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Children’s books, second week of December

December 10, 2012

Aaaand I spoke too soon.  We got a ton of new stuff in this week.


I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew is your typical Seuss–a little weird, very clever, really long compared to most children’s books these days.  In this case, there’s a lesson about dealing with your troubles rather than hoping for a world where they don’t exist.  This one flew under my radar during my childhood; I’m glad to have a copy at the library here and now.

Poor Puppy and Bad Kitty is one of those books that tries to do too much.  It’s an alphabet book, it’s a counting book, it’s a learn-new-countries book, it’s a learn-new-games book, it’s a kitty-hates-puppy book.  Too much at once from Nick Bruel, especially since the counting goes so high.

Too Tall Houses by Gianna Marino is the story of how two friends get caught up in one-upsmanship (is that a word?) and no one’s happy until they stop.  Rabbit and Owl have houses exactly the same height, until they start building higher and higher.  Love the expressions on the animals.  Super cute.  May save this one for toddler time.

Franklin’s School Treasury by Paulette Bourgeois collects Franklin Goes to School, Franklin’s School Play, Franklin’s Class Trip, and Franklin’s Neighborhood.  They’re all charming little stories, with charming little characters, but I’m a little twitched out by the fact that snails can talk but flies are in pies and cookies.  Seriously, though, this series reminds me of my daughter being very little, and makes me mellow and happy.  There’s a reason kids love Franklin.  He gets nervous about things but he’s not over the top about them.  I like Brenda Clark’s artwork too.

Nursery Rhyme Comics, edited by Chris Duffy, with too many authors to mention, is EXCELLENT.  I mean, just wonderful.  Fifty nursery rhymes, fifty artists–from internet sensation Kate Beaton to Phantom Tollbooth illustrator Jules Feiffer to Hellboy creator Mike Mignola (I love you!).  There is so much good here, it’s hard to pull some standouts.  Definitely Stephanie Yue’s “Hickory Dickory Dock.”  Scott Campbell’s “Pop Goes the Weasel” made me laugh aloud.  Craig Thompson’s art is so gorgeous.  Aw, man, just get this one, like, forever.

Asking Arthur’s sister D.W. to talk about manners is like asking Freddy Krueger to give you a back rub–it may turn out okay, but I wouldn’t trust it.  D.W.’s Guide to Perfect Manners is nowhere near as funny as it should be, and it’s Marc Brown’s character and you’d think he’d get the voice right, but I have to say–it didn’t work for me.  Yes, the kids will learn some manners, but it’s certainly not a fun book–it’s almost too chatty and it doesn’t feel like D.W.  But it goes out, so I reordered it.

Splat Says Thank You may be the most tolerable Splat the Cat book I’ve read, but it’s certainly not great.  I haaaaate the art.  It’s so boooooring.  But Splat cheers up a sick Seymour, and the text is really cute.  So you can have that, Rob Scotton.

I was right.  Rebecca Janni’s Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse is way better than the book that comes after it.  It is ADORBS.  Nellie Sue imagines herself a cowgirl, but she has no horse.  It’s her birthday though, and fortunately she’s got the imagination to get through, horse or no.

Eileen Spinelli’s Cold Snap is about a town that ends up with the temperature dropping, and dropping, and dropping, until winter isn’t fun anymore–until someone figures out a way for it to be.   Love the sparkly cover, really like the art by Marjorie Priceman, like the story a lot too.  I’m going to try the recipe at the end, if we get snow again this winter.  Nom.

Jon Klassen is my new kids’ book boyfriend.  Look, Mo, I’ll love you forever, but it’s time for something shiny and new in my life and it is Klassen.  I Want My Hat Back is definitely a companion book to This Is Not My Hat, and is just as funny and wonderful.  Love it, love it, love it.

Easy Readers!

David A. Alder’s Bones and the Football Mystery is even dumber than some of the Young Cam Jansens I’ve read.  I guess asking for mysteries that the kids can’t solve, thus pushing them to try harder is really more J-level work.  (See also: Encyclopedia Brown, that clever little bastard.)  Barbara Johansen Newman’s art is pretty simple.  For a level 3, I felt like more should’ve been done, but that could just be me.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Green Team! is Christy Webster’s level four reader, and it’s above average for a movie-to-book, but by no means perfect.  Purist parents will be appalled to see the de-aging of April, but otherwise the Turtles seem to be their old selves–I just typed “shelves,” which is some sort of combo of “shell” and “selves.”  Sigh.

Inside, Outside, Upside Down is a Berenstain Bears concept book, probably from way back, no moral, no Christian stuff.  Just Stan and Jan and Brother Bear teaching concepts maybe a little TOO basically?  New readers will get through this and then move on, probably never caring again.


Philemon (Phil Lemon?) Sturges’s book I Love Trucks! is a simple little rhyme made perfect by Shari Halpern’s colorful, child-friendly art.  Good book for the babies, but there are little facts on the front and back inside covers for more info.  Going in the pile.

I will have more non-fiction when I weed the non-fiction.

Dudes, bedtime.

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