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Sir Wibbleton the Third

December 6, 2011

Really, I swear, that’s what I think when I do the Week in Books.

I need to start a list of all the posts I have to do for the blog.  I have to finish so many things I started last month, like the YIB and chronological recap list.  I have to finish the recaps, but I’m already on that, I swear.  But for now, I have another godzillion mini-reviews for you.

Eric Carle’s new book, The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse is basically just your average Eric Carle book.  I was hoping for more in the way of text, but that’s not what you get.  All the interesting stuff is at the very end, in the notes, whereas the text of the book is slightly less interesting than Brown Bear, Brown Bear.  I’m sure it will get accolades all over the place, but I just don’t get it.

The latest Froggy book, Froggy Builds a Treehouse, was done better by the Berenstein Bears ages ago, and with 100% less Froggy, one of the most irritating characters in modern children’s literature.  When my daughter was little, she loved Froggy, and I couldn’t get it then and I don’t get it now.  In fact, I cringe when I see a Froggy book, because all I can hear in my head is “Wha-a-a-a-t?”  The mother and father are no better because they indulge this horrid, mannerless child, and on top of that his mother yells like a fishwife (a frogwife?) across the yard every time he bolts out of the house.  Ugh, no more Froggy please.  Ever.

A Small Miracle by Peter Collington creeped me right the heck out, but I’m sure others will find this wordless story of a poor pennilness woman who is saved by the nativity figures she straightens up after the church is robbed absolutely charming.  I am not one of those people.  But I totally get if you are.  Really.  I’m just creeped out by these things coming to life.  It’s like the nativity version of the “Thriller” video for me.

Glenn Beck’s The Snow Angel is the heavy-handed story of some kids who are mad because both their parents work.  Way to be grateful, kids.  They look old enough to get the basic concept of work and responsibility, but their dad just blows them off and settles them with Grandma, who tells them a kind of confusing story about how snow angels retain the love of something something I wasn’t really sure what was going on there, but then the story gets awfully adorable when the Grandma makes paper snow angels with the kids to brighten up their parents’ lives.  The kids also make mac and cheese without cooking it.  The dad actually eats it.  Good man.  So: good second half, clunky first half, some pictures are gorgeous, others are a bit static and creepy around the eyes.  I’m expecting this to only be taken out by people because of the name recognition, and I hope they get what they expect.  Not a Christmas book, by the way.  Just a winter one.

O’Figgity Fig Tree is a Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! book, and I don’t really know what that means.  All I can say is that is suffers, as many books do, from cartoon-itis.  If it’s based on an episode, I wouldn’t be surprised, as it seems to have that “We’re not telling you everything” feel to it that a lot of the ER movie and television novelizations do.  Either way, this book could’ve done with another one or two pages, even for a board book. I’ve definitely seen better things done with board books.

Hedgehug: A Sharp Lesson in Love by Dan Pinto is a cute story about a hedgehog looking for love on Valentine’s Day.  Definitely recommended for a Valentine’s storytime.  I’m checking my copy out on the storytime card now.

Same thing with Snowy Valentine by David Petersen.  Checking it out now because OMG, so adorable.  It’s the story of a rabbit who’s looking for the perfect Valentine’s gift for his wife and it will just melt your heart.  I think the kids will really enjoy it.  (To the person on Goodreads who says it’s for adults, I think you’re underestimating small children.  They don’t have as strong of a desire to relate 1:1 with protagonists as older children do.)

A New Year’s Reunion by Yu Li-Qiong made me totally tear up at work.  Maomao’s father only comes home for Chinese New Year, and they have ordinary adventures together until he has to leave.  *weep* Better than I could ever make it sound.  The book itself was first published in 2007, but published here this year, so I’m thinking that makes it eligible for the Caldecott, right?  Look for this one on best-of lists.

Just a Second by Steven Jenkins is a non-fiction adventure through time.  He discusses the second, the minute, the day, and the week by explaining what happens in these durations, such as the flapping of wings or the blinks of an eye or the beats of a heart.  He also manages to sneak in overpopulation, overreliance on oil, and the killing of chickens to make food.  The book is a little too repetitive to keep a child’s attention, I think, and will put off some readers with its “liberalism” (it mentions the Big Bang! *gasp*), but it’s definitely interesting.  That’s all I’ve got for this one, really: interesting.

That was today’s batch.  There were more yesterday, but honestly, I can only do this for so long at a time.  This doesn’t even cut into the original eight hundred-and-whatever list I was working on.  This is all new stuff.

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