And of course I got more when I was thinking I could just get through the bigger ones…
Amelia Bedelia Hits the Trail solves my mystery! (But not the timeline problem.) SHE DOESN’T SAY A LOT OF THINGS ALOUD, SO NO ONE CORRECTS HER. She lives in a world with no non-literal information. Don’t they have this lesson in school? Because this makes my brain hurt less–and makes me less sad about this bizarre child/maid–I like this book a lot better than the others, even if the boys on the cover look a bit like they’re staring at the girls butts as they skip away.
Okay, well, Phonics Comics’s Cave Dave is pretty bad. It’s got that Flintstones vibe, in that it’s a “modern” stone age-world, but it’s not well done. The little sister is treated poorly, which I didn’t like at all. And then there’s Dave and his little dinosaur, who…are not that interesting. Oh well.
Catherine Saunders’s Star Wars: Who Saved the Galaxy? is pretty disjointed, but you’re working with a lot of information here. Also, you are teaching kids words like “cape” and expecting them to know “Palpatine.” That will never fail to amuse me. Also, half the pictures are VERY fuzzy movie stills. Ugh.
Barbie: A Fairy Secret is a different version of the story, a bit more of a coherent one. But it’s still Barbie: A Fairy Secret.
Well, Scooby-Doo and the Tank of Terrors is…interesting. It’s your basic mystery, where there are only two possible bad guys to choose from, but OH MY GOD, does Shaggy need to say “Like” before EVERY SENTENCE? EVERY ONE. There wasn’t one without it. Like the kids wouldn’t know it was him if he didn’t. And that was one huge, weird aquarium. Whatever. The kids will like it.
Nic Bishop is cool. His book Spiders is cool. He takes all his own pictures, and has spiders in his place to get all the best shots. DUDE, THERE IS NOTHING COOLER THAN THAT. Um, for other people. Cuz I couldn’t do it myself.
Barbie: I Can Be President kicks all the other I Can Be books out of the water, because it’s the only one that isn’t stupid and sexist. Barbie runs for class president, then meets the real president. Look, I’ll be honest–the picture on the front of the secret service ratdog is my favorite part, but I also liked that there was a woman president and that Barbie was compaigning for healthier school lunches. So she’s…a teenager in this? Okay. Kellee Riley does as good of a job as she can making everyone look distinctive when they all have the same general body type.
Madeline and Her Dog is another one from John Bemelmans Marciano, with awkward rhymes that go all over the place. The story is cute–the dog gets dirty, the dog needs a bath–but I hate reading these Madeline books. They just don’t scan right. Madeline’s Tea Party is much better, but she’s far too nice to Pepito at the end–or, rather, the book errs in calling them “good friends.” At least, that’s how I think. New friends? Sure. Good friends? We’ll see.
Show Me the Bunny! is another Spongebob book from Steven Banks, with art by C.H. Gleenblatt and William Reiss. It’s totally goofy, and Patrick is a big baby jerk, and it will absolutely appeal to Spongebob fans. And it’s Easter-themed. I guess. It’s Easter bunny- and egg- themed. Of course.
Wow, okay, The Misfits–another one from Phonics Comics–has really odd art. I thought that the kids on the front were ghosts, but it turns out they are dirty orphans who live a sort of watered-down Annie-esque life. It’s…not really clear what time period they are in, or…anything, really? I’ve seen a lot more done with level threes (and twos, and ones) than this book gives.
“Black clouds sulked all over the streets of Bangkok, Thailand.” Sulked? Really? Catherine Chambers’s Ape Adventures is reallllly awkward. And jam-packed with words, but a lot of them (especially the people in them) are given without context. It’s like we’re missing the title page for each story that tells you WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON. It’s a book that tries to make stories but doesn’t know how. Also, some of the adventures are a bit…not. Wasn’t thrilled with it. It’s stronger on facts and photographs.
Panda Patrol: Caring for a Cub is a level three that we have in our regular non-fiction, even though that makes no sense. But whatever. This book, by Juliana, Isabella, and Craig Hatkoff, gives us part of a story. Which is the only part it can give, for the cub’s life hasn’t yet completed. I guess. I mean, that could be the next Panda Patrol book. But unlike with fiction there is little to indicate that there are other connected books. Well. So much for that.
Amazing Armadillos shows us that you can write an interesting “story” about true things. I learned more about armadillos from this than I have in my whole life! Okay, that’s not saying much, but I will remember it better because the armadillo mommy’s life has become an adventure to me. See, other writers? Learn from Jennifer Guess McKerley! There aren’t even photographs! It’s all art by Paul Mirocha, who makes some pictures look very, very real.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Robot Rampage is another one from the April-is-a-kid-and-cross-species-crushes-are-creepy new Turtles series. But the book has a lot going for it. It tells a linear story with no problem thanks to the talent of Christy “A Fairy Secret Can Sort of Make Sense” Webster, and Patrick Spaziante (which I keep reading as “Spinaze”–like a knock-off Patrick Swayze)’s art is good, and wasn’t Metalhead from the original cartoon? Hmmm. So maybe I just have my nostalgia goggles on again.
Eve Bunting’s Frog & Friends: Frog’s Flying Adventure is the last book in the Frog & Friends series. Each one has been another level up, so the kids can grow with these sleepy, mellow creatures who give each other footrubs. I always want to take a nap after I read about Frog. Maybe it’s written that way on purpose…
ERs that don’t have levels written on them
Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please Go Now! is a simple, fun Dr. Seuss book. Really, it’s a classic for a reason.
Funny Bone: Jokes and Riddles is a Martha Speaks book by Karen Barss. It’s got some oldies but goodies and newer goodies too, and Martha-based goodies.
Three More Stories You Can Read to Your Cat by Sara Swan Miller is hilarious. I’m not as sold on the illustrations by True Kelley but hey, I’ll take them. They are second-person stories meant for cat-readalouds. Shouldn’t there be more of those in the world?
Plus something that looked like an ER but wasn’t.
Lego City’s Detective Chase McCain: Stop That Heist! is your usual Lego fare, with one silly character ruining for the rest of them. Chase McCain looks like Nathan Fillion. Kids who love Legos and silliness will like the book. That’s really all there is to say about it.
Okay, that’s enough of that. More next time, whatever’s left, and then…three weeks until I’m done working here.