Saturday, October 30, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Babyberry Pie

Babyberry Pie. Heather Vogel Frederick. Illustrated by Amy Schwartz. 2010. October 2010. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 40 pages.

When the moon goes dancing
Across the starry sky,
It's time to bring the baby in
For babyberry pie!
First you pick a baby
From the babyberry tree--
One who's sweet,
A cuddly treat--
And bring him home to me.

Babyberry Pie is a sweet, playful bedtime book. It rhymes. And while I wouldn't say it's the best rhyming book I've ever read, it certainly works well enough. My favorite part of the story is the middle--after bathtime--when it's:

Sugar for his bellybutton!
Sugar for his nose!
Sugar for his fingertips!
And sugar for his toes!
But while I found it cute in some places, I didn't like the "pie crust", where the parents pile quilts and pillows high in the crib to tuck baby into. Yes, it makes a cute "pie" and fits the imagery that the author was going for. But babies aren't supposed to sleep with pillows or blankets.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I Will Surprise My Friend

I Will Surprise My Friend: An Elephant and Piggie Book. Mo Willems. 2008. Hyperion. 64 pages.

Hee hee hee!
What are you doing?
I am going to surprise my friend! Shhh... Here she comes! Boo!
Ha ha ha!
Ha ha ha!
Hee hee hee!
Hee hee hee!

Inspired by two playful squirrels, Gerald and Piggie decide to "surprise" each other by the big rock. But things don't go quite they way they planned! Oh, they end up surprised. But not in the way they thought they would be. When Gerald can't find Piggie, and Piggie can't find Gerald, Gerald begins imagining the worst. He must save Piggie! Meanwhile Piggie is a little worried about Gerald. But. Thoughts of lunch interrupt!

I Will Surprise My Friend is a funny book. It is part of the Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems. I would definitely recommend this series!!!

Other books in the series:

Can I Play Too?
Elephants Cannot Dance
I Am Going
Pigs Make Me Sneeze
Watch Me Throw The Ball
Are You Ready to Play Outside
I Love My New Toy
I Am Invited to A Party
My Friend is Sad
Today I Will Fly
There Is A Bird On Your Head
We Are In A Book

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Phineas and Ferb: The Chronicles of Meap

The Chronicles of Meap. Adapted by John Green. 2010. Disney. 32 pages.

This is a "junior graphic novel" adaptation of a Phineas and Ferb episode--The Chronicles of Meap. This is one of the best episodes--in my opinion. I love it because it's so funny, so quotable. (I now know why frogs and cows don't date.) It's about how you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, or an alien by its meap! It has a great subplot too with Perry and Dr. Doofenshmirtz. I love the episode.

I'll be honest. I'd probably love watching this story more than reading it. They leave out *some* of the best parts of the cartoon. They shortened Dr. Doffenshmirtz's back story quite a bit. Which is understandable but unfortunate. Since it is one of his best back stories that I've ever heard.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Phineas and Ferb: Nothing But Trouble

Nothing But Trouble. Adapted by John Green. 2010. Disney. 32 pages.

This book is a "junior graphic novel" adaptation of an episode of Phineas and Ferb. Now, I love Phineas and Ferb. I do. I love some episodes more than others. I've found some episodes are good viewing once or twice, but become obnoxious the twentieth time around. I've found some episodes are so very good, so very funny, that I could never tire of them. Nothing But Trouble features "Day of the Living Gelatin!" and "Elementary, My Dear Stacy!" I don't *love* either of these episodes in particular. (I don't dislike them either.)

In the first story, Phineas and Ferb fill a swimming pool with gelatin. It's fun at first--in a bouncy way--but the fun is spoiled by Dr. Doofenshmirtz's "Turn-Everything-Evil-Inator." Soon a gelatin monster--an evil gelatin monster--is on the loose.

In the second story, Phineas and Ferb along with Candace and Stacy are visiting grandparents in England. After staying up all night reading Sherlock Holmes, Candace is ready to bust her brothers in a whole new way.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Life of Rice: From Seedling to Supper

The Life of Rice: From Seedling to Supper. Richard Sobol. 2010. Candlewick. 40 pages.

My life as a photographer involves a lot of fast-paced travel followed by slower times at home as I review and edit my photographs.

I have enjoyed several of Richard Sobol's books. I find his photographs to be engaging and his text to be informative, and reader-friendly. This nonfiction book focuses on Thailand, on the importance of rice to Thailand--its people, its culture, its calendar even. It begins with an invitation to the Royal Plowing Ceremony. He accepts, of course, and thus begins his journey as he explores a culture and a grain. As he follows this important crop throughout the year--observing how nothing of this plant is wasted. I enjoyed this one. I found it informative and interesting--much more interesting than I thought it would be!

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Have you seen Babies?

I just LOVE the movie-documentary Babies. I loved so many things about it! Have you seen it? You should!!!

The trailer...

Babies sleeping...


© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Binky To The Rescue

Binky to the Rescue. Ashley Spires. 2010. Kids Can Press. 64 pages.

Another one got in.
It's the third alien today.
But it will not escape.
Binky is an official certified space cat.
His ongoing mission is to protect his space station from alien invasion.
Even if it means dealing with...
One alien at a time.
Lately, Binky has intensified his patrolling duties.
His speed...his agility...and his super fighting skills...require all his focus.

Binky is back in his second adventure. His first, Binky the Space Cat, I just LOVED! I wasn't expecting a sequel, so I was thrilled when I received a copy of Binky To The Rescue. What will this certified space kitty do in his second adventure? Will it be just as cute, just as funny?

I wasn't disappointed. Binky faces a great danger--not once but twice--in Binky to the Rescue. He faces the dangers of outer space. For those that haven't read the first book, outer space--to Binky at least--is outside. In Binky To The Rescue, Binky accidentally leaves his space station (the house). And it is quite scary--let me tell you--Binky does not like it one little bit. Fortunately, his owner notices he's missing and rescues him--just in time! But when he realizes that his friend, his companion, his copilot is missing (Ted the Mousie), it's time for this kitty to get brave. Ted must be rescued! He must! Face his fears, he will. Can Binky save Ted? Can he find his way outdoors again?

I would definitely recommend both Binky books. These graphic novels are very fun!

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Friday, October 22, 2010


Spork. Kyo Iona Maclear. Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault. 2010. Kids Can Press.  32 pages.

Spork was neither spoon nor fork...
but a bit of both.
He had a mum and a dad...
who both thought he was perfect
just the way he was.
But Spork stuck out.
In his kitchen, forks were forks and spoons were spoons.

Spork is a book with a message--but I think I like it anyway. (I wouldn't say love.) Spork doesn't fit in with the forks or the spoons. He doesn't like being alone, being the one-and-only. He doesn't feel needed or wanted. The forks and spoons are always getting used; they are always in service. But who needs a spork?! But when Spork meets a "messy thing" (a baby) he may have found his perfect match, his reason for being.

It's a silly story--absurd in a way--yet it works in a strange way.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Thursday, October 21, 2010

How To Raise a Dinosaur

How To Raise a Dinosaur. Natasha Wing. Illustrated by Pablo Bernasconi. 2010. October 2010. Running Press. 24 pages.
Are you thinking of getting a pet?
Then you've come to the right place.
Picking the perfect pet can be perpetually perplexing.
There are so many choices!
There are...
mice and horses and...
cats and dogs and...
snakes and gerbils and rats and lizards and birds and...need I go on?
Yes I do! Because do I have a pet for you!
If you're going to get a pet dinosaur, you're going to need to know how to take care of it. This book by Natasha Wing may just help you out. It tells you exactly what you need to know about pet dinosaurs--how to avoid some unpleasant situations, how to avoid getting eaten--for example!

There are many books about pets, many funny books about pets. How does this one compare? This one is playful and spirited. I loved all the flaps! I did. It made for an interactive experience. Little hands like flaps--like the surprises they contain. I am happy to recommend this one.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Miles to Go

Miles to Go. Jamie Harper. 2010. Candlewick Press. 32 pages.
"Another day, another drive," Miles says.
He packs up the car and climbs inside.
"Have to get to school!"
Miles puts on his seat belt. Check.
Cranks the key. Check.
Squeezes the horn.
Uh-oh. Broken!
No time to fix it now.
Miles to Go is such a fun book. I loved the illustrations. I loved the text. I loved everything! It was cute. But not too cute. Simple, but not too simple. It was funny in all the right ways. It just worked really, really well. It had a certain something that I just loved and adored.

I think it would make a great read aloud for a group. But I also think it would be nice to share one-on-one with a child you love! I'll definitely be recommending this one!

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mad at Mommy

Mad at Mommy. Komako Sakai. 2010. October 2010. Scholastic. 40 pages.

Mommy, I -- I --
I am so mad at you!
You always sleep late,
especially on Saturdays.
Always and always.
You always watch your shows
and never let me watch cartoons.

This little bunny could tell you a dozen reasons why he is so, so mad at his mommy! Perhaps you can relate?! But as our narrator shares his feelings, as he lets his anger out--using words--he begins to calm down. Not at first, perhaps. But by the end, he's ready to make up again. He realizes just how much he loves, loves, loves his mommy!

I really, really liked this one. There were places I loved it. The narrative voice was great. It felt believable, authentic, kid-like. One of the reasons I enjoyed this one so much is because of the illustrations. I thought they were wonderful! I just loved them! Especially the one where this little bunny is waiting and waiting and waiting for his mother to hurry up!

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Gobble Gooble Moooooo Tractor Book

The Gobble Gobble Moooooo Tractor Book. Jez Alborough. 2010. September 2010. Kane/Miller. 32 pages. 

Early one morning, when Farmer Dougal was still asleep...
Sheep climbed onto the big red tractor.
"What are you doing?" asked Cat.
"I'm going for a ride," said Sheep.
"This is the sound the tractor makes when you turn the engine on..."
"Can I come?" asked Cat.
"I can do the sound the engine makes when it starts to wiggle and jiggle..."
"Wait for me!" said Turkey.
I loved this one. I just LOVED it! I always love a good farm book, a farm book that begs to be read aloud. Over and over and over again. While I can't say I loved The Gobble Gobble Moooooo Tractor Book as well as The Cow Loves Cookies, I definitely loved it. And I would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves a silly oh-so-fun read. It would pair well with Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, Farmer Duck, and Punk Farm.

Loved the text and the illustrations. Loved the story. Loved how the excitement kept building and building! How more and more animals join in the fun in making all the "tractor" sounds. I think it definitely works best as a read aloud!

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My Mommy Hung the Moon: A Love Story

My Mommy Hung the Moon. Jamie Lee Curtis. Illustrated by Laura Cornell. 2010. September 2010. HarperCollins. 40 pages.
My mommy hung the moon.
She tied it with string.
My mommy's good at

She lit up the sun,
so bright and so round.
She puffed out each cloud,
stretched trees from the ground.
This one is perfect for anyone who has ever thought their mom could do anything. Page after page, readers learn what "anything" might mean. It's very imaginative, very colorful, very bright, very silly--but silly in the from-the-heart way. My Mommy Hung the Moon is an exaggerated love story between child and parent.

While I didn't like the cover, I did like the illustrations--for the most part. My favorite spread? The big momma batch of cookies! It isn't my favorite picture book by Jamie Lee Curtis, but I did enjoy it. I liked the rhyming. My favorite?
She buzzed every bee.
She spun every spider.
She growled every bear.
She striped every tiger.
So I would recommend this one.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

The Adventures of Granny Clearwater & Little Critter

The Adventures of Granny Clearwater & Little Critter. Kimberly Willis Holt. Illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith. 2010. October 2010. Henry Holt. 32 pages.

One day the Clearwater family decided to head out to where the sun sets--that place called the West. With Ma by his side, Pa drove the wagon. The older Clearwater children walked while Little Critter and Granny rode in the back.

I'm not sure what I think about The Adventures of Granny Clearwater & Little Critter. I like the title very much--that's one of the reasons why I picked it up in the first place. I also really liked the cover. It just looked like a fun book. A book with potential to be quite funny. And I did enjoy the illustrations. They were very fun, very comical in an over-the-top way. In other words, they suited the book well.

The premise is silly--but simple. On the trip West, Granny and Little Critter get separated from the rest of the family. These two then have adventures--and misadventures--as they continue the journey West all the while hoping to reunite with the family.

I was a little disappointed with the book--to be honest. It wasn't as funny as I'd hoped. And it was wordy--very text-heavy! Not the best choice for a read-aloud--at least not for preschoolers.

What should you expect? A silly book, an outlandish book, in a tall-tale kind of way. It's rich in language which would make it a better match for older readers. For example,
Each day Granny and Little Critter walked across that leave-your-mouth-scorching-dry prairie heading west. They got so thirsty Granny had to do a rainwater dance taught to her by her grandpappy with itchy feet. Why that desert had never seen such a downpour. 
I think I was disappointed because I was expecting something different. I was expecting something for younger readers. But I think it would work well for the right audience.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

Cybils Nominations 2010 (Easy/Early Readers)

Easy Readers

Aggie the Brave (Aggie and Ben)

by Lori Ries

Nominated by: Debbie Nance

Balloon Toons: Rick & Rack and the Great Outdoors

by Ethan Long
Blue Apple Books

Nominated by: Tracey Daniels

Benny and Penny in the Toy Breaker (Toon)

by Geoffrey Hayes
Toon Books

Nominated by: Jennifer Wharton

Can I Play Too? (An Elephant and Piggie Book)

by Mo Willems

Nominated by: Melissa

Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Spring Babies

by Erica Silverman

Nominated by: Madigan McGillicuddy

Find the Cat!: A Pet Club Story

by Gwendolyn  Hooks
Stone Arch Books

Nominated by: Kelly Starling Lyons

Fly Guy Meets Fly Girl

by Tedd Arnold
Cartwheel Books

Nominated by: Mary McKenna Siddals

Funny Lunch (Max Spaniel)

by David Catrow
Orchard Books

Nominated by: Kara Dean

Gilbert, the Surfer Dude (I Can Read Book 2)

by Diane Degroat

Nominated by: Jennifer Donovan

I Am Going! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)

by Mo Willems

Nominated by: Becky

I Am Reading: Alien Alby

by Kaye Umansky

Nominated by: Marina Cambareri

I Am Reading: Yeti Spaghetti

by Samantha Hay

Nominated by: Summer Ogata

Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same!

by Grace Lin
Little, Brown

Nominated by: Jama Rattigan

Little Critter: Just a Little Sick (My First I Can Read)

by Mercer Mayer

Nominated by: Kristen

Little Lizard's First Day (Stone Arch Readers)

by Mindy Crow
Stone Arch Books

Nominated by: Cara McCann

Mac and Cheese (I Can Read Book 1)

by Sarah Weeks

Nominated by: Janelle

National Geographic Readers: Ants

by Melissa Stewart
National Geographic Children's Books

Nominated by: Jeff Barger

National Geographic Readers: Bats

by Elizabeth Carney
National Geographic Children's Books

Nominated by: Tracey Daniels

National Geographic Readers: Great Migrations Elephants

by Laura Marsh
National Geographic Children's Books

Nominated by: Anna Kukelhaus

No Valentines for Katie (Katie Woo)

by Fran Manushkin
Picture Window Books

Nominated by: Liz Rouse

Pinkalicious: Pink around the Rink (I Can Read Book 1)

by Victoria Kann

Nominated by: Christie Ibarra

Porky and Bess (Step into Reading)

by Ellen Weiss
Random House Children's Books

Nominated by: Melissa

Sid the Science Kid: What's that Smell? (I Can Read Book 1)

by Jennifer Frantz

Nominated by: Terry Doherty

The Babysitters (Cork and Fuzz)

by Dori Chaconas

Nominated by: Stacy DeKeyser

We Are in a Book! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)

by Mo Willems

Nominated by: Eric Carpenter

Zig and Wikki: Something Ate My Homework (Zig & Wikki)

by Nadja Spiegelman
Toon Books

Nominated by: Mary Ann Scheuer

The following nominated books are ineligible:
Chicken Said,

by Judyann Ackerman Grant

Status: Not Eligible
Reason ineligible: 2008 copyright

Nominated by: Jennifer Russell

My Purple Toes

by Blair Hahn
Publisher not defined

Status: Not Eligible
Reason ineligible: board book

Nominated by: Rebecca Tuohy

Early Chapter Books

Anna Hibiscus

by Atinuke
Kane/Miller Book Pub

Nominated by: Anamaria Anderson

Anna Maria's Gift (A Stepping Stone Book(TM))

by Janice Shefelman
Random House Children's Books

Nominated by: Sherry Early

Ben's Birthdays

by Elizabeth Hawkins
Transworld Publishers

Nominated by: Chimaechi Ochei

Bink and Gollie (Junior Library Guild Selection (Candlewick Press))

by Kate DiCamillo
Candlewick Press

Nominated by: Natasha Maw

Calendar Mysteries #4: April Adventure (A Stepping Stone Book(TM))

by Ron Roy
Random House Children's Books

Nominated by: Kristen

Danny in a Newfangled World

by D M Bileski
Cumulus Press

Nominated by: Danielle Leonard

Don't Break the Balance Beam! (Sports Illustrated Kids: Victory School Superstars)

by Jessica  Sarah Gunderson
Stone Arch Books

Nominated by: Jennifer Glidden

Dragonbreath: Attack of the Ninja Frogs

by Ursula Vernon

Nominated by: Debbie Nance

Extraordinary Ernie and Marvelous Maud (Ernie and Maud)

by Frances Watts
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

Nominated by: Lara Sissell

Flat Stanley's Worldwide Adventures #5: The Amazing Mexican Secret

by Jeff Brown

Nominated by: Terry Doherty

Frankie Pickle and the Pine Run 3000

by Eric Wight
Simon & Schuster

Nominated by: Liz Jones

Home on the Range (Down Girl and Sit)

by Lucy Nolan
Marshall Cavendish Childrens Books

Nominated by: Jennifer Wharton

Ivy and Bean What's the Big Idea? (Book 7)

by Annie Barrows
Chronicle Books

Nominated by: Amy Baskin

Keena Ford and the Secret Journal Mix-Up

by Melissa Thomson

Nominated by: Doret

Layla, Queen of Hearts

by Glenda Millard
Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Nominated by: Jess Pugh

Mokie and Bik Go to Sea

by Wendy Orr
Henry Holt

Nominated by: Debbie Nance

Number One Kid (Zigzag Kids)

by Patricia Reilly Giff
Wendy Lamb Books

Nominated by: Cynthia Leitich Smith

Princess Posey and the First Grade Parade: Book 1

by Stephanie Greene

Nominated by: Dianne White

Snake Surprise!

by JE Fison
Hybrid Publishers

Nominated by: Jelindel Dekanis

The Boy Who Climbed into the Moon

by David Almond
Candlewick Press

Nominated by: Debbie Nance

The Buddy Files: The Case of the Lost Boy (Book 1)

by Dori Hillestad Butler
Albert Whitman & Company

Nominated by: Michelle Bayuk

The Case of the July 4th Jinx (Milo and Jazz Mysteries)

by Lewis B. Montgomery
Kane Press

Nominated by: Juliana Hanford

The Case of the Rock 'n' Roll Dog (First Kids Mystery)

by Martha Freeman
Holiday House

Nominated by: Terry Borzumato-Greenberg

The Dragon's Teeth (Greek Beasts and Heroes)

by Lucy Coats
Orion Childrens Books

Nominated by: Gillian Philip

The Great Puffle Switch (Disney Club Penguin)

by Tracey West
Grosset & Dunlap

Nominated by: Jennifer Donovan

The Littlest Wrangler

by J. R. Sanders
Moonlight Mesa Associates

Nominated by: John Sanders

The Middle Sheep (Extraordinary Ernie and Marvelous Maud)

by Frances Watts
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

Nominated by: Debbie Head

Throwing Heat (Fred Bowen Sports Stories)

by Fred Bowen

Nominated by: Danielle Smith (The1stdaughter)

Wolf Pie

by Brenda Seabrooke
Clarion Books

Nominated by: Paul Jannicola

Word After Word After Word

by Patricia Maclachlan
Katherine Tegen Books

Nominated by: Mary Ann Scheuer

Zapato Power: Freddie Ramos Springs into Action (Book 2)

by Jacqueline Jules
Albert Whitman & Company

Nominated by: Moira Rose Donohue

Zapato Power: Freddie Ramos Takes Off

by Jacqueline Jules
Albert Whitman & Company

Nominated by: Eric Carpenter

The following nominated books are ineligible:
A Simpler Time

by Laura W. Eckroat
Publisher not defined

Status: Not Eligible
Reason ineligible: Only 24 pages long

Nominated by: Aileen Stewart

Alby and the Cat: Showbusiness

by Leanne Davidson
LJD Books

Status: Not Eligible
Reason ineligible: 2008 copyright

Nominated by: Julie

Anna Hibiscus

by Atinuke
Publisher not defined

Status: Not Eligible
Reason ineligible: another printing already nominated

Nominated by: Elizabeth Bird

Secret Service Saint

by Janet Ann Collins
Guardian Angel Publishing

Status: Not Eligible
Reason ineligible: October 11, 2009 publication date

Nominated by: Nancy Carty Lepri

The Buddy Files: The Case of the Lost Boy (Book 1)

by Dori Hillestad Butler
Publisher not defined

Status: Not Eligible
Reason ineligible: hardcover version already nominated

Nominated by: Laura Purdie Salas

© Becky Laney of Young Readers