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Wibiding by zero: More children’s book reviews

May 15, 2012

One day, I’ll write something besides children’s book reviews.  It’ll probably be a treatise on the evils of the 50 Shades trilogy.

Fire! ¡Fuego! Brave Bomberos by Susan Middleton Elya is a great bilingual book.  Children who don’t (yet) speak Spanish will be able to grasp most of the words contextually, and the rhymes are good, and the firemen save a kitty, so that’s incredibly important.  Dan Santat’s illustrations give you distinct characters and just the most brilliant colors.  Compare the scenes at the fire to the one where they’re eating, or the light in the back as they drive away to the next fire on the last page.  God.

Dancing Feet! by Lindsey Craig with pictures by Marc Brown is the kind of book that I think would go over a little better at home than at the library.  More surfaces to play with, and more of a possibility to make the different kinds of sounds that the feet in the story make.  I could probably pull it off, but I don’t love it.

How Do YOU Feel? by Anthony Browne is a cute, simple little book where a monkey runs the gamut of emotions so that the child has a better way to express how he or she feels.  Seems like a good one for Story Time, paired up with some sort of emotion-sorter craft.  I bet they have those.  You know, like maybe a door hangar with a changeable inside?  I’m thinking about it.

Okay, well.  Jonathan & Martha by Petr Horáček.  This story probably helps if you start out with the fact that some worms can lose part of their ends and still be okay.  Otherwise, it’s a bit brutal.  Jonathan and Martha live on opposite sides of a tree, until they meet eating a pear, at which point they get into a fight and get tangled and have to do everything together.  Then comes the part where the bird separates them (ew) and then…well, you’ll see.  If you want.  I can understand why you wouldn’t want to.  I didn’t think there was SO much going on here that was clever; there are a few lift-the-flap kind of deals, but they’re not consistent.  And so it goes.

I Don’t Want to Go to School! by Stephanie Blake is the story of a rabbit whose parents ignore him and then he has a good time anyway.  This is kind of par for the course, except with Miss Begindergarten or whatever her name is.  There’s a lot of reassurance but not a lot of actual helping.  But I guess there are some things we’re expected to do on our own.  May read this at the end of the summer with Miss B.

And then I got A Deal’s a Deal! also by Stephanie Blake, which is about two kids being assholes to each other.  Simon the Super Rabbit may end up on my Froggy list.

Me and My Dragon is a cute little story by David Biedrzycki.  Might be good for discussing pet responsibility for a kid; otherwise is pretty good for talking about how to take care of a dragon.

The Big Wish by Carolyn Conahan is an odd little story.  Molly wants to make the biggest wish in the world with her dandelions and get into the World Book of Records, but but but…people start fighting, then they all make wishes, and they’re in the book anyway and…I don’t know.  The good thing is that some of them start to work on making their wishes come true at the end.  The bad thing is that if there’s a big point in here, I missed it.  Then again, I’m very tired today.

Pickle-Chiffon Pie by Jolly Roger Bradfield–I love it!  I think I ordered it because I couldn’t reorder an out-of-print book by the same author, and anyway, I’m so very glad, and I think I’m going to read it at my Fairy Tale Fun party. It’s such a great fairy tale; it’s so rare that I get to read NEW fairy tales, rather than retellings and updates and alternate versions, you know?  Good moral, good story, fun as Seuss with its monster-y characters.  Yessss.

Maybe it’s because so many British Harlequin heroines are named Emma, I keep thinking that Emma Dodd, the author of Meow Said the Cow, is a self-important young virgin writing children’s books and is about to be proposed to by a cold, rich, handsome man.  I may need a nap.  Meow Said the Cow is going to be one of those books the kids at storytime love.  I may try it with the toddlers.  The cat, annoyed by the rooster’s morning call (HAS NO ONE WHO WRITES BOOKS LIVED WITH A ROOSTER??? THEY DO IT ALL THE TIME, NOT JUST IN THE MORNING), magicks up a spell that swaps all the voices.  But the confusion just makes everything noisier, and then the cat gets his, and the end.

Yup, totally a Harlequin romance children’s book.

Maybe she was actually named Emma Dodd.  I’ll know soon; as soon as my husband and kid are away long enough for me to write that last Vampire Diaries recap and get started on the Harlequin recaps.

More books!

The Day Dirk Yeller Came to Town by Mary Casanova and Ard Hoyt is a cute story about how a twitchy, jumpy, etc. guy comes to town and scares all the residents, but then one little cowpoke figures out how to placate him.  I found it a bit strange, but hey.

Peanut Butter and Homework Sandwiches by Lisa Broadie Cook, illustrated by Jack E. Davis, is about a kid who spends a miserable week with a sub, gets through it, and life goes on.  Huh.  I kind of like that.  There’s no big revelation at the end.  There’s no quick fix.  It’s life, and there you have it.

Purrfect Friends by Karen Barss is a heavy-handed Martha Speaks story about prejudice.  Martha and her dog friend are mean to a foster kitten because it’s a kitten, but then she decides to secretly be friends with the kitten.  Secrecy doesn’t work very long when you’re a talking dog (I guess) and then it’s all “Don’t be prejudiced!”  Awkward.

Maisy Goes on a Sleepover by Lucy Cousins is a nice little introduction to sleepovers but now that I’m not watching the show at 7am, exhausted by my toddler (who will be fifteen this summer), all I can think of is–Maisy’s a little mouse who acts about five.  WHY DOES SHE HAVE HER OWN HOUSE BUT NO PARENTS??  It’s so confusing.  But cute!

Curious George and the Ice Cream Surprise is…the wrong book.  Already got a copy of this one, read and reviewed it.  Sent it back to technical services.

Woof Meow Tweet-Tweet kind of creeps me out.  I thought I’d be charmed by Cecile Boyer’s story of a dog, a cat, and a bird who are represented only by the sounds they make, but instead…no.  The word “Woof” peeing is just freaky, and the end is a let-down.  AND it’s filled with stereotypes that aren’t true, like that cats and dogs ALWAYS fight.  Forget you, Boyer.

Bea at Ballet by Rachel Isadora is cute as a button and informative too!  You follow Bea and her friends through dance class.  Simple words, simple fun.  Highly recommended for any little one about to start a dance class.

Okay, enough for now.  Next up: ERs and non-fiction.

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