Saturday, July 28, 2012

Book Review: On My Way to the Bath by Sarah Maizes, illustrated by Michael Paraskevas

Book: On My Way to the Bath
Author: Sarah Maizes
Illustrator: Michael Paraskevas
Published: 2012
Source: Local Library

Bathtime is no fun. Livi has so many better things to do than to take a bath. Why, she has to be a snake, and scare her little brother! She has to put on a show to her sister’s music! She has to harnass her hamster minions and plot to take over the world! But mom is firm. It is bathtime, and a bath must be taken. But will Livi ever get to the tub?

We’ve all been there, and many of us on both sides of the equation. Livi allows herself to be distracted as much as possible while avoiding the inevitable. Her mother, seen almost entirely as an exasperated speech bubble from off-page, keeps reminding her of the task at hand. Livi’s imagination is the star of the show, conjuring up wild and funny scenarios that spill all over the page in a colorful, witty mix of reality and fantasy. (One thing did tickle me enormously, and that’s in the illustration of the musical sister: her boom box features an iPod dock. Welcome to the future.)

This imaginative kid (and her progressively less patient mother) will bring on gales of laughter and nods of familiarity.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Book Review: Small Saul by Ashley Spires, illustrated by Tara Walker

Book: Small Saul
Author: Ashley Spires
Illustrator: Tara Walker
Published: 2011
Source: Local Library

Saul loves the sea, but it doesn’t love him back. He’s a little too neat and clean and, well, nice to be a proper pirate. So the captain pushes him overboard. (He is a pirate. It’s just something they do.) But they soon start to miss the freshly scrubbed decks, the yummy lemon cakes, and most all, the bandaids during battle. Is it too late to get Small Saul back?

Kids will giggle over the text and the pictures, which are jam-packed with silly details (his Pirate College Diploma says “You ARRR a pirate.” HA!) Both sweet and tongue-in-cheek, this is a book for everyone who’s been a square peg in a round hole, and unexpectedly found that’s where they were meant to be.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Book Review: What Are You Doing? by Elisa Amado, illustrated by Manuel Monroy

Book: What Are You Doing?
Author: Elisa Amado
Illustrator: Manuel Monroy
Published: 2011
Source: Local Library

A little boy reluctant to start his first day of school goes around his town and sees most of his neighbors engaged in a peculiar activity. “What are you doing?” he asks. Reading! The paper, a repair manual, a comic book, a magazine. He decides that school may not be so bad after all, if he can learn to read while he’s there.

It’s obvious why this book charmed me utterly. My favorite part? Well, there’s two. One, there are just as many men as women reading. And second, they read for all kinds of reasons and all kinds of things. Use this to talk about all the reasons we read.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Stack-Buster #5

Little Pig Joins the Band by David Hyde Costello
Little pig is having some trouble. He’s too small to play any of the marching-band instruments that his older brothers and sisters do. What can he bring to it? Only the very special bossiness that the youngest child possesses. With funny side conversations in the illustrations, this charming book will strike a chord with every baby of the family.

Rooster/Gallo by Jorge Lujan, illustrated by Manuel Monroy
In a bilingual poem, a rooster greets the day and watches as it turns to night again. A beautiful piece of poetry, paired with dreamy illustrations, this has a permanent place in my storytime rotation.

One Foot, Two Feet: An Exceptional Counting Book by Peter Maloney, illustrated by Felicia Zekauskas
Let’s face it, you guys, English is confusing. There’s all these words like men and women and children and feet. This book collects several together and combines them with a counting progression. With cut-outs and sweetly quirky details, I predict that this slightly off-the-wall offering will enchant kids.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Reading Roundup: June 2012

By the Numbers
Picture Books: 14
Early Readers: 1

Library: all

Writing: On My Way to the Bath by Sarah Maizes, illustrated by Michael Paraskevas
The protagonist takes bathtime avoidance to a whole new level with her imaginative distractions. Can't wait to see what the storytime folks think of this.
Illustration: The Tree House by Marije Tolman and Ronald Tolman
This wordless picture book follows a couple of bears who discover a tree house and are joined by friends. Read it through a few times. Linger for awhile. You'll find yourself wanting a treehouse of your own.
Overall: Small Bunny's Blue Blanket by Tatya Feeney
It's the classic tale of separation from your best blankie. Like all the best picture-book writers, Feeney pares her story down to the bare essentials. In so doing, she both taps into and respects the raw emotions of a small child. I want to see more from her.

Because I Want To Awards
Read it Solely for the Illustrator: Elephants Swim by Linda Capus Riley, illustrated by Steve Jenkins
I think at this point I could recognize Jenkins' animals, as realistically rendered as cut-paper collage will allow, from across a room. Love 'em.
Big Giant Hee!: Oh No! Not Again!: (Or How I Built a Time Machine to save History) (Or at Least My History Grade) by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Dan Santat
The young narrator of this pair's first outing is back, and attempting to fix her A- grade on a history test (horrors!!) by building a time machine and going back so her answers are all correct. As you do. This is one for older kids, particularly those who like to pore over the pictures to catch all the jokes.