Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Booked! The Jellybeans and the Big Book Bonanza by Laura Numeroff and Nate Evans

Anna loved to read.

She read while grocery shopping. She read while jumping rope. She read while taking a bubble bath.

At school homework was assigned. They had to go to the library, read a book about something they loved and write a report on it. The class was going to have a Book Bonanza!

Anna is thrilled to share her love of the library with her best friends from ballet--Emily, Nicole, and Bitsy--but the three friends are dubious.

"I'd rather be dancing," said Emily.

"I wish I was playing soccer," Nicole added.

"When can I go paint?" Bitsy asked.

Anna and her friends, who named themselves the Jellybeans because, despite their differences, they seem to belong together, set off for the local library. The others are still reluctant readers, but Anna has faith that her librarian, Ms. Beasley-Buzzer, can come through. And indeed she does the Dewey Decimal System with distinction, and in no time Emily is learning all about le danse, Nicole is kicking back with a soccer book, and Bitsy is mastering the Old Masters. With their noses now in books, Ms. Beasley-Buzzer even has time to pull her latest fairy tale anthology for the fantasy-loving Anna.

Book Bonanza Day is a big success, with the Jellybeans, front and center, sharing the limelight for their diverse book reports. To celebrate, of course, the four friends repair to Petunia's Sweet Shop for their favorite treat, all different colored and all equally delicious.

Laura Numeroff, creator of the If You Give a Mouse series, and her co-author Nate Evans have added a second book to their initial collaboration, The Jellybeans and the Big Dance [JELLYBEANS & THE BIG DANCE], In Lynn Munsinger's artistic hands, the illustrations, done in soft springtime pastels, depict the four main characters as individuals, all as appealing yet diverse as their club's namesake. A great lead-in to a Children's Book Week, a library field trip, or big classroom read-in day, The Jellybeans and the Big Book Bonanza (Abrams, 2010) shows that opposites attract--in friendship and in literature as well as confections.

For another Book Week tie-in for reluctant readers, see Margery Cuyler's Hooray for Reading Day! (Jessica Worries) (Simon & Schuster), reviewed here.

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