Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rattletrap Car

Root, Phyllis. 2001. Rattletrap Car. Illustrated by Jill Barton. Candlewick.

What's a family to do when they need a vacation--a relaxing day at the lake--but their car doesn't go fast or far? Read and see in Rattletrap Car.

Junie was hot. Jakie was hot. Even the baby was hot, hot, hot.
"Let's go to the lake," said Junie and Jakie.
"Go," said the baby.

Even though the father thinks the car isn't in any condition to make it all the way to the lake and back, he's game to give it a try. So they all make preparations. What do they bring? Razzleberry, dazzleberry, snazzleberry fizz; chocolate marshmallow fudge delight; a beach ball; a surfboard; and a three-speed, wind-up, paddle-wheel boat. Do they make it? Is there day everything they hoped it would be? You'll have to read and see for yourself.

Loved everything about this one: the story, the characters, the language, the illustrations. (The rattletrap car, for example, goes "flippita fluppita fizzelly sizzelly wappity bappity lumpety bumpety clinkety clankety bing bang pop!") This one is fun. Purely silly. Worth a giggle or two at least.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Gone With The Wand

Palatini, Margie. 2009. Gone With The Wand. Illustrated by Brian Ajhar. Scholastic.

The Fairy Godmother--Bernice Sparklestein--has lost her touch. Her magic is 'gone with the wand.' She doesn't "even have enough bippidy left in her to salacadoo one more pumpkin." What's left for an old fairy godmother past her prime? Read and see in Gone With The Wand, a picture book about friendship and finding your place in the world. This book stars a second-class tooth fairy, Edith B. Cuspid, and a past-her-prime-very-famous fairy godmother, Bernice. Edith wants to help her friend find a new job. Something that will make her friend happy again. Something that will put the sparkle back in Sparklestein. Can these two puzzle it out together?

"Once upon a time. Long, long ago...(to be exact and completely factual, this little fairy's tale began three months ago last Thursday.)"
What to expect from this one? Puns upon puns. It's a playful--though wordy--text. Example: Edith describes her closet and trunks as having, "old uniforms and folderol." The illustrations are detail-oriented. They definitely add several layers to the book. In fact, every time I read the book, I noticed something new in the illustrations. Things that I'd missed the first and second time around.

Did I like it? Yes and no. It was a fun story. The details from the illustrations really add depth to the story. I loved finding all the story-book references. And the text grew on me as well. I appreciated it more the second or third time around than I did the first. But part of me feels it is a bit too wordy, too text-heavy. Can it hold short attention spans? Which age child is this 'right' for? I think younger kids--under five--might lose interest because there is just so much going on and too many words per page. I think for older kids--school age kids--five and up--it could have potential. Of course, every child is different. Some kids have short attention spans at any age. And some kids--book-lovers from the start--will be still and patient and cooperative. I think a love of fairy tales could help a lot in maintaining interest.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Maisy Goes to Preschool

Cousins, Lucy. 2009. (Releases June 2009) Maisy Goes To Preschool (A Maisy First Experiences Book). Candlewick Press.

Do you like Maisy and her friends? Or perhaps the question should be, does your little reader like Maisy and her friends? Or is your little one getting ready to go off to preschool for the first time? In Maisy Goes To Preschool, the reader is introduced to the concept of preschool through Maisy.

"Today is a very good day for Maisy. She's going to preschool! There's always so much to do there and so many friends to see."
Maisy learns about art time, play time, nap time, potty time, and more in this "first experiences" book. If you're familiar with the Maisy series, then you'll know what to expect. If you're not, then I'll just say Maisy is a cute little mouse. The illustrations are very bright and bold. Very colorful. The text of the Maisy books are generally simple and straightforward. There's something reassuring and safe about picking up a Maisy book. You won't necessarily find laughs or thrills. But you'll find a friend you know.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Itty Bitty

Bell, Cece. 2009. Itty Bitty. Candlewick Press.

Do you like itty bitty things? How about itty bitty animals? If you do, then you'll appreciate Cece Bell's Itty Bitty, a picture book about a tiny dog named Itty Bitty.

"Itty Bitty is a dog. A very, very tiny dog. One day, Itty Bitty found a bone. A very, very enormous bone. This bone is big enough to be my home, thought Itty Bitty."
The book is a simple one. Nothing grand. Just a simple story of a dog who's trying to make his house a home. What does his home need? Itty bitty, teeny-tiny furniture of course! Readers will journey with Itty Bitty as he goes shopping and decorates his home. It's a bit silly, but I think that a nice dose of silly is always a good thing.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mousie Love

Chaconas, Dori. 2009. Mousie Love. Illustrated by Josee Masse. Bloomsbury.

I typically love picture books starring cute little mice. (Not that I *love* mice in real life.) But fictional mice are cute and charming and lovable, generally speaking. Like who could not love the mouse from If You Give A Mouse A Cookie? Or the oh-so-messy mouse from Mouse Mess? Or the little white mice starring in Mouse Paint and Mouse Count?

Mousie Love is a romance. It's the story of a young mouse wooing another. Tully fell in love with Frill the moment he saw her. This is their love story.

Here's how it starts,
"The moment Tully saw Frill, he immediately fell in love. Tully hadn't planned on falling in love. But the cat had chased him under the pantry door, and there was Frill, in the flour bin, prettily powdered. With an eager flutter in his heart. Tully didn't say hello or how do you do? The first words out of his mouth where, "Will you marry me?"

How many proposals will this little mouse have to make before he hears a 'yes'? Read and see for yourself! The book is funny and cute and charming.

I'm not sure on the intended age group on this one. I'm going to say that this one is probably not for the youngest readers in the picture book range (toddlers, preschoolers). There is a lot of text per page. And typically wordy texts--no matter how good the text may be--can't hold short attention spans. It would probably work for the four and up crowd, I'm guessing.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Saturday, May 23, 2009

1000 Times No

Warburton, Tom. 2009. 1000 Times No. HarperCollins.

How many different ways are there to say no? How many ways to express your defiance? Well, in 1000 Times No, one creative-and-very-stubborn-baby, Noah, shows us. Again. And again. And again. From "no" to "nyet" to "o-nay" and "dah dit dah dah dah." The illustrations--playful as can be--give some clue to the origin of the word 'no' in use. But the end papers shed further light on the situation! True, not all "no's" are from another language--writing no out in peas or finding it on a seek-and-find puzzle--but others are: Russian, Pig Latin, Arabic, Inuit, Scottish, Japanese, Hindi, greek, Dutch, Mandarin Chinese, Zulu, Korean, etc.

The book IS playful and fun. The illustrations are funny and match the mood perfectly. Just don't ask me to read it out loud.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Friday, May 22, 2009

Snugglebug Friday: Nursery Tales

Mary Englelbreit's Nursery Tales: A Treasury of Children's Classics. Harper Collins Publishers: 2008

This 126-page book contains all the classic fairy tales that children grow up hearing. Mary Engelbreit uses her cheerful art to bring each tale to life. The characters seem to jump off the page as the story is read. In some cases, the stories are changed ever so slightly so as to give the characters a much happier ending than they had in the original story. For example, the three little pigs are in the end safe in their brick house and playing music all night long. And Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother live to eat again when the wolf runs away in embarrassment.

Other tales include The Emperor's New Clothes, Hansel and Gretel, The City Mouse and the Country Mouse, and so many more. If your child has graduated from board books and is ready to turn the pages of a larger book, then you will love reading this book together. Snugglebug isn't quite there yet, so I enjoyed reading the book by myself. I was delighted by each story and subsequently the pleasant endings.

I have often been dissapointed or even horrified at some of the classic endings such as the wolf eating the pigs or the wolf eating Grandma. Other's just struck me as meaningless or perhaps teaching the wrong meaning. This new Nursery Tale book tells the tales in such a way that it is a joy to read and re-read each story.

And of course, you can't forget the illustrator. Engelbreit is herself a classical artist and the pairing of these tales and her art is a book that will be cherished by anyone no matter the age. This would be a great book for a teacher's gift as well as a birthday present for your favorite youngster.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Princess Pig

Spinelli, Eileen. 2009. Princess Pig. Knopf. Illustrated by Tim Bowers.

I love, love, love Princess Pig. "One windy day--during the Picawash County Farm Show Parade--a peculiar thing happened...." When the wind blows a "princess" sash into the pig pen of a darling little pig, she awakes from her afternoon nap to discover her newly-found royalty. Can a little pig really be a princess? Read and see for yourself in this adorable and charming book set in a country barn yard. As pig discovers what it means to be a princess.

Highly recommended.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My Mother Is Mine

Bauer, Marion Dane. 2001/2009. My Mother Is Mine. Little Simon. Illustrated by Peter Elwell.

My Mother Is Mine is a wonderfully sweet board book. How would YOU describe your mother? What makes her so special? Why do you love her so? In My Mother Is Mine we get a variety of answers as an assortment of animals answer just this. From the little lamb we have, "My mother is soft." From the little giraffe we have, "My mother is tall and tall and tall." A little bear says, "My mother is brave." (Note to the reader: The animals aren't doing the talking. There is nothing in the text itself that relates these statements back to the animals. It's just that the animals are in the illustrations.) Anyway, the rhyming text is just fun. And I love the sweet message of this one.

It ends with a little girl writing her mother a love letter:

My mother is special.
My mother is fine.

My mother,

My mother,

My mother is mine!

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bow-Wow's Colorful Life

Newgarden, Mark & Megan Montague Cash. 2009. Bow-Wow's Colorful Life. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Learn your colors by reading Bow-Wow's Colorful Life. Bow-Wow stars in many board books. Many of these books are charming and delightful. Simple, yes. But satisfying none the less. They're very well suited for the youngest of readers. They're simple. They're fun. And they don't require much of an attention span. Bow-Wow's Colorful Life is a charming addition to the series. Take my word on it. It had me at hello. On the title page, we see Bow-Wow intently looking-and-sniffing at a foot. We then see Bow-Wow 'learning' his colors as he removes sock after sock after sock after sock. The ending is pure delight.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bow-Wow: 12 Months Running

Newgarden, Mark & Megan Montague Cash. 2009. Bow-Wow: 12 Months Running

Bow-Wow books are by necessity quite simple. That doesn't take any fun out of the experience by any means. But expect simple and fundamental, and you'll be satisfied by this cute little doggy. Bow-Wow has appeared in a handful of books. He has his own series. The books sometimes feature text, but not all of them. Some are delightfully wordless. In this instance, we've got the basics. What is 12 Months Running about? Well, Bow-Wow RUNNING in all of the twelve months: January, February, March, April, May, etc.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Edward and the Eureka Lucky Wish Company

Todd, Barbara. 2009. Edward and the Eureka Lucky Wish Company. Illustrated by Barbara Todd. Kids Can Press.

Would you spend your three wishes better than Edward? Want to see how not to do it? Meet Edward a kid who is about to have some of his wishes come true. But as you might have guessed, what he "wishes" for and what he gets are often two different things. Wishes have a way of taking on a life of their own and being so opposite of what you actually want. What does Edward want most? For his "Sky-Hopper 2000" to really fly instead of being an ordinary bike.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Friday, May 15, 2009

Young Readers Challenge: Month Five

It is time to share any reviews you might have written for the Young Readers Challenge. (Sign ups are still going on here.)

If you don't have a link to share, you can always just talk about your books in the comments themselves.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Stanley's Beauty Contest

Bailey, Linda. 2009. Stanley's Beauty Contest. Illustrated by Bill Slavin. Kids Can Press.

Stanley is a dog. A dog who does NOT like the fact that his family has not only given him a bath but made him all smelly and unnatural. Banana shampoo. Yuck. He realizes soon enough that this 'beautifying' has a purpose. His family has entered him into a contest--a beauty contest. What's a dog got to do to be noticed? What does a dog have to do to have fun? This is a playful book that will appeal to young dog lovers.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mommy's Having A Watermelon

Adlerman Danny and Kim. 2009. The World of Zoe #1: Mommy's Having A Watermelon. Illustrated by Megan Halsey. The Kids At Our House.

In six short and sweet chapters, readers meet Zoe and her family. Our tale begins in the summer when Zoe's family is having a picnic. When a watermelon seed flies out of Zoe's mouth--she's laughing--and lands in her mom's glass of lemonade, Zoe thinks its the funniest thing ever. How silly for her mother to swallow a seed and not know it. But as her mother experiences morning sickness and a soon expanding waist, Zoe begins to panic and worry. Her mother has a watermelon growing inside her. And she doesn't seem to know it. It doesn't help matters that her parents sit her down to talk about a "special seed" growing in her mother. What's a young girl to think?

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Imaginary Garden

Larsen, Andrew. 2009. The Imaginary Garden. Illustrations by Irene Luxbacher. Kids Can Press.

The Imaginary Garden is charming and lovely and endearing. But not in a sickeningly sweet and syrupy way. I'm not saying that. I'm saying it in the feels-so-good-and-right-and-true way. Here's how it starts off: "Theo loved Poppa's old house. She loved Poppa's old garden. Poppa used to tell Theo all about the different flowers while they sat together under the maple tree." But Poppa isn't living in his old house. And his new apartment doesn't have a garden. But it does have a balcony. Can this grandfather-granddaughter team create a garden for the balcony? They just might if it's an "imaginary" one.

See this imaginary garden take shape as these two paint their way through spring and summer. As these two continue to spend time together, more than imaginary flowers will blossom.

This book is satisfying. It just feels good to read it. To witness such lovable characters come to life. The art by Irene Luxbacher is practically perfect. It adds just the right touch to this tale of love and hope and new life.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Being A Pig Is Nice

Lloyd-Jones, Sally. 2009. Being A Pig Is Nice: A Child's Eye View of Manners. Illustrated by Dan Krall. Random House.

The narrator of Being A Pig Is Nice is a young girl (love the pig tails!) who is tired of having to follow her manners. Tired of her mother reminding her over and over how to behave, how to be polite. So as she's on her way to her friend's house, she imagines what it would be like to follow others' manners. To be precise, to adopt animal manners. For example, "When you're a PIG, it's not polite to be clean. It is Very Rude. You have to get muddy or you get in trouble." As she tries on being different animals she realizes that there are pros and cons to every one. Yes, you can be dirty, but you also smell. (For example.) Will this little one stumble upon the perfect creature to be? Read for yourself and see!

This one is fun and playful and imaginative.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Small Surprise

Yates, Louise. 2009. A Small Surprise. Knopf.

This book celebrates small surprises in life. In particular it is about a white bunny finding great joy in being small. Why is it so great to be small? Well, this little bunny can disappear and reappear. Being small makes this little one magic.

I wasn't crazy about this one to be honest. There were elements I liked. But I wasn't so fond of some of the illustrations. There's a scene where the bunny has disappeared inside a snake, and a scene where he's inside a lion. Yes, the bunny reappears after each dangerous encounter. But still, it left me unsettled. While some young readers may be fine with this, I was an easily traumatized youngster. Probably too-sensitive to such stuff. So chances are good that you'll like this one more than I did.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Saturday, May 9, 2009

To Catch A Mermaid

Selfers, Suzanne. 2007. To Catch a Mermaid. Little, Brown Young Readers. 246 pages.

This is a quirky little book great for fourth to sixth graders (ish). Here's how it starts off, "Boom Broom awoke to find his little sister, Mertyle, looking for spots. 'It's a good day for spots,' she announced, examining her knobby knees with a magnifying glass. The Broom family is a mess. Ever since Mrs. Broom (good-old mom) was blown away by a freak twister, the family has been following to pieces. Mr. Broom has quit painting. Which means he's stopped selling his paintings. Which means their in financial stress. Mertyle, the little sister, hasn't left the house since the accident. (Not that Mr. Broom has much either. In fact, he seems to be stuck to hiding in the attic and/or closets.) Boom Broom has been trying to manage himself--with only a little help from their Viking cook, Halvor, but the Brooms are far from happy.

One day when Boom is supposed to be bringing home a fresh fish to eat for supper--Halvor loves fish--he brings home a freebie reject fish instead. This 'fish' turns out to be a merbaby. A wild, squealing, ugly as all get out, merbaby. And this one little act will set the course for a quirky and odd adventure that will either be the catalyst for great change (and happiness) or doom them all with an ancient curse.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Friday, May 8, 2009

Sugar Would Not Eat It

Jenkins, Emily. 2009. Sugar Would Not Eat It. Random House.

Disappointed. I am disappointed with this one. Confused as well. Maybe I just missed the point of this one completely. Maybe it's supposed to be a parody or satire. Maybe it's supposed to be funny. Maybe it's supposed to be ironic. Obviously it's not supposed to be taken at face value. But for me, it just didn't work. Here's the premise of this one. Leo finds a stray cat. He names the cat, "Sugar." He takes Sugar home. He likes Sugar. When it comes time to feeding her, he gives her a piece of chocolate cake with blue frosting roses. When Sugar doesn't eat it, he gets angry and frustrated. He rages at this cat. He goes to a handful of people--all adults I believe--who tell him stories about what they were told as children when they didn't want to eat what was on their plates. So he mimics their advice. Meanwhile, the cat is starving and Leo just keeps fuming and screaming. Granted I wanted to throw the book across the room by this point, but I kept reading. And eventually Leo mellows out a bit and Sugar gets some cat food.

To be fair to the book, I think it's mostly me. My mom liked it. She smiled in a few places. And she said she thought it was funny. My dad liked it too. Though neither gushed about it, both seemed to think it was a perfectly likable book. I think if you grew up having your parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles bossing you around and telling you what you HAD to eat, if these lectures were familiar to you, then maybe just maybe you'll appreciate it more than I did.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Grizzly Dad

Harrison, Joanna. 2009. Grizzly Dad. Random House.

This one is one that had me at hello. Perhaps it was the art. Perhaps it was the playful story. I just know I loved it. Here's how it starts off, "Dad woke up in a grrrrizzly mood! All morning he grrroaned and grrrizzled...and grrrumped! And then he went back to bed. . . He was just like a bear with a sore head." Our narrator is a little boy, a cute little boy I might add, and when he wakes up his father, what he discovers is that his dad IS a bear. What's it like to have a great big bear of a father? Read and see for yourself in this playful tale.

I wouldn't question you if you had doubts about this one. After all, this premise could be disappointing if it was in another author's hands. But I enjoyed it. It was fun. It was playful. It worked. This little boy is just having the best time imagining his dad as a great big bear. And for me, it was charming to see imagination at work. What really, really convinced me on this one is the art. So trust me on this one and try it yourself.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ten Days and Nine Nights

Heo, Yumi. 2009. Ten Days and Nine Nights. Random House.

Ten Days and Nine Nights is an adoption story. It's a sweet countdown of days (and nights) for the whole family as they await the newest member of the family to arrive. Our little heroine is a young girl. She and her father wait at home while her mother goes on a very special trip. Here's how it starts off, "I mark a circle on the calendar. I have ten days and nine nights. Daddy and I say goodbye to Mommy. I have nine days and eight nights." It continues on with everyone in the family joining in this special countdown celebration. One of my favorite scenes? Her practicing holding a baby (doll). The text reads, "I practice. I have six days and five nights."

But this isn't a one-sided story--though the text focuses on life back at home--the illustrations show the mother on her journey. The steps she is taking day by day.

There are so many things that I enjoyed about this one. It's sweet. It's satisfying. It's simple. It's refreshing.

I love the illustrations. They're just so right for this tale. (Which is only right since Yumi Heo is both the author and the illustrator.)

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Yes Day!

Rosenthal, Amy Krouse. 2009. Yes Day!. Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. HarperCollins.

This is an oh-so-fun, slightly-gimmicky (but in a good way) book about the best day of the year. (And it isn't even Christmas or Halloween.) It is Yes Day! The day of the year when parents always, always, always answer yes to their kids requests.

Our narrator is a little boy--a rather cute little boy in a striped shirt. What does this little boy's wish fulfillment look like? Eating pizza for breakfast. Getting to put whatever he wants in the cart at the grocery store. Getting to have a food fight. NOT cleaning his room. Having his friend come over for dinner. The requests keep coming and coming.

This one is fun and satisfying.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Monday, May 4, 2009

Where's Tumpty

Dunbar, Polly. 2009. Where's Tumpty. Candlewick Press.

Where's Tumpty by Polly Dunbar is part of her Tilly and Friends series. (You can read my review of Hello Tilly, Happy Hector, and Pretty Pru.) Though it is a series book, you do NOT have to have read any of the others. And you can read them in any order.

Tumpty is one of Tilly's animal friends. One whom she lives with in a little yellow house. (The others include Tiptoe, Doodle, Pru, and Hector). And he's a hide-and-seek loving elephant as this book reveals.

Maybe you can see why I fell so head-over-heels in love with this book:

had his eyes
Tightly closed.

"Hello, Tumpty,"
said Tilly.
"What are you

"I'm hiding," Tumpty said.
"You can't see me."
But Tilly could see Tumpty.

So Tumpty tried hiding
under a large cardboard box
with his eyes tightly closed.

I'll stop there. I think you can guess where this is going. This keeps building and building til it's quite giggly. This is a charming and fun little book. One that I could read again and again and again and again.

Can Tumpty successfully hide from his friends? Read and see for yourself!

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Pretty Pru

Dunbar, Polly. 2009. Pretty Pru. Candlewick Press.

Pretty Pru is part of Pully Dunbar's oh-so-wonderful Tilly and Friends series. (Read my reviews of Hello Tilly and Happy Hector.)

Pretty Pru is one of my favorite characters, but probably the least that I identify myself with. But that's okay. Because you know why, it is just as important for kids to be able to recognize others (as well as themselves) in the books they read. Who is my Pretty Pru? That would be my sister. Down to the pretty prance even.

In this fun little book, Tumpty, the glasses-wearing elephant, is upset that Pru won't let him play with her things--her makeup and purse to be precise. So when she's not looking, he steals her stuff. And soon Tumpty and the rest of the animals that live with Tilly in the little yellow house--are accomplices after the fact as they've divvied out the goodies among themselves. (Tiptoe has the blush. Doodle the nail polish. Hector the mascara.) As they all deny the facts--as self-evident as they may be--Pru discovers the thief, Tumpty, proudly wearing the purse as a hat. Can Pru be quick to forgive? Can she learn to share? (Should she have to???)

I enjoyed this one. The illustrations are really priceless. They speak louder than the text in conveying the rightness of Dunbar's genius.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Happy Hector

Dunbar, Polly. 2008. Happy Hector. Candlewick Press.

Happy Hector is the second of books released in the Tilly and Friends series by Polly Dunbar. (You can read my review of Hello Tilly.) One of the great things about this series (and any good series really for this age group) is that you can read the books in any order you like. Quick recap, Tilly is a little girl who lives in a yellow house with her good friends--animal friends. Her friends are Tiptoe, Hector, Doodle, Tumpty, and Pru. Each character will have a chance to shine.

Happy Hector had me at hello. He's an adorable little pig--wearing a sweater and boots--and in his book we explore some of the emotional roller coasters of friendship. (Now that I think about it, it's a pretty good intro into life itself--the highs and lows of emotions.)

was sitting on
Tilly's lap.
"I am the
I have ever
he said.

But his happiness doesn't last when the other friends start wanting to spend time with Tilly too. When all of Tilly's friends want to sit on her lap, Hector wanders off to be alone. He's as unhappy as he can be. Can his friends coax him back into joining the group? Can Tilly prove to Hector that he is special and loved?

One of the things I loved about this one--and loved about all the books really--is that I can see myself in the characters. I've felt like Hector. Haven't you? I've also felt like Tiptoe. The little bunny who really, really, really wanted Tilly's attention. I think there is a purity and simplicity about these characters, these stories, these books that are classic and universal.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Friday, May 1, 2009

Hello Tilly

Dunbar, Polly. 2008. Hello Tilly. Candlewick Press.

I'm happy to be presenting reviews of four new books in a clever new series by Polly Dunbar. The first book, Hello Tilly, introduces young readers to a little girl and her houseful of animal friends: Tiptoe, Tumpty, Pru, Hector, and Doodle.

There's an old-fashioned splendor to the Tilly and Friends books. Perhaps based largely on the art, there's a quality that evokes a feel-good feeling. Something about them that just makes me grin from ear to ear. Both the art and text are simple, playful, and sincere. There's just a joy to them.

Each book begins, "Tilly and her friends all live together in a little yellow house." The books can be read in any order. But this one is the first one of the series.

was sitting

She was
reading her

But though the book begins off quietly enough, soon Tilly's interrupted and the play begins as we meet each of her friends one by one. Here's how Hector (the pig) joins in:

Tilly played her trumpet.
Tiptoe banged his drum.
Hector joined in.
He danced the wiggly-woo!

I hope you'll enjoy this series as much as I did. I really can't recommend them highly enough!

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Unnecessary Apologies

April may just have been my slowest month--at least in a good long while--of reviewing picture books. I *hope* to be back on track in May.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers