Saturday, May 07, 2016

Twenty Yawns


                                                         by Jane Smiley

After a long day at the beach, Lucy's mom reads her a bedtime story and falls asleep. Mom manages to get to bed, but Lucy is now wide awake with the moon shining in her room. How will she ever get to sleep? Lucy sneaks past her sleeping dad on the living room chair to get her bear Molasses. The other stuffed animals with Molasses look lonely; can they come too? She carries the whole group to her room. Tucked into bed, the animals yawn sleepy yawns with Lucy. This is a familiar tale of a long day, turned into a sleepy series of yawns. Lauren Castillo's simple and cute illustrations show the basic emotion for the story.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Love is My Favorite Thing

By Emma Chichester Clark

Plum has lots of favorite things—catching sticks, her bear, her bed—but really, LOVE is her absolute favorite thing. She loves her family and all the things they do together. Sometimes, however, Plum’s exuberance causes trouble, and she just can’t help being naughty. But fortunately, love is such a great thing that even when she makes mistakes, Plum’s family still loves her.

Strictly No Elephants

By Lisa Mantchev

“The trouble with having a tiny elephant for a pet is that you never quite fit in." Even though today is Pet Club day the members have decreed "Strictly No Elephants". They don't seem to understand that pets, just like friends, come in all shapes and sizes. That won't stop a boy and his tiny elephant from showing them what true friendship means.  

How to Catch a Mouse

By Philippa Leathers

Gorgeous watercolor and pencil drawing along with a clever and quick story make this make this an excellent storytime read. The little ones will enjoy looking for the mouse on every page as it sneaks past the unsuspecting cat, Clemmie. Will Clemmie ever catch that pesky mouse?

Friday, April 22, 2016

Grandma in Blue with Red Hat

                                                   by Scott Menchin

A boy is taken to a museum art class by his grandmother. Each child in the class gives the teacher a reason why a piece is in the museum. "It's beautiful," says one. "It tells a story," says another. And "It's unique," says a third. The boy realizes his grandma is all these things and more. He's inspired to donate her to the museum, but soon finds that's not possible. Instead, he paints and sculpts portraits of his grandma and has an exhibit. While that's a lot of work for a child, it's wonderful to think that he would be thoughtful, talented and diligent enough to pull it off! Nonetheless, there's humor in the illustrations by Harry Bliss and the book provides an introduction to art appreciation for younger children.

If You Want to See a Whale

by Julie Fogliano
This picture book is a sweet and quiet book about looking for a whale. But really, it's about more than that. A boy and his dog are depicted throughout, looking for the whale but get distracted by things: pelicans, roses and pirates among them. The text is poetic and somewhat nonsensical while the sparse illustrations match the book's tone perfectly. At the end, the boy and his dog meet the whale, a reward for being so patient and focused. Even large creatures (and objects) are sometimes hard to find.

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild

                                                            by Peter Brown

Mr. Tiger is "bored with always being so proper." All the other animals are so stuffy and formal. Slowly, Mr. Tiger loosens up and starts to get wild. He goes down on all fours, climbs, runs and roars until finally he loses his clothes all together. His friends are annoyed and suggest he go to the wilderness if he wants to be wild. And so he runs to the wilderness where he gets to do all his wild activities. But Mr. Tiger becomes lonely and misses his city friends. He returns to civilization to find that his friends have loosened up a bit, giving Mr. Tiger the best of both worlds: friendship and freedom. The illustrations in this book are brown and slightly drab in the beginning, and get colorful toward the end as the animals get wilder. The subtle and humorous message is for kids to be themselves.

Lenny and Lucy

                                                        by Philip C. Stead

Peter, his dad and his dog Harold move to a house near the woods. Leading to the woods from the backyard is a bridge which makes Lenny nervous. To help guard the bridge, Peter assembles a man named Lenny out of pillows, blankets and some clothing. Peter and his dog sleep better, but now he thinks Lenny is lonely. So, he builds Lenny a friend made from leaves and names her Lucy. This makes Peter sleep better and the next day he has lunch with Lenny, Lucy and Harold. Along comes the neighbor Millie, who has binoculars and asks if Peter has ever seen an owl. At the end, Peter is no longer afraid of the woods and has made some friends, both imagined and real. The illustrations by Erin E. Stead are mostly in shades of gray, with the woods depicted as a series of dark stripes, conveying a stark tone. By contrast, the characters are in color showing their warmth. A good book for kids who are moving, afraid of the woods or the dark.

Friday, April 15, 2016


by Michael Bedard

This book is a fictionalized account of a neighbor girl encountering Emily Dickinson, or "the Myth" as she is known.  The girl's mother is invited to play piano at the Dickinson home and she tags along. Through her quick and quiet interaction, the girl realizes that the reclusive Miss Dickinson is a nice woman with a deep poetic nature. Barbara Cooney's folky illustrations capture the time period perfectly and give the book a haunting quality. A nice introduction to Emily Dickinson for older children.