Saturday, March 30, 2013

Book Review: Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri

Book: Dragons Love Tacos
Author: Adam Rubin
Illustrator: Daniel Salmieri
Published: 2012
Source: Local Library

Dragons love tacos. Why is this? Nobody knows. It could be any number of reasons, but the end result is the same: dragons love tacos. But--and this is important!--they can’t stand spicy salsa. So if you’re giving a taco party for dragons, make absolutely sure there isn’t one single speck of jalapeno in your salsa. Or who knows what might happen?

When I first read this book, I laughed out loud. Is it the illustrations, with all their different varieties of dragon? Is it the narration, which builds on itself without being obnoxiously repetitious? Is it the scene that shows exactly what happens when dragons ingest spicy salsa? (Tip: it ain’t pretty.) Who knows. It made me smile. But I had my doubts about the length, which was on the long side for some of my storytime groups. I decided to try it, and lo and behold, they loved it too.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Book Review: Apple Cake by Julie Paschkis

Book: Apple Cake: A Recipe for Love
Author: Julie Paschkis
Illustrator: Julie Paschkis
Published: 2013
Source: Local Library

Alfonso is in love with Ida, but alas! Ida never looks up from her books to see him. So he sets about wooing her with apple cake. Will a sweet treat catch her attention long enough to show her his heart?

I adore Julie Paschkis’s art style. Can we just get that out of the way? I would pore over her grocery-list doodles. I’d have to be much more educated in art than I am to explain why I love them, but I think part of it is the simple lines, soft colors, and the willingness to be more than a little fanciful.

With this book, she showcases that fancifulness. The simple, almost prosaic text (“he beat two tablespoons of butter with a cup of sugar”) contrasts with the glorious illustrations. On the page quoted, for instance, he gets the butter by squeezing it from the sun, and the sugar from a friendly honeybee atop a few puffy clouds. This book, which landed on my desk just when I was looking for a Valentine's Day without an overabundance of treacle or pink, has ensured itself a place on my storytime shelf.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Stack-Buster #8

All by Myself! by Emile Jadoul
A little penguin gets his mommy and daddy out of bed every night to help him go potty. As you can imagine, this leads to some pretty severe sleep deprivation on Mommy and Daddy’s part. Can they possibly convince him that big boys go all by themselves? With a familiar situation and sympathetic parents (check out the illustration of the severely sleep-deprived grown-up penguins for a huge laugh), this one will have a long life.

Creepy Carrots written by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown
Jasper Rabbit loves carrots, but all of a sudden, he’s seeing them everywhere. They follow him to school, they’re under his bed, they’re all over the place. But nobody believes him! What to do? An entertainingly creepy book with a twist ending you’ll enjoy.

 Goldilocks and Just One Bear by Leigh Hodgkinson
A bear visiting a city is somewhat overwhelmed, and hides away in an apartment, eating porridge, sitting on chairs, and sleeping in beds - until the apartment’s inhabitants come home. One of them is very familiar . . . This retelling/inversion of the familiar fairy tale is endlessly entertaining.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Reading Roundup: January and February 2013

By the Numbers
Picture Books: 16

Library: all

Writing: Let's Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy by Jan Thomas
What a perfect little book, and I'm not just saying that because it came in the week before our cowboy theme in storytime. It was so much fun interrupting the lullaby with the cowboy's ear-splitting, "EEK!" upon seeing a snake (a stick) or a spider (a flower), that I think I'll have to come up with some other theme/excuse to read it again.
Illustration: Apple Cake: a recipe for love by Julie Paschkis
My love for this illustrator is well-documented. Imagine my glee upon discovering her newest. A cake is baked with love, and beautifully fanciful ingredients. The lush and intricate illustrations would charm anybody.
Overall: Perfect Square by Michael Hall
A square is happy with his four corners and his four sides, but finds himself constantly disarranged, so he makes the best of it, and even starts to enjoy himself. After this, I just want to make construction-paper art with four-year-olds for the rest of the day.

Because I Want To Awards
Ducks! Socks! Ducks in Socks!: Duck Sock Hop by Jane Kohuth, illustrated by Jan Porter
I mean, how can you go wrong? Really.
For Those Tired of Puppies and Rainbows: Little Tug by Stephen Savage
There's a sweetness to this book that I usually associate with more traditionally adorable things. Dare you not to say "awwww" at the end.