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The Marquess of Wibbsborough

February 25, 2012

(Weird.  This didn’t post last night.  Oh well.  Posting during my lunch break.)

IDK, it’s hard to remember titles off the top of your head.

Didn’t love Cock-a-doodle-doo, Creak, Pop-pop, Moo by Jim Aylesworth.  Felt like it didn’t scan right.  But kids who wants to see an old-fashioned farm with old-fashioned kids working harder than labor laws aloud will enjoy it.

Hibernation is a level 2 Easy Reader by Tori Kosara.  It does not talk down, gives pronunciation guides for difficult or long words, and has a great glossary.  I LOVED this book as a non-fiction reader.  The pictures are adorable too!

I thought I would dislike How to Help the Earth — By the Lorax more than I did.  Yes, of course, Tish Rabe gives us some more awkward rhymes, but they work for the most part and the point is solid.  There’s nothing in there little guys can’t do to help the Earth.  I’m still not going to see the movie.

I got a bunch of those Good Night, ____ board books after liking Good Night, TexasGood Night, World is pretty bad though.  “Good night, person who is doing something.  Do you LIKE doing something?”  Um.  It’s pretty dim-witted.  Good Night, Zoo keeps going back and forth from “you” statements and factual statements, which is just bad form for a children’s book.  AND OF COURSE I LOVE THE ONE FROM NEW JERSEY, although I have to say that’s a lot of boardwalk in there–and no one on the boardwalk is eating boardwalk staples, like fries in cups or funnel cake.  Whateverrrrr pffft.  AND I like the ones from Philadelphia and NYC too.  They’re not nearly as repetitive as THE WHOLE STATE OF NJ.  PFFFFT.

I FINALLY got to read the new Elephant & Piggie book, Listen to my Trumpet!  Loved it, of course, because Mo Willems is the best out there, as I keep saying.

Happy Go Ducky by Lori Haskins is Amelia Bedelia, duck-style.  It’s really cute.  It’s a level one Easy Reader about Max the duck being overcome by spring fever, incapable of focusing on anything, including the chore list, which he then does all jumbled up.  Hee.  Feed the potatoes the kittens’ food.

BOB Books: The New Puppy by Lynn Maslen Kertell is a level one that’s really level one, with incredibly simple sentences.  Scholastic level ones are much more simple than I Can Read level ones.  My parents were asking for BOB books, and now we have some!  The book is easy enough, with illustrations that are childlike but not so childlike I feel a strong desire to return it (like other books we’ve been getting lately).  It matches the story perfectly.

Marley: Not a Peep! by Susan Hill is really disappointing.  This level two reader has a Marley who looks like a Clifford-sized puppy at times, which is not the art I’m used to, and makes Marley look very strange indeed.  Is he a puppy drawn too big?  The story is disappointing too.  How did the latch get broken?  Why didn’t the chicks come out before that?  Stop ragging on Marley just because he’s a dog and you think he can’t understand you, you jerks!

Philip Wilkinson’s Spacebusters: The Race to the Moon is less about the race and more about the details of lifting off and being there.  All the pictures make everything look like it’s made from gum and tin foil–no wonder my great-grandmother believed it was a hoax.  Also, thank God I’m not as freaked out by space and heights as I used to be, because this level-three reader is CHOCK full of horrifying facts.  What an awesome book!  My only issue is the pronunciation of the word “drogues” (“DROGES”).  Yeah…that didn’t help.  I mean, I get it, but it could be clearer.

I wish the book Titanic: The Disaster That Shocked the World! was as good.  This level-three reader by Mark Dubowski confuses with its switch of tenses.  There’s a sense that he’s trying to give a sort of journal-like feel to the story, but it fails with the switching.  The information is sound; the story is depressing but could be much more graphic, so for that I’m grateful.

There’s something missing from Francis Scott Key’s Star-Spangled Banner, and that’s The Star-Spangled Banner itself.  I remember when I was little, I once read about the story of the anthem and literally copied the whole article word for word.  (This is when my teacher realized that maybe I should go up a reading level.)  I think having the words there to read as a poem, not as a song, would be quite powerful.  The story itself, written by Monica Kulling, is all right.  Sometimes there are stories where you can get away with writing someone’s first name and other times where it comes off weird, like you’re trying to have the children make friends with the historical figure.  The latter is what’s going on here.  Sometimes I wish these books were written more formally, or respectfully is what I really mean.  “Mr. Key.”  “Mr. Washington.”  “Mr. Lincoln.”  And so on.  It’s a level three but it’s nowhere near the level of the Titanic book.  Different companies.  This might be more “step” three than “level” three, if that means anything.

I wish they would standardize these things.

Great Black Heroes: Five Brave Explorers by Wade Hudson tells the stories of Esteban Dorantes, Jean DuSable, James Pierce Beckwourth, Matthew A. Henson, and Mae C. Jemison.  This level-four book skims the surface of each person’s achievements, with a little back story as well.  The stories are not told in a consistent manner (some begin with the achievement, some begin with biographical information), and it gives them a disjointed feeling.  But the book is necessary, and I’m sad it doesn’t go into even more detail, or perhaps instead became a series of its own, with one explorer per book.

Finally, I got two more of those Hands-On Science Fun Books: How to Build a Tornado in a Bottle and How to Make a Mystery Smell Balloon, both by Lori Shores.  The tornado one is pretty straight-forward, as most kids have done that at some point, but the smell balloon is really more of a trick.  I was surprised to see that, because the rest of the books have been science-fair type experiments.

That’s it for me.  More some other time, since I’m getting inundated with books here now that we’re allowed to order again.

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