BooksForKidsBlog

Friday, November 30, 2018

Transitioning...: Goodbye Brings Hello: A Book of Firsts by Dianne White

There are many ways
Of letting go.

With each goodbye,
A new hello.

It's a paradigm and a paradox.

In life change is a constant.

For kids the changes come fast. Some can come hard, like the first day of school. Some can be liberating, like big kid shoes.

Loop the laces.
Knot the bows.

So long.
Velcro covered toes!

Chunky crayons held in a chubby fist give way to penciled letters sitting right on the line. The door to home closes, the school bus door opens with a shooosh, and the school doors wait to be opened with the whole world inside. Leaving safety behind sometimes means finding new adventures.

Ringing bell.
Preschool trike.

Wind in your face,
Big-kid bike.

Changes, changes! Dianne White's Goodbye Brings Hello: A Book of Firsts (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018) promises that when one door closes, another opens, and this positive take on the changes life brings is happy, positive look at the challenges in early life.

It's easy to chuckle at childish fears, but changes can be scary at any age. Some are a little sad; even ditching a favorite but outgrown pullover or a much loved Teddy for something new is hard, and truth to tell, change often requires leaving something behind to embrace the unknown. Along with White's perky rhymes, artist Daniel Wiseman's illustrations capably hint at how hard it is to give up one safe place for one unknown but likely worth it in the long run. Facing firsts, like the first day in a new school, takes courage, and this comfy read-aloud book can help kids go forward.

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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Stone Quest! The Wrath of the Dragon King (Dragonwatch) by Brandon Mull

Behind him, dragons roared. As he slipped into the little cave, Seth's last glance show the tentacled dragon rising. He kept still, holding his breath, pressed back against the rear of the cave. "Come OUT!" a slithery voice called. "I saw you enter, Caretaker. Surrender!"

A head snaked into cave, mostly filling the tunnel. Seth felt fear, but he slashed his sword through the grasping tentacles, severing at least four. Ichor fountained. "For Kendra," Seth murmured.

"You die now!" the dragon declared. Seth held his sword ready. Suddenly the head flopped to the floor and stopped advancing.

"Hurry, boy!" a deep voice boomed. "I'm your Dragon Slayer!" It was the Somber Knight.

"A dragon ate Kendra," Seth said, surprised that he could spit out the dreadful words.

"No," the Somber Knight said. "Your sister lives."

Seth and Kendra, young Caretakers of Blackwell Keep, guardians of all the fairyfolk and magical creatures who have taken refuge there, have had an invitation they couldn't refuse, an invitation from Celebrant, the fearsome Dragon King, to a Feast of Welcome. The dragons are revolting against confinement in their sanctuary, eager to break out to control the known world, and Seth and Kendra, child caretakers of the domain of Wyrmroost, scarcely trust the safe passage promised by the dragons while traveling to Celebrant's Feast. But to refuse the invitation is to be summarily attacked, so with a promise of a sacred truce during the Feast, the two children fly to the dragon's lair on griffon back. But the fears and warnings of their friends come true. Celebrant provokes a confrontation with his most deadly rival for the Dragon throne and after a gory and grisly battle, announces his war on all the Protectorates--Terrabelle, Zowali, Gundertan, Herdlands, the Sludgeholes, and of course Wyrmroost.

Their trusty griffons slaughtered by the dragons, Seth and Kendra survive a near-death experience in the perilous journey back to Blackwell Keep, realizing that they must lead the resistance to Celebrant's dragon army to save their world. Seth learns that the secret to overpowering the Dragon King is the legendary Wizenstone, concealed within the remote and cursed Stormguard Castle. Accessible only on the festival nights of the solstices and equinoxes, it is a place where all, even dragons, must appear human form and no magical powers may be used. But to find their way to the Castle, the two must have the help of the powerful fairy Rivenmay.

Because she is Fairykind, Kendra is chosen to traverse the Bewilderness, a place where only those things which appear most wrong are right. Kendra finds Rivenmay and gains her aid, and now she and Seth must confront their deadly rivals inside Stormguard and outwit them in the quest for the sacred Wizenstone to save their world from the dragons' wrath.

For young readers who love sword and sorcery fantasy, Brandon Mull's second in his Fablehaven spinoff series, Wrath of the Dragon King (Dragonwatch) (Shadow Mountain, 2018) has the fantastic in spades. Mull's Dragonwatch world contains fantastic creatures known and heretofore unknown and a convoluted plotline with more twists and turns than a dragon's tentacles. Young dragonslayers will journey gladly through as bizarre and yet familiar a world as that of J. R, R, Tolkien, a place where the savvy who are willing to suspend disbelief will find their home.

The best-selling Brandon Mull's first book in this series is Dragonwatch: A Fablehaven Adventure.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

I SPY! My First I-See-You by Eric Carle

I see you in the puppy who plays peek-a-boo!

I see you in glowing silver moon, too!

Toddlers love to be involved in everything around them!

And Eric Carle's newest toy-and-movable board book, My First I See You: A Mirror Book (The World of Eric Carle) (Little Simon, 2018), makes the little "reader" the center of every page---because he actually gets to see himself along with whatever he sees on the page. There are butterflies and lions, clouds and fledgling birds, described in Carle's rhyming couplets, but there are also small, framed mirrors in which the little reader can see himself roaring or purring like a lion or swinging in a tree like a monkey.

Puppies and monkeys and baby birds are fine, but when a tot says "I see ME!" that's fun for everyone.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Baby's Got a Brand New Bag! Tooth! by Leslie Patricelli


My mouth feels funny. Something is happening!

A little crankiness and a lot of drool! What's up with Baby?

It's a breakthrough!

I got a new tooth!

Mom and Dad have a mouth full of them, and Baby now knows that someday soon he will have a new set!

This changes EVERYTHING!

New functions are automatically activated. Biting! Chewing! Crunching! Chomping! (but only food, not friends!)

It's great, but with the tooth comes... oral hygiene! Oh--I have to brush now? (Hold the flossing for further developments!) Mom and Dad demonstrate how it's done. And Baby learns other interesting moves... swishing and spitting! Woohoo!

PTOOEY!

There's a whole new world of foods-- crackers, cupcakes, French fries, maybe even broccoli?--waiting for Baby, in Leslie Patricelli's shamelessly cute new board book, Tooth (Leslie Patricelli board books) (Candlewick Press, 2018), and some questionable things not to bite (chewy dog bones?), in this very small and sturdy book for tots.

Artist Patricelli's minimalistic comic cartoons charm parents and tiny tots alike. This celebration of the first tooth joins other not-to-be missed milestones for Baby, such as Nighty-Night, (Leslie Patricelli board books) Toot (Leslie Patricelli board books), and her salute to baby's first Yuletide, Fa La La (Leslie Patricelli board books)

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Monday, November 26, 2018

Lost! Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell

Lost in the snow!

A young girl leaves school just as a snow storm sets in. Head down under her hood, she trudges across a seemingly endless snowfield, until she meets up with a tiny baby wolf, separated from his mother and pack, his little legs sinking deep into the soft new snow. Despite her own obvious struggle with the drifting snowfall, she picks him up and tucks him under her coat and moves on toward her home. The little wolf lets out a small sound.

Howl! Howl!
!
Then the girl hears an arresting reply:

HOOOOOOOWWLLL! HOOOOOOWWLLL!

Fearfully she looks about. She sees that wolves are approaching her, led by Mama Wolf.

The girl tenderly puts the little wolf down so that his mother can carry him back to his pack.

Stumbling, the girl goes on, desperately slogging forward, leaning against the wind until she collapses in the snow. Suddenly, she is surrounded by the wolves.

The little wolf comes up to her and licks her hand, and the other wolves sit down and begin to howl together around her. But she is not afraid. The wolves' howls are answered by her own dogs! She's almost home!

BARK! BARK!

And no one is lost in the snow at last, in Matthew Cordell's Caldecott Award book, Wolf in the Snow (Feiwel and Friends, 2017), a beautiful story of one good deed deserving another. Cordell's wispy, scratchy illustrations portray the bleak wintry snowscape with a spare loveliness that both reinforces and ameliorates the bleak setting, symbolically warmed by the child's bright red cloak. "It's an almost wordless tale with which speaks volumes about kindness. The girl's story is a hero's journey, and Cordell tells it with skill and heart," says Publishers Weekly, in its starred review.

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Sunday, November 25, 2018

Dino Dynamo! How to Be a T. Rex by Ryan North


"Hi! My name is Sal.

One day my teacher said, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

I said, "A TYRANNOSAURUS REX!"

Dream big, they say, and for Sal it's T. Rex all the way.

Her brother points out that nobody has ever grown up to be a T. Rex. Sal is not deterred.

"I'm gonna be the first!" she says.

Sal checks out her potential. Her teeth are definitely lacking in the sharp and pointy department. Her body is possibly too puny to keep up with T. Rex's reputation.

Sal tries roaring in the library. Not a great idea!

Maybe this plan needs more thought. After all T. Rexes have to live around humans. And they do have their limitations.

It's hard to express nice feelings when all you can say is ROAR!

Dinosaurs don't wear shoes. I have some RAD sneakers I kinda miss.

THINK BIG, they say. But who knew that being a dinosaur would have some serious downsides!

Sal settles for being a part-time T. Rex in Ryan North's latest, How to be a T. Rex (Dial Books, 2018). Noted artist Mike Lowery creates some humorous sight-gag illustrations of Sal's experiments as hybrid Dino/human in this quirky look at aspiring T. Rex-hood. Says Kirkus in their starred review, "Hilarious fun, emotionally poignant, and just a little bit sassy."

For more fun with the difficulties of being a dinosaur, share this one with Ryan T. Higgins' latest hit about the difficulties of T. Rex-hood, We Don't Eat Our Classmates

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Saturday, November 24, 2018

Down Below! Pop-Up Peekabool! Under the Sea by Claire Lloyd

Striped Fish and her friends were playing hide-and-seek.

A sunken ship looks promising as a hiding place.

But...whoa! Someone is already there! Who is that popping up?

It's Diving Dolphin!

Little fishes love to swim and find out, and so do little kids, and in their new lift-the-flap board book, Pop-up Peekaboo: Under the Sea (Dorling Kindersley Books, 2018), author Claire Lloyd and illustrator Ellie Ward work their DK magic in this little finger-friendly exploration of the bottom of the sea.

What's to be seen hiding under and behind down in the deeps inside that sunken treasure chest? It's a Hermit Crab with pincers to watch out for! And there's Ollie the Octopus inside, giving them a friendly eight-armed wave. But Ooh! What could be inside that dark ocean cave? Striped Fish and her friends just have to have a peek! Is that Spotted Seahorse? Does he want to play hide-and-seek, too?

Lloyd's newest in the series of animal Pop-Up Peek-a-Boo series introduces preschool explorers to some of the things to be seen down in the sea. With very sturdy flaps and pop-up critters and bright illustrations in glowing marine colors, this one is a treat for the eyes and an appealing feast for little fingers.

And for a seasonal treat on dry land for little hands, try Dorling Kindersley's Pop-up Peekaboo Pumpkin!

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Friday, November 23, 2018

Abducted by Aliens! Bad Guys (Alien VS Bad Guys) by Aaron Blabey

WE HAVE TO GET OUT OF HERE!

How? HE'S AN ALIEN!

Marmalade ISN'T a mad scientist who tried to destroy the world. He's an enormous hostile alien life-form....

And we're trapped inside its space station on the moon WITHOUT A ROCKET.

Yes, the Bad Guys gang are not in the best of positions, vis a vis, er, staying alive! Actually, they're somewhere in outer space in a capsule....

Are they doomed?

But little Legs has a plan. There is an escape pod, and all he has to do is decipher a bunch of unknown languages, punch in the right coordinates, and ....

FIGURE IT OUT!

But along the way they have to deal with the deadly ...

KDJFLOERHGCOINWERUHCGLEIRWFHEKLWJFHXALHW?!

But then little Legs pulls it off! He figures out the code to the escape pod and they blast off back to earth. But things on earth don't look right. Where are they?

OOPS. Could Legs have set the correct coordinates for Earth, but... sent them back to

65 MILLION BC?

It's a total celebration of the joy of reading (and of super silliness) in Aaron Blabey's The Bad Guys in Alien vs Bad Guys (The Bad Guys 6), the latest installment in the ditsy, screwy, and altogether ludicrous adventures in the author's goofy series. Not since the first Captain Underpants books have beginning chapter readers had such an occasion for the appreciation of the absurd, with this series of graphic novels illustrated by the author. Aaron Blabey is also the author-illustrator of the wonderfully zany picture book series which begins with Pig the Pug (see reviews here).

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Thursday, November 22, 2018

The Word Is "Friend:" If A Horse Had Words by Kelly Cooper and Lucy Eldridge

The foal is born on a spring morning of sunshine and snowmelt. She opens her eyes. If she had words, she would say willow, crocus, puddle, and sky.

Then she has a strange, overwhelming urge.

If a horse had words, the word would be...
UP!

Her skinny legs kick and flail and one back leg is stuck in a badger hole. She is terrified and her mother is anxious. But a truck approaches and stops and a big man and a small one come to help her get loose and stand.

If a horse had words, the word would be ...
BOY.

The mare nickers, the foal bounces, and the boy leaps as if he doesn't like to be held down by the ground either.

SEASONS pass, and the boy and the little horse grow. The boy names her for her color, Red Badger. One day he holds out something in his palm of his hand to share with her--a peppermint! Soon she remembers that smell that goes with the boy.

If a horse had words, the word would be ...
FRIEND.

But the time comes when the young mare must work, must be broken for riding, but when she leaps too high, the boy falls off and his father frowns. If she cannot be ridden, she must go away. The word for that is SOLD!

Time passes, and Red Badger finds a home in a rodeo where she becomes famous as the horse that can't be ridden. But for the boy and for the horse, their words are never forgotten. And one day when the boy has grown up, Red Badger smells something familiar as a new rider eases onto her back in the chute. Peppermints.

They both do their jobs.

They shoot into the air like fireworks. Red Badger whinnies. The word is...
JOY.

It's a joyous rodeo reunion for boy and horse, in Kelly Cooper's poetic cowboy story, If a Horse Had Words (Tundra Books, 2018), which celebrates the ties of kindness that bind the boy and the young colt, giving young readers a window into the way a horse would see the same events in a different way. Artist Lucy Eldridge adds lightness to the story with her whimsical water-colored illustrations that reveal the horse's nature and the boy's feelings perfectly as the two bond, separate sadly, and are reunited in a high-kicking happy celebration. This is a heartwarming book for anyone who has loved and lost (and perhaps found) a much-loved animal.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The Adventure of Optimism! The Weaver by Quian Shi

All spiders lead a life of adventure.

Once they are born, they wave goodbye to each other and hitch a ride on the wind.

It's true. Newly hatched spiderlings spin little parasails and go "ballooning" to find their own places in space.

Stanley the spider floats down to his perfect place, where he spins his web between a clover and a twig and sets out decorating it with his favorite precious things.

No, not the shells of captured beetles, nor the wings of butterflies snared. He fills it with lovely leaves of maples and lindens and gingkos and bits of feathers and bottle tabs. Stanley loves his collection.

But then the rain comes ...

And all but for one bright maple leaf, it washes his treasures away. Stanley tries to secure the leaf safely, but a big breeze blows it away, too.

Stanley has lost everything...

Or has he? He works all night , repairing his web strung strong between two tall weeds, by the light of two fireflies, recreating his memories of his precious things, spun into the fabric, the design of his web itself. His memories are not lost, even when it is time for Stanley to start another adventure, in Qian Shi's love parable of art and memory in her The Weaver (Anderson Press, 2018).

In her delicately stylized illustrations and spare poetic text, author-illustrator Qian Shi affirms that, although all sorts of winds blow and rains fall, art and memory remain with us in our own history. As a study in the graceful way to handle loss, Stanley's story carries a surprising amount of emotional heft, says Kirkus, and Booklist adds, Though the concept of ephemera may be somewhat esoteric for younger children, the underlying, sympathetically portrayed message of finding ways to cope with losing beloved things is one readers may relate to and appreciate."

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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Speed Demons! Speediest! by Steve Jenkins

What do the cheetah, the Mexican free-tailed bat, and the sailfish have in common?

They are the fastest animals in their class: the cheetah is the fastest land animal (twice as fast as the best human), the Mexican free-tailed bat is the fastest in flight, and the sailfish is the fastest fish in the sea.

But like the Olympics, there are lots of categories in the speed awards.

In his 200 mph dive, the peregrine falcon is the fastest bird. But, the green darner dragonfly is the fastest-flying insect, and the ostrich, the biggest (but flightless) bird, is also the fastest--running bird, while the roadrunner is the fastest runner among the flying birds. (Beep! Beep!) The black mamba is the fastest slithering snake, hands down, (if it had hands--which luckily, it does not!).

Some critters are outstanding for oddball speed awards: The aardvark is the fastest digger, the titan of tunneling, and the Panamanian termite has the fastest jaws in the West, creating a shock wave that can knock out its prey! The kangaroo is the longest leaper on on land, but the flying fish can leap and soar a whole lot more--over the sea, that is.

That shaman of the superlative, author-illustrator Steve Jenkins has all the fast facts on speed in the animal kingdom in his recent entry in his Extreme Animals series, Speediest!: 19 Very Fast Animals (Extreme Animals) (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018). Loaded with the facts and figures, Jenkin's book on animal locomotion is illustrated with his Caldecott-award-winning torn-and-cut paper collages of wild animals in motion in all sorts of earthly habitats, each with size-and-speed thumbnail comparisons to human powers, accompanied by a scholarly appendix with bar graphs of comparative velocities in all classes, a glossary, and a bibliography for young researchers. With their detailed and lively illustrations and troves of facts, the titles in this series are a first purchase for libraries and classroom collections.

Other books in this series by Jenkins are Trickiest!: 19 Sneaky Animals (Extreme Animals), Deadliest!: 20 Dangerous Animals (Extreme Animals), and Stinkiest!: 20 Smelly Animals (Extreme Animals). (Read my reviews here).

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Monday, November 19, 2018

Meet Hedgie! Baby Hedgehog (Finger Puppet Book)

Meet Hedgie, the baby hedgehog! She's not indigenous to North America, but they love her in Britain, where she's a favorite character in lots of stories. (Alice in Wonderland tried to play croquet with her hedgehog!)

He's not a cousin of the American porcupine, but they both have prickles, although Hedgie's are nowhere as fierce as Porkie's. Hedgehogs are becoming popular pets, being small and mostly quiet, although they do sometimes purr softly to themselves.

This baby hedgehog does like to explore the forest floor and dig with his little front paws under the autumn leaves.

And when he is happy, he lets out a tiny squeal!

In Yu Hsuan Huang's Baby Hedgehog: Finger Puppet Book (Chronicle Books, 2018), toddlers and preschoolers can meet this interesting little animal. Adult fingers fit well to animate the hedgehog on the cover, and he cooperates by pulling his head through his hole to emerge on each of the subsequent pages, where he can explore the forest floor, dig for treats, or curl up in his cozy nest. And as the owner of this tiny toy-and-movable book grows, he or she can take over the puppeteering duties and personally put Hedgie through his paces.

For a companion hedgehog story, share this one with Ben Sutton's Hedgehug's Halloween (see review here) or M. Christina Butler's One Snowy Night (review here). And pair this one especially this season with Jan Brett's latest wintry Hedgie tale The Snowy Nap, The Snowy Nap (see review here).

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Sunday, November 18, 2018

The Ice Age Cometh! The Meltdown: Diary of a Wimpy Kid? by Jeff Kinney

JANUARY: Everybody in my neighborhood is outside today enjoying the warm weather--except ME. It's kind of hard to enjoy a heat wave in the middle of WINTER.

Even though it's warm outside, the thermostat at school still thinks it's WINTER. So the furnace is on full blast all day, which makes it hard to concentrate in class.

If we do figure a way out of this climate mess, it's gonna be someone from MY generation. That's why I'm always nice to the SMART kids, because THEY'RE the ones who are going to save our butts.

But the warm spell stops abruptly. The Ice Age is back, and Greg and his best friend Rowley are back to frozen feet on the walk to and from school.The school bus only goes as far as Lower Surrey Street; both of them live on Upper Surrey; and the kids on Lower Surrey always ambush them if they take the bus. Greg gets the idea of taking the Whirley Street bus halfway home and then cutting across the woods to Upper Surrey Street. But despite their winter mufflers, the Whirley Street kids discover they are interlopers and chase them into the woods, where they meet up with the worst kids of all--the Mingos, who seem to live in the woods all year.

All I knew for sure was that if we stopped running, we'd be DEAD.

Just as it felt like the voices were on TOP of us, we broke through the trees and into the open.

SCREECH! Luckily Dad was paying attention or me and Rowley would've been ROADKILL!

But at least it would have been over QUICK. I'm sure the MINGOS would've take their TIME.

And then it starts snowing--hard--for days. School is called off, and when their moms decree no video games inside, Greg and Rowley decide to build the snow fort to end all snow forts, a veritable medieval redoubt of hand-crafted blocks of snow. But their challenge does not go unnoticed. The Lower Surrey Street army rises to the occasion, followed by the Whirley Street knights. Even the all-girl Safety Patrol and the Mingo family get into the melee'! Let the snowball wars begin!

It's the cold, cold world for the Wimpy Kid, in Jeff Kinney's latest in his mega-popular graphic series of middle school stories, Diary of a Wimpy Kid The Meltdown Book 13 (Amulet Books, 2018). No doubt, Greg Heffley will be ready for the spring thaw and the long-awaited end to this winter of his discontent.

It's a great book to have on hand for the first snow day! Other books (and movies) in the Diary of A Wimpy Kid series can be found here.

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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Koke In Muscogee? Koke Goes to Oklahoma by Sharon J. Beard

Koke is a dog who likes to be on the GO! And for a fun road trip with his favorite person, OK-LAHOMA is OK with him.

And for starters, Koke goes to Spiro. It's close to the Arkansas-Oklahoma border, not coincidentally located near the Arkansas River, famous for its unusual "mound houses" built from sod and grass and clay. The Caddo and Wichita Indians lived in them and planted a lot of corn--until a long ago drought must have made them leave their distinctive houses empty and move on. But people still plant lots of corn there.

Later some Spanish explorers, DeSoto and Coronado visited the area, looking for gold, which they didn't find, and not looking for buffalo/bison, which they did find on the plains. Later on a French explorer named LaSalle passed through and claimed all the lands west of there for France. After Spain and France took turns claiming the area, in 1803 with the Louisiana Purchase the United States bought that land in Oklahoma and a lot westward all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

American pioneers moved into the territory and perhaps copied their "soddies" or sod houses from the Indians. But soon the U.S. also sent a lot of Native Americans--The Five Civilized Tribes--west to the Oklahoma territory in what came to be called the Trail of Tears. One famous Cherokee, Sequoyah, creator the Cherokee alphabet, even settled down in Oklahoma.

Koke's person drives him across the old Indian Territory, past a herd of the state animal, the buffalo, the state tree, the redbud, the Red River, and Oklahoma City, the capital, plus the Ouachita Mountains, and the Wichita Mountains (Okay, Koke thought that was confusing.) From the highway, Koke saw some oil wells, a wild panther and some long-horned cows, not to mention lots of wheat fields and cattle.

"That's not a bearilla! It's a real live bear!"

There's a lot to take in on this road trip, in Sharon J. Beard's Koke Goes to Oklahoma (Westbow Press). Exploring with a big shaggy dog like Koke along makes the history and geography lessons more of an adventure, and young students will find it more fun to learn Oklahoma history about the Sooners and the Boomers and the Okies and the many geographical regions of the state with their canine companion, along with color photos of Koke the tourist.

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Friday, November 16, 2018

Keep On Truckin'! Elbow Grease by John Cena

For the Bigfoot Brothers Trucks--Flash, Pinball, Tank, and Crash--everything is about getting there first!

"LAST ONE THERE IS A HUNK OF JUNK!"

It's all about the speed and the power, and little Elbow Grease is a little short on both of those.

HE'S THE SMALLEST, BUT HE NEVER LET THAT BOTHER HIM!

The other guys in the event are faster, tougher, and even perhaps smarter and braver, but Elbow Grease works hard and he's got a plenty of one thing--HE's GOT GUMPTION!

He never gives up, and when Mel the Mechanic plugs him in to give him a big charge, she wishes him good luck. All she can say (wryly) to his big, boastful brother is...

"DON'T HURT YOURSELF, TANK!"

Of course, the big guys soon leave little Elbow Grease in the dust. To make it even harder, he has to stop for a re-charge along the way. But he keeps on truckin'.
And when a cold rain exhausts his battery, he badly needs a jolt of volts. But just in time the rain turns into a whammer-jammer of a thunderstorm, and at last he gets a break!

CRACKALACKA! BOOM-SHOCK-A-LOCK-A!!

It's a bolt from the blue and with volts from the sky, and now little Elbow Grease has what it takes to finish the race, in John Cena's funny story of the little monster truck that could, in his Elbow Grease (Random House, 2018). Even Big Wheels McGee agrees:

"THIS KID'S GOT GUMPTION. YOU GUYS COULD LEARN A LOT FROM HIM!"

It's a hoary old premise and plotline, but with a cute little car character and the skillful illustrations of Howard McWilliam, Cena's story has a lot to say to young gearheads who will be inspired to have staying power and gumption at whatever they do and wherever their road takes them. Says Kirkus Reviews, "Visual fun ... [makes] this an enjoyable read with an inarguably valuable message." Share this one with Kate and Jim McMullens' I'm Fast! (Kate and Jim Mcmullan) (see review here).

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Getting to the Bottom of It! Peek-A-Flap DIG! by Jay Garrett

AT A CONSTRUCTION SITE, DIFFERENT KINDS OF MACHINES HAVE DIFFERENT JOBS TO DO!

Kids and puppies love to dig, and Jaye Garett's Dig: Peek-a-Flap Board Book will make at least fifty percent of that bunch VERY happy.

This brightly illustrated board book offers a pair of sturdy lift-the-flap opportunities on each page which help the very youngest lovers of big diggers learn the names and jobs of their favorite construction machines.

Accompanied by colorful illustrations by Mattia Cerato, each one is revealed doing what they do best. Featured machines are the crane and wrecking ball, level, asphalt mixer and layer, front loader, excavators and power shovels, all with their own special flap and additional information for the older construction fanciers. Little fingers will love lifting the flaps as young readers learn to identify the machines inside.

A few run-throughs of this book and youngsters will be ready for a rhyming romp through Sherry Duskey Rinker's best-seller, Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site and Rinker's diurnal cycle sequel, Mighty, Mighty Construction Site (see review here).

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