Sunday, July 12, 2020

Call Me Loved! Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal

Alma Sofia Esperanza Jose Pura Candela had a long name. Too long, if you asked her.

"My name is too long, Daddy. It never fits!" said Alma.

Alma is small and her name is so long. But Daddy has a story to tell her about her name.

"Sofia was your grandmother," he began. "She loved books, poetry, flowers, and, of course, me.

"She was the one who taught me to read!"

Alma loves to read. She loves all those things and her Daddy, too.
"I am SOFIA," she says proudly.

And then Daddy tells her about her great grandmother Esperanza who longed to travel and about her Grandfather Jose' who was an artist and took him on long walks, and about her great great aunt Pura, who believed that the spirits of their ancestors were with them. And he tells her of Candela, her mother's mother.
"She always stood up for what is right!" Daddy says.

"And you are the first and only Alma." said Daddy.

And Alma Sofia Esperanza Jose'Pura Candela is ready to write her own story, one that fits her, in Juana Martinez-Neal's 2019 Caldecott Honor Medal-winning Alma and How She Got Her Name (Candlewick Press). As poet Walt Whitman said, "I contain multitudes." So do we all, and Alma's long name fits her and Auntie Pura was right: her ancestors are with her as she writes her full name and begins her own history just as they did. For people who may know something about their own roots, Martinez-Pura gets it just right, and her warm and charming graphite and colored pencil illustrations tell the story graphically for young readers. Says Publishers Weekly, "It’s an origin story that envelops readers like a hug."

Labels: , ,

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Perfect Pairing: Rescue and Jessica by Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes

Rescue, the little Labrador pup was a seeing-eye dog dropout.

"The service dog team is better for you," said his trainer.

Rescue didn't want to let anyone down.

And although Rescue didn't yet know it, there was a girl who needed him.

In the same town was a girl in the hospital who had had both legs amputated. While she recovered slowly, Rescue worked hard to learn to do the many things service dogs do.
He fetched all kinds of things.

He even learned how to open doors.

While Rescue was busy learning to push buttons and hold doors open, earning his red distinctive red cape, Jessica was learning how to walk with her prosthetic legs, and when they were finally brought together, it was a perfect match. They learned to do chores at home and play ball in the park together.
"You rescued me," said Jessica.

Jessica Kensky's and Patrick Downes' Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship (Candlewick Press, 2018) is an inspiring, partly-fictionalized story of the service dog who came into their lives after they were injured in the Boston Marathon bombing. Their account, written for early elementary children, doesn't mention the cause of Jessica's injuries, although Boston artist Scott Magoon's delightful illustrations feature sunny scenes of Boston's Public Garden and buildings and shows Jessica walking across the iconic Longfellow Bridge from Cambridge, while below a mother duck does her own "make way for ducklings" as they swim down the Charles River below.

This New York Times best-seller is a good introduction to the subject of disabilities and the various roles of service dogs which kids may see at work from time to time. An appended Author's Note and Acknowledgements fills in with information to answer questions young readers may have about the story. Booklist's starred review calls this book "An inspiring tale of compassion and perseverance."

Labels: ,

Friday, July 10, 2020

The Sleep Strike! No More Naps! by Chris Grabenstein

Annalise Devin McFleece did not want to take a nap.

She fussed and fumed and shrieked from her crib. The baker on the bottom floor of the building complained that her screams cracked his cakes!

"Too LOUD!" grumbled the construction workers, jackhammering the concrete on the sidewalk. Annalise may not have been tired, but everyone else was.

Dad decides to take her for a stroller ride through the park. But she's still not sleepy!

The man reading a newspaper was sleepy. He yawned and stretched out on his park bench and started to snooze. A shopper cutting across the park saw him and decided to take a quick nap on the grass. Their yawns were contagious.

"We need a nap," said the policeman with a yawn. The dog walker lay down on the grass, the skateboarder used his board for a pillow, and the garbage man fell asleep over a can. Even the squirrels and pigeons were snoozing.

Annalise's dad was yawning widely, too. He was almost sleep-walking as he pushed the stroller.

Annalise Devin McFleece was the only one who was wide awake. "NO," she reminded herself.

But no one heard her. Even the birds were asleep. There was nothing to see. She was surrounded by snoozing. And it was s-o-o-o-o quiet!
Her eyes grew heavy.

She actually wanted a nap, but now all the naps had been taken. They were all being used. Except for...

... the cat with white feet curled up on a windowsill across the street.
"I've had SO many naps," said the cat. "You can have one of mine!"

And despite herself, Annalise Devin McFleece falls asleep at last, in Chris Grabenstein's just published sleepytime story, No More Naps!: A Story for When You're Wide-Awake and Definitely NOT Tired (Random House, 2020). Author Gravenstein steals a bit from Mark Twain, who, when Tom Sawyer got his pals to whitewash the fence for him, pointed out that the trick to make people do something is to make the thing hard to get." Notable for his award-winning Mr. Lemoncello's Library series, Chris Grabenstein is also the co-author of many of James Patterson's best-selling series of middle school comic novels, and in this first picture book, his comic partner is the Pura Belpre' award-winning illustrator, Leo Espinosa, whose stubborn, red-headed toddler is a standout and a stand-in for all those nap-deniers out there.

Labels: ,

Thursday, July 09, 2020

All the Right Moves! The Ninjabread Man by Katrina Charman


Lonely for the young would-be ninja students who used to to come to him for training, the old ninja master is thrilled when he opens his oven and a little ninjabread man leaps nimbly forth, ready for adventures.

But the little Ninjabread Man declines the master's offer of classical training and with some flying twists, escapes through the door.


The runaway Ninjabread boy twists out of the way of some peckish chickens. His twirling leaps disappoint a hungry pig. His backflips befuddle the grazing bovines, but just as the old Ninja master catches up with him, he comes upon a deep river where a wily fox waylays him with an offer to carry him over the stream on his back, and although he scorns the old guy's offer of help, the boastful Ninjabread boy's leap across the river falls a bit short!

Will he learn his lesson this time?

While usually relegated to the "traditional tales for tots" genre, the "gingerbread boy" of folklore shares the same theme as the Frankenstein story, the desire to make and own a creature that we then can't quite control. Fortunately, this re-telling of the traditional tale has a happy ending for the creator and the created, in Katrina Chapman's spoofy ninja version, The Ninjabread Man (Tadpoles Fairytale Twists) (Crabtree Publishing), with a new student for the lonely ninja master. The author even appends some puzzles to add to the learning experience. A member of the fractured fairy tale genre, in this publishers' series called Tadpoles Fairytale Twists, these stories give youngsters a chance to treat their brains with parodies, just right for questions about "same and different." For more ninja tales, see reviews here.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Into the Dark: Circle by Mac Barnett and Jon Klaasen


Circle invites her friends Square and Triangle over to play a game of hide and seek.


Square is fine with that rule. It's dark back there.

There's one in every crowd.

When Circle finishes her count and opens her eyes, Square is still there. He reports that Triangle is not following the rules. He has gone behind the waterfall.

With a sigh, Square goes behind her waterfall to look for Triangle. There's a shadowy and dank cave back there, with pools of water and big rocks here and there, and the further she goes into the cave the darker it gets. If Triangle is there, she can't see him. She calls Triangle, but there's no answer. Then she sees something familiar through the gloom.

Circle is not happy. Breaking the rules has spoiled their fun.

But then Circle hears her own voice echoing in the dark and regrets her hard words. She apologizes to the shape in the dark.

Triangle finally answers, saying that he is actually relieved to see Square and Circle there.

And then Circle points out that whoever or whatever Triangle is seeing, it's not Square, who is still outside.

That is a scary moment, but back in the sunlight, all is forgiven, and Circle waxes philosophical about the shape she thought she saw back in the dark. Could it have been perhaps something good?

In their Circle (Candlewick Press, 2019) Mac Barnett and Jon Klaasen offer much more than a short picture book that completes their award-winning trilogy. It teaches shapes to the very young, and it's an irresistible beginner book for emergent readers, but at the same time a short treatise on the nature of friendship and a thoughtful look at how fears grow in the dark of not knowing. A wise look at what we think we know when we don't really know.

Says Kirkus Reviews,"Illustrator Klassen's watercolor, graphite, and digitally created illustrations are evocative in their muted palette and spare presentation...the implied message of the story is a vital one in this xenophobic age and its subtle delivery and imagery encourage further exploration."

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

The Hauler! Trucks by Charles Reasoner


Big blue and pink dump trucks and their friends hit the road early to deliver dirt.

They load up and haul their loads straight to the construction site, where builders climbing ladders and a crane is ready to lift building materials up to the roofs.

There's work to be done!

All day long they dump their dirt and sand, on the job and getting it done!

Until--all the dirt is delivered, and they roll back into their garage.

Charles Reasoner's  board book edition of Trucks! (Big Busy Machines) (Little Birdie Books/Brittanical Digital Learning), is a fine beginning books for budding motorheads who love the big machines, especially those impressive dump trucks.  Reasoner's friendly-looking big machines make a good introduction to construction equipment for tots those kids who dote on dump trucks and bulldozers with big bright toy-like characters, illustrated in inviting pastels, as first books for toddlers and preschoolers and simple, easy texts for rising readers.


Monday, July 06, 2020

Old Mother Moose Tales! Rapunzel and the Seven Dwarfs: A Maynard Moose Tale by Willy Clafin

Far away in the Northern Piney Woods there lives a storyteller named Maynard Moose. Every full moon, the animals came from far and near to hear him telling the old Mother Moose Tales~~~

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago...
... there was a girl with long, long goldie hair. Her hair was so long that it dragged out along the ground and became distremely filthified -- all full of twigs and wudgies of glop (things that you do not want to look at, much less have in your hair.)"

Rapunzel (nicknamed Ponzie), distressed by the detritus accumulating in her locks, consulted a Witch, who, unable to conjure a spell to de-tangle her hair, consigned her to a very tall tower, where her tanglified mane did not manage to reach the ground and could therefore be combed clean. However, damsels in towers being attractive to roaming princes of the knightly persuasion, one happened upon her and attempted to climb up her hair to the tower in hopes of making a gallant-ish rescue. But because of his lamentable chubbification, he proceeded to pull her out the window, where she flipped into a serendipitously adjacent lake.

Perchance, before Ponzie was totally drowdified, along came the Seven Dwarfs Plus 2--Hyper and Ambidextrous--back from the mines, who revived Ponzie and took her to their dwarfy hovel in the forest to hide from the now distremely angrified Witch.

Disgustified by Ponzie's tangled and nastified locks, the eight or nine Seven Dwarfs shaved her head, and the next morning locked her inside their hovel and, with a warning not to fall prey to any disguised witch selling things, the dwarfs went off to work, Hi Ho, Hi Ho-ing loud enough for any witch in the woods to hear them and zero in upon their rustic hovel.

So, of course, Ponzie opened the door when the Witch came along selling watermelon slices and choked on her very first over-zealous bite. In the course of events, when the eight or nine Seven Dwarfs returned, they found her completely unconshable. Not ones to miss a lucrative opportunity, the dwarfs put Ponzie in a glass box and sold tickets to all the forest amunals to see her. It certainly was a better gig than digging in the mines, until perforce the chubbified prince appeared, astride a handsome White Moose, who crashed his hooves through the glass box and kissed Ponzie, after which she climbed up on his back and rode away, hopefully with (partially) regrown hair and presumably to live happy never afterwards.

This cobbled-together tangle of traditional tales set within the frame story of the bard of the Northern Piney Forest Maynard Moose, Rapunzel and the Seven Dwarfs: A Maynard Moose Tale (August Mouse Little Folk) will delight savvy primary and middle readers who delight in the genre of a bona fide fractured fairy tale, a mashup of Rapunzel and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, with its own glossary of Moosified vocabulary, found, as all educated kids know, in the back of the book, as Maynard's Glossary and Hoofnotes.

Other fractured fairy tales co-opted by Maynard Moose are The Uglified Ducky (Maynard Moose Tales) and The Bully Goat Grim: A Maynard Moose Tale (Maynard Moose Tales). For more fractured fairy tales for all ages, read my reviews here.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Going for the Mail: Brownie and Pearl Go For A Spin by Cynthia Rylant

Brownie and Pearl have a little pink car.


But this is no leisurely drive in the country. They are on an errand!

Brownie's job is to steer the car carefully to the mailbox, and Pearl's job is to collect all the mail. But the mailbox is full, and all the mail cascades out, some falling into the car and some landing on the grass around the mailbox. Pearl tries to collect it all, and Brownie steers their car back home to deliver the mail.

Well, yes, they'll finish their spin and complete their job.

Brownie drives the car back home to make her delivery. But there's one problem.

Now Brownie is perplexed. How can she get Pearl out of the car?

Maybe what Pearl would like is a little picnic to top off their spin! Brownie obliges, going inside and returning with a tray with a tuna sandwich for herself and the rest of the can of tuna for Pearl.

It's TAKEOUT FOR TWO! in beloved author Cynthia Rylant's Brownie and Pearl Go for a Spin (Beach Lane Books) as the two deliver the mail and picnic on the grass together. In this Pre-Level 1 Ready to Read book, available in Kindle, hardback, and paperbound format, which introduces the youngest preschoolers to a beginning reader story. It's a pet story, a toy car story, a picnic story, and an introduction to reading, made easy by Brian Biggs' adorable illustrations that extends the text by showing the action, enlivened by the usual birds who always join in the story of these two friends. Recommended for lapsit reading, read-alouds, and pre-reading experiences.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, July 04, 2020

Equine Art from the Geisel Files! Dr. Seuss's Horse Museum by Andrew Joyner

A horse is a horse, of course, of course.

This is what ART is about.... ART is when an artist looks at something... like a HORSE for instance.

At an art museum we can see how some artists see horses--as outlines, as shapes, as solid forms, as lines, with color and motion and sometimes just as squiggles of dripping paint. Some see them and show them as strong and powerful, or as lithe and flowing and speedy, or slow and sturdy. For some classical artists hired by royalty, a horse was alternative to a throne, making a king look more commanding, a prince more gallant. Later artists showed horses as their impression of the idea of the horse or the emotions they expressed. Some, like Picasso, painted the horse as a surreal, frightening creature, or as the simple planes of its body as cubist art.
What would a cave artist see in a horse?

It's a mystery!

(Maybe... it was ... dinner?)

Looking at all the ways artists see things is what is fun about art museums.

But there are lots of ways to see how artists see things. All around us we see images and designs and art... even in the library. Especially at the library, where each illustrator sees the story in different sorts of pictures.

Dr. Seuss's Horse Museum (Classic Seuss) (Random House, 2019) is the result of Mrs. Ted Geisel's tidying up of her late husband's studio.  She found pages of pencil sketches and text that hadn't been put into rhymes, and Dr. Seuss's publisher, Random House, with the help of author and artist Andrew Joyner, put them together in this new classic book. There are plenty of recognizable Seussian characters, the little blond kid in the striped shirt, the fish in the teapot on a boy's head, the baby in his onesy, and the shaggy little dog who follows the kids, moving through the museum and marveling at the different images of the horse.

Says Booklist's starred review, "Excellent for a first visit to an art museum and as jumping-off point for young artists seeking creative style."

Labels: , ,

Friday, July 03, 2020

A Friend Indeed! The Blushful Hippopotamus by Chris Raschka

I am the blushful hippopotamus. Or so my sister calls me now.

Roosevelt blushes when he is embarrassed.

Making mistakes is embarrassing, like dropping the ice cream off his cone, or falling off his bike, or forgetting the number four right in front of his feathery friend, Lombard.

And his big sister never misses a chance to point out his blushes.
"Roosevelt (yes, that's my name), are you blushing again, Baby Brother?"

His sister's taunts make Roosevelt feel smaller and smaller.

And his mistakes make his blushes get even more obvious.
"Darn that sister!"

But his friend, Lombard is one unflappable bird! For every criticism, Lombard finds a new way to praise Roosevelt for his positive qualities.
"A wonderful hippo are you, are you, are you!"

And with every heartfelt praise from his friend, Roosevelt's supercilious sister seems to shrink, in Caldecott author-illustrator Chris Raschka's classic story of self-esteem, The Blushful Hippopotamus (Open Read Media). Belittling older siblings are, unfortunately, not rare, and youngsters will enjoy Lombard's style of putting Big Sister in proper perspective (literally and figuratively) purely with positive remarks. Says School Library Journal, "Size and space also tell a story. On the first page Roosevelt's sister overwhelms the background and bursts off the left-hand page; as Roosevelt gains confidence, the roles of the two siblings are reversed and so are the color scheme and size of the characters.This warm finale should satisfy young children without preaching."

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Camo Bug! Good Trick, Walking Stick! by Sheri Mabry Bestor

Lots of insects use color camouflage to conceal themselves, but one, the walking stick insect, doesn't sport the usual mottled camo colors to fool those that feed on juicy insects. Since she lives on leaves up in the trees, she uses her shape to look like a twig.

Walking stick insects are masters of illusion. Even their eggs, plop-dropping to the ground in the fall, look like seeds, duping diligent ants into taking them underground, safe from winter's chill, to incubate until spring.


Then, with a wiggle and a pop, little walking twiggy stick insects hatch and head for the nearest tree.

[They look just like adult walking stick insects. Although they begin tiny, some walking stick insects grow to be among the largest insects in the world!]

Outgrowing their body cases as they munch their way up the trees, they simply jettison their shells, and keep on growing as they keep on going up their tree, blending in with the twigs and leaves of the foliage, aided by the suction cups on their feet. Of course, once in a while a sharp-eyed bird spots movement and picks one off the branch for dinner. But the walking stick insect has a trick to fix that! She squirts out some foul-smelling juice.

Of course, sometimes the hungry bird makes off with a leg or so, but who cares!  This insect can easily grow a new leg!

[That trick is called autotomy!]

And if the birds are too many in her tree, the walking stick is so light that she can drop from the tree to the ground and make like a fallen twig.

[And if all that fails, walking stick insects can change color, growing pale in the sun and dark as night comes on to make them invisible. Oh, and some walking stick insects have colorful wings that they can flash to frighten predators on the ground.]


And there are still more tricks in the walking stick insect's bag of behaviors (including parthenogenesis), in Sheri Mabry Bestor's Good Trick Walking Stick (Sleeping Bear Press), a fascinating collection of tricks for that versatile insect illusionist. And aided by the lovely illustrations of artist Johnny Lambert, Bestor's book has a little trick up its stylistic sleeve: along with large, engaging illustrations that flow through the pages, the author uses an engagingly simple text, punctuated by the catch phrase "Good trick, walking stick," which young kids in a reading circle will quickly begin to chant, but the narration also features additional entomological information in a different font on each page, making this non-fiction book function as both a read-aloud book for younger students or as a source of information for older student's science reports. Says School Library Journal, "A fun, informative offering about a little-known insect that is sure to delight readers. Recommended for most collections."

For more easy-going entomological education, pair this one with Bestor's and Lambert's companion book, Fly High Butterfly.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Meet the Neighbors! Douglas, You're a Genius! by Ged Adamson

Nancy and Douglas were playing ball in the backyard when Nancy hit one too hard. And of all the places it could have gone inside the fenced-in yard, the ball rolls straight through a small hole at the bottom of the fence.

"I'd say that one's a goner," said Doug.

But the ball came rolling back through the fence straight to them.

What? Who? How? Doug and Nancy have got to know!
"I have an idea!" said Doug.

Doug runs inside and comes out with a toy train and some track and soon sends the train rolling back under the fence with a note.


And the train returns straightway, with a note.


Huh? What? How? Now Nancy and Doug have to solve the mystery. Nancy is full of plans for seeing who's on the other side of the fence. She tries getting Doug to jump on the toy trampoline and vault over the fence, but he only makes it onto the tree. She tries a rocket belt strapped to Doug's back with two shaken liters or soft drinks to propel him up and over.

The flight is a fizzle.

Poor Doug has to try pole vaulting.... and getting a lift from a floating kite... until at last Nancy is out of uplifting ideas.

Now it's Doug's turn. He starts digging a hole beside the fence. Nancy is pleased. He's making a tunnel under the fence. That could work....

But NO! That's not Doug's idea. The pile of excavated dirt grows until it is as tall as the fence, and with a mountain-climbing ax, Doug ascends to the peak and is able to peer over the fence at last.


There's a boy and his dog on the other side, and soon the two sets of gizmo inventors have devised a way to cross over the fence, in Ged Adamson's latest shaggy dog story, Douglas, You're a Genius! (Schwartz and Wade). Author-illustrator Adamson's humorous tale of bridging differences proves poet Robert Frost's famous quote, "Something there is that does not love a wall." There are quite enough Rube Goldberg contraptions and contrivances in both yards to suggest that the two kids and two dogs have plenty in common to share. Ged Adamson's first book about Nancy and her nearsighted shaggy dog Doug is Douglas, You Need Glasses! (read review here)

Booklist says, "...this amusing picture book also shows that goals can be reached cooperatively through planning, ingenuity, and goodwill.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Do SOMETHING! Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard

Bird woke up one morning on the wrong side of the nest.

He was too grouchy to eat or to fly.


Sheep bleated at him blithely, as Bird stomped by, asking what he is doing.

Sheep was good at following, so he joined Bird just as Rabbit hopped into view and asked what Bird is doing.
"WALKING. IT'S NO FUN." Bird snapped.

Raccoon poked his nose out and asked the same question.

The two joined the procession right behind Sheep.

Beaver asked what Bird was doing.

Fox slips out of the forest to ask what is going on with this parade.

Fox falls in line behind the others.

Bird plodded on doggedly, muttering to himself.

Bird decided to demonstrate to his followers just how silly they looked, trailing along behind him.

He tried hopping on one leg. He jumped straight up. They all repeated his actions.

Wait! It's like a game of Monkey see, monkey do!" They'll do anything he does.
"THIS IS FUN!" Bird suddenly decided.

It's hard to stay grumpy when you have a line of silly animals behind you, imitating your every move, in Jeremy Tankard's Grumpy Bird (Scholastic Books), as Bird suddenly sees himself in his motley imitators, and he is no longer in a bad mood. He is in a great mood! "Jeremy Tankard's deceptively simple tale is a useful tonic for moody kids -- and their parents -- but the best thing about it is the comic perfection of Bird's face as he marches along in a fury," says The Wall Street Journal. For a double dose of mood enhancer, share this one with Suzanne and Max Lang's best-selling and equally funny, Grumpy Monkey. (See my review here)

Labels: , ,

Monday, June 29, 2020

Put Your Foot Down! Ollie The Stomper by Oliver Dunrea

Ollie is a little brown gosling.

Gertie and Gossie are little yellow goslings.



In their big boots, Gossie and Gertie are impressive, clomping through the straw, romping among the raindrops, and stomping in the rain puddles.

Ollie has no boots for clomping or romping or stomping.

Gertie and Gossie show off their boots shamelessly. They stomp-splash in the rain puddles and hide out among the pumpkins, poking their brightly booted feet out just to tease their bootless little buddy.

Jumping up on an overturned basket, Ollie makes an announcement.

His announcement gets Gertie's and Gossie's attention, for sure!

There's only one way to be fair. Gertie gives Ollie a boot and Gossie gives Ollie a boot. Now Ollie has a red boot and a blue boot on his each of his two feet. Happy, he hops to the barn and then stomps to the piggery, where he stops and gives his new footwear a long, hard look.

Ollie makes a proclamation.

There's one sure cure for hot geese feet. It's time for a swim in the pond, au naturel, for the three little goslings, in Oliver Dunrea's Ollie the Stomper (Gossie & Friends) (Houghton Mifflin Books), one of the author's many adorable gosling barnyard stories which offers a happy solution to toddler jealousies. For newbies to the barnyard bunch, share this one with Dunrea's earlier Ollie (Gossie & Friends) and Gossie and Gertie (Gossie and Friends).. For more of Dunrea's endearing books of the poultry pairs, see reviews here.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Splish Splash! She Was Taking a Bath: Eliose Takes a Bawth! by Hilary Knight

"Eloise!" says Nannie. "Please don't dawdle. I want you in and out of the tub on the dub, dub, double. Mr. Salamone is coming to tea."

Nannie is full of spit and polish.

Eloise pleads that she must finish washing her turtle, but Nannie pish poshes, and tut tuts at Eloise's excuses, explaining that Mr. Salamone is on a tight schedule preparing the grand ballroom for a fabulous charity masked ball that night, and orders her to reappear posthaste, dressed impeccably, spit spot, at tea time.

But the imaginative six-year-old Eloise has a different idea of what must be involved in her bawth. She locks the door, turns on all the faucets, and proceeds to fill the bathroom to the depth of the New York Aquarium's deep sea tank. Eloise has a mah-velous time, pretending to be a mermaid, a pirate captain, a surfer, a skin diver, and a water skier, all to the delight of her dog and turtle. The water rises higher and higher, but also begins to precipitate and drip from the ceiling fixtures into the room below, where a prominent socialite and her pampered poodle are just checking in. Her luggage is floating and her doggy is dripping, while above Eloise is happily splawshing.

And even worse, Eloise's excess bawth waters are beginning to flood the Grande Ballroom below where Mr. Salamone is putting the final touches on the delicacies on the buffet and the elaborate Venetian decorations for the Masked Ball. Knowing Eloise's history, as he does, Mr. Salamone has an idea who is responsible for this Diluvian Disaster.

It took a bit of literary deep diving to bring up this unpublished Eloise adventure floating around in author Kay Thompson's and illustrator Hillar7 Knight's unpublished manuscripts, but at last Eloise is back to make waves and rule the Plaza, in Eloise Takes a Bawth (Simon and Schuster). Filled with the fabulous and detailed period drawings of Hilary Knight, Eloise surfaces again at the old Plaza Hotel, both in all their glory, to delight another generation of her fans.

As Booklist sums up the flood, "Thompson's involved rhymed text is enhanced by Knight's inventive artwork, which views the wreckage from every vantage point. Kids will adore seeing Eloise in her room and the wreckage down below, and they'll love the foldout revealing the plumbing of the Plaza. The final spread, showing the Venetian Ball, now authentic because water is flowing everywhere, is an elaborate delight, quite worthy of Eloise."

Labels: ,

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Metro Yarn: Claude in the City by Alex T. Hill

Claude is a small, plump pooch who affects a red beret and matching sweater, and whose best friend is a shabby, red-and-white striped sock, Sir Bobblysock, who reeks slightly of cheese.

Claude's owners, Mr. and Mrs. Shinyshoes, leave for work early in the morning, leaving Claude pretty much to his own devices.

One morning Claude put on his beret.

"I think I will go to the city." he said.

Sir Bobblysock came, too.

The city is busy and a bit too noisy. But after befriending the pigeons, Claude looks at all the stores. And then he sees the one for him!

Claude buys a bunch of berets in boxes, and the two head for the museum where they are happily admiring the exhibits when something astounding happens!
A naughty thief ran past them, carrying one of the sculptures.

She collides with Claude and his boxes with a CRASH!
Berets exploded!

The sculpture thief is apprehended, thanks to Claude, and he is declared a hero by the Mayor, who invites Claude and Sir Bobblysock to a fancy luncheon.

But Sir Bobblysock falls ill immediately after lunch, and Claude has to race him to the nearest hospital, where Dr. Ivan Achenbaum declares that Bobblysock needs an X-ray. Left to wait, Claude is bored and begins to snoop. Finding a long lab coat in the closet, Claude tries it on, just as a nervous nurse bursts in looking for a doctor to treat a crew of ailing acrobats. Protesting, Claude is dragged into an examination room just in time to diagnose the troop's malaise as a case of the "elevenses," requiring, as Winnie the Pooh would say, tea and "a little smackerel of something." Meanwhile, Sir Bobblesock is diagnosed as being down at the heel, requiring a bit of tricky darning by the head surgeon and earning an "I Was Darn Good in the Hospital" sticker.

In storytelling style that recalls H. A. Rey's Curious George, it's a wicked funny but happy outing in the big city in Alex T. Hill's Claude in the City (Peachtree Books). In Hill's series, Claude is a quirky, picaresque character portrayed in quaint British style by artist Hill in a wry, retro-style of illustration, keeping kids wondering what can possibly happen next. Other books by author-illustrator Hill include Claude in the Country and his latest Claude At the Beach.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, June 26, 2020

It's a No-Go! Edward Almost Sleeps Over by Rosemary Wells

It was a snowy day when Edwards' mother answered the ring of the telephone. It is Anthony's mother, inviting Edward over to build a snowbear in the backyard.


As he is bundled in his snowsuit and buckled into the car for the trip, Edward is not so sure. He makes his parents promise to come back for him
soon. They promise.

Anthony is waiting with a cookie for Edward, and they do have a good time in the snow. But soon new snow begins to fall hard.

Inside Anthony's house, Edward has just begun to drink his cocoa when the phone rings. It's his parents. His mother says the roads are too snowy for driving.

But Edward does not feel brave. He feels sad. He's not hungry for supper and he's not sleepy at bedtime, not even when he gets to wear Anthony's new pajamas.

Suddenly Anthony's mother puts on her parka and goes out to shovel a path to the car. Anthony's dad crawls under the car to put the chains on the tires.

And they drove right behind the snowplow all the way to Edward's house.

Edward wasn't quite ready for that first overnight, in Rosemary Wells' sweet snow story in her Edward Almost Ready series, Edward Almost Sleeps Over (Edward Almost Ready Book 1) (Open Road Media). Celebrated author-illustrator Rosemary Wells is the master of sensitive stories about preschoolers, letting her charming illustrations of toddler animal characters reveal the feelings involved in those encounters with new experiences, especially for the almost-ready among her fans, as well as the all-too-ready fearless and indomitable Max in her sweet and funny Max and Ruby series, as in Max's Chocolate Chicken (Max and Ruby) and Max's Christmas (Max and Ruby).

Labels: , ,

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Wide World of Water: Oceans by Precious McKenzie

Ninety-seven percent of Earth is covered by water.

Although humans are dry-land dwellers, given the surface of our planet, earth science should logically begin with ocean science.

And in Precious McKenzie's Oceans (Eye To Eye With Endangered Habitats) (Rourke Publishing/Brittanica), young students begin with that knowledge. The author also offers maps that show the placement of land masses in that watery world which historically were given the names of the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, Arctic, Indian, and the newer designation, the "Southern Ocean," once called the Antarctic.

In the second chapter, The Water We Share, the author points out that name designations are purely for "human convenience."
All bodies of water are connected, flowing from rainfall to rivulets to lakes and rivers, and to seas to oceans, with no boundaries, and in the following chapter, Always on the Move, McKenzie describes how all the oceans are also involved in the free-flowing water cycle--from ocean evaporation to clouds to rainfall and runoff, and back to its flow to the seas, and that cycle of moves in tides. McKenzie then follow with a section on Currents, local or global, as in the case of the Gulf Stream which flows like a river within the ocean from the Gulf of Mexico up the eastern coast of the North America and then veering eastward to warm and bring warmth and rainfall to the west coast of Europe, affecting the biology of plants, animals, and humans there.

In the chapter titled Under the Waters, the author describes the topography of the ocean floor--oceanic shallows, mountains, deeps, and trenches and the means used by ocean scientists to explore them, such as submersibles, sonar, and mapping technology.

The final chapter touches on the types of animal life--from fish to humans--which live in shallows, deeps, on coral reefs, and on the coasts, and the way humans use oceans as sources of minerals and for fun--swimming, surfing, sailing, snorkeling, skin diving, and recreational fishing--and food--commercial fishing and fish farming and plant cultivation. Filled with clear color photos, diagrams, and maps, and with short, snappy chapters, this non-fiction book is perfect as an introduction to ocean science in the middle elementary grades. A glossary, index, and a useful website are appended for young students. Others in this Eye-to-Eye with Endangered Habitats series include Glaciers (Eye To Eye With Endangered Habitats) Rainforests (Eye To Eye With Endangered Habitats), and Savannahs (Eye To Eye With Endangered Habitats).

Labels: ,