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Children’s…books…forever

November 23, 2012

I still have like three piles of stuff to review.  “Review.”

Board books!

Eric Hill’s Spot Loves His Daddy is one of those harmless little books that’s supposed to remind kids that dads can do stuff too.  It would be more fun to act out the activities in the book than read it.

Easy Readers!

J.E. Bright writes Ice Age: Continental Drift: Best Friends, a level-2 Easy Reader which is a hot mess of a book that can’t figure out if it wants to introduce the characters, focus on the friends, or discuss the plot.  It would’ve done better to have chosen.  For someone who saw the first movie but none since, it was confusing, with too many names and failing to pique my interest for the movie at all.  And then Manny’s Big Adventure is more coherent, but it also does what a lot of movie-to-book ERs (and children’s movies) do: It resolves nothing.  Yay, you’ve forgiven each other! But you haven’t fixed the actual problem!  Sigh.

Sick Day by David McPhail is listed as ER, because the text is so basic.  It doesn’t look like an ER and it doesn’t have a level listed, but I think we can easy say Level One here, with short sentences like “Boy is sick.”  There’s little here to actually enjoy, except the pleasure of reading.

Fiction!

The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories is a kind of hit or  miss collection of Seussian tales.  They definitely show their age in some ways, but some are just spot on.  They all have morals, some stated, some not, and now I feel a strong need to rhyme the end of this sentence.  But I will not.  Absolutely not.

Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp! is a jazzy-cool book by Wynton Marsalis and illustrated by Paul Rogers.  Love the fonts, love the pics, enjoyed the text.

Madeline in America and Other Holiday Stories is…eh, not really about holiday stories?  It’s just a collection of interesting and/or subpar stories from the guy who wrote Madeline, with some background from the family. Madeline fans will love it, but I didn’t think it was anything special.

Christmas Parade by Sandra Boynton is, of course, cute as a button.  A rhyming, counting book with a musical score.  I wonder what CD this is on.

Mousterpiece: A Mouse-Sized Guide to Modern Art suceeds where other fiction here-is-art books fail: it gives us a character to like (Janson), things to recognize (Janson’s mousie versions of real works), information at the end, and a bit of a story.  Usually, other books drop the ball on one, two, or three of these and I’m bored, bored, bored.  This one is great.  Props to Jane Breskin Zalben for making mouse art.

Non-fiction!

C is for Colorado is a book “written by kids for kids” and yeah, it’s totally for kids, because the rhymes (minus one letter that doesn’t rhyme??) can be suuuuper awkward.  So I guess there are some really proud kids out there somewhere, and that’s what matters.

Stone Soup by Marcia Brown is a classic based on an old French folk tale, about three soldiers who come to a greedy village hungry and tired.  Slowly, they draw the townsfolk out and create a happy atmosphere.  Cool.

I reordered a ton of the Joy Berry character books–like, having character, not characters from a book.  I got Let’s Talk About Feeling Jealous, Being Shy, Feeling Disappointed, Feeling Angry, Feeling Worried, Feeling Sad, Getting Hurt, Needing Attention, Being Patient, and Feeling Afraid.  Each book has a different child with a different pet, who discusses how to deal with feelings and actions.  They’re quite excellent and I highly recommend them.  The characters are multicultural and Maggie Smith’s art is as simple as the text, childlike but not childish.

Yay!  Pile one done!

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