Thursday, July 23, 2009

Jellybeans

Submitted by Tess from Lexington Park!
Jellybeans by Sylvia van Ommen is strange and wonderful. It begins with a rabbit named George getting a text message. The message is from George's friend, a cat name Oscar, who suggests they get together in the park to eat jellybeans and drink hot chocolate. When they're sitting under a tree enjoying their snacks Oscar begins a philosophical discussion about what might happen when they die. Will they go to heaven? Can they meet up at the entrance? What if they don't recognize each other? Is there going to be jellybeans in the afterlife? This book is a fantastic way to discuss the passing of a loved one in a kid-friendly style that is not scary, but hopeful.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Stanza

Submitted by Amanda from Lexington Park!
Stanza byJill Esbaum. Stanza is a book written in rhyme about a dog that is a bully by day but who, in the middle of the night, snakes off and writes poetry. Stanza is afraid that his talent will be discovered by his brothers, as well as his victims, and they will see it as a weakness, so he keeps it a secret from everyone. But then one day he sees an ad for a competition to write a jingle for Snappers Treats. Stanza stays up all night writing a jingle, and then the next morning he turns it in. Stanza dreams of winning first prize and buying lots of chicken pot pies. Stanza is so nervous that he checks everyday to see if he won …will he win or lose? And either way what will his brothers say when they discover his softer side? This is a very cleverly written book that will engaged readers with its words and illustrations.

The Lion's Share

Submitted by Amanda from Lexington Park!
The Lion’s Share: A Tale of Halving Cake and Eating It Too by Matthew McElligott. Lion is having a birthday party and invites all his friends from the jungle; everyone from an elephant to an ant is invited. They all eat dinner and then comes time for the cake. The elephant starts off and takes half of the cake and then the hippo takes half of what is left as do all the other guests, creating a interesting division lesson until it gets down to the ant who gets a piece that is too small to half only to discover the lion has not gotten any cake yet! To make up for “eating all the cake” as the other animals accuse, the ant offers to make the lion a new cake the next day. No animal wants to be outdone by the ant so in turn each animal doubles the offer before until the elephant is promising to make two hundred and fifty-six cakes, creating a multiplication lesson for the reader. This book provides a great way for kids to experience multiplication and division along with great pictures and a few plays on words.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Jethro Byrd Fairy Child

Submitted by Allana from Leonardtown!
Jethro Byrd Fairy Child by Bob Graham. Annabelle insisted on the existence of fairies and spent many hours scouting her yard for evidence. One Saturday, a tiny ice cream truck crash lands in the yard, and sure enough a family of fairies emerges. The first one she meets is Jethro Byrd, a boy the size of her finger. Soon after she meets his mother Lily, father Offin, baby sister Cecily, and Grandma. They're on their way to the Fairy Traveler's Picnic when they crash land in the garden. Annabelle invites them to tea, and although her Mom and Dad only pretend to see the tiny family, they play along. Everyone has a lovely time!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Minnow and Rose: An Oregon Trail Story

Submitted by Sue from Leonardtown!
Minnow and Rose: An Oregon Trail Story written by Judy Young and Illustrated by Bill Farnsworth. Rose, a young pioneer girl, was traveling across the western plains of the United States with her family in a wagon train in the mid 1800s on a path known as the Oregon Trail. It was a very long and tiresome journey, one without much adventure to break up the monotony of the tedious and dusty daily routine. Rose longs for something interesting to happen. Minnow, a little native girl, lives in one of the villages scattered across the plains. She is small, but spirited. She has earned the nickname Minnow because of her favorite activity--swimming in the nearby river. Minnow and Rose's two different cultures come face to face when Minnow's village helps the wagon train cross the rushing waters of the river, and Rose accidentally falls in. Curiosity and caution come together to forge an unusual friendship between the girls when a thrilling and scary circumstance happens.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Mystery of Eatum Hall

Submitted by Amanda from Lexington Park!
The Mystery of Eatum Hall by John Kelly and Cathy Tincknell is an intriguing and funny mystery for kids. The rich vocabulary and stunning pictures cook up a filling tale for readers to devour. This mystery starts when Glenda (goose) and Horace (pig) Pork-Fowler receive an invitation to Eatum Hall by its new owner, Dr. Hunter, for a weekend of free gourmet food. When they arrive for their weekend at Eatum Hall they find a letter from their host inviting them to stay even though he is away on business. While Glenda and Horace enjoy their weekend of food and fun the reader can infer that Dr. Hunter is fattening them up to be made into pie. Finally, Glenda and Horace decide to leave early after having broken the bandstand, and thus foil Dr. Hunter's plan to make them into pie. This story has a healthy vocabulary filled with words like "fiend," "automated," and "culinary." It is truly told through the pictures. Each page is filled with illustrations to help the reader infer Dr. Hunter’s malicious plan. The illustrations provide a mysterious and chilling mood for the reader from the very beginning. The pictures are complementary to the story and make it a joy to read.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Paper Bag Princess

Submitted by Jill from Leonardtown!
“Elizabeth was a beautiful princess. She lived in a castle, and had expensive princess clothes. She was going to marry a prince named Ronald…” So begins The Paper Bag Princess, by Robert Munsch, but this is no ordinary sugar-sweet princess story. Things get interesting when a nasty dragon smashes the castle, scorches all of Elizabeth’s pretty things, and steals Prince Ronald. Fortunately for the prince, Elizabeth is no pushover princess. She’s a tough, smart girl who’s determined to recover her fiancĂ©. Kids will laugh out loud as Elizabeth uses her brains to outwit the dragon and reclaim her sweetheart… but the surprise ending is the best part of all.

Sort It Out

Submitted by Tess from Lexington Park!
Sort It Out! by Barbara Mariconda, with illustrations by Sherry Rogers, is a children's picture book that works on many levels. On one level, it's a cute story about a Packy the Pack-rat (an awesome name for a character in general), who's mother insists he put all his things away. On another level, it's a mystery (his things keep going missing! Wonder if his sneaky kid sister has anything to do with it). On another level it suggests several different ways kids can organize things (by color, shape, material, etc.). And on yet another level it's an interactive rhyming book: "The turtle, the clover, the skinny string bean, he placed in a pile made of things that are... [say it with me] green!" All in all a fun book for multiple reasons.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Book

Submitted by Catherine from Lexington Park!
What happens in a book when the pages are closed? In A Book by Mordicai Gerstein, we meet a little girl who lives in a book. Everyone in her family knows their story, but she has yet to figure out what her story is. She travels through each page, meeting famous story book characters who try to convince the little girl that her story is a mystery, historical fiction, a fairy tale and many other genres. But at the end, the little girl decides for herself what her story will be. The illustrations are a unique take on the story. The reader observes the story from overhead, watching what is happening down below. This will be a great story for kids and parents to read together, with lots of bright fun pictures for kids, and funny reminders of childhood books for parents.

I Already Know I Love You

Submitted by Catherine from Lexington Park!
I Already Know I Love You, by Billy Crystal, is a simple and touching poem set to beautifully soft illustrations. It tells the story of a man who is so looking forward to the birth of his granddaughter that he can hardly contain his excitement. He tells the little girl that when she’s born, they will go to the zoo, read stories, and root for the Yankees (even though her Daddy loves the Sox). The simplicity of the words and the gentle colors of the pictures help to create a tender and appealing story that grandfathers and granddaughters, or just families in general, will be able to share and enjoy.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Magic Pillow

Submitted by Chad from Charlotte Hall!
The Magic Pillow written & illustrated by Demi. “Once upon a time in China” begins this adaptation of a Shen Jiji’s short story by award winning children’s book author Demi. Ping, who comes from a poor family, is the central character. He is forced to find shelter at an inn during a snowstorm. At the inn, he meets a wonderful magician who can conjure up dragons and trees of diamonds. Ping tells the magician he is not satisfied with his life and his family’s poverty. The magician gives Ping a magic pillow and tells him, “Go to sleep on this pillow and all your wishes will come true!” Will Ping’s wishes for a better life come true? Colorful illustrations of ancient Chinese culture make for a beautiful presentation of Shen Jiji’s 8th century story.

Chicken and Cat Clean Up

Sumitted by Tess from Lexington Park!
It is obvious from the beginning of the adorable wordless story Chicken and Cat Clean Up by Sara Varon, that Chicken and Cat our two title characters are very different. Chicken is up early making breakfast, when Cat is just rolling out of bed. Cat is daydreaming about getting the perfect pet. Chicken is reminding Cat it's time to go to work. Chicken and Cat have a house-cleaning business, however Cat seems to lack focus. Cat would rather dance or eat than clean. And Cat's kind of clumsy. But Cat is good at something, something that might help save the day!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Clouds Above

Submitted by Tess from Lexington Park!
I love The Clouds Above by Jordan Crane. It could be Where the Wild Things Are for a new generation. Simon, and his cat Jack, while trying to avoid their despicable teacher "Missus Poe," find a mysterious staircase leading to seemingly no where from the roof of their school. Of course, they decide to climb it, and at the top they find a cloud named Perch (the birds named him). Perch decides to fly them somewhere warmer, and so begins their adventure. This is a really fun story for any fans of weather, cats, and running away from school!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Doghouse

Submitted by Carol from Charlotte Hall!
The Doghouse is written by Jan Thomas. This book is a very simple story about a cow, mouse, duck, and pig. The illustrations are also very simple but so effective and crucial to telling the story. The animals are happy playing ball, until their ball suddenly rolls into "THE DOGHOUSE." The doghouse is a very scary place. No one wants to go in to retrieve the ball. What will they do? Well, they decide Cow should go in first because, after all, he is BIG and BRAVE and STRONG. Cow goes in and never comes out. Who will go next? And will any of them come out? Read The Doghouse to find out!
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