Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Kids Can Press whets readers' appetites with COMICS! COMICS! COMICS! GRAPHIC NOVEL SAMPLER (2011). These teasers from full length books about Binky, Lila and Ecco, Otto and Crackers, and more will certainly make readers search out further adventures of their favorites from this sampler. The final entry, "What Are Comics?" from Lila and Ecco's Do-It-Yourself Comics Club should be required reading for anyone looking for some basic information about comics and graphic novels. <37>

Monday, January 30, 2012

Narrative Nonfiction

THE MYSTERIES OF ANGKOR WAT by Richard Sobol (Candlewick Press 2011) takes readers into the ruins of Cambodia's ancient temple. Built almost 1000 years ago, the temple is a tribute to the ancient civilization that built it and, eventually, seems to have disappeared. Sobol, a photographer, includes detailed photographs that show not only the temple but the people, particularly the children, of Angkor Wat. <36>

Sunday, January 29, 2012

family and friends

THE HERO OF LITTLE STREET by Gregory Rogers (Roaring Brook Press, March 2012) is the third book in the boy bear series (and it is not necessary to have seen the other two to enjoy this one). it is a textless adventure in picture book/graphic novel format that follows a boy escaping a gang of bullies. Readers can tell their own story as they follow our "hero"into a museum and then into a painting. <34>

THE FAMILY TREE by David McPhail (Holt, March 2012) presents the story of a tree that has been in one family for a long time. When the family first arrived, they left one tree standing for shade and shelter. As time passes, the tree grows taller and is slowly surrounded by new members of the family. One day, the tree is scheduled for destruction; it will be cut down to make room for a new highway. However, one young boy is determined to save the "family tree." <35>

Saturday, January 28, 2012

picture books

TRAIN MAN by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha (Holt, March 2012)is a perfect book for any child who dreams of becoming a train engineer. A young boy plays with his trains and imagines what it will be like to become a train man. He will drive the train up mountains delivering passengers safely. Of course, he will take along his little brother, too, so he can also become a train man when he grows up. <32>

HELP ME LEARN ADDITION by Jean Marzollo with photographic illustrations by Chad Phillips (Holiday House, March 2012) addresses basic math concepts with numbers from 0-20. Clear photographs allow readers to count and "manipulate" puppets, chicks, and other objects as they learn the various ways numbers can operate in addition.

Friday, January 27, 2012

time time time

CHRONAL ENGINE by Greg Leitich Smith (Clarion, March 2012) will transport readers back in time along with four young teens to the era of dinosaurs in Texas. Dinosaurs in Texas, you ask? Yep, there are plenty of fossils here to demonstrate their presence. Max, Kyle, and Emma know that already as their reclusive grandfather lives on land where dino tracks are clearly in evidence. When they are sent to spend the summer with their grandfather, they are excited to have the chance to see the Loblolly Dinosaur Tracks. What they do not expect, though, is an even greater adventure. The three siblings along with Petra, the daughter of their grandfather's housekeeper discover the time machine in their grandfather's workroom. Soon, Emma is kidnapped and her brothers Max and Kyle, along with Petra, use the time machine to travel back to the Cretaceous period. Lots of narrow escapes from foes both human and saurapod await these kids in this fast paced novel. <31>

Thursday, January 26, 2012


ROMANS VS. DINOSAURS ON MARS: DRAW YOUR OWN ADVENTURE by Nikalas Catlow and Tim Wesson (Nosy Crow 2011) is a GN in the vein of the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey. Lots of humor and word play abound as our story unfolds. Meet Maximus Victorious, Clawdius, and the rest of the cast of characters who are trying to prevent the destruction of Mars from the giant asteroid hurtling toward it from space. As the reader turns pages, she or he is encouraged to add details to each illustration. Absurd? You bet! Funny? That, too. Add to it a chance to contribute your own art, and you have a winner. <30>

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

unusual ranch hands

THE GUARDIAN TEAM: ON THE JOB WITH RENA AND ROO by Cat Urbigikt (Boyds Mills Press 2011) presents the unusual tale of a mule and a dog who work a ranch in Wyoming. Rena and Roo both help guard the sheep from predators. This unlikely relationship began slowly as the two gradually became used to each other's presence and then the presence of their flock. Beautiful photographs accompany the spare text. <29>

Reading the Awards

I posted some thoughts about the Youth Media Awards over at my LiveJournal site (http://professornana.livejournal.com) but wanted to add some thoughts here as well. I downloaded BREAKING STALIN'S NOSE, one of the Newbery Honor Books, to my Kindle yesterday. Last night I sat and read it from cover to cover (OK, we will have to come up with some new terminology for reading eBooks). I already loved the Newbery Committee for selecting DEAD END IN NORVELT for their winning title. My level of respect and love zoomed even higher after reading this honor book.

Today I plan to read JASPER JONES, one of the Printz Honor Books. Since I spent most of 2011 reading debut novels, I set some other books aside for after awards time. I have read about 50 pages and am in LOVE. Wow, what an opening. I am highlighting passages right, left, and sideways (also on the Kindle). I cannot wait to get back to the book after I finish some of the items on my TO-DO list.

The committees do incredible work.They are then subjected to the criticism which inevitably follows. I missed seeing some of my favorite books on the lists. But as I read the rest of the winners, I see immediately the insight of the committees: they selected books that are literary, strong, and much more. Does that mean there are not more books out there worthy of honor, worthy of reading? Nope, not at all. What it means is that there is a process for selecting the winning title and honor books (or for the selection lists for including some titles and not others). Books are pored over multiple times. Some books rise to the top and supplant other titles.

The year I was on Printz (GOING BOVINE was our winning title), I kept a short stack on the table next to me all the time. That stack included the 5 titles I thought should be our winning and honor titles. If I read a book I thought I wanted to place in the stack, that meant one title had to be eliminated. Yikes, was that tough. I did the same things last year with Excellence in Nonfiction and this year with the Morris Committee. Some of the shuffling in the stack of 5 was downright painful. I am so happy this year to see some of the books I had to surrender make it to Quick Picks and Best Fiction for Young Adults and the other lists. But even if they did not make other lists, they are still some of my favorite books from the year. I will talk about them in workshops and classes and have talked about there here online as well.

So, one more time: BRAVO committees. I am slowly working my way through the books that escaped my attention. I am so psyched that I will be able to hear the speeches from the winners at ALA in Anaheim. Most of all, I am thrilled as a reader and a lover of books to see others who share my passion.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

legends of Big Foot

IN SEARCH OF SASQUATCH by Kelly Milner Halls (Houghton Mifflin 2011) details the myths and legends surrounding Sasquatch, aka Bigfoot, aka Yeti, Abominable Snowman, etc. Halls examines the facts of sightings and evidence through interviews with leading experts in the field. The layout of this informational picture book breaks the text into manageable pieces for all readers. Photos and other illustrations serve to enhance the text as well. Those readers who find this book interesting would also enjoy Halls' TALES OF THE CRYPTIDS and some of the other books included in appended material. <28>

Monday, January 23, 2012

science in action

FAR FROM SHORE: CHRONICLES OF AN OPEN OCEAN VOYAGE by Sophie Webb (Houghton Mifflin 2011) takes readers along on a long term voyage of scientists to study birds, mammals, and other life in and around the open ocean. Webb, author of the Sibert winning MY SEASON WITH PENGUINS, uses watercolor illustrations and sketches and diagrams to illuminate the findings of the scientists who are searching for answers to some questions such as: now that purse seine catching is illegal, are the numbers of dolphins on the increase? The four month journey provides more questions than answers in some cases, though, as Webb and her colleagues study the myriad of lifeforms that make up the ecosystem of the open ocean. <27>

Sunday, January 22, 2012

new in nonfiction

ANCIENT EGYPT: TALES OF GODS AND PHARAOHS by Marcia Williams (Candlewick Press 2011)uses a picture book/ GN format to tell the stories of Tut, Thutmose, Cleopatra, and other important gods and leaders of the ancient Egyptians. Illustrations move from double page spreads to GN panels and serve to emphasize the importance of the action being described in the text. This book would make a great accompaniment to Rick Riordan's book based on Egyptian mythology. <26>

Saturday, January 21, 2012

history in many forms and formats

Kadir Nelson creates a memorable reading and viewing experience in HEART AND SOUL: THE STORY OF AFRICA AND AFRICAN AMERICANS (Balzer and Bray 2011). As he did in WE ARE THE SHIP, Nelson creates a narrator to tell the story of the history from Colonial times to post Civil Rights Movement. Paintings of key players and events extend and elaborate the text which is immediately accessible to readers. This is a book that begs to be browsed at first, taking time to view the illustrations that are hallmarks of Nelson's work. The text can be enjoyed silently, but the rhythm and style beg for a good read aloud as well. <24>

NEVER FORGOTTEN by Patricia McKissack with illustrations by Leo and Diane Dillon (Schwartz and Wade 2011) uses poems to tell the story of one family's travails in slavery. McKissack's voice never waivers as she gives voice to various
characters" and their experiences from capture to final freedom. Acrylic and watercolor illustrations are highly stylized and provide the perfect colors, tones, and symbols from each of the stories contained in this book. <25>

Friday, January 20, 2012

building vocabulary

GIFTS FROM THE GODS: ANCIENT WORDS AND WISDOM FROM GREEK AND ROMAN MYTHOLOGY by Lise Lunge-Larsen with illustrations by Gareth Hinds (Houghton Mifflin 2011) accomplishes two things in its span of pages. It recounts some of the tales of Greek and Roman myths while to explains the derivation of words that come from their 9the gods) names and events from the old stories. Tantalize, siren, genius, fury, opening Pandora's box, and much more are included in this book. After students have explored this book, ask them to use their newly developed skills when they turn to Rick Riordan's books to see if they can catch some other references to words and phrases from mythologies. <22>

Thursday, January 19, 2012

GN with attitude (and dogs)

MUSH: SLED DOGS WITH ATTITUDES by Glenn Eichler and Joe Infurnari (First Second 2011) introduces readers to a team of sled dogs who spend the time they are not mushing discussing various issues of importance to them and their lives (breeding, leadership, the master, food, etc.). This graphic novel is funny, ribald in places actually. But it is also thoughtful and thought-provoking. Imagine what it would be like to see inside the minds of the dogs from DOGSONG or CALL OF THE WILD. Meet Fiddler, Dolly, Venus, Guy, Buddy, and Winston up close and personal as they work and play and occasionally fight. <21>

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Picture these

11 EXPERIMENTS THAT FAILED by Jenny Offill and Nancy Carpenter (Schwatrz and Wade 2011) certainly mimics the scientific process with hypotheses and experiments that intend to prove or disprove them. However, a close examination of the hypotheses reveals the humorous approach to discovery. One hypothesis suggests it is possible to survive eating only ketchup covered snow. Failed hypothesis. Another suggests that dogs like to be covered in glitter. Failed hypothesis. Tons of humor in this book that begs to be pored over by young readers. <17>

MISS LINA'S BALLERINAS AND THE PRINCE by Grace Maccarone with illustrations by Christine Davenier brings back Sabrina, Christine Davenier (Feiwel and Friends 2011) brings back Edwina, Nina, Katrina, Justina, Regina, marina, and Bettina. Now they are to be joined by a boy who will play the prince in their new recital. The ballerinas have visions of grand dances with the boy. However, his appearance does not quite measure up to their visions. <18>

A different kind of dance is featured in DANCING ON GRAPES by Graziella Pacini Buonanno with illustrations by Gina Capaldi (Boyds Mills Press 2011). Claudia's family gathers at the end of the grape harvest for their family tradition of dancing ion the grapes. Will Claudia be allowed to participate? if so, will she have the courage to climb to the roof where the dancing occurs? <19>

THE LEPRECHAUN UNDER THE BED by Teresa Bateman with illustration by Paul Meisel (Holiday House 2012)is an interesting variation on the story of the elves and the shoemaker. In this story, Sean, a shoemaker, builds his house right over the home of a leprechaun named Brian. Brian tries everything to scare Sean away to no avail. Ultimately, the two become good friends with some surprising results. <20>

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

other words for love

Ari is a talented artist who travels daily to an upscale school in Manhattan so that her talent can be nurtured. Ari's mother hovers over her protectively. After all, Ari's older sister became pregnant as a teen, so Ari must be warned constantly to stay focused on her ability and her future. However, real life is a bit more complicated and messy. Ari meets a new girl at her school and forms a friendship of sorts, a relationship that threatens her relationship with Summer, a friend since childhood. And then o could is Blake, someone who could also be a huge distraction. First time novelist Rosenthal explores family dynamics, first love, and art will find this a fascinating read. <16>

Monday, January 16, 2012

bilingual stories

THE COYOTE UNDER THE TABLE: EL COYOTE DEBAJO LA MESA by Joe Hayes (Cinco Puntos 2011) presents brief folktales in English and in Spanish. Trickster tales, archetypes, fables: they are all represented in these stories, many of which have a humorous bent. A janitor saves the life of a beloved parish priest, a clever woman eludes amorous suitors: readers will enjoy these stories whether read aloud or read alone. <15>

Sunday, January 15, 2012

short, short, short

THERE IS NO LONG DISTANCE NOW: VERY SHORT STORIES by Naomi Shihab Nye (Greenwillow 2011) is a collection of stories that are sometimes vignettes, sometimes a slice of a larger story (well, always that, I think), sometimes prose poems, and always thought-provoking. Master wordsmith Nye offers readers quick glimpses into character, motivation, dialogue, and other elements of writing. Perfect for reading aloud before asking students to do some free writing. Good for simply reading aloud and letting the story percolate in their minds as well. <14>

Saturday, January 14, 2012

the nonfiction keeps on coming

THE BRAVEST WOMAN IN AMERICA by Marissa Moss with illustrations by Andrea U'ren (Tricycle Press 2011) is a fictionalized biography of Ida Lewis who, at the tender age of 16, helped tend the lighthouse and rescue sailors. She eventually became an official light house keeper and was honored with The Congressional Life Saving medal later in her life. Perhaps we can use this as an introduction to THE DEAD TOSSED WAVES, a story set at the base of a lighthouse? <10>

POLAR BEARS by Mark Newman (Holt 2011) would make an excellent model for readers and writers. Each double page spread contains one simple sentence (i.e., Polar bears are twins) in large type. Smaller paragraphs then elaborate on that sentence. Pair with THE GOLDEN COMPASS since that is the mental image that swam in my mind as I viewed this wonderful photos of polar bears. <11>

FRANKLIN AND WINSTON: A CHRISTMAS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD by Douglas Wood with illustrations by Barry Moser (Candlewick Press 2011) tells the story of the Christmas that the US entered into WWII following the bombing of Pearl harbor. Churchill and Roosevelt enjoyed a visit at the White House, one filled with friendship between the two world leaders. Pair this with Jim Giblin's TRUCE. <12>

BEFORE THERE WAS MOZART, there was Joseph, Chevalier de Saint-George, the son of a slave and her master. Joseph and his parents emigrated to Paris when Joseph was a child. It was his father's home, and the family hoped they might all find acceptance there. For Joseph, life was not so easy. A mixed race child, he suffered from the murmurings of others. However, his immense musical talents won him admirers, including Louis XV and his wife. I might pair this with THE MOVES MAKE THE MAN by Bruce Brooks. <13>

Friday, January 13, 2012

looking from a different angle

WHITE WATER: INSPIRED BY A TRUE STORY by Michael Bandy and Eric Stein with illustrations by Shadra Strickland (Candlewick Press 2011) is an interesting look at how one boy viewed the Jim Crow laws as a child. Michael drinks from the "Colored" fountain and finds the water gorss: gritty and rusty tasting. he imagines how sweet the water in the "White" fountain must be and dreams of being able to drink from it. When he finally succeeds, he discovers that the same pipe feeds both fountains. His insight into this event shapes his thinking about the Civil rights Movement and his ability to become whatever he wants to become. <8>

DINOSAUR DIG! by Penny Dale is a fun and fast paced counting book with dinosaurs using earth moving equipment to build their own pool. Lots of onomatopoeia. <9>

Thursday, January 12, 2012

more nonfiction for the new year

TITANIC SINKS by Barry Denenberg (Viking 2011) will transport readers to the time and place of the sailing and eventual sinking of the Titanic. Denenberg uses primary source documents (logs, newspaper stories, etc.) to set the stage for the events leading to the destruction of the ship once deemed indestructible. <4>

STRANGE CREATURES: THE STORY OF WALTER ROTHSCHILD AND HIS MUSEUM (Disney Hyperion 2011) is a biography of a man who dreamed as a child about a museum that would contain his collections as well as various species of animals. Rothschild was the son of one of the bankers for Queen Victoria. He viewed his son's interest in nature as something that needed to be squashed. Walter, however, persevered in his pursuit of knowledge of the natural world and eventually realized his dream of opening his own museum <5>

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

nonfiction picture books

Here are some more excellent books to use with kids in various content areas. Narrative nonfiction is am important element of the new state test for kids in Texas (and elsewhere) and these will give readers some experiences with narrative nonfiction text 9and illustrations).

RESCUING ROVER: SAVING AMERICA'S DOGS by Raymond Bial (Boyds Mills 2011) will provide insight for readers into how America has come to have such a problem with too many dogs abandoned and abused. Bial discusses puppy mills, pet stores, breeders, humane societies and other aspects of this topic in clear and concise text. <1>

Catherine Clinton's WHEN HARRIET MET SOJOURNER (Amistad 2011, illustrated by Shane Evans)presents information about Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth and the roles they played in helping to free slaves and win rights for former slaves. The two women met once and, though no one was present to record the meeting, Clinton imagines what that historic meeting might have been like given the nature of the two women. <2>

A young boy asks about the mule eating the greens in a nearby garden. In response, the owner of the garden and caretaker of the mule tells him about BELL, THE LAST MULE OF GEE'S BEND (Candlewick 2011). Calvin Ramsey and Bettye Stroud (with illustrations by John Holyfield) introduce readers to the efforts of Dr. King to get the voters from Gee's Bend to the polls and the role played by Belle and other mules to transport wagons filled with African Americans to the polls. Belle was also selected as one of the mules to pull the wagon with Dr. King's coffin following his assassination. <3>

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

the lonely and the brave

WE MARCH by Shane Evans (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, 2012) is a simple homage to the brave men and women and children who gathered on the Mall in Washington, DC, in the summer of 1963. The words are spare and the illustrations are simple yet radiate all sorts of quiet strength. History teachers should consider taking this into the classroom to supplement the textbook. <711>

THERE GOES TED WILLIAMS: THE GREATEST HITTER WHO EVER LIVED (Candlewick Press 2012) by Matt Tavares simply exudes joy. From the joy in the face of the young Ted Williams as he breaks high school records and is signed to a contract at the tender age of 17, to the newly minted big leaguer Ted Williams as he practices until his hands bleed. This biography clearly communicates the incredible joy that Williams found in his sport. <712>

THE LONELY BOOK by Kate Bernheimer with illustrations by Chris Sheban (Schwartz and Wade 2012) shows how much the love of a reader can do in the life of a book. As the story opens, the book is new. It is frequently checked out and lovingly read. Eventually, though, the new-ness wears off and the book is relegated to a normal shelf where sometimes it will sit for a long time without anyone reading it. The special bond between a book and a reader comes to life in this lovely story. <713>

Monday, January 9, 2012

Odds and endings

SOLOMON CROCODILE by Catherine Rayner (FSG 2011) has a grinning Solomon on the cover. Solomon loves to scare the frogs and upset the other wildlife near the water. They, of course, chastise him for his behavior. However, it is all in good fun. But it does make it tough to find a friend. <706>

THE PRINCESS OF BORSCHT by Leda Schubert with illustrations by Bonnie Christensen (Roaring Brook 2011) opens with Ruthie visiting her grandmother in the hospital. The only thing that will make grandma feel better is a bowl of borscht. But Grandma falls asleep before telling Ruthie how to make it or even where to find the recipe. Ruthie enlists some of grandma's neighbors who argue about the best way to make borscht. Recipe included. <707>

As THE PRINCE'S NEW PET by Brian Anderson (Roaring Brook 2011) opens, the young Prince Viridian is mourning the total absence of color in his father's kingdom. The Royal Color Catcher has banished all color as it reminds the king of his late wife. However, when a strange gift arrives for Prince Viridian's birthday, the gray kingdom just might stand a chance of getting some of its color back. <708>

HENRY'S HEART (Holt 2011) is a terrific example of how fact and fiction can coexist beautifully together. Charise Mericle Harper tells the story of Henry and his heart. One day, while walking with his father, Henry's heart begins to beat faster. What is making this change in heart rate? Henry has spied a puppy in the pet store window. His father says they cannot buy the puppy, and Henry returns home to hole up in his room. Concerned, his mother takes Henry to the doctor who has a special prescription to help Henry's heart. <709>

BABY, COME AWAY by Victoria Adler with illustrations by David Walker (FSG 2011) has a driving rhythm that will take the reader along with baby as he interacts with birds, and cats, and dogs, and other things over the course of a busy day. Not quite a lullaby but more of a marching song with great repetition to encourage young kids to read along. <710>

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Fathers and Daughters

In DOTTER OF HER FATHER'S EYES, Mary Talbot produces a GN that contains two interwoven narratives (Dark Horse Comics 2012). One is the story of James Joyce's daughter, Lucia. The second is Mary's own childhood and adolescence. her father was James Atherton, the definitive Joycean scholar. Though set years apart, the two stories do touch and intertwine as each daughter navigates the rather stormy waters of father-daughter relationships. Use of color, light, and perspective add much to the spare text. Honors English teachers might wish to share this GN with their students to demonstrate mood, tone, and narrative structure. <705>

Saturday, January 7, 2012

reimagined, reinvented, retold

Even though the cover art is not final and the book is not due to pub until July, you will want to have this book ordered and set to go straight to the top of your TBR stack. LIES, KNIVES, AND GIRLS IN RED DRESSES by Ron Koertge (Candlewick, July 2012) presents fairy tales in variations one never dreamed possible. Here is how this remarkable book opens: black page with white letters:

Do you want to sleep? Find another storyteller. Do you want to think about the world in a new way?

Come closer. Closer, please.
I want to whisper in your ear.

OK, I am already hooked. Plus, I know what Koertge can deliver having been a fan of his work for years. STONER AND SPAZ, SHAKESPEARE BATS CLEANUP, STRAYS, MARGAUX WITH AN X, THE ARIZONA KID, and THE BRIMSTONE JOURNALS are all on my shelves, all favorites. So, now Koertge turns his talent to the fairy tale. Come and explore Cinderella, Little red Riding Hood, and Rumplestiltskin. Be prepared, though, for these are not for the faint of heart. Here are stories that have their origins deep within the Grimm Brothers; they are totally un-Disneyfied and very adult. Some tales are monologues, some dialogues, some beautifully wrought poems. Hansel and Gretel wreak revenge on a father who did nothing to prevent their abandonment; the Ogre Queen (mother of Prince Charming) now serves as a consultant in D.C. There are surprises around every corner in this slim, unforgettable, unputdownable collection. <23>

Friday, January 6, 2012


Laurence Pringle is a master of narrative nonfiction. In BILLIONS OF YEARS, AMAZING CHANGES: THE STORY OF EVOLUTION, illustrated by Steve Jenkins (Boyds Mills Press 2011), Pringle explains in clear and concise language all of the elements of evolution. He reviews the work of Darwin and Mendel and Crick and Watson among others and discusses how their discoveries and observations have all contributed to our understanding of how evolution works. Science teachers would do well to use this book to supplement (or even supplant) the chapter on evolution in the textbooks. <699>

Thursday, January 5, 2012

trivia queen

Meet OLIVIA BEAN, TRIVIA QUEEN by Donna Gephart (Delacorte, March 2012). Olivia demands quiet in the house each night when "Jeopardy" airs. It was a tradition for Olivia to watch the show with her father. Since the divorce, Olivia continues this tradition alone though sometimes her mother's boyfriend Neil tries to sit alongside her. Olivia is determined to make her way to Hollywood where "Jeopardy" is filmed. She wants to meet Alex Trebek and compete on the show. Even more, she wants to reconnect with her absent father and his new family.

Gephart captures the heart of tweendom in this book. Olivia is just coming to understand her own strengths and weaknesses and to determine who her real friends are. The feelings of children of divorce is not new territory but Gephart explores a new realm with Olivia. Noting is truly resolved, but Olivia is well on the way to coming to terms with the realities of her life and how she can best deal with them. <698>

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

retelling tales

SERIOUSLY, CINDERELLA IS SO ANNOYING: THE STORY OF CINDERELLA AS TOLD BY THE WICKED STEPMOTHER by Tricia Speed Shaskan with illustrations by Gerald Guerlais (Picture Window Books 2011) presents readers who know one version of the story of Cinderella with a story from another point of view. Cinderella's stepmother bemoans her new stepdaughter's tendency to tell stories. Right before the royal ball, Cinderella loses her voice and has to stay home. However, she does make it to the ball and marries the Prince. Now both Cinderella and her stepmother can live happily ever after. <696>

Another retelling of a classic fable is THE ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER by Mark White (Picture Window 2011). Simple text and illustrations tell the story of a hard working ant who has food stored for when the weather turns cold. Poor grasshopper is left out in the cold!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Quick Reads

Tom's father is too afraid to go outside to see the marvelous shows Tom as designed (snails on a trampoline; squirrels on the trapeze). In TOM THE TAMER by Tjibble Veldkamp and Philip Hopman (Lemniscaat 2011), readers will see the clever solution Tom comes up with to make his father much less fearful of the outdoors and of animals. <693>

THE HELPFUL ELVES by August Kopisch with illustrations by Beatrice Braun-Fock (Floris Books 2011) features a die cut on the cover showing 10 helpful elves watching over a sleeping figure in bed. As the story unfols, as each page is turned, the elf (which sits on the top border of the page) goes from facing the reader to the back view. This clever design (which I have ham handedly tried to describe) adds to the fun of the story. <694>

HUSH LITTLE TURTLE by Maranke Rinck and Martjin van der Linden (Lemniscaat 2011) is a board book about a turtle that is too restive to fall asleep. The animals try remedies including warm milk and lullabies to no avail. How will they be able to help turtle sleep? <695>