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Kids’ books!

November 8, 2012

I gots work to do.

Board books!

We got a ton of board books in today!  Woo, Sandra Boynton!  I never thought the woman whose stuff annoyed me so much on calendars and whatnot would amuse me so much in board book form.  Some are more sing-song-y–one is actually the book form of a song she has on CD.  That’s Snuggle Puppy!  Tickle Time! is pretty song-y too but I don’t know if it–yup, it is.  Belly Button Book! too.  Pajama Time! and Hey! Wake Up! don’t say which collection they’re from, but they’ve gotta be from songs because all the ones on the back of it are the ones I just mentioned.  And they FEEL like songs.  Saying that this type is my least favorite Boynton are like talking about my least favorite Buffy episodes–they’re still BUFFY EPISODES.  But it’s not in songs where she shines, although Birthday Monsters! is hilarious, Fifteen Animals! cracks me up, and Barnyard Dance! is super catchy.  (And Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs! could go either way, song or not-song.)  It’s the shorter little ones that get me (although not really The Going to Bed Book–why are they on a boat?  I thought it was going to be a Noah’s Ark thing at first, then I realized there was only one of each.)  Opposites is great, Are You a Cow? is great. Moo, Baa, La la la! is great.  Now we have a little board book version of Hippos Go Berserk, which I talked about before when we got the bigger version.  A to Z is cute as a button.  Little Pookie is adobs and Night-Night, Little Pookie is just so utterly adorable makes me want to cry.  But best of all is Blue Hat, Green Hat which made me laugh loud and long. Simple Sandra is Best Boynton.

Non-fiction!

Shiver Me Timbers! Pirate Poems & Paintings has a picture that I’m pretty sure is totally perverted.  The cover with the cutesy pirate kids is NOT like the red-eyed, fish-gutting pirates inside but okay.  Douglas Florian’s poems are generally good, some much better than others, but I’ve said that about him before.  I love pirates (duh) and I’m not a big fan of poetry (duh) so I guess that all evens out?

Fiction!

Jane Yolen and Mark Teague bring us more dinosaurs in How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah?  Now, you know I love this series, but this one does get a little awkward on ONE WHOLE PAGE.  But if that’s my entire complaint, I should shut up, because DINOSAURS and MANNERS and MARK TEAGUE.  The end. (Actually, no.  It says Jane Yolen lives in Scotland part-time.  What time is that?  Like, what magical time is not FREEZING COLD THERE, because I was there the SECOND WEEK OF SEPTEMBER and I wanted to cry, I was so cold.)

The Rainbow Fish books continue to not impress as Mama Fish is all “I’m going to get another fish” “DON’T LEAVE ME” “I’ll never leave you!” Rainbow Fish, MAMA JUST SAID SHE WAS GOING TO GET ANOTHER FISH.  THAT’S LEAVING FOR LIKE A SECOND, WHY DON’T WE DEAL WITH THAT INSTEAD OF TAKING YOUR FEARS AND LIKE COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY NOT BEING REALISTIC ABOUT THEM.  No, Rainbow Fish, Mama will plant herself by your side until you’re thirty-eight and unmarried.  Then she’ll die of exhaustion from taking care of all your middle-aged fish needs, and then you won’t know how to take care of yourself.  You’ll fall in love with the first person you meet, because you don’t know what compatibility is, and then you’ll be miserable the rest of your days, and so will she, because she was looking for a meal ticket, not a life-long comparison to Mama.

The end.

Wait, I mean Good Night, Little Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister isn’t a very good book.

Denise Fleming’s Under Ground is a good example of why I don’t like fuzzy pictures in children’s books without good reason.  If I’m looking at little animals, I want to SEE them.  Makes me feel like I need new glasses.

Naughty Little Monkeys by Jim Aylesworth freaked me by page 1.  Human Mom and Human Dad seem to have brought forth a GAGGLE of monkeys, all of whom look to be the same age.  So she passed a litter, I suppose.  That’s horrifying.  WAIT, WHAT?  THEY GET REWARDED FOR TRASHING THE ENTIRE HOUSE?  THAT’S BULLSHIT, MAN!  I wouldn’t expect more from parents who left them without a sitter to go to grown-up stuff.  Jerks.

Also, some of the rhymes were really awkward.

 Duck Sock Hop is so cute!  And Jane Porter’s illustrations are so adorbs! Setting this one aside for Toddler Time.

Emily Jenkins’s Lemonade in Winter is the story of a brother and a sister who sell lemonade and limeade and lemon-limeade on a cold day.  It’s about money and how it works.  It’s also about how when kids go selling things, they don’t always make money.  And that’s okay, because it’s fun and then you can go and buy popsicles with the leftover change.  G. Brian Karas makes the kids an interesting neutral color, I think, so that readers can see them as whatever they want.

Hudson Talbott’s It’s All About ME-ow is HILARIOUS and ADORABLE and FILLED WITH KITTIES!  Biased?  You bet I am!  But no, this one’s really good, I promise you.  It’s not a read-aloud for story time; there are too many words and details, but they’re all great.  A big kitty is teaching little kitties all about themselves and the way they do/should interact with humans.  I particularly like the diagram where it explains that paws are pawsome.

Why would you ever name a dog Tofu?  (Is it a play on tofu pups?  Like naming your weiner dog “hot” or something?)  No matter.  Tyler Makes Pancakes! by Tyler Florence with simple, colorful, oft-adorable art by Craig Frazier takes us through the process of making yummy yummy pancakes but also the process of the products that make those pancakes–going all the way back to the farm.  If you’re looking for reality, you’re not going to get it here (every animal is so happy and free!), but hey, it’s a start.

Uma Krishnaswami and Uma Krishnaswamy (yeah, I had to look twice, too) haven written an interesting, colorful (but not always), thoughtful look at how the world bends around nature in Out of the Way! Out of the Way!  The main character gives a tree room to grow in a busy Indian neighborhood.  The art is a combination of color and black and white that is arresting.  I don’t really have much to say about the book.  I feel it stands on its own, and it’s a much-needed POC contribution to a library that mostly has a strong African-American collection.

The Thankful Smurf by Peyo is not a book that I’m going to reorder if it gets damaged.  I’m a little annoyed by its message.  At first, it’s about a Smurf who’s such a jerk about where he lives that he can’t even play a game without being immersed in ennui.  But then Papa lets him leave the commune with a magic whistle to transport him home.  Of course, this Smurf is captured by Gargamel and then it’s just your usual episode of the Smurfs.  However, what bothers me is the end: the poor, wandery Smurf, having been scared out of his wits, decides NEVER TO LEAVE AGAIN.

Oh.  That’s healthy.

At least I don’t have to put a Thanksgiving sticker on it, because it’s not about that.

But I’ve Used All of My Pocket Change is the new one from Charlie and Lola creator Lauren Child.  Lola is a combination of endearing and annoying, and Charlie has the patience of a saint.  But it shows Lola dealing with a bit of long-term emotional growth, which is great, and it’s CHARLIE AND LOLA so it’s totally great.  I was so bitter when I got to England and found that they only show one fifteen-minute bit of Charlie and Lola at a time.  NO!  WANT MORE!

A patron came in last night and said how much her son loves the Jamie Lee Curtis books, and our new one is My Brave Year of Firsts: Tries, Sighs, and High Fives.  It took me about half the book to realize it rhymed, if that tells you something, and Laura Cornell’s art is the stuff of David Shannon-esque nightmares when it isn’t flat-out adorable, so I’m not really sure where to go with this one.  But all the firsts are good ones, and the message is solid.

Okay, that seems like a lot, so let’s go with that…FOR NOW.  I have more books.  I always have more books.

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