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Wibbles wobble…

March 30, 2012

Because they pile up.  I have a backlog of new books to get out.

Another Brother by Matthew Cordell is a cute read about a sheep who was an only child just long enough to enjoy it.  Now he has twelve brothers to deal with–who all want to do the same things as him.  How frustrating for a child who wants to be independent.  Love the art–it has almost a childlike Matt Groening thing going on with it.  Going to try this one as a storytime read.

My First Bob Books: Alphabet by Lynn Maslen Kertell is a collection of little books that surely will be lost or colored in or shredded soon.  I should’ve looked harder at the description.  But the parents wanted the Bob books, so I thought I’d grab one collection and see how it went out.  It’s going to be a pain for circ to check in every one of the little twelve books (about the size of if not a little smaller than the Mr. Men and Little Miss books), but they come in a nice box and everything.  We’ll see.  The point of this collection is to get children used to seeing the letters with the words, so the text is basic but not always simple.  The point is the repetition of the sound, not a “story.”  Not really sure how I feel about the vowels in this technique, but I can see how it would work well for consonants.

I also got Cupcake Surprise, a Bob Books Easy Reader.  I think it’s a cute one.  I wonder how the cookies taste in the cupcakes.  Seems it would be a really instrusive addition.  Just saying.

Caillou Plants a Tree and Caillou: Good as New by Sarah Margaret Johnson are both good ideas with okay execution.  I will never love Caillou because I have seen the show and heard the child’s squeaky, painful voice, but the infodump in Tree and the unnecessary repetition of Good keep from them being something I’d enjoy reading to my kids.  Not to mention, the art is totally bland.  I mean, the choice of what to put in each picture is bland.  The content, not the art itself, which is your usual Caillou art.  Very disappointing.

Curious Critters by David Fitzsimmons takes clear, gorgeous photos of animals against stark white backgrounds–the better to see them with.  Each animal gets a brief first-person narrative.  It’s really cute, and it has those extra facts in the back I like so much.  At the very end, you even get to guess each animal from its silhouette.  Good times.

Martin Luther King Jr Day by Mir Tamim Ansary has a lot of good pictures that I’m surprised the internet hasn’t taken up and turned into a “Dr. King Will Not Stand for This Shit” meme.  This book is a little uneven.  I’m not crazy about its layout–sometimes you have to turn the page to get information on a term that was first used on the page before.  I do appreciate that they do not refer to him as “Martin,” as many children’s non-fiction books I feel are too familiar, but I’m not crazy about them calling him “King” either, rather than, say, the more respectful “Dr. King.”  But it’s an informative book for sure.  Parents may find that they’ll need to explain certain statements more in-depth.

Z is for Moose is a cute, chaotic little book by Kelly Bingham and Paul O. Zelinsky.   It’s funny, but I don’t think I’ll be able to read it aloud because of all the things that aren’t going on at once.  But it’s probably great for little emerging readers (emerging from what?). 

Daniel Kirk’s Library Mouse: A Museum Adventure didn’t quite get to me.  The pictures are colorful, but there’s something about them that I don’t love.  The text starts off irritating–Sam the library mouse INSISTS that his friend bring a journal to their trip to the museum next door–and everything’s interestingly realistic (barring the talking mice) until it isn’t.  At first, it reads like indoctrination–bring a journal! get out of your comfort zone! see ALL the things!–and then it’s…I don’t know.  Eh.  Plus, there’s a fold-out page in the middle that seems unnecessary.

Penny and Her Song is a simple little book from Kevin Henkes, but I really liked it, more than I expected to.  It is sweet, and a bit quiet, and a bit funny, and the lesson to be learned (if there is one; it’s subtle) is that there is a time for everything.  Have patience.  The reward is worth it.  Kids may not pick up on this conscious, and parents may want to direct them to it or not.  I can see how it might be something someone could read as an adult and say “Wow, I never got that.”

Laura Numeroff, Nate Evans, and Lynn Munsinger’s Jellybeans often get on my nerves.  This one, The Jellybeans and the Big Art Adventure, didn’t quite do that.  Maybe it’s because I’m an adult now, but the idea that the first couple of pages are always the same–about the characters and how they have different interests but they blend well, like jellybeans–is annoyingly repetitive in a short picture book.  It was annoying when you had to skim past it with the Baby-Sitters Club, it was annoying when you had to read about “aquamarine eyes” and “perfect size six” figures, and it’s extra annoying now.  In this one, the kids all find their inner artist and paint a mural on the candy store wall.  Everyone brings their unique talents to the wall, but only the artistic one, the pig, can manage something so creative, something so–oh wait, no.  She paints herself and her friends.  After worrying that no one will like it.  And everyone loves it.  Ehhhhhhhh.

Tallulah’s Solo by Marilyn Singer is the story of a girl whose little brother took ballet because of her obsession with it.  And she’s good–she thinks she’s good enough to get the solo in their next performance.  Her brother, unfortunately, has a short attention span–but he still manages to grab a lead (probably by being the only boy) when she doesn’t.  Will she sulk over it forever?  No, because she’s a good kid.  And the book reads better than it sounds.  Alexandra Boiger’s Tallulah is darn cute, too, with her freckles and her dreams of stardom.

I have EVEN MORE books, but I’ll have to get to them some other time.  I’m feeling bad because I’ve been keeping up with the kids’ stuff but not so much my grown-up stuff.  Sooooon.

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