BooksForKidsBlog

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Happy Landings! Angela's Airplane by Robert Munsch


Angela's father took her to the airport.

Angela's father got lost. Angela looked on top of airplanes and under airplanes.

There was only one more place to look. There was one airplane with the door open, so Angela climbed up the steps and into the airplane. Her father wasn't there. No one was there.
Up front there was a seat that had lots of buttons, so Angela asked herself, "It's okay if I push just one button?" Why not?

Angela pushes the red button. The door behind her closes. Should she push another button? She tries the green button.
VROOM VROOM!

Yikes! Angela tries pushing almost ALL the buttons, and the plane rises up into the sky! This is not what Angela meant to do at all.

She tries pushing the big black button. A very loud voice comes out of the radio.
"You thief! Bring back this airplane!"

Angela said, "My name is Angela. I am five years old and I don't know how to fly this plane!"

The voice becomes softer as it tells Angela to turn the wheel to the left. The plane turns and the airplane goes back toward the airport. The worried voice on the radio tells her to pull the wheel back toward her. When she does, the plane starts to go down.

Needless to say, it's not an altogether happy landing. The plane is a wreck, but Angela is fine. As ambulances and fire trucks and police cars surround the scene, Angela's father rushes up to hug her.
"Angela! Promise me you will never fly a plane again," he said.

And Angela didn't--for quite some time. But then, when she was all grown up, Angela didn't decide to be a doctor, or a nurse, or a truck driver.... She learned just the right buttons to push, and she was...
A PILOT!

Move over, Eloise! In Robert Munsch's Angela's Airplane (Classic Munsch) (Annick Press, 2018), Angela has quite an adventure, made even more funny by the wonderful comic illustrations of Michael Martchenko. More classic picture books by Robert Munch are The Paper Bag Princess (Classic Munsch), Show and Tell (Classic Munsch), Thomas' Snowsuit (Classic Munsch), Pigs (Classic Munsch) and I Have to Go! (Munsch for Kids)

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Monday, August 10, 2020

A Place of Her Own: Almond by Allen Say

Almond is taken with the unusual New Girl in her class.

The new girl could play "The Flight of the Bumblebee" on her violin so fast that Almond couldn't see the bee. But she could hear it fly from flower to flower, fast, fast, fast.

Almon listens to the New Girl practicing from her window, and asks her mother how she does it.
"She's talented," her mother said.

Almond worries about whether she has a talent.
"You will find your talent," her mother says.

At school one day, her teacher tells the class that they will perform in a play. She tells Almond that because she has beautiful hair, she will play the part of Rapunzel.
"I can't!" Almond thought. "I have no talent," she said.

"You'll be wonderful," said her teacher.

"You are a good pretender," said the New Girl.

And Almond remembers imagining the bumblebee in the girl's music and imagining flying with the crows twirling and circling through the rain, and she sees that she does have the ability to pretend, to see and be many things in her imagination. It is what actors do. That is her talent.

The celebrated author-illustrator Allen Say has written a sweet story about finding your talent in his latest, Almond (Scholastic Press, 2020), illuminated in his lovely illustrations of the two talented girls. Say portrays the faces of his characters with great skill and delicacy, making them memorable, as he did in his two quiet and sensitive Caldecott-winning books, The Boy of the Three-Year Nap and Grandfather's Journey.

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Sunday, August 09, 2020

Here For Each Other: You Hold Me Up by Monique Gray Smith

YOU HOLD ME UP WHEN YOU SHARE WITH ME.

Sharing is really the simplest form of caring. Whether it is an apple, a meal, a hug, a helping hand, advice, or approval, it is what makes for a social connection.

When you share a dance or a story and a song, a cuddle with a baby or some comforting touch, a laugh or a lesson, it means that someone belongs. It means acceptance, that someone belongs somewhere and with someone else.
WE HOLD EACH OTHER UP.

Monique Gray Smith's You Hold Me Up (Orca Books Publishing) takes a widening look at the saying, "It takes a village to raise a child" a bit further, by showing what it takes to make a village, a community in which members survive and thrive. Although the author has native American roots, what it takes to keep a family and a community alive are the same everywhere. Artist Danielle Daniels' charming gouache, pencil, and acrylic illustrations portray Indian families and yet convey an intimacy and trust that is universal, reaffirming that all humans need mutual support. A warm, heartfelt book, great for lapsit storytime and small group reading aloud.

Says Kirkus Reviews "...words and art offer a warm and positive message. Calming, positive, and serenely affirmative."

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Saturday, August 08, 2020

Favorite Things! My Heart Fills with Happiness by Monique Gray Smith

What does it take to be happy?

MY HEART FILLS WITH HAPPINESS WHEN ...

The heart fills when we see a loved one, or feel the warmth of the sun or the grass on bare feet.

Happiness comes with dancing, or smelling something good cooking in the kitchen. It comes with hearing favorite stories or singing to the sound of your friend's guitar.

Happiness is holding the hand of someone you care for and who cares for you.

Heartfelt happiness for everyone of every age is the subject of Monique Gray Smith's My Heart Fills With Happiness (Orca Book Publishing). Illustrated in loving native folk art style, artist Julie Flett, with uncomplicated design, bright but gently muted colors, flattened perspective, and simple forms that convey the joys of daily life and love.

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Friday, August 07, 2020

Ten Woodland Babies: Over in the Forest by Marianne Berkes

Over in the forest where the clean rivers run,

Lived a busy mother beaver and her little kit one.

And what does a mother beaver teach her baby? She teaches him to BUILD--gathering branches and building a sturdy dam and den for their winter lodge.

But the woodland forest has many mothers and little ones, all learning what to do!

Mother Deer and her two fawns GRAZE on the green grass; Mother Possum teaches her three little joeys to CLIMB into a hollow tree.

Mama Box Turtle teaches her hatchlings four to HIDE, inside their shells on the forest floor, and Mother Turkey takes her five little poults out to scratch where berries thrive, while Mrs. Squirrel, with her kits six do gymnastic TRICKS in the trees.

Mother Woodpecker's seven chicks learn to RAP AND TAP on trees for their supper, and Mama Raccoon shows her eight kits how to DUNK AND DABBLE their dinners.

Mama Skunk teaches her nine kits to stomp and SPRAY!. Pew-ewww! Keep away!

Papa Fox teaches how to POUNCE on prey so his ten kits can dine in their den.

And to the familiar tune of "Over in the Meadow," youngsters can learn to count, to recognize common woodland animals, what their babies are called, and some of their signature behaviors in Marianne Berkes' joyous nature science book, Over in the Forest: Come and Take a Peek (Dawn Publications) in a rhyming song to sing along.  Berkes soft and lovely paper collage woodland animals are pleasure to see and fun to count.

But wait! There's more! Well concealed in each beautiful double-page spread is a hidden mystery animal--a tree frog, black bear, blue jay, salamander, rat snake, coyote, bobcat, red-tailed hawk, owl, and porcupine for sharp-eyed young readers to discover in the foliage. Author-illustrator Berkes has provided a singalong lesson perfect for preschool and primary classroom units on woodland animals which also includes teaching tips and music and art activities in the appendix, as well as backmatter that extends cross-curriculum teaching opportunities--a bibliography of books and websites, collage skills as well as music for the song itself.

Says Kirkus Reviews, "... Paper-collage, colored-pencil and pastel artwork is filled with gorgeous textures that echo the natural world of the forest." A first purchase for school and public libraries, and a handy home activity book.

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Thursday, August 06, 2020

An Indelicate Condition! Who Wet My Pants? by Bob Shea

COME AND GET 'EM! ALL YOUR FAVORITES!

Scout Leader Bear has do-nuts, especially chosen for each camper in his troop.

But his largess is rewarded by embarrassed looks from the other campers. They all stare, but not at the donuts.
"Ahem!"

Bear follows their glance. Uh-oh!

He vows that no one gets donuts until he gets a confession.
WHAT TH'...! WHO WET MY PANTS!

I'LL GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS!

There's an awkward silence. Nobody allows himself even a small smirk at the unintended pun.

Timid Tim Turtle finally says that it's likely just an accident. Big Foot admits that he used to wet his pants sometimes. Dog suggests that it could happen to anyone. But Bear demands a confession from the culprit!
ALL I WANT IS JUSTICE... AND DRY PANTS.

But slowly the truth dawns on Bear. Could that gallon of lemonade with breakfast or those moments listening to the waterfall have had something to do with his, er, condition? Maybe his pants just sprung a leak, leading him to blame his friends.... all of which have tried to be understanding.

Bear decides it's time to change both the subject and his pants and pass the donuts, in Bob Shea's Who Wet My Pants? (Little, Brown and Company, 2019), a tinkle tale which will have kids giggling from the beginning, as Bear's denials grow louder as the evidence becomes more compelling. Zachariah OHora's detailed drawings only add to the snickers of this book about an unfortunate incident that is not all that uncommon among youngsters. Adds Booklist, "OHora has illustrated a number of picture books funny enough to make anyone wet their pants."

For more comic books from Bob Shea, don't miss his Dinosaur vs. the Potty (A Dinosaur vs. Book (2)) and other books in the Dinosaur vs. series. (Read reviews here).

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Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Lunch Break! Brownie and Pearl Grab a Bite by Cynthia Rylant

TIME FOR LUNCH!

Brownie and Pearl are ready to take a break from their jigsaw puzzle and raid the fridge for the midday meal. What looks good?

Pearl puts her paw on the package of string cheese.
"MMM--CHEESE!" SAYS BROWNIE.

Pearl takes a nibble and then rolls over to play with her stick of cheese.

Brownie finishes her cheese and spots a basket of apples on the kitchen table. Brownie picks out a couple of apples and takes a bite of hers.

Pearl pushes the other apple around the floor. Brownie tells her not to play with her food!
NOW FOR SOMETHING SALTY!

"SALTINES, OF COURSE!"

Brownie tries to nibble her crackers into interesting shapes. Pearl holds up one square in the shape of a P for her name.

And finally the two agree that they need something to drink. Brownie gets the carton out of the refrigerator and pours herself a glass and pours Pearl a bowl of milk. YUMMY!

It's a do-it-yourself luncheon for pals Brownie and Pearl the cat, in Cynthia Rylant's easy-reader, Brownie and Pearl Grab a Bite (Beach Lane Books). Brian Biggs provides the gently humorous illustrations that extend the simple text with humorous details.

In addition to this series, Cynthia Rylant is the much-loved and award-winning author of several series of beginner reading books that feature fun with pets, such as her Henry and Mudge Ready-to-Read Value Pack: Henry and Mudge; Henry and Mudge and Annie's Good Move; Henry and Mudge in the Green Time; Henry and Mudge ... and Mudge and the Happy Cat (Henry & Mudge), Annie and Snowball Collector's Set!: Annie and Snowball and the Dress-up Birthday; Annie and Snowball and the Prettiest House; Annie and Snowball and ... Nest; Annie and Snowball and the Shining Star and her Mr. Putter and Tabby I, 12 Volumes (Bilingual Version of English And Chinese) and all favorites of preschool and primary readers.

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Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Friends Indeed! All Kinds of Friends by Shelly Rotner

Friends come in all sorts--sizes, shapes, colors, and ages.

YOUNG FRIENDS, OLD FRIENDS.

NEW FRIENDS, BEST FRIENDS.

There a family friends--brothers and sisters and cousins and whatever.

There are friends from next door that are always there.

Some friends have feathers or fuzzy fur.
FRIENDS WITH DIFFERENT FACES

WITH FAMILIES FROM DIFFERENT PLACES.

They can be taller or smaller, funny or serious. They can climb rock walls, bounce basketballs; they can choose to be caped crusaders or dressy princesses. They can giggle with your or help you with your math.

Sometimes they are sad, and sometimes they get mad.
GOOD FRIENDS. TRUE FRIENDS.

That's what we all want, and friendship is the subject of Shelly Rotner's All Kinds of Friends (Millbrook Press), one that in its many charming photos reminds everyone of the diversity to friends to be found. Conversational in tone but written in easy-reading, rhyming couplets, this sensitive book is perfect for a read-aloud during the early days of the school year when finding new friends is a really big deal for young students. Notes Booklist, "Given the demand for preschool and primary-grade books on friendship, particularly in the fall, many libraries will want to have this volume on hand."

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Monday, August 03, 2020

Be the Best You! Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell

Molly Lou Melon was the shortest girl in her class.

Her grandma had told her, "Walk as proudly as you can and people will look up to you."

Molly's front teeth stick out so far she can stack pennies on them, but her grandma tells her to smile broadly and everyone else will smile with her.

Her voice is croaky as a bull frog's, but Grandma tells her to sing loud and clear and the world will be full of joy.

And what Grandma said was true... until Molly Lou Mellon had to say good by to her Grandma, move to a new town, and start at a new school.

Her new school had a bully--Ronald Durkin--who seemed to think it was his job to point out Molly Lou Mellon's shortcomings.
On the first day of school, Ronald Durkin called her SHRIMPO.

So Molly Lou Mellon caught a pass and ran right under Ronald Durkin's legs.  TOUCHDOWN! The kids cheered for Molly. So the next day Ronald Durkin was waiting with a new insult.
He called her "BUCKY THE BEAVER."

And Molly stacked pennies on her teeth and made all the class giggle in amazement. Ronald Durkin was appropriately abashed. But in music class the next day he sneered.
"You sound like a FROG!"

But Molly Lou Melon quacked so loud that Ronald Durkin fell over backward and had to go to the nurse's office for the rest of the afternoon. The rest of the class didn't miss him much either.

And Molly Lou Melon writes Grandma a letter.
"Dear Grandma,

Everything you told me was exactly right!"

"Be the best you that you can be," is good advice in Patty Lovell's beat-the-bully-at-his-own-game story, Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon (G.P. Putnam's Sons), comically illustrated by noted artist David Catrow in his typically quirky style, who shows that keeping your cool and your smile can go a long way. Says Publishers Weekly, "Catrow's full-bleed pencil-and-watercolor illustrations, awash in ripe colors and animated by slapstick exaggeration, radiate a winningly eccentric elegance."

For more giggle-bait, share this one with Lovell and Catrow's Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon and David Catrow's hilarious I Ain't Gonna Paint No More! (Ala Notable Children's Books. Younger Readers (Awards)) and Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs.

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Sunday, August 02, 2020

Always There: Love and the Rocking Chair by Leo and Diane Dillon

Many years ago, a young couple stood in a sea of chairs, searching for just the right one.

"Look at that chair over there. It's perfect for the baby's room!" the young woman said.

And just a few days afterward, the young couple's baby arrived, and the young mother rocked him in the chair and sang songs until he slept. And when he was a bit older, his father read stories while he rocked him before bedtime. Then, as he grew bigger, the boy pretended that the rocking chair was a galloping horse crossing the wild prairie.

But as the baby became a boy, the chair gradually filled with outgrown toys and books, all forgotten as he found new games with his friends. All too soon, the boy becomes a young man, off to college and new friends.
The chair was moved to the attic. Sometimes the young man came home to visit. But the rocker was forgotten, gathering dust. Years went by.

The father grew older. One day the young man came back. His father had died, and he came to comfort his mother.

But on a happier day the young man returned to introduce his mother to the young woman he wanted to marry, and not so long after they moved in with his mother because they were expecting a baby. Then the young man remembered the chair.
"I'll go get it!" he said. He lovingly dusted it off and placed it back where it belonged.

And one day author-illustrator Diane Dillon lovingly dusted off and completed the book she and her late husband Leo Dillon had begun years before, along with the re-purposed rocking chair that is the symbol of enduring family love as it is passed along to yet another generation. Author-illustrators Leo and Diane Dillon, winners of two Caldecott Awards and many others, fortunately kept their original manuscript to be reborn as Love and the Rocking Chair Blue Sky Press, 2019), passed along for another generation of their family and for other families to enjoy. For new parents, it is a gift that remains after the new onesies have become too snug and the push toys are outgrown, Booklist says, "Endearing, sentimental, and drawn in the distinctive style of the authors, this story will find an audience for those looking for narratives about generational legacies."

Leo and Dianne Dillon's memorable Caldecott Award winners are Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Tale and Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions (Picture Puffin Books).

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Saturday, August 01, 2020

Sea Turtle Time: On Kiki's Reef by Carol L. Malnar

A baby green sea turtle pops her head out of the sand. It's Kiki!

She just hatched. With the crowd of hatchlings, Kiki scrambles across the beach. Birds swoop to peck her. Crabs grab!

Surf and spray carry Kiki away.

It's the race of her life for the tiny sea turtle. When Kiki makes it into the waves, she feels safe.
Kiki paddles helter skelter.
Beds of seaweed give her shelter.

Out into the deeps the little sea turtle goes and grows bigger and stronger. But in a few years, she is drawn back toward the shore to the coral reefs. She is kept company by clownfish, who hides unhurt by the stinging corals. She makes use of a gang of tangs who give her a spa treatment, cleaning the algae from her shell. She's too big to fear the barracuda now, but she watches as a school of wrasses give him a dental cleaning. She hides when a tiger shark cruises back and forth, and she visits with seahorses, parrotfish, an octopus reaching for snacks, and even a snorkeling diver. Kiki grows and grows.
Then one day Kiki knows it's time to return to her first home--the beach. In the middle of the night Kiki lays her 100 eggs and covers them lovingly.

Along the coast and through the foam,
Kiki returns to her reef home.

Carol L. Malnar's On Kiki's Reef is an up-close and personal look at the life cycle of a green sea turtle which takes the young reader into reef life-- one which perhaps wakes a yearning to visit the coral reef exhibit at an aquarium or to snorkel above a real reef themselves. Trina Hunner's beautiful color illustrations done in sea greens and blues give young nature students a feeling of actually being there, while author Malnar provides a flowing text, with touches of rhyme and an extensive appendix, including thumbnails and descriptions of "Featured Creatures" and "Illustrious Additions," teaching tips, and maps. A good book for individual browsing or for informational reading where "ocean life" is a class study in the curriculum. Says Kirkus Review, "What distinguishes this simple introduction is its breadth and accuracy. Readers and listeners will come away with an appreciation for the complexity and interdependence of the coral reef world. Kiki's reef is the place to be."

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Friday, July 31, 2020

Sing It! Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song by Gary Golio

ALL SHE WANTED TO DO WAS SING.

Billie wasn't going to scrub floors like her mother. She had plans to be somebody.

Pretty, light-skinned, already a veteran of small jazz clubs and with a few hit records with noted musicians, Billie had her own way of singing, listening to the saxophones and trumpets, and improvising around the melody in what jazzmen Beiderbecke and Armstrong had called "correlated choruses." She had her own voice.
IT WAS THE HEART OF JAZZ.

At 23 she was hired by celebrated clarinetist, Artie Shaw, the first black girl singer with a wildly popular white dance band, appearing at the famous Blue Room in New York City. But off the bandstand, Billie was not allowed to mingle with the customers. She had to sleep in the tour bus instead of the hotel, take freight elevators, and warm up in a small back room instead of with the band. Billie quit.

Luckily, she found a gig at new club in Greenwich Village, Cafe Society, where there was no color line. One night the club manager, Barney Josephson, introduced Billie to a local high school teacher, Abel Meeropol, a songwriter who wanted her to sing a song he had written called "Strange Fruit."
Southern trees bear a strange fruit.
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root.
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.


IT WAS A SONG ABOUT LYNCHING.

Billie wasn't quite sure she should do it: it wasn't really a jazz song and performing it in public could mean trouble. All of them realized that this song was racial dynamite. Josephson knew that it had to be given special handling, a different delivery, and he had the feeling Billie was the one who could do it.

Barney planned special staging. He told her that when she finished the song, she could quietly leave the stand. Billie agreed.

That night, as the lights dimmed and Billie began to sing, everyone seemed to freeze in place.
Billie's face became more expressive. The last few words--about a strange and bitter crop--sounded more like a cry of pain.

THE SPOTLIGHTS DIMMED. BILLIE WAS GONE. THERE WAS NOTHING BUT SILENCE....

But then the audience rose from their seats and the room exploded with applause, and backstage Billie heard them and had no regrets.
"I'LL FEEL IT IN MY GRAVE," SHE TOLD HER MOTHER.

And the applause for Billie Holiday has never faded. In Gary Golio's poignant mini-biography, Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song(Millbrook Press), the author, noted for his biographies of musicians for middle readers, captures a moment in time in the life of the singer whose voice was like no other in jazz. In a few well-chosen words Golio artfully sketches out the early life of singer Billie Holiday and dramatically focuses his attention upon her first performance of one of the songs that has made her unforgettable in American music, a song that focuses on racial injustice which is as relevant at this time as it was when she recorded it in 1939. The dynamic full-bleed illustrations of artist Charlotte Riley-Webb capture the tense energy of Holiday's voice and the life she led in perfect sync with Golio's strong narration.

This book is strongly recommended for school and public library collections and for class book study for older elementary and middle school students. Says Publishers Weekly's starred review, "...a potent reminder of the power of art to combat intolerance and hate."

For other musical biographies by Gary Golio, see my reviews here.

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Thursday, July 30, 2020

Someone's Been Eating My Congee? Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim

Goldy Luck was born in the Year of the Dragon.

"This child will bring us luck!" said her mother.

Her father pointed out that her face was as round as a gold coin.
"She'll bring great wealth!" he said.

But Goldy wasn't lucky. She lost her Grandmother's New Year's gift and her piggy bank was always empty.

One Chinese New Year's Day, Goldy's mom woke her up early to take the greeting, Kung Hei Fat Choy, to their neighbors, the Chan's, with a plate of hot turnip cakes to share with Little Chan.
"But Ma Ma, I am still sleepy, and I'm SO hungry," Goldy moaned.

"Be nice, or you'll have bad luck," her mom warned.

Goldy trudged next door with the turnip cakes. When her knock gets no answer, she pushes against the door and stumbles, spilling the warm turnip cakes all over the floor. Slumping off into the kitchen to find a broom, she notices three bowls of congee waiting on the table. She was still hungry, so she tried the big bowl. Way too watery! The medium bowl was lumpy, But the little bowl was delicious and all gone before Goldy knew it. Now she was not hungry, but she was still sleepy.

She tried Papa Chan's big massage chair.
Something hard steamrollered her back! OUCH!

Mama Chan's chair made Goldy feel like a stuffed pork bun, and apparently Little Chan's chair was too rickety, since one of the rockers cracks! So far, Goldy's luck is all bad!

But still sleepy, she heads for the bedroom, where she finds Papa Chan's big bed feels like a stale almond cake.
The electric bed folds her up like a dumpling!

And that's how the returning Chan family finally found Goldy Luck sound asleep in Little Chan's cozy futon!

But all's well that ends with New Year's luck after all, when Goldy Luck takes her own warm breakfast bowl of congee over for Little Chan and together they make turnip cakes for all, in Natasha Yim's Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas (Charlesbridge Publishing), a jolly fractured fairy tale which introduces Chinese New Year to the picture book set with her version of the oft-parodied Goldilocks and the Three Bears. It's always good luck when good neighbors get together with a Kung Hei Fat Choy for everyone.
(The author appends a recipe for turnip cakes--which also contain shrimp and sausage.)

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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

I Gotta Be ME! Norbert's Big Dream by Lori Degman

NORBERT WAS A PIG WITH A DREAM.

Even as a piglet, Norbert was not into the usual porcine  preferences--slurping slop, snoozing in the sun, or mucking in the mud.
NORBERT DREAMED OF SWIMMING THE ENGLISH CHANNEL.

Eschewing swill, he beefed up on body-building foods. When other pigs wallowed in the mud, Norbert grabbed his kickboard, jumped in, and worked on his flutter kick. He trained all day and dreamed all night of being the first porker to swim the Channel.

At last Norbert's training peaked!
"I'M OFF TO SWIM THE ENGLISH CHANNEL!"

To the amazement of his lazy, layabout litter mates, Norbert squeezed into his sleek swimsuit, snapped on his goggles, and forced his trotters into his flippers. He was ready to hit the cold waters of the English Channel.
"WHICH WAY IS THE ENGLISH CHANNEL?"

Suddenly Norbert realizes that he hasn't a clue! He looked over the barnyard wall, behind the barn, beyond the trees.

Norbert's dream was a bust. Then he noticed his friends bustling about a sign.


[NORBERT'S CHANNEL]

And following the sign Norbert found a large body of water he'd never noticed and dived right in! Norbert was living his dream as he splashed, to the roar of the crowd, all the way to the far shore.

With great relief his porcine friends went back to their usual routines--slop, snore, wallow... REPEAT! But Norbert was made of sterner stuff....

And in Lori Degman's Norbert's Big Dream (Sleeping Bear Press), Norbert already has a new dream of being the first pig to plant his flag on the highest peak! And as we know, Degman's heroic pig goes whole-hog when he has a goal.

In comedic robust-style, artist Marco Bucci portrays Norbert in heroic acrylic paintings which reveal his dedication to his dreams. Says Publishers Weekly, "Using bright, thick, painterly swaths of color, Bucci brings Degman's underpig hero to vibrant life!"

Other humorous animal stories by Lori Degman are 1 Zany Zoo and Cock-a-Doodle-Oops!

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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

DOWNTOWN! Brownie and Pearl See the Sights by Cynthia Rylant

Sometimes you've just got to be out and about!

Brownie must have her handbag. Pearl has to find her toy mouse. Brownie has her scarf and snow boots. At last Pearl has her toboggan cap and scarf and her blue mouse in her mouth. They head downtown.

BROWNIE AND PEARL ARE OFF TO SEE THE SIGHTS.

They make the hat shop their first stop. Brownie tries on a floppy hat with great big flowers on the brim. Pearl picks a brown derby with a jaunty feather in the hat band. They giggle.

Then the two move on the the shoe shop. Brownie tries some high heels, but they're not easy to walk in. Pearl puts her paws into some tall cowboy boots. They giggle.

What's next?

It's not a trip to town without a stop at the sweet shop. Brownie and Pearl pick out their cupcakes and seat themselves at a little round table with the fancy curved chairs. Brownie has a big bite of her cupcake, without taking the cherry off the top.
THEN BROWNIE AND PEARL YAWN.

There's only one place they want to go now. They've seen the sights and now they need a nap!

And for a nap--there's no place like home!

And there's no place like a big easy chair with pillow and blanket for the two sleepy shoppers, in Cynthia Rylant's easy-reading Brownie & Pearl See the Sights (Beach Lane Books). The versatile Cynthia Rylant is the Newbery Award-winning author of Missing May (Scholastic Gold) the author of a Caldecott Honor Award, When I Was Young in the Mountains (Reading Rainbow Books), and has written the beloved beginning readers series, Henry And Mudge First Book and Mr. Putter and Tabby Set of 4 Books : Bake the Cake, Feed the Fish, Pick the Pears, Row the Boat. and her new series about a girl and her hat are just the thing for preschoolers on the way to becoming emergent readers. Illustrator Brian Biggs provides the soft artwork that sets the safe and cozy mood for Rylant's series.

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