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Wibbit…wibbit… More children’s book reviews

August 22, 2012

Starting off with a cute one!  Chopsticks by Amy Krouse Rosenthal is the story of what happens when two best friends (and chopsticks) can no longer do anything together, if temporarily.  What a great message.  I almost want to give it to my daughter, who has a teenager’s tendency to get way too attached.

Little Lost Tiger by Jeremy London features a derpy-looking baby tiger getting lost during a forest fire.  Some of the pictures, by Ilya Spirin, are exquisite, like the cover, but yeah, some are derpy, and the story did nothing for me even though KITTIES.  Maybe it’s because my brain recognized the name Jeremy London before I did?  GRRR FROGGY.

The Jungle Run by Tony Mitton is cutesy rather than just cute, but it’ll work for the toddlers for sure.  The animals are all racing, and of course the little one, who was told he or she couldn’t do it (I forget already–but, like I said, the kiddos will love it), does very well.  It’s all rhymes and bright colors, with fun, cartoony art by Guy Parker-Rees.

AHHHHHHHH, the cuteness of On My Way to the Bath by Sarah Maizes with wonderful art by Michael Paraskevas.  Her mom lets her get away with a LOT of calling, but it’s all worth it for the antics of this very Calvin (of “and Hobbes” fame)-like girl.

PEAS! PEAS! PEAS!!!!  1-2-3 Peas by Keith Baker is a companion book to LMNO Peas, and it’s just as awesome!  I’m happy!

God, I should just stop now for the day.

Don’t Copy Me! by Jonathan Allen is as cute (word of the day?) as was his book I’m Not Cute.  In this one, a puffin is copied by three little gulls, and he’s not happy about it.  What can he do?

Il Sung Na’s colorful art is always somehow mellow to me, so even her Hide & Seek is soothing.  The rain forest animals are playing–who will win?  (Come on, we all know it’s chameleon.)

A Band of Angels by Deborah Hopkinson and Raul Colon is all warm (in illustration and text) but not fuzzy.  It’s based on the story of the Jubilee Singers and…well, don’t get me started on how the book suggests they only became popular when they started bringing the black music to the white folks.  Nothing wrong with that–it’s probably 100% true–but it really does say something about how one culture appreciates another.  I’m being a bit edgy today.  I went and read this.  But this book is really good.  I swear.

Pirate Princess by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen (illustrated well by Jill McElmurry) is the story of Bea, who did not like princess-y things and wanted to be a pirate, but…is pretty terrible at it.  Will the pirates throw her overboard?  Love this one; may read it for our fractured fairy tale party.  I really appreciate a rhyming book that rhymes perfectly every time.

Spekaing of awkward rhymes…Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night? (LORELAI GILMORE’S BED.  Blame my kid for that one; she’s marathoning the series and just hit season 4.  ILU, Digger Stiles!)  It’s not awful, but sometimes there’s just something off.  The illustrations by Christian Slade are somewhere between adorable and nightmare fuel (no pun intended) but the story itself, by Brianna Caplan Sayres, is something kids who love trucks will love.

Haunted House, Haunted Mouse is adoooorable!  Judy Cox follows a mouse through a town on Halloween night to a scary and possibly haunted house.  It’s just scary enough to scare, but not so much I wouldn’t recommend it.  Also, the mouse is so nerdy!  Jeffrey Ebbeler does a great job with costumes and atmosphere and adorability.  The people in the town really commit to costumes, but I’ve lived in a place where they do that too, and it’s awesome.

A Sweet Passover by Leslea Newman and illustrated by David Slonim, is a great story about a girl who cannot take any more matzah (or matza or matzoh or matzo) in her holiday.  It was great the first seven days, but on that eighth one, she’s just sick of it.  A loving lecture from her family changes her mind AND educates the reader without being overbearing.

I’ll Save You, Bobo! by Eileen and Marc Rosenthal makes me less inclined to like the kid than I did in the front one.  What a jerky way to treat your cat.  Earl is seriously the hero of these books.

Kindergarten, Here I Come! by D. J. Steinberg with Early Nickelodeon-like art by Mark Chambers is a series of rhyming poems starting with the night before and going all the way through a child’s first year of school.  It’s pretty cute, and I think is a good one for a back-to-school display.  (If all the books weren’t already out.  This one had a hold on it before it was even routed in.)

Bow-Wow Wiggle Waggle by Mary Newell DePalma is the story of a little boy and his dog and…I don’t know. I was so busy trying to figure out which sounds/words belonged to which animal, and whether it rhymed (Yes?) to follow the actual story.  Okay, I went over it one more time.  There’s a boy and his dog and some fetch and a distracting cat and some other animals which don’t do anything but give reasons to put more sounds/words in and I’m out, y’all.

Miss Fox’s Class Gets It Wrong is the story of a rushed marriage, a possible pregnancy, and some gossiping kids.  Seriously, read it and tell me if I’m wrong.

I didn’t care for Nathaniel Lachenmeyer’s The Boo! Book, about a haunted book.  The pictures really threw me off.  They’re all uncanny valley and awkward.  With the right art, I would’ve loved this book, I think, but with Nicoletta Ceccoli’s art…eh.

Jez Alborough’s The Gobble Gobble Moooooo Tractor Book is super-adorable and my next toddler time choice, for sure.  Making animal sounds?  Using your imagination?  I’m there!

P.J. Bracegirdle’s The Dead Family Diaz is like someone wrote a really bad episode of that Beetlejuice cartoon, mixed with a little Rocko’s Modern Life, and, um, some other dated things.  Oh, Corpse Bride.  But Latin@.  So, um, yeah.  The dead kid’s afraid of the living, and the living kid’s afraid of the dead, but they play together and decide their differences don’t matter.  Yup.  Not sure where I come down on this one, but Poly Bernatene’s art is pretty neat.

COOKIE!  Cookie’s Week by Cindy Ward was one of my daughter’s favorites when she was little, and I will keep ordering it until it goes out of print, because it’s simple and funny and adorable and awesome!

The French Fry King by Roge is about a clever dog and his restlessness, which is apparently sated by…love?  Sort of.  You’ll see.  It’s very French(-Canadian), which maybe you can guess with the whole one-name author thing, and the kids will really like it, I think.  Not but, and.

So…the Little Golden Book version of Barbie & The Diamond Castle is probably the most tolerable Barbie book I’ve read to date, possibly because the art isn’t very Barbie-like (no dolls or movie stills or cheap-looking backgrounds), but also possibly because Mary Man-Kong can actually use her words for once, instead of trying to condense an hour-plus movie into 20 pages.  Not an Easy Reader, woo!  We also got The World of Barbie, which is a really old Barbie book or a Barbie book with old-style (or old) pictures.  I kind of wonder if they stuck “or a pilot!” after “I can be a flight attendant” or whatever.  I don’t know if the retro art will appeal to the kids but I’m excited to find out.

Board books!

Barbie Loves Lacey by Shoppy McBuysomestuff is about how much Barbie loves shopping for her dog.  Ugh.

Good Night, Blue by Angela C. Santomero and illustrated by Jenine Pontillo is my attempt to keep Blue’s Clues stuff in the library even though the show’s been off the air forever.  It’s a cute little get-ready-for-bed book starring my beloved Steve!  Happy Easter, Sprinkles! by Lauryn Silverhardt is later blue, where she’s kinda fuzzy-looking AND there are NO people at all, not even Joe!  WHATEVER.  It has more of a Dora feel to it than a Blue’s Clues feel.  Ew.  We also got Jenny Miglis’s Peekaboo, Blue!, from the Baby Blue’s Clues line.  It’s a super-cute lift-the-flap.  The tablecloth flap is so good I didn’t realize it was a flap at first.

I got this Pat the Bunny book but since I don’t remember Pat the Bunny I have no idea if it’s the real Pat the Bunny or a Pat-related book.  Either way, it’s going to get ruined soon.  It’s all pop-up and poorly-bound.  That’ll teach me.  But it looks like the boy is trying to cop a feel off the girl.  That’s grody.  Oh, if you put the ISBN it says it’s the real original story.  Huh, I was expecting more.  Like Velveteen Rabbit more (which I didn’t read till college).

We also got some Jez Alborough: Fix-It Duck, Duck in the Truck, Duck’s Day Out, and Duck to the Rescue.  Funny and cute all; I can see why they’re so popular.

Oh hey, I’m really behind on my non-fiction.  Guess what you’ll get next?  (Probably not non-fiction, because I have a whole pile of books on my living room floor to go through, too!)

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