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Women’s wib: More children’s book reviews

June 18, 2012

Should’ve saved that pun for an all-woman author post, but whatever.  It’s hard to come up with these things every week!

Fiction!

This week begins with Just Ducks! by Nicola Davies with simple ducky illustrations by Salvatore Rubbino.  (Wibbino!)  It must be said that I love ducks.  I love them a lot.  But this book didn’t do much for me.  I felt there was a disconnect between the larger, child-friendly text and the smaller, adult-friendly text, in that it wasn’t adult enough.  It seemed like next-step-child, and it didn’t quite work for me.  Some of the words, like preen, aren’t defined.  But the information is good.  It doesn’t come up as non-fiction, though.

Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman with fabulously bright and adorable illustrations by Dan Yaccarino tells the simple story of the friendship between a boy and a robot and what happens when they’re both in, uh, sleep mode.  I liked it quite a bit. 🙂

Two Little Monkeys by Mem Fox, with playful illustrations by Jill Barton, is a repetitive rhyme that stays on the singable side of repetitive (rather than the annoying) the whole time.  Definitely going to read this one to my toddlers.

Hm.  Marion Dane Bauer’s Dinosaur Thunder is all about finding the right lie to tell your child to stop him from being scared, I guess.  Not loving the art by Margaret Chodos-Irvine, because the kids look so bland and same-y.  Otherwise, it’s a cool kind of style.

Green by Laura Vaccaro Seege maybe goes a little too far with its green when it goes from “forest,” “jungle,” and “khaki” to things like “slow” and “never.”  Too bad; I really liked it up until then.

Oh my gosh, I LOVE Dog in Charge by K.L. Going with bright, fun illustrations by Dan Santat.  When the dog’s in charge, can he keep his cats in line?  No, of course not.  They’re cats.  But they’re good cats, just like the dog is a good dog, and everyone wins in the end.  Except the family that needs to buy more cat treats.  Hee.  I’m going to read this to my toddlers.

Easy Readers!

Bugs and Us is a level-one DK reader by Patricia J. Murphy which at times is a little too story-like for me, but gives a lot of great information about why we should like bugs.  I don’t know if I’m completely won over, and I will scream when I see them move too quickly, but hey: Go bugs.

Wait a second, wildebeests are gnus?  Man, I know which name I’d prefer.  One sounds bad-ass and the other reminds me of, well, you know, ’80s kids’ TV.  I just read The Great Migration by Deborah Lock.  It’s very informative.  DK usually delivers fairly well in their non-fiction titles.  This one’s a level 2 reader, and pulls no punches about the tough life of prey.

Non-fiction!

Valorie Fisher’s Everything I Need to Know Before I’m Five came highly recommended, and with good reason.  It really is a lot of concepts in one book, but it’s so well done the reader doesn’t feel flooded with information.  Good separation of concepts, great execution, great book to buy for parents, definite must-have for libraries.

I don’t know how I feel about Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm’s Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas.  It’s, like, here’s all this lyrical language, and then, in the middle, POOP.  But how can you not talk about it?  It’s science and art together, but there’s something about it that doesn’t gel for me, maybe the part where the longer explanation at the end feels like the same thing we’ve just read, not even really with any more words.

I didn’t read all of Michael Rosen’s Even My Ears are Smiling (illustrated by Babette Cole), because it’s long.  Yup, it’s longer than I’m used to, so I’ve been sitting on it a while, and that’s not good for circulation, so off it goes.  I did, however, read a bunch of it, and it’s like half-Shel Silverstein and half-Jack Prelutsky.  So.  Kids who like poetry will like it.  Most kids like poetry.  Some of us fall out of the habit when we get older.  The end.

Also, did you notice that was the first male-written book so far?  Wow.

Second part of the week: Just as I cleared out the entirety of my new books, we get a delivery FILLED with new books.  Here we go!

Board books!

Ladybug Girl Loves… by David Soman and Jacky Davis gives us Ladybug Girl, a girl who’s very cute but doesn’t really have any sort of narrative.   Ladybug Girl Makes Friends feels a little bit more like a story.  Also, more bumpy covers that I’m sure the kids are going to think moves in some way and will end up torn fairly quickly.

Fiction!

Edwina, the Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct by Mo Willems is mostly the story of Reginald Von Hoobie-Doobie, a little boy who wants to prove the town’s beloved dinosaur to be extinct, but no one wants to listen to him, probably because he’s dissing everyone’s favorite townsperson–or, rather, townsdinosaur.  This book doesn’t have quite the same charm as Trixie and Knufflebunny, or Pigeon or Elephant & Piggie, but it’s good to have more Mo back in the library.

Speaking of…

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale!  Looove you, Knuffle Bunny!  Okay, maybe I shouldn’t have read it again, because I’m starting to tear up…again.  At least it’s not the third one.  I saw the other day that this was very late in being returned, and the idea of us being Knuffle Bunny free (heh) made me so sad that I immediately ordered another one.  That first copy was since returned, but I’m glad we have two.  I’d have five, if it were up to me, and I am bitter that it’s not on every summer reading list we have.

Zero the Hero by Joan Holub and Tom Lichtenheld is a sort of companion book to E-Mergency, except that in this one, we’ve got numbers instead of letters, and far fewer jokes about bodily excretions.  Zero feels worthless, except when he’s multiplying (and then everyone just finds him scary).  Will he ever be the hero he longs to be?  Cute, funny, but not a read-aloud–too many things going on at once.  Great for kids who are still in picture books but are looking for more going on with the page than a line or two.

Debi Gliori’s The Scariest Thing of All is the warm, colorful story of a tiny rabbit with a big list of fears.  One day, he’s so scared he runs into the woods and finds he has to confront his fears–pretty much all of them on the same day.  Will he conquer them?  Of course!  Is this story adorable? OF COURSE.  May read it on Halloween.

Kids love Karma Wilson more than I love Karma Wilson.  Her new book, Horseplay!, has better rhymes than I usually equate with her, and it’s funny and cute.  I miss Chapman’s art (usually my favorite part of the Bear books), but hey, different story, different illustrator.  This one’s Jim McMullan.  His horses are a big creepy, I must say, but that’s probably me.  He should stick to transportation.

…Oh, I JUST got the Knuffle Bunny title puns.

Anyway, that’s it for the week!  Join me next week, with probably more of the same.  ARGH, I need to carve out more time for myself to blog.  Work blogging is great and all, but remember when I used to write about other things?

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