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NaBlo Day 2: Kids’ books WiB

November 2, 2011

I read every new children’s book that comes into the library.  I would categorize the books in five ways, but for the sake of this blog, I’ll drop that to three: 1) brand new books that just came out; 2) reorders for books that were torn or written in or just plain worn; 3) story time reads; and 4) filling in the gaps in our catalog.  For example, I recently ordered David Wiesner’s June 29, 1999 because I LOVE it and our branch didn’t have a copy of it.  Plus, Wiesner circulates pretty well so I could justify it to myself.

(In case you were wondering, the reason I would break it up into four generally is that I’d split the first category into “books I’ve ordered” and “books that are ordered for me”–that is, we have certain authors and series where we automatically get a copy of their latest, where “we” can mean our branch or the whole system.  Sometimes, if you’re not paying attention, you end up with two copies.  Heh.)

Soooo here are the things I read this week(ish), Kiddo Edition:

Kitten’s Autumn by Eugenie Fernandes and Animals in Fall by Martha E.H. Rustad were my picks for Toddler Time this week.  Our theme was, unsurprisingly, fall/autumn.  I didn’t realize until I was done reading them for the second time (we do two sessions) that the books were surprisingly similar despite the former being fiction and the latter being non-fiction.  The children enjoyed finding and naming the animals.  The simplicity of the text was great for their level.  Too bad we were having a post-Halloween sugar rush/crash that made everyone either hyped up or crabby.

Ugly Animals by Gilda Berger is a GREAT book.  It explains the reasons behind why certain animals (the “ugly” ones) look the way they do.  Why are a naked mole rat’s protruding teeth so big?  Why does a thorny devil look so pokey?  The only thing I felt that was missing from this book was a conclusion. 

A Baby Sister for Frances by Russell Hoban was a reorder because the original was so worn.  I didn’t read the Frances books when I was a kid, and I don’t know if my daughter did either.  This book grew on me with each page, by focusing not on the baby, but on Frances and her relationship with her awesome parents.  I think the art work and the age of the book had a lot to do with my reading of the parents; instead of having a playful or cloyingly smarmy voice that other parental characters might have in that situation, I read the parents as relaxed, mellow, and competant.  Loved it.

Secret Agent Mater by Melissa Legonegro fails the way so many movie-to-book adaptations fail, especially Easy Readers.  The authors want to tell enough of the story to get the reader interested, but not so much that it spoils the movie.  Unfortunately, that leaves the story with ridiculous gaps.  I would not buy this for any child who hasn’t seen the movie or isn’t a big Cars fan.

We got in a rush of Halloween books about two days before the holiday itself.  (They almost all went, though.)  I read a few to the kids during our Halloween party, and they all went over really well, perhaps none more so than Nick Sharratt’s What’s in the Witch’s Kitchen?  If you flip the flap in one direction, you get a treat.  If you flip it in the other direction, you get a trick, some of which are super-gross, which of course the kids loved.  (For example: one side gives you lollipops, the other gives you “rabbit plops”–hee!)  I also read quite a few jokes out fromHalloween Howlers: Frightfully Funny Knock-Knock Jokes by Michael Teitelbaum.  The parents were groaning, the kids were laughing.  That’s probably my favorite response from a joke book.

Not one but two of our new books were Halloween themed to the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”  The one I read for the kids on Halloween was Twelve Haunted Rooms of Halloween by Macky Pamintuan.  The kids loved to find all the different creatures in the rooms (witches, cats, zombies, goblins, etc) but trying to give each kid a chance to find one thing was pretty problematic.  If I read it again, I’d assign them numbers.

The other book is The 13 Nights of Halloween by Guy Vasilovich.  It isn’t as much of a read-aloud as the other, but the art is adorable.

Oh, my goodness.  It’s been quite a while and I’m still back on October 28th.  I guess I should pick up the pace here.

One Spooky Night: A Halloween Adventure by (Accord Publishing?) is cute, but I felt it could have been more effective (but I seem to say that about every book that uses uses vellum).  Halloween Surprise by Corinne Demas isn’t as charming as it thinks it is (and I’m starting to do the PC-Gal thing over gypsy costumes), and Skeleton Meets the Mummy by Steve Metzger is a good little scare for the little guys.  Loved the art on that too.  Apparently, I’m a sucker for anything that looks like it could be drawn by the same person who came up with the Monster High logo.  Is there a name for that?  Post-Vasquez/Super-girly-Vasquez?  Arghhh, what’s the name of that guy who did the books with the–oh forget it.  I’ll never remember.  But you know what I mean.  It’s like the girly stuff at Hot Topic.

Miss Fiona’s Stupendous Pumpkin Pies by Mark Moulton was a cute read but it didn’t really strike me hard.

Some Things are Scary by Florence Parry Heide is one of those books I reordered based on its populatity, but I didn’t enjoy it myself.  It’s just…Hey, these things are scary!  No catharsis, no nothing.  It felt more like a book parents would enjoy rather than children; as a children’s book, it feels like someone tried to capture the creepiness and humor of Shel Silverstein and failed.  This is NOT a Halloween book, despite its title.

Where’s My Sweetie Pie? by Ed Emberley is a cutie of a board book that I’ll be reading to the babies for our littlest-guys program.  I love the mirror at the end!

Finally, there’s Give Thanks for Each Day by Steve Metzger, which I’ll be reading to the toddlers for Thanksgiving, even though it’s not specifically a Thanksgiving book.  I just liked it that much.

So that gets me up done from the present to the delivery on the 28th.  Whew!

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