Archive for the ‘Delightfully Silly’ Category

Review of Once Upon a Goat, by Dan Richards, illustrated by Eric Barclay

Saturday, October 19th, 2019

Once Upon a Goat

by Dan Richards
pictures by Eric Barclay

Alfred A. Knopf, 2019. 32 pages.
Starred Review
Review written September 10, 2019, from a library book

Here’s a silly twist on a fairy tale pulled off with just the right humorous touch.

The book opens with a king and queen who wish for a child.

“Yes, but where would we put it?” asked the king.
“Next to the vase on the hearth, naturally,” replied the queen.
“Or beside the roses in the garden,” the king added.
“Oh, yes. Perfect,” agreed the queen.

When their fairy godmother shows up, they tell her about their wishes.

“We’re not particular,” said the queen. “Glowing skin, bright eyes, and hair like ocean waves should do.”

“Hmm . . . ,” said their fairy godmother.
“A boy would be great,” added the king. “But any kid will do.”
“Of course,” answered their fairy godmother. “Look on your doorstep when the moon is full.”

At the next full moon, they eagerly look outside – and a little goat is sitting there! The king realizes he shouldn’t have said that any kid would do. They try to send the goat away, but it’s a blustery night, and they bring him in for just one night… and the night turns into many more.

The illustrations are a huge part of the fun as the little kid enjoys the run of the palace and the palace guards keep their faces stoic. And we’ve got more to the story when the fairy godmother comes back.

I can’t read this book without smiling.

danrichardsbooks.com
ericbarclay.com
rhcbooks.com

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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Review of A Piglet Named Mercy, by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen

Friday, May 31st, 2019

A Piglet Named Mercy

by Kate DiCamillo
illustrated by Chris Van Dusen

Candlewick Press, 2019. 32 pages.
Starred Review
Review written April 20, 2019, from a library book.

Here it is! A picture book that tells how a Mercy the Porcine Wonder came to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Watson just when they needed something a little less predictable in their lives.

When a baby piglet falls off a pig transport truck in the night, Mr. Watson discovers her next to his newspaper in the morning. They fall in love. Of course the next-door neighbor Eugenia Lincoln is horrified and her sister Baby Lincoln helpfully brings the piglet a bottle of warm milk.

It doesn’t take long before they learn that the little piglet loves buttered toast very much. She is a wish come true and a mercy, and that’s how she gets her name. (With Eugenia exclaiming in frustration.)

It helps, of course, to have met Mercy before, but it’s actually a wonderful and self-contained story of a couple adopting a piglet. I’m going to use it soon in storytime – which will perhaps entice those children into the longer beginning chapter books when they are ready to read on their own.

Delightful all by itself.

candlewick.com

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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Review of We Don’t Eat Our Classmates, by Ryan T. Higgins

Tuesday, February 26th, 2019

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates

by Ryan T. Higgins

Disney Hyperion, 2018. 40 pages.
Starred Review
Review written June 20, 2018 from library book
2018 Sonderbooks Stand-out:
#1 Picture Books – Silly Fun

Before I looked at the copy of this book that had come to the library for me, I heard my co-worker laughing over it in the next cubicle. We ended up getting everyone else in that section of the office to read it. The tone and pictures are brilliant.

I’ll give a little taste, though you really need to check this book out to see the pictures that go with it. By the way, there’s a picture of Penelope on the title page saying, “Hey kids! You will never be eaten by a T. rex. They are extinct. I promise!”

The book begins:

Penelope Rex was nervous. It’s not every day a little T. rex starts school.

She’s worried whether her classmates will be nice and how many teeth they will have. But when she gets to school:

Penelope Rex was very surprised to find out that all of her classmates were CHILDREN!

So she ate them.

Because children are delicious.

“Penelope Rex!” said Mrs. Noodleman,
“WE DON’T EAT OUR CLASSMATES! Please spit them out at once.”

So she did.

The picture of the angry children covered in drool and digestive juices is delightfully disgusting.

More pictures as Penelope tries to make friends show things like waiting at the bottom of the slide – with her mouth open. Penelope starts to notice that the other kids don’t want to get near her.

No problems-at-school book would be complete without a conversation with the parents.

When she got home, her dad asked about her first day of school.

“I didn’t make any friends!” Penelope cried. “None of the children wanted to play with me!”

“Penelope Rex,” her father asked, “did you eat your classmates?”

“Well . . . maybe sort of just a little bit.”

“Sometimes it’s hard to make friends,” said her dad. “Especially if you eat them.”

“You see, Penelope, children are the same as us on the inside. Just tastier.”

The next day, a lesson comes for Penelope in an unexpected way.

This book is too much fun! In fact, I’m sad that it came in one week after we finished booktalking this year. It’s already going on my list for next year. Very silly. Very fun. There’s nothing quite like a picture book that makes you laugh out loud.

ryanthiggins.com
DisneyBooks.com

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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Review of Harold & Hog Pretend For Real! by Dan Santat

Monday, January 28th, 2019

Harold & Hog
Pretend for Real!

by Dan Santat

Hyperion Books for Children, May 7, 2019. 64 pages.
Starred Review
Review written January 27, 2019, from an advance reader copy I got at ALA Midwinter Meeting.

This is another book in the series Elephant & Piggie Like Reading!. Mo Willems’ Gerald and Piggie characters appear at the beginning and end to introduce a book written by someone else. This one is delightfully meta, because the book they’re introducing features an elephant and a pig – Harold & Hog – who want to pretend to be Gerald and Piggie.

Harold and Hog are drawn by Dan Santat, much more realistically than the cartoonish Gerald and Piggie. They have glasses to pretend to be Gerald and a cartoon nose to pretend to be Piggie.

But there’s a problem when they try to carry it out. Because Gerald is always very careful – but Harold has trouble with that. And Piggie is always very carefree – but Hog has trouble with that. Their efforts in that direction are tremendously fun.

I’m writing this in my Seattle hotel room while at ALA Midwinter Meeting. We chose our Newbery winners last night but don’t announce them to the world until tomorrow morning. I’m feeling a little giddy ever since I realized that I can write a review of this book – a 2019 publication – and post it this very day!

Of course, the book won’t be published until May, but this is one to watch for! Watch book characters pretend to be each other! Too much fun!

dantat.com
pigeonpresents.com
hyperionbooksforchildren.com

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on an Advance Reader Copy I picked up at ALA Midwinter Meeting.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

Review of Buddy and Earl Go Exploring, by Maureen Fergus and Carey Sookocheff

Monday, December 10th, 2018

Buddy and Earl Go Exploring

by Maureen Fergus
pictures by Carey Sookocheff

Groundwood Books, 2016. 32 pages.
Starred Review

Buddy and Earl Go Exploring is a picture book in the grand tradition of animals-don’t-understand-human-things-with-hilarious-results such as Minerva Louise, The Adventures of Cow, and Paul Meets Bernadette. The child hearing this story will delight in being smarter than the animals.

In this case, we have a dog named Buddy, who is a little more savvy about human things, and an adventurous hedgehog named Earl. Earl is new to the family.

One night, Earl announces he’s going on a trip and travels for some time on his hamster wheel.

After a long time, he stopped and looked around.

“This place looks eerily similar to the place I just left,” whispered Earl.

“Maybe that is because it is the place you just left,” whispered Buddy.

When he heard Buddy’s voice, Earl was so startled that he jumped and made a funny popping sound.

“I ran faster than the wind!” he cried. “How did you manage to keep up with me, Buddy?”

“I am not sure,” said Buddy uncertainly.
“Well, I’m glad you’re here,” declared Earl. “Exploring is always more fun if you do it with a friend.”

As they explore this place (the kitchen), first Earl sees a silvery lake in the shadow of a great mountain. Buddy knows it’s his water dish in the shadow of the garbage pail, but he gets carried away in Earl’s enthusiasm. When he knocks over the garbage can, at first he feels terrible.

Then he noticed some of yesterday’s meatloaf and forgot all about feeling terrible.

Next, Earl sees a lovely lady hedgehog trapped in the jaws of a monster. Buddy knows it’s Mom’s hairbrush in her purse, but soon is convinced to help Earl save his friend.

Then they have an encounter with the vacuum cleaner before settling down for the night. The last picture shows the two happily asleep – with the results of their exploring strewn all around the kitchen, and Dad’s foot coming into the kitchen the next morning.

The story is simple enough, but the characters make it wonderful – with Earl’s wild imagination, and Buddy’s simple friendly doggy enthusiasm. Kids will enjoy being in the know and delight in the good-hearted adventures of these two friends.

groundwoodbooks.com

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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Review of I Will Not Eat You, by Adam Lehrhaupt and Scott Magoon

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

I Will Not Eat You

by Adam Lehrhaupt & Scott Magoon

A Paula Wiseman Book, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016. 36 pages.
Starred Review

Despite the title and look, this is not, actually, a Jon Klassen book. It is a whole lot of fun!

As the book opens we see a big dark cave with two red eyes peering out.

Theodore lived in a cave.
It was a quiet cave,
and that’s the way he liked it.

One morning, a bird flew up to the cave.
It tweeted and squawked at Theodore.

Theodore thought,
Does it want me to eat it?

But Theodore wasn’t hungry.

“Go away, silly bird,”
he whispered.
“I will not eat you.”

The bird flew away.

The same pattern repeats with slight variations as the day progresses with a wolf and a tiger.

That evening, a boy wearing a suit of armor gallops up to the cave and roars.

Seriously? thought Theodore.
I should eat it.

Theodore was getting hungry.

The boy doesn’t back down, and Theodore emerges from the cave. We finally see that he’s an enormous red dragon. He chases the boy!

Things could get pretty grim, but in a surprise for everyone, the two end up sharing a laugh and becoming friends.

I’m not sure it’s a healthy situation for the boy, but by the end of the book, they play together regularly.

I can always eat him later,
thought Theodore.

This book would be a hit with preschoolers. There aren’t a lot of words on each page. I think the hint of danger could be thrilling. There are certainly plenty of things to talk about after the story is done. Would you play with Theodore?

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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Review of The Not So Quiet Library, by Zachariah Ohora

Monday, November 26th, 2018

The Not So Quiet Library

by Zachariah Ohora

Dial Books for Young Readers, 2016. 32 pages.
Starred Review

This book definitely leans toward the silly side, but it features a library, so what’s not to like?

Every Saturday, Oskar and Theodore got up bright and early.

Not to watch cartoons, or play outside with their friends. It was the day they went . . .

. . . to the library with Dad!

Once they get to the library, they go to the children’s department while Dad goes upstairs to “the nap department.”

[No, no, no! Don’t leave young children unattended at the library unless you’d leave them unattended in a mall. Of course, this book bears out that something bad may happen to them. . . .]

In the children’s department, a five-headed monster attacks! When it finds out that books aren’t for eating, it decides it will eat Oskar and Theodore.

Fortunately, the librarian saves the day with a story time. “Luckily, monsters like story time as much as they like donuts.”

[Please note that this is a lovely sentiment and I applaud that kind-hearted librarian, but I feel compelled to warn you that at our library, if you leave your children unattended, the chances are good that we will let a monster eat them. Sorry, but that’s how it is….]

There are lots of delightful details in this book. My favorite is the picture of Dad tying a pile of books to the top of their car to go to the library. The inside of the car is full of books, too. They leave the library the same way.

It’s all just so silly – but such a nice celebration of libraries.

zohora.com
penguin.com/youngreaders

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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Review of An Incomplete Book of Awesome Things, by Wee Society

Thursday, November 22nd, 2018

An Incomplete Book of Awesome Things

by Wee Society

Crown Publishing (Penguin Random House), 2016. 38 pages.
Starred Review

I don’t normally review board books. I don’t normally even read board books. But I requested this one when I saw it on the list of books the library had ordered (Wowbrary), not realizing it was a board book.

And it is awesome.

What’s so awesome about it? The arbitrariness of the selection of things listed – and the excellent graphic design representation of those things. The pleasing, bright colors. The question at the end (Awesome or not awesome?).

On the front you see a few small pictures that will come later, and they’re marked fig. 1 through fig. 5. That gives you the idea. The pictures have the look of infographics.

Here are the first several awesome things from this book. The book consists of an infographic of each thing, with the name of the thing printed on the page as well.

HELICOPTERS
ARGYLE
LAVA
MASKING TAPE
FOOL’S GOLD
NESTS
CAMOUFLAGE
CINNAMON
SCIENCE

The final page reads, “Awesome or not awesome?” and shows eight more things.

The graphic design is awesome. I especially like the pages for DANDELIONS and CONFETTI.

This book reminds me very much of 14,000 Things to Be Happy About, by Barbara Ann Kipfer, except it’s for toddlers and their awesome parents.

weesociety.com

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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Review of My Dog’s a Chicken, by Susan McElroy Montanari and Anne Wilsdorf

Wednesday, November 21st, 2018

My Dog’s a Chicken

by Susan McElroy Montanari
illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf

Schwartz & Wade Books, New York, 2016. 36 pages.

The stage is set perfectly in this picture book:

Lula Mae wanted a puppy, but Mama said, “Dog’s just another mouth to feed. These are hard times, Lula Mae. You’ve got to make do.”

Baby Berry sat on Mama’s hip. “Make do,” he repeated.

However, the family has plenty of chickens scratching around. Lula Mae seizes one and adopts it as her dog. Quickly, she shows that her dog Pookie is a good show dog, shepherd dog, and guard dog.

Mama is not convinced, and Baby Berry continues to echo what she has to say.

But when Baby Berry doesn’t repeat their words, they realize he has wandered off. Where could he be? When Pookie shows herself to be a good search-and-rescue dog, that’s when she wins over Mama.

I usually resist the rejected-animal-heroically-saves-the-day trope, but this one comes in such a delightfully silly package. I think it may be Anne Wilsdorf’s illustrations that win me over. I so loved Sophie’s Squash, another story of a little girl making an unconventional adoption. Anne Wilsdorf knows how to draw precocious free thinkers like Sophie and Lula Mae.

This book also has some fun repetitive elements that should work well in a story time. And the illustrator plays fair – if you look closely, you can discover where Baby Berry has gone while the rest of the family is frantically looking.

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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Review of How to Knit a Monster, by Annemarie van Haeringen

Monday, November 5th, 2018

How to Knit a Monster

by Annemarie van Haeringen

Clarion Books, 2018. First published in the Netherlands in 2014. 32 pages.
Starred Review

This book was first published in the Netherlands in 2014. It is not eligible for the Newbery. I should not have taken time to read it. On top of that, I have a pet peeve against books that show someone knitting a complete sweater in less than a month – and this book does much, much worse than that.

And yet, all that said — I did read this book today and was enchanted. The speedy knitting is all part of this amazing goat’s magic.

Here’s how the book begins:

Greta is a goat, a white goat. When she goes outdoors in wintertime, she’s almost invisible.

She is a very, very good knitter. She knits socks for everyone she knows and for many she doesn’t know.

Today Greta decides to knit something different. How about a whole goat?

She tries a little one first.

Click, click, clickety click go her knitting needles, and before long a little goat slides off her needle.

What fun! Greta knits more little goats so they can play together.

The illustration here shows several goats, with splashes of color in various places and trailing yarn. They are cavorting about happily, with two butting heads.

But then “mean Mrs. Sheep” comes by and badmouths Greta’s knitting.

Greta is upset. She isn’t watching her knitting.

We’ll see who knits the fastest, Greta thinks angrily. Clickclickclicketyclick go her needles.

Mrs. Sheep keeps talking. Greta still isn’t watching her knitting.

She decides it’s finished and ends it off . . .

. . . and a wolf jumps off the needle!

The little goats run away.

Well, the wolf deals with Mrs. Sheep. Greta hides just in time – in a closet with more yarn, thankfully. Because next she knits a tiger to catch the wolf. But the tiger is hungry….

And what is especially lovely about this book is how it all comes together – or, um, apart – at the end. (No one is permanently damaged, but Mrs. Sheep does learn a lesson.) Though Greta does need to learn to pay more attention to what she knits!

So this knitter, for one, truly appreciates the genius of Greta, whose knitting is just plain magical. Besides this being a really fun story to tell, all the better to convince children that knitters have magical powers, right?

hmhco.com

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?