Friday, July 31, 2009

The Delicious Bug

Perlman, Janet. 2009. The Delicious Bug. Kids Can Press.

One delicious bug. Two foolish chameleons. And a pair of hungry crocodiles. Isn't anyone willing to share? Will peace be restored in the rain forest?

Willy and Wally are chameleons. Sometimes these two friends share bugs with their friend the frog who is less skillful in catching bugs. But when they both catch the same bug--and it is a delicious looking bug, the highest quality--neither one is willing to let go. It's very frustrating and annoying to be in a contest of wills. Both forget their friendship--for a while at least--and their common sense. Is any bug worth this much effort? And what about the risk? Note the hungry crocodiles! Can these two chameleons wisen up in time? Read and see in Janet Perlman's The Delicious Bug.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Thursday, July 30, 2009

100% Pure Fake

Thomas, Lyn. 2009. 100% Pure Fake: Gross Out Your Friends and Family With 25 Great Special Effects. Kids Can Press. Available in August 2009.

This book--in a way--is the literary equivalent to a noisy, obnoxious toy. The kind of toy that kids love to play with--at least until they get tired of it--but is prone to driving parents crazy. This book has boy written all over it. (Not that it would be impossible for girls to want to make fake poop, but more likely this one will appeal to boys over girls.) Included in this craft book (yes, it's a craft book) are instructions for making 'fake' vomit, blood, poop, scars, snot, moles, road kill, etc. It's illustrated with photographs and cartoon-like illustrations.

Your basic blood:
This basic blood is thin and drippy, like blood from a finger cut or scratch. Pour a small amount on your hand or arm and watch it dribble down. Moan a bit and ask for a Band-Aid.

Stuff you'll need
125 mL (1/2 c.) corn syrup
5 mL (1 tsp) red food coloring
3 to 4 drops of blue food coloring.

Pour the corn syrup into a bowl. Add the food coloring. Mix well. Ta-da! Fake blood.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Me and You

Cote, Genevieve. 2009. Me and You. Kids Can Press.

This is a simple (yet reaffirming) story that I just loved. (If it seems I've turned super-enthusiastic the past few days, it's just that I've had a run of good luck. I've been discovering lots of new favorites!) It stars a pink pig (adorable) and a white bunny (again, adorable). The book begins with these two painters looking at each other with envy. Both want to be like the other one.

I wish I were just like you.
I wish I were just like you.

The bunny "would love to bright pink." And the pig, of course, would love to be "the palest shade of white." From their ears and tails to noses and toes, these two want to switch everything...

Until they realize that they're happier being themselves.

I like it better when you are you!
And I like it better when you are you!

It ends sweetly,

I am me and you are you.
That's why we love
each other, me and you!

Some might think this one is too cute for its own good. I'm not among them. I just loved, loved, loved the sweetness of this one. It's cute and adorable and sweet, yes. But it's also true.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Binky The Space Cat

Spires, Ashley. 2009. Binky The Space Cat. (A Binky Adventure). Kids Can Press.

I loved, loved, loved this one. It's about a cat, Binky, who has just received his certification. He has become an official "space cat." I'd tell you more about what that means. But it is super-top-secret information. And I don't want to be scratched and hissed at. Curious? Read the book yourself!

While I can't tell you about the top-secret-purpose of space cats, I can tell you more about Binky. He lives with two humans--one big, one small. And he has an important job, one that involves protecting his humans.

Actually Binky hasn't ever been outside.
He lives here, in this space station,
Entirely surrounded by outer space.
That's why, until now, he has had to stay inside.
Outer space isn't safe for an ordinary cat.

But just because he's never been to outer space, doesn't mean Binky doesn't battle aliens on a regular basis. Some aliens are bold enough to come inside the space station. And when they do, (crunch, crunch) Binky takes care of it. Who are these aliens? Why aren't the humans aware that they're being invaded? Binky doesn't know why humans haven't been smart enough to figure out that bugs and aliens are the same thing. It was easy for him after all. He learned it when he was just a kitten.

Despite his young age,
He quickly realized...
That aliens...
He could tell they were aliens
Because they could fly.
Even kittens know
That only aliens
Can fly.

I found Binky The Space Cat to be funny and charming. I loved the illustrations and the text. Binky is a character that I just loved.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Monday, July 27, 2009

Max Spaniel: Dinosaur Hunt

Catrow, David. 2009. Dinosaur Hunt. Scholastic.

There is something so joyful about Dinosaur Hunt, a new early reader published by Scholastic that is written and illustrated by David Catrow. (Dare I hope it's only the beginning of a new series?!) The book stars Max. But I should let him speak for himself,
"My name is Max. I am not a dog."
If he's not a dog, then what is he?
"I am a great hunter. I love to hunt dinosaurs. I hunt with my ears. I hunt with my eyes. I hunt with my nose."
When he fails to find any dinosaurs in the house, he decides to go hunting outside. Can he find a dinosaur outside in his yard? What do you think?

I love Max. I just LOVE him. I find his silliness charming. And his enthusiasm. And his determination. I can't help myself. I just do. And of course I love, love, love the illustrations. They're smart and clever and fun. This one just works for me. I can't recommend it enough.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Friday, July 24, 2009

Family Reminders

Danneberg, Julie. 2009. Family Reminders. Charlesbridge. 105 pages.

Everything about this one says that it's a good, old-fashioned, family-friendly chapter book. (And that's not a bad thing. That was one of the things that made it seem so inviting to me.) It's historical fiction. Set around the turn of the century--mid to late 1890s--in a mining town in Colorado, it's the story of a family who goes through a bit of rough time. Our narrator is a young girl named Mary. She loves everything about her life--most especially her father. But when he is injured in a mining accident, and one of his legs is amputated, the family has some adjusting to do. Refusing to take charity, they must find a way--together, as a family--to make it work. What can Mary do to help her family, to help her father?

I loved the illustrations by John Shelley.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pet Vet: #2: The Mare's Tale

Odgers, Darrel and Sally. 2009. The Mare's Tale. Kane/Miller. 90 pages.

Pet Vet is a new series by Darrel and Sally Odgers. The first in the series is Cranky Paws. The second is The Mare's Tale. Both books star Trump, a Jack Russell terrier. She is "the animal liaison officer" for her owner, Dr. Jeanie, a vet. Which means she is super-smart and super-observant. (She is able to communicate with other animals--birds, cats, horses, etc.) In this one, Dr. Jeanie and Trump are trying to help a horse, a mare named Helen of Troy, have a foal. This horse has a dog-companion, a Dalmatian dog named Paris. And both animals are in need of some help and attention.

I am enjoying this series. It didn't quite sweep me off my feet like the Odgers' Jack Russell: Dog Detective series for young readers. But the books are good. They're both educational (sprinkling of animal facts and vet-like observations) and entertaining. If you know someone in this age group (6-9) who loves animals, then this series could be just what you're looking for!

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Jack Russell: Dog Detective: The Blue Stealer

Odgers, Darrel & Sally. 2009. Jack Russell: Dog Detective: The Blue Stealer. Kane/Miller. 79 pages.

The Blue Stealer is the ninth book in the Dog Detective series by Darrel and Sally Odgers. And it introduces a few big changes. We learn that Sarge is getting married, for example. Sarge is Jack's human. (And there's a bit of a teaser in the ending. It sure left me wanting more!) There are several mysteries to solve in this one. There's both a human thief and a dog thief in town. And Jack and Sarge are on the case. Jack is trying to solve the case of who is stealing all of his friend's toys/belongings. (Foxie's boot, for example).

One thing that I learned in my investigating was that this book is in fact the TENTH book in the series. These books were originally published in Australia. The American publishers are Kane/Miller. Apparently, the *true* ninth book is called FOWL PLAY. Here's how the ninth book is described on the authors' website:

In this story, Auntie Tidge and lots of her friends join a Poultry Club. Suddenly, Doggeroo is more like Chookaroo. When someone starts making the chooks have hen-sterics, Red gets the blame... meanwhile, Ralf Boxer is under attack from a ruthless rooster. Sarge is acting strangely, too... To find out how we solved the mysteries, get your paws on a copy of the book.
I would love to know why Kane/Miller didn't publish Fowl Play. It makes me curious as to what I missed by them skipping this one. Some of the changes in this book seem a bit sudden to me, and I think the missing book holds the clue.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Jack Russell: Dog Detective: The Kitnapped Creature

Odgers, Darrel and Sally. 2008. The Kitnapped Creature. Kane/Miller. 80 pages.

I loved, loved, loved The Kitnapped Creature. This one is the eighth in the Jack Russell: Dog Detective series.
It was past breakfast time, and my food bowl was empty. I was about to leap out of my basket and assess the situation when I remembered something pawfully important. I was sharing my basket with someone else.
This someone else is a puppy, Preacher. (His mom is Jill Russell).

I was doing what dogs do when I heard a squeak. Next came a whine. The whine quickly grew to a yelp, and then to a screech.
Preacher was awake.
That's my boy! I thought. I was as quiet as a Jack could be, but he detected the Jack-gap when I left the basket. I was proud of him.
I trotted back and stuck my nose under the blanket. The screeching stopped.
"You left me!" yipped Preacher
"I had to do what dogs do before breakfast," I explained. "You should do it too."
Preacher peered over the edge of the basket. "I can't get out."
"Of paws you can," I said.
"I can't. I can't I --"
I pushed my nose under his fat tummy and flipped him out of the basket.
"Come on," I said. "No puddles in bed."
Preacher picked himself up. "You flipped me."
I bustled Preacher down the steps. (2-3)
Preacher is a lot like Jack--though he's still got a LOT to learn about life. He makes nose maps just like Jack. Well not quite like Jack. Here's one of his nose maps:

Preacher's map:
1. Sleepy place.
2. Dad's toy.
3. Dad's eatie.
4. My eatie.
5. Ouchie-claw creature.
6. My chewie thing.
7. Snappy Snarly thing.

I was proud of him, but I had to explain that Jacks don't have toys. (7)
What case is Jack trying to solve this time round? Well, it involves a certain "ouchie-claw" creature. The 'awful pawful' creature is back only this time he (or is it a she?) is the victim. He's been kidnapped! Jack witnessed this himself. But can he get help (human help) in time to 'save' this unfriendly cat?

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Monday, July 20, 2009

Jack Russell: Dog Detective: The Buried Biscuits

Odgers, Darrel and Sally. 2008. The Buried Biscuits. 80 pages.

The Buried Biscuits is the seventh book in the Jack Russell: Dog Detective series by Darrel and Sally Odgers.
The Case of the Buried Biscuits began early one morning. First, there was the fight with Foxie. then there were the boys, and the burrows in the park. But I'd better start at the beginning.
Jack notices two boys behaving oddly one day. These boys, whom he calls Stick and Kick, are definitely acting suspiciously. Could they be related to the appearance of strange and "unspecial" biscuits (people cookies) that have been turning up in the neighborhood? It's up to Jack to solve the case.

My favorite thing about this one wasn't the case-solving. No, it was the big-reveal of Jill Russell's surprise.

Jack's Facts

Dogs wag tails.
Now and then, tails wag dogs.
This happens if a dog is especially pleased.
This is a fact. (63)

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Friday, July 17, 2009

Jack Russell: Dog Detective: The Sausage Situation

Odgers, Darrel & Sally. 2007. The Sausage Situation. Kane/Miller. 80 pages.

If you like dogs and mysteries, then you should give Darrel & Sally Odgers' Dog Detective series a try. The Sausage Situation is part of that fun series, number six to be precise. (Though you can read the books in any order. You don't need to begin at book one.) This book, as you might have guessed, is all about sausages. Jack, our narrator, is good friends with the dog next door, Foxie. And one day these two smell out a sausage delivery. Foxie, of course, is thrilled. The van is stopped at his house, therefore the sausages must be his. From that moment on, those sausages are his--and he isn't planning on sharing. But is that really the case? What do you think! When those sausages (or some of those sausages) are passed along--brought to Dog and Sausage day...well, let's just say that what happens next is a comical adventure. It's not so much a mystery as the others. But it's cute in its own way.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Jack Russell: Dog Detective: The Awful Pawful

Odgers, Darrel & Sally. 2007. The Awful Pawful. Kane/Miller. 80 pages.

This is the fifth book in the Dog Detective series by Darrel & Sally Odgers. In this mystery-adventure, Jack is out to solve the case of "the awful pawful." Someone--or something--is making all the dogs in the neighborhood hide. It's very very strange. Why are there no dogs out and about in their yards? Where have all the dogs gone? What Jack finds is that some dogs are even hiding under their owner's beds. Afraid to go out of the house. Afraid "the Awful Pawful" will get them. What is this threat all about? That's what Jack wants to know. And since no other dogs are willing to act as bait, it's up to Jack to learn the answers the hard way.

Jack, as always, makes for a great narrator.
Jack's Facts

People think beds are for people to sleep in.
Dogs think beds are for dogs to hide under.
Dogs know better than people.
This is a fact. (18)

Jack's Facts

People don't speak Dog.
Dogs don't speak Person.
You don't have to speak the same
language to talk about dinner.
This is a fact. (8)

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Jack Russell: Dog Detective: The Lying Postman

Odgers, Darrel and Sally. 2007. The Lying Postman. Kane/Miller. 80 pages.

This is the fourth in the Dog Detective series by Darrel and Sally Odgers. Here are my links to the first three books: Dog Den Mystery, The Phantom Mudder, The Mugged Pug. What mystery will our dog detective solve this go round? When Auntie Tidge (and Foxie) cat sit Fat Molly, the whole neighborhood gets a bit moody. Foxie doesn't like that he gets put on a diet. But he really, really doesn't like the fact that there's a new postman making rounds in the neighborhood. And instead of being a good sport, he's a big old meanie. He kicks Foxie for barking! And that's just the beginning. He is talking bad not just about Foxie...but about all the dogs in the neighborhood. Accusing them of biting, attacking, and acting wild. Something has to be done, but just what will that something be?! Can Jack solve this case before all the dogs get a bad rep?

I just thought I'd mention that while these books are part of a series, the books stand alone quite nicely. You don't have to read the books in any particular order.

I also thought I'd share a few of my favorite Jack fact's:

Jack's Facts
Cats insult dogs.
Dogs insult cats.
The cats always start it, therefore it's their fault.
This is a fact. (11)

Jack's Facts
Postmen always rattle mailboxes.
Dogs bark when postmen rattle.
Postmen yell when dogs bark.
That's how you play the Postman Game.
This is a fact. (14)

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Jack Russell: Dog Detective: The Mugged Pug

Odgers, Darrel and Sally. 2007. The Mugged Pug. Kane/Miller. 76 pages.

Sarge and I were about to go for our Saturday walk when the terrier-phone rang.
"I'd better get that, Jack," said Sarge. "It might be important."
I disagreed. Nothing is more imporant than Saturday walks, except food.
This is the third book in the Jack Russell: Dog Detective series, a series originally published, by the way, in Australia. Here are my links to the first two books: Dog Den Mystery, The Phantom Mudder. The book stars Jack Russell, a terrier dog detective. Of course, this dog has friends--both human and canine. In this mystery, he is trying to solve the case of "the mugged pug." He has noticed that there have been a string of thefts in the neighborhood. Someone is stealing dog collars. And in some cases this is leading to dogs being put in the pound. Can Jack outwit the bad guy?

Each chapter features "Jack's facts" and "Jack's glossary." These are often cute and charming asides.

Will these books please everyone of every age? Probably not. They're cute books. Especially if you love dogs. But adults might find them a bit too heavy in puns. Using words like pupular instead of popular and the like. But I liked this one just the same.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Monday, July 13, 2009

Junie B's Essential Survival Guide to School

Park, Barbara. 2009. Junie B's Essential Survival Guide to School. Random House.

It's been a year or two since Junie B, now in first grade, made an appearance. And I for one have missed her troublesome lovable ways. But she's back. And just as rowdy and outspoken as ever. This book isn't in the traditional format. It's not a chapter book. It's a slightly interactive 'journal.' This little book by Junie B herself is full of "advice" for children on how to survive school. These little snippets of advice reveal Junie B's personality, of course, and share a few smallish stories.

Here is Junie B's advice on backpacks:

The FIRST thing you need for school is a BACKPACK.
BACKPACK is the grown-up word for a PACK THAT YOU CARRY ON YOUR BACK.
It is like being a mule, sort of.
Only I am NOT a mule.
I am just a child.
I would rather pull my stuff to school in a pack wagon.
But stores do not sell pack wagons.
Someone should look into this matter, I believe.

There are a jillion kinds of backpacks to choose from. Only it does not matter which backpack you really, really like. 'Cause your mother will buy the cheapest backpack in the store. And there is NOTHING you can do about that situation. On account of children do not have any actual money.

End of backpack story
As I mentioned some of her 'advice' reveals some of Junie B's troubles...

Rules of the Bus
Number 1

When your bus driver is driving the bus, do not jump up and start yelling, "Faster! Faster! Faster!"
I have had an actual experience with this rule. On account of one time I thought it would be amusing to yell FASTER. But my bus driver named Mr. Woo did not laugh.
Instead, he sent a bus note home to my parents. It was called. Bus Warning Number One. They did not get a kick out of it.

Of course, the rules continue--for the bus as well as the classroom, playground, and lunchroom.

There were many funny bits in this book. I liked Junie B's idea of having fun homework--jumping on the bed and eating lemon pie.

As I mentioned this one is slightly interactive. There are a handful of pages where kids can write and draw. It also includes a few pages of stickers.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Grumpy Dump Truck

Spangler, Brie. 2009. The Grumpy Dump Truck. Random House.

Bertrand is a dump truck that is perpetually grumpy. He's got one bad attitude. Is there anything his friends can do to help him get over his case of the grumps? One little porcupine named Tilly is willing to give it her best try.

I'll just be honest. I didn't like this one. I don't expect my picture books to be thoroughly realistic by any means. So it isn't the fact that trucks have personalities and talk. It's the fact that I can't believe--even in the cartoon world--the explanation that Tilly reveals to be the cause of Bertrand's grumpiness. Of course, I hope that some readers out there will like this one. And if you do like it, then that's great. But I just couldn't get into this one.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Thursday, July 9, 2009

It's A Secret

Burningham, John. 2009. It's A Secret. Candlewick Press.

Ever wondered where your cat goes at night? Marie Elaine is a curious little girl who, along with her neighbor Norman, is determined to find out. Marie Elaine is suspicious of her cat. Why does he sleep all day? Is he up to something at night? How can she ever know just what he is up to? But one night she catches him by surprise. Catches him all dressed up and ready to go out. While Malcom, the cat in question, won't tell her where he is going, he does allow her the privilege of going with him...if she dresses up for a party...and if she goes small. Norman, the neighbor, happens to catch sight of the pair and comes along as well. Sneaking past the neighborhood dogs, the three head for a magnificent party where all will meet the Queen of Cats. It's a large party with cats from here, there, and everywhere. But with the approaching dawn, the party winds down. Now that Marie Elaine knows the truth, will she keep silent?

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

How To Get Married by Me the Bride

Lloyd-Jones, Sally. 2009. How To Get Married by Me, the Bride. Illustrated by Sue Heap. Random House.

If you loved Sally Lloyd-Jones' How To Be A Baby by Me, The Big Sister, then you'll most likely appreciate this latest book. It stars the same adorable children. This one is a perfect choice for the little girls in your life who love to play make believe and dress up, those who like to "play" wedding.
When you want to get married,
first you have to find someone you canmarry.
You can marry your best friend
or your teacher
or your pet
or your daddy.
(And sometimes you can marry a flower.)
You can marry someone who is just like you,
or someone who isn't,
someone who lives near your house,
or someone who doesn't,
Actually you can marry anyone you like!
(Except they need to like you back.)
It's an undoubtedly silly book, a playful look at love and romance from a child's point of view. The style is similar to that of the first one. It's cute. Very cute with lots of small details to bring smiles. Such as this little gem of a wedding invitation,

Please come to our wedding
because we kindly request
the pleasure of your company.
There will be candy.
I liked it. You might like it too. If you've read this one, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Maybe A Bear Ate It

Harris, Robie H. 2008. Maybe A Bear Ate It. Illustrated by Michael Emberley. Scholastic.

Some books have you at hello. This is such a book. The star of this one is having trouble finding his book. It's bedtime. Surrounded by stuffed animals, pillows, and blankets, our hero is lacking only one thing: his book.

It's gone!
It's nowhere!
I can't find it anywhere!
Where--is--my book?
I need my book!

It's an imaginative book. Where did his book go? Did a bear eat it? Did a dinosaur stomp on it? Read and see for yourself in Maybe A Bear Ate It. It's a silly book, a simple book, but one that rings true.

I love the illustrations--the details! It may or may not take readers a few tries before they catch onto everything in this one. Did you notice that all the animals accused of stealing his book--the dinosaur, the bat, the bear, the rhino, etc. are stuffed animals sitting on his bed?

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Monday, July 6, 2009

My Parents Are Divorced, My Elbows...

Cochran, Bill. 2009. My Parents Are Divorced, My Elbows Have Nicknames, And Other Facts About Me. Illustrated by Steve Bjorkman. HarperCollins.

Ted is weird--no doubt about it--but not because his parents are divorced. No, that's just one little fact about Ted and his life. Here's how it starts off,
"Hi. My name is Ted and my parents are divorced. But that doesn't mean I'm weird."
Ted then goes on to mention just some of the facts that do make him seem a little outsiders at least.
Sometimes I answer the phone and pretend to be a chicken. Even I know that's just plain weird. The fact that I occasionally eat cold spaghetti sauce by the spoonful straight out of the jar? Well, I've been told that is, indeed, a bit odd. Hey, at least I use a spoon.
In between these odd little facts, Ted talks about his feelings. His thoughts on his mom and his dad and on their divorce and the custody arrangement. He talks about how the divorce has effected his life. So one page of light and breezy, turn the page for a bit heavier message.

My dad's better at helping me with my math homework, but I always seem to have the toughest math homework when I'm with Mom. My mom's better at putting bandages on me when I skin my knee, and, well, I skin my knees all the time. A lot of times I miss my mom when I'm at my dad's, and a lot of times I miss my dad when I'm at my mom's. But that doesn't mean I'm weird.
Ted offers young readers an open look at his life.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Saturday, July 4, 2009

You're A Grand Old Flag

Cohan, George M. 2008. You're A Grand Old Flag. Featuring the art of Norman Rockwell. Simon & Schuster.

Norman Rockwell art is paired with the patriotic song "You're A Grand Old Flag" in this beautiful, celebratory picture book. Fourteen illustrations capturing the 'spirit' of America have been chosen to appear alongside George M. Cohan's lyrics. These illustrations span seven decades: the earliest being 1918, the latest being 1971.

It's a book that is enjoyable on several different levels. I love looking at the art. Studying all the details. Imagining the stories-behind-the-art. Rockwell art has a way of making me curious. Of making me want to know more.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Friday, July 3, 2009

How To Make A Cherry Pie and See the U.S.A.

Priceman, Marjorie. 2008. How To Make A Cherry Pie and See the U.S.A. Random House.

Ever wondered how a cherry pie is made? Ever wanted to take the scenic route? Going beyond the basic recipe? Sure you could just go to the Cook Shop and buy everything you need to make a pie. But what if that 'Cook Shop' is closed? How far would you go for a piece of cherry pie? (As for me, not very far. I don't like cherries. Period. But I'm willing to imagine--for the sake of fairness--that I do.) In this imaginative book, the reader is sent to state after state after state in search of natural resources needed to be processed in order to do things the easy way. (Collecting sand so you can make glass. Collecting oil so you can make plastic. Collecting coal so you can make steel. Etc.)

Catch an express bus to New Mexico. If the bus stops at the northwest corner of the state, take the opportunity to be four places at once. That was fun. Now back to work. Your task is to find some clay. A good place to look is down--you're probably standing on it! Dig up enough clay to make a mixing bowl. (Look out for cactus needles!)
It's a silly book--a stretch of a book. But it is playful, conversational, and informative. I remember reading How To Make An Apple Pie and See The World several years ago. (More than several, if I remember correctly.) And I enjoyed that one a good deal more than this. But this one is fun as well. I think it is for older readers.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Thursday, July 2, 2009

God Found Us You

Bergren, Lisa Tawn. 2009. God Found Us You. Illustrated by Laura J. Bryant. HarperCollins.

In God Found Us You a Mama Fox recounts the story to Little Fox of how he came to be hers, of how 'God found us you.' It's one of those sweet-adoption stories. (You probably know the sort.)

Little Fox cuddled up to Mama Fox one night and said sleepily, "Mama, tell me again about the day I came home."

She's happy to oblige. (She probably tells this story over and over again, I've no doubt!) Here's a little snippet,

"I started seeing you everywhere, in the leaves of the giant oak and in the bark of the pine. Even in the stars! Oh, how I longed for the day that you would arrive, when God would find us you."

This becomes the refrain of the book, everything always points back to the phrase, when God would find us you. Which is a nice touch for Christian families who have adopted.

Overall, I liked it. I thought it was a sweet story with a good message, a welcoming and reaffirming message. I enjoyed the illustrations by Laura J. Bryant. I thought they complemented the text well.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Zoo I Drew

Doodler (Goldman), Todd H. 2009. The Zoo I Drew. Random House. (July 28(ish) publication)

This one's a keeper. And not just for zoo keepers either. Though this one boasts that it is "zoo-keeper approved." (And who am I to doubt Todd H. Doodler?!) I loved this one. Loved it. It had me at hello. Its bright red cover is fluted; I loved feeling all the ridges--made it so much more appealing. The art is fun and playful. But maybe I'm getting ahead of myself. The Zoo I Drew is an animal (well zooish) alphabet book for youngsters. Each letter has an animal and a rhyme to go along with it.

A is for Alligator...
With a mouth full of teeth
and a body that's covered in scales.
The alligator likes to bask in the sun
and swim with it's powerful tail.

M is for Monkey
Hanging from its tail,
The monkey likes to play around.
It swings from tree to tree
And seldom touches the ground.

As I said, I loved this one. So it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that I'm highly recommending it to you. It's to be released in late July.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers