Picture books January and February 2012

11 Experiments that Failed by Jenny Offill: This is a charming picture book, especially for the young experimenters in your life. It details eleven experiments, following the correct scientific method, and why they failed. For instance, Experiments with Food, which involves squeezing ketchup onto snow and living on that, the result being “Stomachache, brain freeze, love of ketchup wavering.” It might also serve as a gentle and humorous way of reinforcing the scientific method.

Anna Hibiscus’ Song by Atinuke: I’m planning to do a separate post about Anna Hibiscus sometime, but basically I think that this is one of the top younger chapter book series out there at the moment, and certainly the best multicultural series. Anna Hibiscus’ Song is a picture book, and so aimed at a slightly younger crowd, but it has all the elements that make the other books wonderful. Also makes a great read-aloud.

Queen of the Falls by Chris Van Allsburg: I’ve heard a lot of love for this one recently , and I understand it. At the same time, I can’t help feeling that it may be a tough sell to kid, especially since at my library we’ve classified it as biography rather than picture book. Still, for the right kid it would be lovely.

Where There’s a Bear, There’s Trouble by Michael Catchpool: This one has the classic rhythms of The House that Jack Built or Drummer Hoff. A bear sees a bee and, knowing that where there’s a bee there’s honey, follows it. It’s not particularly exciting, but a sweet read.

This Plus That by Amy Krouse Rosenthal: A book of equations for the world around us, along the lines of 1 + 1=us (friendship). It’s a nice concept, but a few of the equations seemed a little awkward to me.

Dude: Fun With Dude and Betty by Lisa Plisou: This is one of the weirdest books I’ve ever read. No, I’m serious. It’s Dick and Jane sort-of updated and set in surfer-culture. Betty, for instance, is a “righteous surf bunny.” The weirdest part of this equation is that my library is in Indiana. We don’t exactly surf around here. Plisou helpfully includes a glossary, so maybe that helps? Still, I couldn’t help wondering why.

Ten Little Beasties—Rebecca Emberley: Based on the old counting rhyme. I have to admit that I hated the artwork. It seemed pointlessly and painfully angular and garish. So, yeah.

A Bedtime for Bear by Bonny Becker: Bear requires absolute quiet when he sleeps. So when his friend Mouse comes to spend the night, he’s worried about what will happen. I like Bear and Mouse, and the illustrations are really nice.

The Day Roy Riegals Ran the Wrong Way by Dan Gutman: People are often surprised to find that I’m a football fan. I do not see why this should be so. Just because I’m not a sterotypical football fan. Anyway, Gutman does a nice job of framing the story by having a grandfather tell his grandson about the day in 1929 when Roy Riegals ran the wrong way. You know what’s happening, but the suspense is drawn out as long as possible.

10 Hungry Rabbits by Anita Lobel: A charming color and counting book, featuring the story of ten hungry rabbits who go into the garden to pick vegetables for dinner.

I Must Have Bobo! by Eileen Rosenthal: A short funny book about a little boy whose Bobo (stuffed elephant) keeps getting stolen by the cat, who seems to be just as enamored of it. I was expecting something a little more dramatic from the ending, but overall lots of fun.

How Do Dinosaurs Eat Cookies? by Jane Yolen: Fun as usual, but perhaps a little less inspired than the earlier Dinosaur books.

Happy Pig Day! by Mo Willems: An Elephant and Piggie we didn’t have in our collection. Glad to know that’s now fixed! Piggie is happy because it’s Pig Day! A day when all things pig are celebrated! Gerald is happy for her, but he’s also sad because he has a long nose and big ears and is an elephant and can’t say Happy Pig Day in Pig.

Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox by Susan Blackaby: Somewhat along the lines of Aesop’s Fox and Crow fable. Brownie comes out to see that there’s still six weeks of winter, when along comes a hungry fox who decides to eat her for lunch. Brownie gradually convinces him that she’s less lunch and more a friend.

Round is a Mooncake by Roseanne Thong: A nice book to introduce children to the Chinese New Year, and other aspects of Chinese culture.

I’m Bad! and I’m Big! by Kate McMullan: The story of a Tyrannosaurus and a Sauropod, respectively. They have a nice twist to them, and are quite funny.

Other books read:
Pearl and Wagner: Four Eyes by Kate McMullan
Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet
A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka
Chick’n’Pug by Jennifer Gordon Sattler
Skippyjon Jones in The Doghouse by Judith Byron Schachner
Stop Snoring, Bernard by Zachariah OHora
Estie the Mensch by Jane Kohuth

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