Archive for the ‘Delightfully Silly’ Category

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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Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Picture_Books/awesome_things.html

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.

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Review of Old MacDonald Had a Truck, by Steve Goetz and Eda Kaban

Thursday, November 1st, 2018

Old MacDonald Had a Truck

by Steve Goetz
illustrated by Eda Kaban

Chronicle Books, San Francisco, 2016. 40 pages.

Okay, it’s an idea that had to happen. Old MacDonald’s making a stunt track on his farm! We’ve got the familiar song, but this time, on his farm he has:

an excavator,
a front loader,
a bulldozer,
a motor grader,
a dump truck,
a steamroller,
a cement mixer,
and a truck (racing on the finished track).

The various machines work with various noises like a Dig Dig, a Scooop Scoop, a Puuush Push, a Scrape Rake, a Dump Thump, a Squish Smash.

There’s no accumulation, though, so I’m thinking if I used it for storytime, I might repeat each machine page to give kids the chance to join in. Though after the sound effects page for each machine, the line at the end of the verse shows up on the next page (Old MacDonald had a farm E-I-E-I-O.), leading right into the next verse. So it’s going to be a little disrupting to go back and repeat.

I think, though, for reading to your own child on a lap, they’re going to ask for this over and over again, and on only the second or third time through, they’ll be confidently joining in. Parents and grandparents in that situation won’t need to repeat any pages, since they’ll be repeating the whole book!

One other thing I wonder: Farm animals are helping Old MacDonald and his wife build the stunt track. Why, though, is a fox joining in? I would have rather they stuck with more traditional animals for Old MacDonald’s farm. But that’s a minor quibble and doesn’t diminish the fun.

I like what the flap says about the author: “Steve Goetz was inspired to write his debut picture book when his son, Connor, began to sing ‘Old MacDonald Had a Farm’ with alternative lyrics (‘Old MacDonald had a Monster Truck, E – I – E – I – Ooooooo’). This moment blossomed into an ongoing conversation about the heavy machinery Old MacDonald must have owned to run his farm.” Indeed!

This is the sort of book that makes me wonder why anyone didn’t think of this before. In fact, surely someone has? But this one is carried out with exuberance.

www.chroniclekids.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 Life on Mars, by Jon Agee

Sunday, September 30th, 2018

Life on Mars

by Jon Agee

Dial Books for Young Readers, 2017. 32 pages.

I love the silliness that comes from the mind of Jon Agee. In his latest picture book, a boy has come to Mars to find life. He’s bearing a gift of chocolate cupcakes. He’s sure there’s life on Mars, even though other people don’t think so.

But alas! All he finds when he looks around are rocks and dirt. There’s no life on Mars after all!

Meanwhile, children will see the large monster-shaped Martian following the kid around. The boy even climbs on “this mountain” (the creature’s belly) to find where he left his spaceship.

When the kid gets back in the spaceship headed home, he decides he deserves a treat. But who ate the chocolate cupcakes?

This is a child’s first taste of an unreliable narrator, and they’ll love knowing what he doesn’t. It’s an exercise in perspective, too, as you can talk about why the boy doesn’t see the Martian, but we do.

jonagee.com
penguin.com/children

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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 Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussy-cat, by Julia Donaldson

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018

The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussy-cat

by Julia Donaldson
illustrated by Charlotte Voake

Candlewick Press, 2017. First published in the United Kingdom in 2013. 32 pages.
Starred Review

I’m a little perplexed how much I like this book. I don’t really consider myself a fan of The Owl and the Pussycat. And yet, just opening this book got the original poem singing in my brain.

And this one does the same thing – It sings inside your head. The story may be a little more slender. Rather than getting married, the owl and the pussycat are looking for their lost ring. But hey, it’s all nonsense. And it does end happily.

Juliet Donaldson works in some other Edward Lear characters, like the Pobble Who Has No Toes.

The story is not weighty at all – but it sings, with the very same lilt as The Owl and the Pussycat. I find I simply must read this book to a group of children – expect to hear it soon at a Storytime in Old Town Square.

And if you have a child who will listen to nonsense, try this out! The lilt of the language is a delight!

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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 Toad on the Road, by Stephen Shaskan

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

Toad on the Road

A Cautionary Tale

by Stephen Shaskan

Harper, 2017. 32 pages.
Review written in 2017.

Here’s a book that cries out to be read aloud in a storytime. There’s a toad in the road! Four different critters in alliterative vehicles come down the road toward the toad, and we’re encouraged:

Everyone shout:
Look out! Look out!

Then we’ve got a spread-filling “SKID! SCREECH! BAM!”

No, the toad isn’t hurt, but the other creature has run off the road and crashed. And they now scold the oblivious toad:

Hey, little toad, get out of the way!
You could get hurt. That’s no place to play.
Vamoose! Skedaddle! Without delay!
What do you think your mama would say?

The final animal is the toad’s mama! And she’s driving a tow truck to take away the other crashed vehicles. They smile when they see each other, and she gets him off the road with a hug.

There are little blips where the rhyme isn’t perfect – but my main impression of the book is that I have to try it at my next Toddler Storytime. I can’t wait to have everybody shout, “Look out! Look out!” And the bonus is that it’s a fun way to talk about how the road is not a safe place to play.

stephenshaskan.com
harpercollinschildrens.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?