Thursday, July 7, 2011

Picture Book Update

Got to spend some time at the bookstore the other day. Here are some thoughts on what I found.

Volcano Wakes Up!Volcano Wakes Up! by Lisa Westberg Peters

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I pretty much have to pick up anything Steve Jenkins touches ... love his collage art! Would love to see/touch some of the works in progress. Will have to make do with looking at the different textures.

I liked many of the poems in this book. I think the construction signs were my favorite. "Darn! This active volcano is always under construction."

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Every Cowgirl Needs Dancing BootsEvery Cowgirl Needs Dancing Boots by Rebecca Janni

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The part that stood out for me was how this little girl was proactive about making friends, even though at the outset it looked like they didn't have anything in common.
Fun! And I am not usually even a pink or sparkly fan.

Otto: The boy who loved carsOtto: The boy who loved cars by Kara LeReau

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cute enough. And possibly useful in a case where a child has an obsession with ONLY one kind of book (or TV show or toy or whatever).

A little preachy. But still cute.

Michael RecycleMichael Recycle by Ellie Bethel

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Apparently I missed something because here is another one I was not a big fan of that has a four star average.

Just felt ... super preachy. What is the word ... didactic? As much as I loved the whole "green" theme it just didn't work for me.

That's How!That's How! by Christoph Niemann

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this one! Not a lot of story there but I just liked how the one used her imagination to explain how all of the different items worked. Another writing center in there somewhere.

Tickle MonsterTickle Monster by Josie Bissett

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Here's another one where my rating is quite different from everyone else's.

I liked the illustrations but come on. "Here let me prove it--holy moly kind kitties, The next place to tickle is your under-arm pitties"?

Or is it because I'm not a parent?

Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate CakeBetty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake by Michael Kaplan

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Another one where I'm being wishy washy between two different ratings.

Loved how the little bunny thinks her mom calling her "a handful" is a good thing.

Pictures are cute. Just wasn't enough interesting about the story to make me really love it.

Miss Smith Under the OceanMiss Smith Under the Ocean by Michael Garland

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I like his other stuff better. Too much of this would require explanation. I mean ... I guess I liked the white whale addition to the story but really? Do we need to be explaining Moby Dick to the picture book crowd?

Should I Share My Ice Cream? (An Elephant and Piggie Book)Should I Share My Ice Cream? by Mo Willems

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I triple heart Mo Willems, Piggie, and Elephant.

Love his absolute anxiety. WHAT SHOULD HE DO?

Love the little penguin.

Love the outcome of the story.

Postcards from CampPostcards from Camp by Simms Taback

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow. How could I be the first one to be writing something? I wonder if there is another version I missed.

Anyway. This is an epistolary novel between a son and his dad. LOVED the artwork. Loved the postcards. Loved the letters. Loved the story. Pretty much loved the entire thing.

Two concerns, though, I'll admit. 1)The letters inside envelopes. These can be troublesome in a library. You're trying to check in a couple hundred books ... who has time to check each envelope and make sure the letter was replaced? Or then track down the child and point out one was missing and then have them find it? 2)Some of the letters/postcards are in cursive. This will leave some kids out because they won't be able to read them.

The Underpants ZooThe Underpants Zoo by Brian Sendelbach

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Kids will think this one is hilarious. And "ants in the pants" is kind of funny.

Just not enough in the story for me. :/

Rah, Rah, Radishes!: A Vegetable ChantRah, Rah, Radishes!: A Vegetable Chant by April Pulley Sayre

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Seen this in a couple people's "read" feeds so when I saw it at the bookstore I had to take a look.

Love the colorful photographs. And maybe, with the right context, this could help connect kids to where food comes from? Maybe? Really like a three and a half.

Big Brothers Don't Take NapsBig Brothers Don't Take Naps by Louise Borden

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Super cute and a must read for anyone with a little boy ... and expecting.

Calvin Can't FlyCalvin Can't Fly by Jennifer Berne

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Liked Calvin. Liked the illustrations. Liked the little joke about birds calling you a "bookworm" being an especially bad thing. Liked how they tried to help him when he didn't know how to fly south.

I don't mean to be picky. But that did not look like a hurricane to me. I am no scientist but it looked like a tornado. Aren't hurricanes closer to a coast? I did not see any signs they were near a coast. Of course there were a lot of distractions going on around me when I read this but ... three instead of four. I guess I am being picky.

Detective BlueDetective Blue by Steve Metzger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A sort of "fractured nursery rhyme" book ... loved it! Sort of old-timey detective story. Just make sure the kiddos know the originals first.

There are fun little details for grownups to notice ... like "Miss Mary Contrary's Community Garden." Or maybe a kid would notice that.

Loved the sheep in costume trying to get in to the school.

OH! And the twist at the end. Great thinking!

Hogwash!Hogwash! by Karma Wilson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Like the idea of the story but oddly enough (even though I usually like his stuff) was not as big of a fan of the illustrations. This is a rhyming book.

This says it was published in 2004. How is it I've never seen it before? And it was displayed face out at the bookstore?

If Rocks Could Sing: A Discovered AlphabetIf Rocks Could Sing: A Discovered Alphabet by Leslie McGuirk

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow. What a cool collection! I think my favorites might have been ... the ones for "ghosts" and the one for "joy."

There's a writing center in there somewhere. Just have to figure it out.

The Green Mother GooseThe Green Mother Goose by David Davis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Was not a super big fan of it at first but then it started to grow on me.

Of course, one must remember that kids have to know the original nursery rhymes before they can even begin to think "fractured" ones are funny.

I liked the one about Jack Sprat eating lots of fast food fat and his wife eating leafy greens. Then he grows out of his jeans.

Can't remember the rhyme but little Jack Horner changes all of his lightbulbs to compact fluorescent. It actually works for the most part.

Splish, Splash, Splat! (Splat the Cat Series)Splish, Splash, Splat! by Rob Scotton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I can't help it ... I like Splat. His name is fun to say.

So is Mrs. Wimpydimple's.

In this one Splat and Spike find out they have something unexpected in common ... something I'm sure quite a few kids have also experienced.

If you go to B&N's online storytime Molly Ringwald will read it to you. She did pretty well with some of the "s" alliteration.

Pajama PiratesPajama Pirates by Andrew Kramer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hmm. I always find it interesting when I want to give a book more or fewer stars than the average. But oh well, I liked this one! The rhymes were sweet and all the kids playing together was fun and the whole pirates thing WORKED in this story (unlike another one I looked at at the same time whose title I did not even jot down because it was annoying).

Plus the illustrations were lovely.

Press HerePress Here by Hervé Tullet

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Finally saw what all the fuss was about today.

Ingenious. Innovative. Truly ... is there anything even remotely close to this out there? I am very curious to actually see what a child does with this book. Might come back and go ahead with the fifth star at that point.

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