Friday, August 21, 2009

First Day Jitters

Submitted by Tammy, driver of the WoW van!
First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg. This would be a great book to use with children experiencing anxiety over starting school or facing any new situation. Mr. Hartwell finds Sarah Jane hiding under her covers in bed on the first day of school refusing to get up. He reminds Sarah of all the fun she will have and the new friends she'll meet on her first day. After much encouragement, Sarah eats and gets ready for her big day. Mr. Hartwell drops her off and she enters the school with the rest of the children. The principal walks Sarah down to the classroom where he introduces the children to their new teacher "Mrs. Sarah Jane Hartwell". The children will be surprised to learn that Sarah is an adult, and even grown ups get nervous about new situations!

Dino-Hockey

Submitted by Allana from Leonardtown!
Dino-Hockey by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Barry Gott, is a picture book told in rhyme about one of my all-time favorite subjects--Ice Hockey. The book is illustrated with wonderful and amusing artwork. In this fixture, it’s the “Meat-Eaters” versus “Veggiesaurs,” and as they take the ice, and the puck is dropped, a hilarious contest ensues. With passing, checking, slashing, shooting, and penalties, the writer shows her knowledge of the sport, as well as genuine dinosaur names. Would you believe the referee is a Dodo? Well, I’ve seen some refs act like Dodos before, but we won’t go there! T-Rex scores first, with Raptor picking up the assist, as the “Meaties” take the lead. I get annoyed when someone gives away the final score of a game I haven’t yet watched, so I won’t spoil the ending here. This is an entertaining and unique children’s book for sports fans and Dino enthusiasts alike.
Also check out Z is for for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet by Matt Napier, illustrated by Melanie Rose. Starting with “A is for Arena,” and continuing through the whole alphabet with Ice Hockey terms, equipment, positions, and names of famous players, this is another picture book dear to my heart. The prose is in rhyme, and cleverly done. The illustrations are top notch and very realistic. This is my favorite alphabet book--different and informative where the sport of hockey is concerned.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Monster at the End of this Book

Submitted by Jill from Leonardtown!
The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone. Grover, the blue Sesame Street monster, is eager to read this classic Little Golden Book with you, until he reads the title page--and realizes that there will be a MONSTER at the end of this book! And Grover is so SCARED of monsters! Our furry blue friend will spend the next 18 pages trying to prevent you from turning any more pages, and therefore bringing us closer to the end of the book (and the MONSTER)! He tries securing the pages with tape, string, and strong brick walls, but when you reach the next-to-last page, poor Grover is reduced to begging and pleading. Will you turn the final page and face the MONSTER at the end of this book?

Just What Mama Needs

Submitted by Carol from Charlotte Hall!
Just What Mama Needs by Sharlee Glenn and illustrated by Amiko Hirao. The story is about a dog named Abby. Abby loves to play dress-up. She has a great imagination. Abby imagines she is lots of things. Abby may be a pirate one day, happily busy swabbing the deck, or a detective in search of a mysterious clue! Abby could even be a witch mixing up a delicious brew, but no matter who Abby pretends to be she is always just what Mama needs. This is a cute story about a mother and her love for her child.

Mommy's High Heel Shoes

Submitted by Sue from Leonardtown!
Mommy’s High Heel Shoes by Kristie Finnan and illustrated by Pat Achilles. This story highlights the relationship of a working Mom and her children. Her daughter, nicknamed “Cakes” for her love of cupcakes, realizes that when Mommy puts on her high heel shoes she is usually going to work. While she is gone she tries on all of Mommy’s high heel shoes. Then Cakes remembers what shoes Mommy wears, and where she wears them to. Like the ones she wore to walk the dog, or water the garden. The ones she wore to the pumpkin patch trip, and of course the ones she wore eating cupcakes with friends. When Mommy comes home Cakes asks her why she likes high heel shoes and tells her that they’re hard to walk in. This charming story highlights a working Mom, and her heartwarming relationship with her family. Along the way, enjoy finding the heart, ladybug, and cupcake hiding in each page.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

How to Potty Train Your Monster

Submitted by Tess from Lexington Park!
Is your monster too big for diapers? Then you need How to Potty Train Your Monster by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Mike Moon, which offers this 10-step regiment: 1. Make sure your monster's ready (300 is a good age), 2. Get him a potty chair (most monsters need a giant one), 3. Dress comfortably (no tutus please), 4. Make frequent bathroom trips, 5. Give lots of praise (perhaps throw a monster potty party), 6. Make sure he washes his paws, 7. Don't let him drink before bedtime, 8. Be patient, 9. Remember accidents will happen, and 10. Reward your monster (they enjoy stinky socks). And what's the best part of about potty training your monster? Great big monster underwear (but don't let him wear them on his head)!

My Parents Are Divorced, My Elbows Have Nicknames, and Other Facts About Me

Submitted by Tess from Lexington Park!
My Parents Are Divorced, My Elbows Have Nicknames, and Other Facts About Me by Bill Cochran, with illustrations by Steve Bjorkman, is about a boy named Ted. Ted's parents have split up, but what you really want to know about him, is that he goes to sleep every night with one sock on! His parents live on opposite ends of town now, but did you know he calls one of his elbows Carl, and the other one Clyde? Sure, his dad might have a new wife now, but Ted enjoys wearing a cape, and not just on Halloween. You might think Ted is a weird kid, not because his parents are divorced. A lot of kids have divorced parents, but that's not who they are. It's just part of what makes them unique, like Ted.

Little Bear's Big Sweater

Submitted by Tess from Lexington Park!
Little Bear's Big Sweater by David Bedford and Caroline Pedler is a great book about brotherhood, and favorite articles of clothing. Big Bear has grown out of his favorite green striped sweater, and must pass it on to his younger brother, Little Bear. "You better take good care of it," he says, "It's my favorite sweater - EVER." Then the brothers run off to play, Little Bear striving to do everything his big brother can (with mixed results). When the brothers get seperated, a worried Big Bear follows a long green thread into woods, and finds Little Bear, with their unraveled sweater. Little Bear expects quite a lashing, but gets a hug instead. "It's only a sweater," Big Bear explains, and in the end Mom makes them both new green striped sweaters!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Spoon

Submitted by Tess from Lexington Park!
Answering the call for more quality literature about the plight of kitchen utensils are Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Scott Magoon with Spoon. Meet Spoon, an average spoon, with a large spoon family (including Aunt Silver). He's got a nice spoon life, but he's a little insecure about his identity. All his friends seem so much more useful! Knife can cut and spread! Fork seems to go everywhere, from salads, to spaghetti, to cake. And Chopsticks are just so exotic. If only Spoon knew how jealous his friends are of him though! They don't get to measure things, dive headfirst into bowls of ice cream, stir relaxing cups of tea, or snuggle with the other spoons in the drawer.

Redwoods

Submitted by Tess from Lexington Park!
Redwoods by Jason Chin is an awesome work of nonfiction. A boy on a big city subway train is reading a book about redwoods, and he imagines the book coming to life around him. The city scape gives way to these enormous trees, the tallest living things on the planet, which have been around since the time of dinosaurs. The fantastic illustrations complement the incredibly informative and interesting text (including a fascinating passage about the proper way to climb a redwood, which includes launching a rope to climb into the canopy with a bow and arrow!), and there's an afterword from the author about the value of conserving the redwood forests. Perhaps it will even inspire you to make a trip to California to see these amazing trees up close!

In Our Mothers' House

Submitted by Tess from Lexington Park!
In Our Mothers' House is the latest from celebrated children's author and illustrator, Patricia Polacco. Reportedly, Polacco was always interested is writing about a book about a non-traditional family, but was spurred into action while visiting a school, and hearing a teacher tell a child who was adopted by two women, that she did not "come from a real family." Polacco modeled the family in this story after that school girl's family: Two mothers, with three adopted children, and based her illustrations on her own family (her daughter Traci, and Traci's partner Nikki, posed as the mothers). In the story we witness family events such as holidays, new puppies, treehouse building, and visits with grandparents. Gay rights are only addressed briefly. The true focus of the story is the love of the mothers for their children.

Always

Submitted by Tess from Lexington Park!
The unfathomable expanse of devotion between a child and their beloved pet is explored in Always by Alison McGhee, with adorable illustrations by Pascal Lemaitre. In this book, we meet a girl, and her tiny dog, who vows to keep the castle (their small home) safe, by taming wild squirrels, preventing closet avalanches, and vanquishing evil of all kind. If you have a protective family pet, your child is sure to relate to Always. When the tiny dog in this story proclaims, in all seriousness, to "protect the blanket," it certainly reminded me of my dog, who insists on sleeping in the bed every night!

A Penguin Story

Submitted by Tess from Lexington Park!
In A Penguin Story by Antoinette Portis we meet Edna, who is tired of the lack of diversity in the palette of her Arctic home. Everything is either white (like the snow and ice), black (like the night or the feathers of her friends), or blue (like the ocean and the fish that swim in it). There must be more to life than things which are white, black, or blue! So Edna goes in search of a different color, and boy does she find it: orange! As in the orange of scientists and their jumpsuits, tents, and equipment! Edna realizes the world is much bigger than the small glacier she inhabits, and wonders what other colors could be out there.

Mouse Was Mad

Submitted by Amanda from Lexington Park!
Mouse Was Mad by Linda Urban is great book to help kids learn how to deal with their anger in an appropriate way, and how to express it. Mouse was mad, and he didn’t know how to express it. He tried to be "hoppin' mad," "stompin' mad," "screaming mad," and even "rolling mad," like his friends, but each time he just ends up getting angrier because he cannot be mad like Rabbit, Bear, Bobcat, or even Hedgehog. He gets so mad, he stands very, very still, and discovers his own way to be mad. No one else can be "still mad" like Mouse and this makes Mouse happy.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mr. Peabody's Apples

Submitted by Amanda from Lexington Park!
Mr. Peabody’s Apples by Madonna. Mr. Peabody a teacher in the very small town of Happyville. On Saturdays he coaches baseball. The team isn’t very good, but they always have a good time. One day after a baseball game, Tommy Tittlebotton thinks he sees Mr. Peabody steal an apple from the fruit market. He tells all his friends, who tell all their friends, and parents, who tell all their friends in the very small town of Happyville. The next Saturday, no one shows up for the baseball game except for Billy. Billy tells Mr. Peabody that everyone in town thinks he is a thief because Tommy Tittlebottom told them that Mr. Peabody stole an apple. Mr. Peabody proves to Billy he is not a thief, and he runs off to tell Tommy. When Tommy finds out, he goes to Mr. Peabody to apologize, but Mr. Peabody tells him it would be as difficult to undo the rumor that he is a thief as it would be to pick up a pillow full of feathers that have been spread around by the wind. This great tale help kids of all ages realize the power of their words, and teaches a great lesson about spreading rumors.

Edwina the Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct

Submitted by Catherine from Lexington Park!
Have you ever been completely convinced you were right about something? You just knew it was true, but no one else seemed to care. This is what happens to poor Reginald Von Hoobie-Doobie in Mo Willems’s Edwina the Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct. Despite his protests, no one in his town will accept the fact that the beloved dinosaur Edwina is extinct. Finally, after explaining, protesting, and YELLING, Edwina listens to him – she is indeed extinct. But Edwina decides she doesn’t care. She’s too busy making friends and baking chocolate chip cookies to worry about being extinct. Will Reginald Von Hoobie-Doobie worry about being right, or will he decide that being friends with a chocolate chip cookie baking dinosaur is even better than knowing everything?

The Storyteller's Candle

Submitted by county youth coordinator Janis!
The Storyteller's Candle (La velita de los cuentos) by Lucia Gonzalez and illustrated by Lulu Delacre. This story is about two cousins that moved to New York from Puerto Rico in the winter of 1929. They are missing their homeland and the sunny days of December in Puerto Rico. They are also worried about The Three Kings finding them in their new home in New York. One day, a magical thing happened at school. “A visitor appeared in their classroom, a gifted storyteller and librarian Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian in NY Public Library. She opened the children’s eyes to the public library and its potential to be the living, breathing heart of the community. The library, after all belongs to everyone – whether you speak English, Spanish or both.” The Storyteller's Candle is a bilingual picture book. It honors the real-life Pura Belpre, the first Puerto Rican librarian hired by the New York Public Library System, who actively advocated bilingual story hours, bought Spanish language books, and implemented programs based on traditional holidays.

The Napping House

Submitted by Catherine from Lexington Park!
Anyone who loves Good Night Moon, will want to check out The Napping House by Audrey Wood, and illustrated by Don Wood. This book, about a house where everyone from Granny down to the mouse sleeps in the same bed on a rainy afternoon, will have kids smiling as they look for the little animals on each page, and laughing as the “wakeful flea” sends the napping house into an uproar. The exaggerated drawings capture the silly feel of the book. And the colors – either soft or bright, show the feelings of the characters perfectly. This simple story with wonderful illustrations will be a favorite for parents and kids to read together.

Just In Case

Submitted by county youth coordinator Janis!
Just in Case by YuYi Morales. Senor Calavera receives an invitation to Grandma Beetle’s birthday party, and he can’t wait to go. A moan from beyond the grave reminds Calavera, the not-too-scary skeleton, that he’s forgetting a present. Calavera must choose something that Grandma Beetle will love the most. He picks something that starts with each letter of the Spanish alphabet, from “Un acordeon, an accordion for her to dance to,” to “Yerba buena, good herb to soothe her day.” For each gift Calavera chooses, Zelmiro, the ghost, praises the skeleton’s choices but cautions him to keep searching for something better, “just in case!” The characters are full of life, the colors are vibrant, and the whimsical side to this trickster tale will make it a must read for children. Also relates to a Spanish holiday called Day of the Dead or El Dia de los Muertos.
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