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Knock knock. Who’s there? More children’s books, DUH

January 31, 2013

My time as a vertiginous monster of misery is OVER.

Back to the books.  And there are so many of them.

Do Princesses Really Kiss Frogs? by Carmela LaVigna Coyle is a cute little rhyming adventure, a sequel to something we don’t have, fluffy and light and a good one for princesses who don’t feel a strong need to wear tutus and tiaras constantly.  This one has a daisy chain and loves the outdoors.  Cute illustrations by Mike Gordon, and digitally colored (I didn’t even notice!) by Carl Gordon.

I Could Have Been Born an Ant is an overly-long overly-awkward story by Rochelle Weiner with childish, middle-school-art-fair art by Joseph Ingking.  WHO ORDERS THIS STUFF?  Ugh.  My new theory is that we’re sent free copies and the main branch distributes them to other people for the lulz.

Madeline at the White House has some funny bits, but mostly it’s another Madeline book, and I’m just not charmed by them anymore (if I ever was?).  John Bemelmans Marcianco does a good job of copying his grandfather’s style, even down to some lines that scan oddly.

SpongeBob Squarepants: Pest of the West is a from-the-script Spongebob book, which is usually kind of bleh, but it hits all the main points, as far as I can tell.  It has a couple of laughs, and kids who like Spongebob will want it.  So there’s that.

It takes four people to write a Spongebob script?

Dora’s Big Birthday Adventure is the first Dora book I’ve ever seen with continuity.  And I haven’t read all the others so…yeah.  It’s a bit disjointed for me.  And also irritating.  Was it supposed to come in a pack?  It doesn’t even have a number on it!  I guess it’s based on a DVD too?  But doesn’t do half the job the Spongebob book does creating a clear story.

Speaking of Dora, YOU DO NOT “BORROW” MILK.  Unless you’re planning on giving it back…to the farm…?  I don’t know.  It’s Sharing Day! by Kirsten Larsen is about sharing, but it’s like “You helped me, so bring something with you to share.”  But I’m not getting past the “borrowing milk” thing.  It drives me nuts when people joke about “borrowing sugar.”  Do they RETURN it when they replenish their supply?  No.  Because spices aren’t worth their weight in gold anymore.

And then there’s Dora’s Easter Bunny Adventure by Veronica Paz.  It’s obviously based off an episode, because I gotta tell you, the Hip Hop Easter Bunny?  Not a character that works well in a book.  Especially because his rhymes are so–LONG.  Seriously, it doesn’t feel like rap but rather epic poetry.  And since there’s nothing about a wine-dark sea, I’m out.

Diego’s Wolf Pup Rescue proves that Diego > Dora in terms of storytelling, even when the story is pretty silly.  Rescue that wolf pup before he…touches a thorn?  Come on!  Let him learn on his own!  BOOTSTRAPS.  BOOTSTRAPS.  But yeah, another one from Christine Ricci, with bonus Dora even.

Argh!  I always think Daniel Kirk is Daniel Petersen, and then I get excited, and he’s still just Daniel Kirk.  Today’s book is Ten Things I Love About You.  The art is gorgeous, the text…eh.  There’s a Rabbit writing a list of things he loves about a Pig, and he’s very overeager and quite a bit annoying, but Pig doesn’t see it because he’s a much kinder person than me. The end.

Shel Silverstein’s A Giraffe and a Half knows exactly how long to go before it’s time to do something else.  It is probably an amazing read-aloud too.  Should I do it?  I believe I should.

Wow, Barbie: A Fairy Secret is really really really really really really bad.  There’s a world of fairies called–wait for it–Gloss Angeles (GROAN) and fairies are mean and spiteful and wreck things and are only punished with cleaning duty.  Also if you buy fake wings, you can fly.  That’ll go over well with the under-six crowds–and their rooftops.  Let us not blame “author” Meika Hashimoto, but rather the person who wrote the screenplay: Elise Allen.  And Mattel.  Forever.

Elbert’s Bad Word by Audrey and Don Wood teaches us that we can bake bad words away and replace them with words that are arbitrarly good.  This was a high-circulating title that got wrecked, so I reordered it, but I’m wondering if it will go out because it’s Audrey Wood or it won’t because it looks old-fashioned.  We’ll see.

The Giant Smurf by Peyo (or, Peyote, is how I read it, after reading these Smurf books) is actually the most like a Smurfs episode and not some weird, trippy thing.  So yeah.  It’s still some weird, trippy thing, but a little bit more plot-heavy and less…random?  And AGAIN with the “cleaning is your punishment.”  I should take this lesson home with me…

Barbie’s Wedding Party is like a pun that doesn’t get off the ground.  I can’t even tell if they mean WEDDING party or wedding PARTY.  It’s a flurry of spending for the characters in the book to get ready for their cousin’s big day.  It’s weird because she calls them “junior bridesmaids,” but there don’t seem to be any, uh, senior bridesmaids, so I thought they were just then called bridemaids?  Confusing.  But yeah.  Spend, little ladies, and you too can feel like a princess.  Or you can just get a tiara at the dollar store and declare yourself a princess, as I do.  More disappointment from Mary Man-Kong.

I feel like the pickiest person today but…Angelina Ballerina: Angelina’s Sleepover confuses me.  Maybe because I’ve never seen it or whatever?  I’ve read a book or two, but this looks more…animated, so I think there are DVDs?  But my issue here is: the kids are referred to as mouselings, check, but so is Angelina’s mother, as, like, her last name?  Angelina Mouseling, Mrs. Mouseling, the little-m mouselings?  Is that like having a friend named Jennifer Kidd?  Lauren Childs, I guess?  It was confusing.  But yeah, Angelina really does mess up and has to make a tough call after staying up all night during her sleepover, so the content is good if presented rather breezily, thanks to the blandness of the art.  There’s not even an author name on this so I don’t know who to blame.

Sometimes, I guess, it takes two people to write in the style of one.  Curious George Says Thank You is by Emily Flaschner Meyer and Julie M. Bartynski–illustrated by Anna Grossnickle Hines, to make sure everyone uses every name they can for the damn title page–and is meh, while Curious George Saves His Pennies is slightly better and by Monica Perez (and Mary O’Keefe Young–NAMES!).  Still, don’t tell me George is a good monkey.  He’s always been a little jerk.  Also, it’s 2013–The Man in the Yellow Hat only needs a YELLOW HAT, he doesn’t have to be dressed as if he’d off to some sort of banana safari.  Dude looks creepy in that outfit, as his everyday outfit.  Give him a yellow hat and be done.  Heck, give him a YELLOW BASEBALL CAP.  Let him grow!  I’m pretty sure George has held a cell phone at some point.

Anygoshdarnhoodle, that’s what’s been going on here.  Next up: Easy Readers, of which I have about a zillion, and then maybe some non-fiction?  But probably fiction.

God, I have to weed.

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