Saturday, March 8, 2014

Book Review: Cheese Belongs to You! by Alexis Deacon, illustrated by Viviane Schwarz

Book: Cheese Belongs to You!
Author: Alexis Deacon
Illustrator: Viviane Schwarz
Published: 2013
Source: Local Library

By Rat Law, the cheese belongs to the first rat who finds it. Or the stronger rat, who can take it from him. Or the rat who can take it from him . . . or the one who can take it from her . . . Now the puzzle is, who really gets the cheese in the end?

When I first read this, I just smiled at the pile-on of rats taking the cheese, and Viviane Schwarz’s rats, who are astonishingly distinctive (and kinda scary) given how many of them there are. On my second read-through, I realized there’s a story about how things escalate in an everyone-for-himself society. When you get to the page with the rat free-for-all, it’s funny but also a little sad. The fight sprawls across two whole pages, with the disputed cheese (and the rat who found it first) off to one side, pretty much forgotten.

Of course, anybody who’s ever attended kindergarten knows there’s another way to deal with this situation, and the book ends with a rat feast stretching off into the distance. A great one for discussing sharing and getting along.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Reading Roundup: January and February 2014

By the Numbers
Picture Books: 9
Early Readers: 2

Library: 11

Writing: Dodsworth in Rome by Tim Egan
How many early readers do you see about a character's adventures in a whole different country? And his troublesome duck companion? I want to see where else Dodsworth has gone.
Illustration: Georgia in Hawaii: When Georgia O'Keeffe Painted What She Pleased, illustrated by Yuyi Morales, written by Amy Novesky
Did you know Georgia O'Keeffe went to Hawaii? I didn't either. Morales adopts some of the famous painter's style in her portrayal of the islands and the artist's adventures through the landscape.
Overall: Maria Tenia Una Llamita/Mary Had a Little Llama by Angela Dominguez
This was the book I carried around the library for a day like a four-year-old with a new favorite, forcing everyone to read it. Remaining mostly faithful to the traditional nursery rhyme, the pages burst with good cheer and adorable llamas. Not to mention that Peruvian landscape.

Because I Want To Awards
All of the Meta!: The Princess and the Pig by Jonathan Emmett, illustrated by Poly Bernatene
With the refrain "It's the kind of thing that happens all the time in books" this story is commenting aplenty on fairy tale tropes, and it made me giggle.
Have Your Earplugs Ready: Trains Go by Steve Light AND And the Cars Go . . . by William Bee
Oh, the noise of these books! Honks and clangs and chugs . . . I can't wait to read them in storytime and see how cacophonous it gets.
Dare You Not to Smile: Underwater Dogs, Kids Edition by Seth Casteel
Okay, the text ain't much to write home about. But the soggy, exuberant doggies in the photographs make up for all of that.