Wednesday, December 11, 2019

2020 Picture Book Reading Challenge

Host: Becky's Book Reviews (sign up here)
Duration: January 2020 - December 2020
Goal: To have adults read more picture books. To celebrate the fact that picture books are for everyone! Families are, of course, welcome to join in!
# of books: minimum of 12 (or 24)
 January

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

February

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

March

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

April

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

May

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

June

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

July

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

August

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

September

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

October

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

November

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.


December

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

Theme 1
1.
and
2.

Theme 2
1.
and
2.

Theme 3
1.
and
2.

Theme 4
1.
and
2.





© 2019 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Ye Olde Cat Memes

Ye Olde Cat Memes. Eulalie Osgood Grover. 1911/2019. 96 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: I am the Queen of all the Kittens.

Premise/plot: Love kittens? Love cats? Enjoy vintage books? This one was originally published in 1911 as Kittens and Cats: a First Reader. It is a themed collection of poetry. Each poem is presented alongside a black and white photograph of, you guessed it, a cat or kitten dressed up and posed. The overall story is that the Queen is having a great party and all the cats and kittens are invited. Half the book is focused on getting there, the other half on the night’s entertainment. The Queen must be amused after all.

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this one.

A Stranger
I’ve met the cat that lives behind
The looking glass, you see.
He’s very handsome, and he looks
For all the world like me. (53)


I liked the poems. Some were great fun, others not quite so much. But all the photographs were marvelous. I don’t know how they got the cats to pose. It’s a quirky book. 


© 2019 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Monday, December 9, 2019

Max & Ruby and Twin Trouble

Max & Ruby and Twin Trouble. Rosemary Wells. 2019. Simon & Schuster. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Max’s sister, Ruby, knew all about new babies. Mama and Papa were going to have one. “You can see for yourself, Max,” said Ruby. “There’s a new baby in there!” But Max knew Mama had eaten too many cookies. He showed Ruby the cookie jar. It was empty. “See!” Max said to Ruby.

Premise/plot: Max and Ruby are going to have a new brother or sister. Max knows little if anything about babies. Ruby, of course, claims to know everything. She remembers Max’s baby days. Plus she has a Hannah the Howler doll. But is this family ready to welcome twins?!?!

My thoughts: I love Max and Ruby though I am still adjusting to a Max that talks. But even though some things have changed through the years, this brother sister pair still have charm and humor.

Text: 5/5
Illustrations: 5/5/
Total: 10/10
 


© 2019 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Friday, December 6, 2019

Everybody's Favorite Book

Everybody's Favorite Book. Mike Allegra. Illustrated by Claire Almon. 2018. 40 pages.  [Source: Library]

First sentence: You are very lucky. You are reading Everybody’s Favorite Book. There is not one person anywhere who has a different favorite book.

Premise/plot: Can ONE book really please or satisfy everyone and actually be everyone’s favorite?!?! The author offers such a book (I hope with a great deal of sarcasm) to young readers.

My thoughts: So why one star? Allegra tries a little too hard to be clever and funny. I was leaning more towards a “Bless his heart” but mom was more “what a waste of paper?!” Things to keep in mind...neither of us is the target audience. A young reader might find it amusing, perhaps even worthy of a laugh, and not just stupid. There is one whole page dedicated to poop jokes.

I started out thinking it might have potential. I did. But it was just way too scattered and pointless.

This is as good a time as any to share my philosophy on picture books. I do believe they are the most subjective kind of book there is. Every single book has the potential to be someone’s favorite and best book. It doesn’t matter what any adult may think, to that one reader it may be the one. It will be—to that reader—a magical book worth reading again and again and again until it’s memorized by everyone in the family. It will be loved and cherished forever. Parents can share books that they really love and enjoy and want to be ‘the one’ but it is the child who ultimately chooses. The world is a better place because each individual has his or her own favorite and best book.

Text: 1 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 4 out of 10


© 2019 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Thursday, December 5, 2019

The First Christmas Jumper

The First Christmas Jumper and the Sheep Who Changed Everything. Ryan Trubidy. Illustrated by Chris Judge. 128 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: I’d like to tell you a curious story the likes of which you have never heard before. This tale begins with a sheep. Not a red-nosed one, just a regular, run-of-the-mill, everyday, nothing-to-see-here sheep.

Premise/plot: Hilary, the super-unique sheep, loves, loves, loves, loves, loves Christmas. One day the farm receives a very special visitor. Hilary's life may never be the same. This chapter book is a fun look at how the first Christmas jumper (aka sweater) came to be.

My thoughts: I enjoyed this humorous tale. Hilary and the other sheep live on an Irish farm. It was a cute-enough tale that little ones may love. It features some illustrations throughout.


© 2019 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Monday, November 25, 2019

Look! I Wrote A Book!

Look! I Wrote A Book! Sally Lloyd-Jones. 2019. 34 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: When you want to write a book, first you need a Good Idea. You can get one from: your brain, your notebook, people, all around wherever you go, staring out of the window.

Premise/plot: Sally Lloyd-Jones has written an absolutely hilarious nonfiction guide for children on how to write books. (My library shelves it as nonfiction; I will admit it’s more entertaining than most fiction storybooks.) It includes plenty of writing tips and great examples. It may be the most quotable book I’ve read this year.

My thoughts: Is this the best book Lloyd-Jones has ever written?! I’ll qualify my YES. (For Christian families, her Jesus Storybook Bible remains the absolute best, best, best book she’s given us.) Every page is perfectly perfect. The advice seems to genuinely be true and good. The examples are hilarious. Whether you want to write a book yourself or just have a good time...this is a great book.

Here’s what you also need to know: who’s it for. If you’re writing a book for your grandma, for example, but it’s all about tractors and dump trucks, she will be snoring because it is NOT EVEN INTERESTING to her! You should write about things grandmas LOVE. Like The Olden Days. Or tap dancing. Or you.


A speech bubble dialogue adds a little girl saying, “When I was a tiny baby...” and her grandma enthusing, “It seems just like yesterday.”

If you’re writing a bedtime book for babies, you can’t have scary monsters inside or they will be screaming and not sleeping.


The illustrations steal the show on this spread. The little girl is sitting on a couch with five babies. She’s reading aloud a book titled Monsters Will Eat You. Three babies are crying. Two more look near tears—their eyes drawn big to express terror. Only the stuffed animal grins on without a care in the world.


Now you need a title (which is what your story is called). Here are some Good Titles:


Again the illustrations combine perfectly with the text. The titles are shown in the illustrations. Commentary is provided in the text. About the title, Spiders on the Ceiling, she adds, “This is a Horror Story.” Cleaning My Room is described as a tragedy. When I Was a Baby is labeled a history book. Only One Shoe is called a mystery. Clearly Lloyd-Jones knows how to make readers laugh or smile.

From start to finish, this book is marvelous. Highly recommended.

Text:5/5
Illustrations:5/5
Total:10/10


© 2019 Becky Laney of Young Readers

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Flubby Will Not Play With That

Flubby Will Not Play With That. J.E. Morris. 2019. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: I have toys for Flubby. I have lots of toys for Flubby.

Premise/plot: Will Flubby like any of the toys?!?!?! It is looking doubtful. But cat lovers may be able to predict the one thing Flubby wants to play with that came from the pet store.

My thoughts: I loved this adorable early reader. The story is simple, predictable, yet always delightful. If you love cats, I think you would enjoy meeting Flubby! 


© 2019 Becky Laney of Young Readers