Archive for July, 2008

I Lost My Tooth in Africa

Thursday, July 31st, 2008
by Penda Diakite, illustrated by Baba Wague Diakite

I Lost My Tooth in Africa

A young girl travels from her home in the United States to visit her father’s family in Mali. While there, she looses a tooth and, according to Mali custom, receives two chickens from the African Tooth Fairy. Based on actual events from the author’s life, the story is enhanced by the brightly colored pictures painted by her father. Recommended for ages 4-8.

How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon?

Thursday, July 31st, 2008
by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Mark Teague

How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon?

Here’s an amusing book that features childish dinosaurs and how they behave when they are unwell. The comedic pictures feature sick dinosaurs interacting with parents, nurses, and doctors in ways that are socially appropriate and inappropriate. With lilting question-and-answer verses, the text provides children a humorous introduction to the etiquette of being ill. Recommended for ages 3-7.

I highly recommend the other books in this series as well, including:

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?

How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Rooms?

How Do Dinosaurs Go To School? (How Do Dinosaurs…)

How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food?

How Do Dinosaurs Play With Their Friends (How Do Dinosaurs)

The Love-Me Bird

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008
by Joyce Dunbar, illustrated by Sophie Fatus

The Love-Me Bird

In the search for true love, a little bird learns that it’s more about giving than receiving. It’s a sweet story with an important lesson, and the pictures are bright and colorful. It’s a charming addition to any library. Recommended for ages 4-8.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008
by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Brett Helquist

Complete Wreck

Be careful! They’re addictive! If you read one, you’ll end up reading them all. The series, consisting of thirteen books, follows the misfortunes of the Baudelaire orphans –Violet, an inventor, Klaus, a bookworm, and Sunny, a baby with bite! The children use their special talents to repeatedly escape the clutches of the evil Count Olaf who is after their fortune. The true delight in reading these books lies in the satirical narration and the ironic storylines. Recommended for ages 9-12.

The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 1)

The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 2)

The Wide Window (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 3)

The Miserable Mill (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 4)

The Austere Academy (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 5)

The Ersatz Elevator (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 6)

The Vile Village (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 7)

The Hostile Hospital (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 8)

The Carnivorous Carnival (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 9)

The Grim Grotto (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 11)

The Slippery Slope (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 10)

The Penultimate Peril (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 12)

The End (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 13)

Circle Dogs

Saturday, July 26th, 2008
by Kevin Henkes, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino

Circle Dogs

A fun look at the daily life of two dachshaunds and the family they live with. Written with young children in mind, the text includes sounds, questions, and repetitions meant to engage the reader from beginning to end. The dynamically simple, high-contrast pictures catch the eye and keep it moving from one image to the next. It’s a fun read for children and parents! Recommended for Pre-School age children.

Planting a Rainbow

Saturday, July 26th, 2008
written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert

Planting a Rainbow

A little girl tells about her experience planting a flower garden with her mother. As the flowers grow, they bloom in every color of the rainbow. The text is written simply from the child’s perspective and invites the reader to experience the excitement she feels as she watches her garden grow. The large, vividly colored pictures are reminiscent of Eric Carle’s work. Recommended for ages 4-8.

We’re Off to Look for Aliens

Friday, July 25th, 2008
written and illustrated by Colin McNaughton

We're Off to Look for Aliens

This is an inventive book-within-a-book tale with a surprise ending. A father who writes children’s books lets his family read his latest publication to see what they think of it. The father’s book (a paperback adhered within the hardback book) is a zaney story-in-verse of a man who built a spaceship and traveled the universe meeting all kinds of aliens –some strange, some smelly, some scarey, and one particularly lovely. The story is put into perspective on the last page when we meet the whole family and hear their opinion of the book. Recommended for ages 4-8.

The Red Chalk

Thursday, July 24th, 2008
by Iris van der Heide, illustrated by Marije Tolman

The Red Chalk

Sara is bored with her red chalk, so she trades it to Tim for his marbles. But Sara quickly tires of the marbles too. As she repeatedly trades toys with other children, she claims each one has a magical property. Unbeknownst to her, however, the magical powers of each toy prove real –with a little imagination. It’s a charming tale of the power of a creative mind. Reccomended for ages 2-5.

You’re All My Favorites

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008
by Sam McBratney, illustrated by Anita Jeram

Three little sibling bears want to know which of them their parents love best.  The answer, of course, is “you’re all my favorites!”  The text is simple and genuine.  The watercolor illustrations are bright and endearing.  It’s an ideal story for parents to read with all of their kids snuggled up together before bedtime. Recommended for ages 3-7.

Hello World

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008
Hello world!  By way of introduction, this blog is meant for anyone who loves a good children’s book.–And isn’t that everyone?  Don’t we all have memories of our parents reading to us before bed each night, or snuggling up with a good book on a rainy day, or hiding under the covers with a flashlight to finish just one more chapter? 
I’ll be updating the blog each weekday with a review of a children’s book.  By “children’s book,” I mean a book targeted for children under age 12, which includes picture books, easy readers, chapter books, and juvenile fiction.  I’ll be including new books just off the press, as well as older books and classics.  Every once in a while, I may also include a book targeted at parents if the subject relates to literacy and education.
What am I hoping to accomplish by creating this blog?  Well, for starters, I love books and reading and enjoy sharing things I love with others.  In addition, as a new stay-at-home mother, I thought a blog would be a great way to connect with others who share my devotion to quality children’s literature.  My third reason (a somewhat selfish one) is that as a librarian-on-hiatus, I really want to stay up-to-date on what is happening in the publishing world and keep my finger in the pie, so to speak. 
For convenience sake, I’m including links to for anyone who would like to purchase a reviewed book.  But as a former librarian, I strongly urge readers to make a note of reviewed books you’d like to read and check them out at your local library. And please, tell me (and everyone else) what you think.  This site will be a much richer information space if everyone share’s their ideas.
Thank you, Welcome, and Keep Reading!