More books, more books, more more more!
It’s a living.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, Turn Around!, a Rookie Toddler book from Scholastic, is a bit more exercise-oriented than the rhymes I do with my babies. But it’s got real teddy bears and they’re cute, so what else do you need?
Harriet Ziefert’s The Princess and the Peas and Carrots was likely ordered for our Fractured Fairy Tales program. It’s the story of a fussy girl who wants everything just so. This story does not have a big moral. It ends with her feeling justified about her poor choices, perhaps. It doesn’t mean it’s not a good story–it is–but I’m just warning you here. Love the art by Travis Foster. Not so crazy about the way the story-within-the-story is told, but that could be because I’m a librarian. By nature, I abhor flaps. They scream “QUICK REORDER” to me.
Franklin Goes to the Hospital by Paulette Bourgeois is about Franklin cracking his shell playing soccer (no pads??) and having to get some surgery. It is, like all Franklin books, mellow and comfortable. If you read too much Franklin in a row, he sounds neurotic, but one at a time? Sure thing. Very good for kids who are anxious about a hospital visit, with a strong lesson on bravery.
Look, I don’t actually think that Franklin’s Baby Sister is a great book or anything, but it does what it’s supposed to: teaches that it’s okay to be a little impatient, I guess, or that all babies are born in spring, or that turtles go to the…look, it’s Franklin, there’s a new baby, what else do you need to know?
Franklin’s Thanksgiving is the story of how no one bothered to say “Oh, by the way, we’re having a zillion people over for Thanksgiving. Hope there’s enough food there, Mother!”
Also, must be nice to live somewhere you can eat outside on Thanksgiving, “like the first settlers.” Were they bears in hats? Moles in headdresses?
Babar’s Battle reads like a book version of a television show I’ve never watched. There’s a baddie, and a stupid king, and a good king, who is an elephant but has a bathtub. I really don’t know what to think about this. I don’t even know if I can speak to whether it has that seem spirit as the first book. Babar’s Little Girl is about their littlest, Isabelle, and how great she is and how she gets to have adventures even when she gets in trouble. And she’s on roller skates. And has a Walkman. It’s all very strange to me because the books have so little STORY in them. Goodreads calls the book “thought-provoking” in the description, but I have so little thoughts in response to these books I just…don’t even know where to go with this.
Onward, I suppose.
Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? is a “somewhere, someone has it worse” kind of tale from Dr. Seuss. I am naturally twitchy with books like this, because I’m from the “validate everyone’s feelings!” generation. I think understanding one’s privilege (or at least lack of crappy life) is a good thing, but eh. EH, I say, about a Dr. Seuss book.
The Berenstain Bears Go to the Doctor is a cursory, here’s what a doctor’s visit goes like book, with a little giggle-worthy Papa silliness for the kids. You know what and who it’s good for.
Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! is a Seussian tale, but not quite Seuss himself. It’s based on some bits and pieces he was working on when he died, and then Jack Prelutsky, who I do not love (he’s okay), and Lane Smith, who I do love, came in and did the text and art, respectively. I don’t feel like Prelutsky is even trying to capture Seuss’s voice here, so there’s that, and I do like the way Smith integrates Seuss’s work into the art. So the kids may like this, or they may not. If you read it with them, let me know.
This Moose Belongs to Me is a hilarious, adorable story by Oliver Jeffers. Wilfred has a moose. His moose has a name, and a large set of rules, that he follows…sometimes. I’ve gotta read this one with the older kids, who will appreciate its sense of humor.
Waking Dragons by Jane Tolen is a cute little toddler-y rhyming story that I think I’ll use for toddler time. Derek Anderson’s art is so colorful and pretty. That’s pretty much all I have to say about it. It’s not, like, life-changing or anything.
Smudge and the Book of Mistakes: A Christmas Story is an odd little duck indeed. Gloria Whelan has no intention of being historically accurate (or, at least, I don’t THINK they said “stick-to-itive-ness” in the Middle Ages), or, I don’t know, good with narrative flow. Stephen Costanza’s art is cute but doesn’t quite fit the story, which is only funny about a quarter of the time. It has a LOT of words for a picture book, and laid out weird too. Sometimes the next will take up three-quarters of a page, leaving much space at the bottom. The whole thing is an awkward effort. I didn’t order it; it must’ve come late with the Christmas delivery.
Alphabet Adventure by Audrey and Bruce Wood is the story of an alphabet whose letters are preparing to go to school and…look, this book looks like Super Mario Sunshine threw up. It’s busy, it’s bright, it’s UGLY, it’s flat, it’s awkward–it’s like someone went out, got a computer, decided to play with digital art for the first time, and asked an author to shoehorn in a story to go with their ugly pictures they’re so fond of. Not wanting to break the little “artist”‘s heart, the author agrees, and the story is…okay. But the art ruins everything. I know my kids are crazy about these books–or I’ve heard the rumor that they are–so…kids are tacky, the end.
Alphabet Rescue is slightly better in that the art is less crazy busy and the story is still trippy-weird but a bit more sensible. Letters living like people, except not really–what’s this world coming to?
Pigs Will Be Pigs: Fun with Math and Money is kind of a half-fiction, half-non-fiction-in-that-it’s-adding book. Sharon McGinley-Nally’s art is right out of the ’90s, which is when this book was published, so…spot on. Although I still feel like the art itself is pretty childlike. Amy Axelrod integrates the story with the math simply, and I like it. I hope the kids take this one out, even if the girl on the front looks like she’s trying to be Madonna. Pigdonna?
Max and Ruby’s Treasure Hunt by Rosemary Wells is a book that integrates flaps very well, buuuuuut, this book seems so BIG. Why is it so BIG? The art is a little less shiny than the Max and Ruby I’m used to, but does it matter? It’s a fun little book that kids will be happy with because they can solve the clues themselves, and then you can recreate the book itself with your own treasure hunt. I have chocolate coins leftover from Saturday, if you want them.
Caillou: Baby Sister by Joceline Sanschagrin is not a very good Caillou book. Caillou is acting out when Rosie comes home, but it’s not a story so much as a series of choppy vignettes that have crappy resolutions and basically rely on the capriciousness of a toddler to solve all the problems.
Every Cowgirl Needs Dancing Boots is another story of Nellie Sue, suburban cowgirl. In this one, she has boots but no one to dance with. The new sisters across the way are more ballerina than cowgirls. Can they find a way to be friends? Rebecca Janni’s Nellie Sue is as adorable as ever, and Lynne Avril’s pictures are still cute as a button, although I think she missed an opportunity when she draws Nellie Sue making a hoedown banner rather than illustrating the great line “my brains were droopin’ and my boots were draggin’.”
The Very Fairy Princess Follows Her Heart is another winner from Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton. Gerry is the cutest fairy princess of all–a little Fancy Nancy, a little Pinkalicious, but with a heart of gold. In this installment, Gerry celebrates Valentine’s Day and makes it extra-special even when her valentines get misplaced. WTG, Gerry (and Mrs Edwards, and Ms. Hamilton).
Chu’s Day by Neil Gaiman is a cute if unremarkable story with adorable illustrations by Adam Rex, who I last crowed about with Chloe and the Lion, I think. Chu is a panda with a big sneeze, who goes through the day with a lot of sneezable things but is okay until…the circus. Then he sneezes. The end. It’s not exactly a deep work, but it’s a cute one. We’ll see if my toddlers like it. I think the simplicity of it will appeal to them.
Spongebob’s Easter Parade is another one by Steven Banks. Spongebob and Patrick didn’t start their Easter float in time, but when falls off of a truck…why not take the opportunity? Because Spongebob is pretty moral.
The Berenstain Bears and the Real Easter Eggs is one of those middle-time-period books where it’s awkward. It’s Easter, but everyone is talking about “life,” not Jesus, and Sister is feeling pretty materialistic, but some real egg’s–bird’s eggs–interrupt her candy hunt and she feels awed by not what she can get, but what the world has to offer. So…good moral, decent execution. This is still under the names Stan and Jan Berenstain.
Okay, that’s enough of that. More later. So many more later…