored it, so I don’t know what’s changed in me since the beginning of library school. A LOT, I bet.)

Caillou: The Babysitter is by child psychologist Nicole Nadeau, and turns Caillou into an issue-of-the-week could-be-anykid rather than being the irritating Caillou we all know.  Is this supposed to be pre-Rosie?  I guess so, because Caillou seems so young, but there’s no indication of it.  I’d rather have seen this from older, present-day Caillou’s perspective, helping Rosie cope, than what we have here, which doesn’t feel like Caillou at all.

The Berenstain Bears and the In-Crowd is another one of those height of the Bears books I like so much.  The plot is obvious–one of the Bear cubs, Sister, is having issues with the popular kids, headed by a new cub, except that it’s not really Popular Kids so much as one kid acting up and the rest following her lead out of fear and a love of ice cream.  Sister solves her problems in a smart, mature way, and you really couldn’t do better if you’re trying to take a lesson from this.  I want to say there’s a newer one with the same kind of plot, and it’s much worse.  And of course includes a Bible verse that doesn’t quite fit the situation.  So yeah, this one.  Good.

The Berentain Bears Get in a Fight is a book where a fight happens realistically and gets worse over time, and then ends realistically when no one can remember how it started.  If they HAD, I think a quick apology would’ve ended it, but that’s not how the authors did it, because it seems like they’re going for a sort of “and this is how it can be some days; don’t worry, we all go through it” vibe, and I like it.  Ah, the good old days, when Brother and Sister were mostly bffs, but not always.

OH GOD, CAN YOU CHART CHILDREN’S BEHAVIOR *AND* DECADES OF CULTURE BY THE BERENSTAIN BEARS?? Gotta leave myself a note to try.

Perhaps it’s because I don’t hear a shrill voice in my head that I like Diego more than Dora.  Or maybe it’s because he seems so much more active, rescuing animals and stuff.  In Diego Saves the Sloth, by Alexis Romay, Diego…saves a sloth.  Boy, does Diego have the better toys.  You know who will like these.

I don’t remember reading The Lorax as a kid, but I read it to my daughter, and it’s a downer of a story about destroying the environment.  And yet…and yet…it’s completely captivating.  I find myself slowing down as I read it, getting deep into the book, loving every page.  It doesn’t have the fast pace of The Butter Battle Book, but that’s because you don’t just destroy an ecosystem in a moment with a weapon.  Sometimes it takes a while, and the people who do it have good intentions.

It’s so sad.  But it’s soooo good.

I was worried that because I’m tired today I’d be super crabby about the books but it’s just not true.  Ira Sleeps Over by Bernard Weber is SUPER ADORABLE.  Ira’s been invited to sleep over his friend Reggie’s, but he’s worried about how  Reggie will feel about his teddy bear, which he has never slept without.  Ira’s sister is no help, always in his way making negative comments.  Little brat.  But she’s just telling what she thinks is the truth, I guess.  I’m so glad I reordered this one, and I’ll be reading it at Evening Story Time.

Hey, Al is a trippy little story by Arthur Yorinks.  I always think it’s a biography because my brain thinks “Al is short for Arthur, right?”  (My uncle, now generally called Art by everyone, for decades had the nickname Snooky, which you can guess has gone out of favor in the past few years, so um, yeah.  I don’t know what’s up with that.) Al is a janitor.  Al’s dog wants a better life for them.  Then this crazy big bird comes and offers them the perfect life.  It’s very Pinocchio-on-the-island, but I’m not judging.  It’s just trippy, with a moral, and that’s about it.  The colors are nice.  I want an island paradise. I don’t mind the catch.  Sort of.

Madeline is a classic, right?  So why don’t I like it?  I must have had a different one growing up, like Madeline’s Rescue or something, where something seems to be done, rather than things happening and we hear about them all, no matter how boring, NO MATTER HOW SM–THINGS DON’T RHYME WELL HALF THE–wait, that was too rhyme-y too.  Bad, bad rhyme scheme.  Was that a thing back then?  Is Dr. Seuss the only person who can make it all work?  Sigh. (It’s also hard to tell which one is Madeline some of the time. DARN, STILL RHYMING.)

BWAHHHHH, Knuffle Bunny Too replacement (or second copy, IDK)!  Mo is the best!  Trixie is the best!  Knuffle Bunny is the best!

1997 Berenstain Bears, complete with cell phone that looks like a a walkie-talkie with the world’s longest antenna.  The Berenstain Bears and the Homework Hassle begins the trend of Sister being a jerk, Brother being a jerk, and Papa being kinda stupid.  Brother is focusing on his leisure time rather than his home, and his parents have to get him in line, with no help from his snotty sister.  I’m going to blame the fact that Stan was already seventy-four when this one came out.

Daisy-Head Mayzie is…not quite right.  It’s Dr. Seuss, with the Cat and the Hat, and the end doesn’t rhyme, and it was found after his death…I don’t know.  It’s missing something.  Maybe that’s why it went unpublished for so long?

Tumble Bumble by Felicia Bond is sooo cute, I’m totally reading it to my toddlers!  It’s simple, it’s fun, it’s got a lot of motion in it…yes, indeed, I think this will make a good read.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is, as I’ve said before, a great book for kids.  They love it.  It’s active and fun, but Helen Oxenbury’s illustrations make it quaint too.  The kids prefer to act everything out, which makes it perfect for story time.  However, never let them watch Michael Rosen read the book aloud.  I’ve said this before too, but it bears (heh) repeating: IT’S CREEPY.

Next up: more fiction! ERs! Non-fiction!  LE DELUGE!

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