Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Sick Day for Amos McGee

Submitted by Ms. Tess!
The time has come. For me to announce my favorite children's picture book of 2010. I know. It's kind of a big deal. My favorite book last year won the Caldecott. This year my favorite book has this and this to contend with, among many, other, fabulous books, so I won't get my hopes up. But this book has already won my heart, and that's all that really matters :) My favorite children's picture book of 2010 is A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead. Every morning, Amos McGee gets up, has his oatmeal and tea, and heads to the zoo, where he plays chess with the elephant, runs races with the tortoise (the tortoise always wins), sits quietly with a very shy penguin, has a hankie ready for the rhino with a runny nose, and reads stories to the owl, who is actually afraid of the dark! But one morning Amos wakes up not feeling well at all. He must stay home from work. But his friends at the zoo miss him too much! And so, the elephant, tortoise, penguin, rhino, and owl hop a bus and visit Amos at home! I would argue this endearing tale of cross-species friendship and devotion is impossible not to love, so do you and your little one a favor and check it out today! See this book listed in our catalog

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pink Me Up

Submitted by Ms. Sue!
Pink Me Up by Charise Harper. Do you like the color pink? The little rabbit in this story definitely does. Every year for the last three years Violet and her mama have a special Mama-and-me day. They are going to the 3rd annual Pink Girls Pink-nic! Violet is so excited. “We will be pink, pink, pink” she hops and sings at the same time, all the way to Mama's room. But when Mama wakes up with pink spots all over her face, Violet realizes she didn’t put them on for the party. Mama is sick. Daddy offers to take her. But Violet tells Daddy he's a boy! Daddy finds one pink tie in his closet, and then they decide that daddy can be pinked up. With painted pink polka dots, tape stripes, pink paper, and pink stickers Daddy is perfectly pink! They have the best day ever. "Now all the girls want to Pink UP their daddies, just like me” says Violet. This is a perfectly pink-tastic, pink-abulous book, for the pink at heart! See this book listed in our catalog

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pip & Squeak

Submitted by Ms. Carol!
Pip & Squeak by Ian Schoenherr is a cute winter story about two mice named Pip and Squeak. Their friend Gus is having a birthday party and they are running late. In all the rush they forget Gus's birthday gift of cheese! Now they have to find Gus a present on their way to the party. They find flamingos, and a bird house, but decide that neither one would be good gifts for Gus since, of course, they are not cheese. Then they spot something big and orange right in the middle of a snowman face. They think it is cheese, so they scramble to get it, only to discover it is not cheese at all! They are out of time so they decide to give it to Gus anyway, even though he probably won't like it. But Gus, being a rabbit, thinks their carrot present is just perfect! See this book listed in our catalog

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Martin MacGregor's Snowman

Submitted by Ms. Jill!
Martin MacGregor’s Snowman by Lisa Cook. Martin MacGregor lives to build snowmen. Last year, be built the biggest snowman in the neighborhood! But this winter, day after unseasonably warm day passes without snow. Month by month, snowman-crazed Martin hatches more and more wild plans: turn his little sister into a snow-baby with flour! Make a snow-dog by covering the family pooch with cotton balls! What about a marshmallow snowman? A shaving-cream snowman? A mashed-potato snowman? But Martin’s efforts just land him in bigger and bigger trouble. By April, he’s given up all hope of a snowman. But wait! Can a freak springtime storm finally grant Martin’s snowy wish? Kids who live for snow will love this book. Adam McCauley’s ink-and-watercolor pictures are priceless, revealing Martin’s obsessive zeal for snow, and his comical disappointment after each failed plan. See this book listed in our catalog

Monday, December 13, 2010

Oh No!

Submitted by Ms. Tess!
From the brilliant minds of Mac Barnett (author of Billy Twitters and his Blue Whale Problem), and Dan Santat (illustrator of Chicken Dance), BEHOLD the fantastic, Godzilla-inspired Oh No! Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World. The story begins with a young girl lamenting "Oh no... Oh man... I knew it. I never should have built a robot for the science fair." For said robot is currently rampaging through the streets! She made other mistakes as well. For instance, she should have never given it a superclaw, or the ability to control dogs' minds. She should have given it ears so that it'd hear her when she screams "Hey, robot! Knock it off already!" She finally finds a way to stop her creation. Of course, maybe she shouldn't have enginineered a biologically enhanced giant frog to do it... Laugh along with the possibilities of, and cultural references abound in, Oh No! See this book listed in our catalog

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Paddling of Ducks

Submitted by Ms. Tess!
I have a confession to make. I am a huge nerd. For multiple reasons, one of them being that I have an until-just-now secret fascination with knowing the proper terms used to describe groups of animals. That is why A Paddling of Ducks by Marjorie Blain Parker and Joseph Kelly is the perfect book for me, and possibly your curious little one. Told from A to Z, and morning to night, it lists the names of animal groups like: a bask of crocodiles, a party of jays, a crash of rhinos, and a swarm of yellow jackets! And the illustrations are not to be missed! They lavishly depict our furry, feathered, scaly, or insect friends doing things they don't normally do like: an anteater typing on a laptop, quail driving scooters, toads knitting, and wolves playing chess! This book is a fantastic tool to reinforce alphabet skills, and knowing what different animals do and don't do. See this book listed in our catalog

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Life in the Boreal Forest

Submitted by Ms. Tess!
Life in the Boreal Forest by Brenda Z. Guiberson, illustrated by Gennady Spirin, provides a glimpse into the world's largest freshwater ecosystem. The boreal forest makes up a third of the earth's total forest area, and yet few people know very much about it, or how desperately in need of protection it is. The boreal forest is home to more than 200 species of birds, including 90% of Tennessee and Connecticut warblers, and the last few hundred whooping cranes fighting extinction. It is also home to bears, beavers, lynxes, hares, moose, and caribou. Hear the "Aoohooooo!" of hungry wolves, and the "Whoom, whoosh!" of a sledder on a toboggan, as you learn about this amazing wild land and the creatures that live there. After the book, have a conversation with your child about what you can do to help save the boreal forest. See this book listed in our catalog

Monday, December 6, 2010

Swim! Swim!

Submitted by Ms. Janis!
Swim! Swim! is the story of Lerch, a fish, and his desperate attempts to make a friend. He tries to befriend the pebbles, the plastic diver in his tank, the bubbles, and then, well, the cat. The cat arrives outside his tank and talks to Lerch, but he calls him "Lunch." Young readers and story time audiences will be greatly relieved by the final, friendly twist to the story, and the comic book setup is just perfect for this book. See this book listed in our catalog

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hugless Douglas

Submitted by Ms. Amanda!
Hugless Douglas by David Melling is an adorable book I fell in love with the minute I picked it up. Douglas is a brown bear who wakes up one spring morning and goes in search of a hug! He looks for a BIG hug, but when he hugs a rock he finds it is too heavy. He looks for a TALL hug, but when he hugs a tree he does it all wrong and gets splinters. Next he looks for a comfy hug in a bush, but finds the bush is filled with sheep who do not want to be hugged by a bear. Poor Douglas doesn’t know where to look next, so he asks an owl for a hug, but that just makes the owl angry. Then he finds a rabbit. The rabbit doesn’t want a hug either, but he knows where Douglas can find a hug. The rabbit takes Douglas by the paw and leads him to a cave. When Douglas goes in the cave to look for a hug, he finds someone he knows... his Mommy! Douglas then snuggles into the biggest, warmest hug! See this book listed in our catalog

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Twelve Prayers of Christmas and The First Christmas

Submitted by Ms. Allana!
The Twelve Prayers Of Christmas by Candy Chand, illustrated by James Bernardin, presents the Christmas story in beautiful verse and illustration. Each page features a prayer from a witness to the birth of baby Jesus. From Mary, to the donkey she rode on, Joseph, an angel, the wise men, and finally baby Jesus. This book is a nice change from “The Night Before Christmas,” but of course could be read in addition to the old favorite classic. It’s a lovely book for families to share on Christmas Eve or any time around the Christmas season. See this book listed in our catalog
The First Christmas illustrated by Sophy Williams (a changing-picture book) is a wonderful version of the Christmas story. It's simply told, but features changing picture panels on every other page to make it even more interesting and special. The images of all the key characters are charming, but when you slide the last panel and see Mary and Joseph with the baby Jesus, it really shines. See this book listed in our catalog

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Librarian on the Roof

Submitted by Ms. Catherine!
Here in St. Mary’s County, children are always in and out of our libraries. But in Lockhart, Texas, librarian RoseAleta Laurell couldn’t get any children to come to the library! The Dr. Eugene Clark Library didn’t have a children’s section. RoseAleta realized that something needed to be done. So, when simply asking for money for the library didn’t work, she decided to take things to the next level. RoseAleta decided that she wouldn’t come down from the library roof until the town raised enough money to build a children’s area for the library! In Librarian on the Roof, written by M.G. King, and illustrated by Stephen Gilpin, we see the story of RoseAleta Laurell unfold, with bright, fun illustrations, that will make you smile, and cheer along with the town of Lockhart, Texas as this librarian hero brings books to children of all ages. Based on a true story, this is a great book for children and parents to read together, and then talk about the importance of reading, and the importance of standing up for what you believe in! See this book listed in our catalog

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Need My Monster

Submitted by Ms. Catherine!
When I was little, I was terrified of monsters living under my bed. So, I made a monster trap, so that I could catch the monsters and keep an eye on them. That’s the thing about monsters in bedrooms. As long as you and your monster come to an understanding, everything will be okay. In I Need My Monster, written by Amanda Noll, and illustrated by Howard McWillams, the monster who lives under Ethan’s bed, Gabe, takes a vacation. Poor Ethan is left dealing with substitute monsters, who simply do not live up to the greatness of Gabe. One after another, the monsters show up. But monsters with painted fingernails, slurpy long tongues, and bows on their tails are just not scary enough to keep Ethan in bed! If the monsters can’t keep Ethan in bed, how will he ever get to sleep? Don’t worry--Gabe and Ethan are reunited in the end. Ethan is finally able to get some sleep, and Gabe is happily growling and drooling green goo the whole night through. If your child is worried about the monster under his or her bed, this book is a great to help them not feel afraid. And if they’re still afraid, a well placed monster trap (a shoe box with a hole cut in the side) set by their bed will capture any scary monsters that might be lurking underneath. See this book listed in our catalog

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Soup Opera

Submitted by Ms. Sue!
An orchestra tunes their instruments, and the audience readies themselves for the reading, or should I say singing, of this “opera” style book. A Soup Opera by Jim Gill, illustrated by David Moose, is a story about a man who comes into a fine restaurant to enjoy a bowl of soup. Unfortunately, there is a problem he must overcome before he can eat. Read, and sing, this story “opera” style, and enjoy the accompanying CD. A symphony of instruments enhance the story as the man, the waiter, the chef, a policeman, the mayor, and finally the president sing a part in this dramatic and enchanting tale, and the vibrant illustrations make for a rich and lavish depiction! See this book listed in our catalog

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Stretch

Submitted by Ms. Jill!
Stretch by Doreen Cronin. Are you feeling stretchy? Great! Dog and all his animal friends just LOVE to stretch! Hop up out of your seat, and stretch along, as Dog stretches tall with a giraffe, spreads his wings like a bird, and touches his toes with an elephant. But that’s not all! Dog stretches underwater, and in outer space! He stretches with a whisper, or a roar, and much, much more! And did you know that a yawn is just a stretch for your mouth? This catchy, rhyming book will have everyone reaching, stretching, and joining in. And after you’re all stretched and warmed up, try out more of Dog’s great action books with Wiggle and Bounce. See this book listed in our catalog


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Mighty Fine Time Machine

Submitted by Ms. Tammy!
A Mighty Fine Time Machine by Suzanne Bloom. Samantha, an anteater, pulling her wagon of books, stops to see what her friends are doing beside a huge box. She finds that Grant (an aardvark) and Antoine (an armadillo) have traded twenty Yummy Gummys, and a bag of Buggy Bonbons, for a box labeled “time machine.” Samantha decides to help the boys, even though she knows they’ve been tricked. After making adjustments, they finally make the time machine roll down the hill, only to topple over, spilling them, and the books, onto the ground. The boys, who are tired, start to read Sam’s books, and give up on the time machine. Sam continues to work on the box, making her own changes, until she has a do-it-yourself bookmobile. Soon friends are stopping by to check out some of the great books at the new bookmobile! See this book listed in our catalog

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Children Make Terrible Pets

Submitted by Ms. Tess!
Do you have a child who doesn't understand why wild animals don't make good pets? Maybe they'd like to invite a frog, lizard, bunny, or squirrel from the backyard into your home? Try a little reverse psychology, and read them Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown! It's about a bear, named Lucy, who is practicing her pirouettes in the forest when she finds an adorable human boy. "Lucille Beatrice Bear!" says her mom, "Don't you know that children make terrible pets?" But mom relents, Lucy names her boy Squeaker, and they begin having fun together. But soon Lucy realizes that her mom was right. Squeaker is impossible to potty train, he ruins the furniture, and then he runs away! Lucy looks for him everywhere, and finally finds him with his human family. Although she is sad she can't keep him, Lucy realizes that Squeaker is not meant to be a pet. But an elephant... See this book listed in our catalog

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes

Submitted by Ms. Carol!
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin is a great story. It's about a cat who absolutely loves his white tennis shoes. He goes around, happy as can be, singing his song: "I love my white shoes, I love my white shoes, I love my white shoes, I love my white shoes." But, oh no! Pete steps in a pile of strawberries! Pete doesn't let that get him down. He goes right along singing his song: "I love my red shoes, I love my red shoes..." This goes on and on. Pete steps in many things, and his shoes turn many colors, but Pete never lets it get him down. The moral of the story is "no matter what you step in, keep walking along and singing your song because it's all good." See this book listed in our catalog or download the free song and story it comes with

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Port Side Pirates

Submitted by Ms. Tess!

See this book listed in our catalog

Fleabag

Submitted by Ms. Janis!
Fleabag by Helen Stephens is a story told from a dog’s point of view. Fleabag is a cute dog, but very lonesome. He sees all the dogs come to the park with people who "take them for walks." He wants his own person too, but everyone who sees him tells him he is just a dirty fleabag. One day he makes friends with a boy and his whole life changes. Through some sadness, fear, and rejection they end up together in an amazing animal rescue story! The author addresses many emotions in this story, and presents them in a way that is acceptable to young children. This is a book that celebrates the love that can exist between a dog and his boy. Fleabag is truly a great story about love, acceptance, family, and fleas! See this book listed in our catalog

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher

Submitted by Ms. Tess!
Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by David Goldin, has got me all "verklempt." I found it utterly heart-warming and humorous! The book opens with Baxter, a pig, who (for whatever reason) is hanging out in his local predominantly Jewish neighborhood. He's sitting on a bench next to a man who says he can't wait for sundown, because it's Shabbat, and his family will light candles, sing, and have a special dinner. Baxter thinks this this a great idea! He wants to be a part of Shabbat! The celebration, that is, not the meal. However, he is misunderstood, and every nice Jewish person he talks to informs him he simply cannot be a part of Shabbat because pigs are not kosher. Baxter wonders if eating lots of kosher pickles, or challah bread, will make him kosher, but that just makes him kind of smelly, and incredibly full! Eventually, he meets a kind rabbi, who understands Baxter's desire to be part of Shabbat, and explains, luckily for the pig, that everyone is welcome at Shabbat! In fact, it's a mitzvah to invite strangers to dinner! Baxter finally gets to be a part of Shabbat, and he is so happy. The book includes a friendly author's note, and a glossary of Jewish terms (like Shabbat, kosher, rabbi, and mitzvah). See this book listed in our catalog

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pierre the Penguin

Submitted by Ms. Amanda!
Pierre the Penguin: A True Story by Jean Marzollo. I love penguins, and this story is quite endearing! It is based on a true story about a penguin named Pierre. The story is written in rhyme, so it flows and is fun to read. Pierre is an African penguin who lives at the California Academy of Sciences with twenty other penguins in the African Hall. African Penguins are different from other penguins, and do not like the ice. Once day when Pam, the Aquatic Biologist who cares for the penguins, was feeding them fish, she noticed something wrong with Pierre. He was going bald! He had lost most of his feathers, and was very cold. The other penguins were afraid of Pierre, since he looked so different without his feathers. Pam tried to help Pierre in many different ways, until one day she got the idea to make him a tiny wet suit to keep him warm and well. With the wet suit on, Pierre was warm, and could go swimming with his friends. After a few weeks, the wetsuit helped Pierre to grow back new feathers! At the end of this story there is a page where Pam answers questions about her job, and Pierre. This story is a great way to build new vocabulary, like wetsuit, bray, neoprene, and aquatic, and is illustrated in a bright, clear way to show the new vocabulary! See this book listed in our catalog

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Great Fuzz Frenzy

Submitted by Ms. Allana!
The Great Fuzz Frenzy by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel, illustrated by Janet Stevens, begins as soon as you open the book. No, not the first page, where you would normally start reading from, but the very FIRST page, before the title. A big dog romps around with a fuzzy yellow tennis ball, and he encounters a prairie dog peeping out of his hole. No introduction necessary--the illustrations introduce you to the storyline and characters. Turn the book sideways to read, and see where a very important part of the story takes place: underground. The prairie dogs have no idea what the mysterious object is that has arrived in their midst. They don’t know how to react until a small piece sticks to Pip’s claw. Now they all want a piece! There seems to be enough “fuzz” for everyone to play with or dress up in. There’s even enough to share with neighboring prairie dogs. When it all begins to get out of control, and a real frenzy ensues, it becomes a near disaster, and someone has to restore order to the burrow. This is a fun and entertaining frenzy for pre-school age children. It has elements of mystery, humor, plus a little drama and danger as the conflict is resolved. See this book listed in our catalog

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Zen Ghosts

Submitted by Ms. Tess!
Happy almost Halloween everyone! As we prepare for our Halloween parties at the library, I wanted to tell you about a beautiful book, Zen Ghosts by Jon J. Muth. If you're familiar with Muth's other Zen books, then you already know Stillwater the panda, and his friends Karl, Michael, and Addy. It's Halloween, and the kids are getting their costumes ready. Karl is going to be a monster, Michael either an owl or a pirate. Or an owl pirate. But Addy's moon princess costume reminds Stillwater of an ancient Chinese ghost story, the chilling tale of a girl named Senjo who appears to be in two places at once... The story is an example of a koan, as Mr. Muth explains in an author's note at the end of the book, or a question to contemplate. There is really no right or wrong answer; to intuit is the only point. This may seem like a slightly advanced concept for your child, but consider that the idea of duality is one a person begins to process very early in life: "There's the me I am with my parents, the me I am with my friends, and there is still another me with a different group of friends." Have a philosophical conversation with your youngster, or just enjoy a spooky story, with gorgeous illustrations, with Zen Ghosts. See this book listed in our catalog

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Meet Wild Boars

Submitted by Ms. Tess!
BEWARE! Meet Wild Boars by Meg Rosoff and Sophie Blackall contains wild boars. Four of them, actually: Boris, Moris, Horace, and (the worst of all) Doris. They are stinky, gross, ill-mannered, and bad-tempered. Do you like them? No? Well they don't like you either. But maybe, just maybe, they could come to your house? They would be sweet wild boars. Kind wild boars. You could show them your toys, and make them a snack, and they could borrow pajamas and sleep in the bed with you. They promise they will be nice, just this one time. OH NO THEY WILL NOT! They will make huge messes and throw huge tantrums and won't say "please" and "thank you" or anything! "Perhaps it is best if we all agree that there is no such thing as a nice wild boar." So the next time you see a cute and fluffy one... you won't be fooled! See this book listed in our catalog

United Tweets of America

Submitted by Ms. Tess!
For the young bird enthusiast in your life, try United Tweets of America: 50 State Birds, Their Stories, Their Glories by Hudson Talbott. This fun and festive non-fiction picture book lists the official bird of all fifty of the United States of America (and the District of Columbia), from the Nene of Hawaii (the rarest state bird) to the Northern Cardinal (the state bird of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia)! The parade of birds is presented like a pageant, hosted by the nation's most symbolic bird, the bald eagle! Each bird gets a page with info about the bird, and the state they represent, including the state motto, capital, and interesting facts like... Did you know the state neckwear of Arizona is the bolo tie? The state cookie of Massachusetts is chocolate chip? The state dance of South Carolina is the shag? This pageant could get ugly, with all those beautiful birds vying for top prize, but instead ends in a resounding sing-a-long rendition of "America the Beautiful!" See this book listed in our catalog

13 Words

Submitted by Ms. Tess!
In the tradition (or perhaps parody) of old spelling primers comes 13 Words, a collaboration between Lemony Snicket and Maira Kalman, introducing you to thirteen (randomly chosen?) words your young reader needs to know. Words like "despondent." As in "the bird is despondent" with supportive illustration of a sad looking blue bird, with a rain cloud over her head, and a Kafka book to her side. Her friend the dog suggests they eat cake to cheer her up, but she's still despondent. So the dog gets into his "convertible" and takes a trip to the "haberdashery" to get silly hats for him and the bird. Hats with "panache" of course. All of the words you eventually learn are wrapped up in song by a "mezzo-soprano" in the finale of this strange, wonderful book. Like pretty much all of Snicket's work, 13 Words requires a grand amount of inference in order to understand the text, so it will be best enjoyed by your older, more sophisticated child. See this book listed in our catalog or check out the hilarious book trailer

Monday, October 25, 2010

Only a Witch Can Fly

Submitted by Ms. Melissa!
Only a Witch Can Fly by Alison McGhee, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo, is an enchanting tale of a girl's longing to fly. Written in rhyme, using an ancient method called “sestina,” the book flows with a relaxing, lullaby-like quality. The images are created using linoleum cut print, which result in detailed images with few colors. The greens, browns, and black reflect the “Halloween” theme, and help to set the mood: a chilly night with a full moon. This is not a scary read, nor is it something too “childish” to read to an older child. This book has a point, reminiscent of the many “I think I can” books, that uplift and inspire children to try, try again if ever they should fail. Throughout the book you will find words in italics. These words are usually an action and could be read in various ways. You could whisper them, or create a motion to go along with them to add diversity to your story telling. See this book listed in our catalog

Ernest, the Moose Who Doesn't Fit

Submitted by Ms. Janis!
Ernest, the Moose Who Doesn't Fit by Catherine Rayner. Ernest is a big moose with a big problem. He is so big he can't fit inside the book that is written about him! Ernest has a little friend, a chipmunk, that helps him with this problem. With some tape, odd bits of paper, and plenty of enthusiasm, the two make an enormous fold in the page so that Ernest can fit in at the end of the book! This is a great book for seeing possible solutions to a problem, and never giving up--great for beginning problem solving. This book is simple enough to appeal to very young children, and the illustrations are priceless. See this book listed in our catalog

The Legend of the Golden Snail

Submitted by Ms. Sue!
The Legend of the Golden Snail by Graeme Base. “Sailing Ship, rise and shine, Hoist your sails and trim them fine, Taste once more the salty brine, for with this spell I make you mine!” That was the enchanted spell cast on the Golden Snail in Wilbur’s favorite book The Legend of the Golden Snail. Wilbur decides to find the Golden Snail, where it was banished to the ends of the earth by the Enchanter, and where it will remain until a new master comes to claim it. So, he sets out on a magical voyage where he comes upon a bush of blossoming butterflies. He could have just gone on his way, but they seemed so hot and thirsty... Wilbur comes across many such things, and strange creatures, on his way where he, the new Grand Enchanter, considers how to help and what to do. What challenges lie ahead on this daring voyage? Find out if Wilbur makes it to the ends of the earth and finds the golden snail, or if what he finds is what he imagined it would be. See this book listed in our cataog

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem

Submitted by Ms. Tess!
You know you're in for a smarter-than-the-average children's book as soon as you crack the cover Billy Twitters and his Blue Whale Problem by Mac Barnett, with pictures by Adam Rex (what with end-papers displaying old-fashioned looking ads for items such as "Real Ink from Real Octopuses," and snarky author/illustrator dedications such as "dedicate another book to my wife? Like she still notices"). Billy Twitters is quite the disobedient child. His parents threaten to punish him, by buying him a blue whale, but Billy isn't too worried. It's not like you can just get a blue whale delivered to your house. Or can you... It's turns out you can (in this story), and Billy becomes responsible for his own whale, which causes him several problems: His teacher, so inspired by the whale, chooses to lecture on whales instead of showing a promised cowboy movie in class, he's uninvited to Alexis's (the girl whose hair smells like tangerines) pool party, and he's picked on by the school's biggest bully AND biggest nerd! Billy eventually realizes having a whale isn't so bad in this surreal story that boys will probably especially love. See this book listed in our catalog

Beautiful Blackbird

Submitted by Ms. Tess!
Beautiful Blackbird by Coretta Scott King Award winner Ashley Bryan is a wonderful book, with an empowering message. An adaptation of a Zambian folktale, it tells a story of long ago, when all the birds of Africa were all the colors of the rainbow, but the most beautiful by far was Blackbird, whose feathers were all black, and thereby reflected all the colors of the world! The other birds longed to be a beautiful as Blackbird, and asked him to share his color with them. So, Blackbird filled a gourd with the color black, and painted markings on all the other birds with his feather brush. Then all of the birds had black spots, stripes, or rings, and were very happy indeed! With lively paper-cut illustrations, and robust poetry, Ashley Bryan weaves a fantastic tale you and your little one won't soon forget! See this book listed in our catalog

Art & Max

Submitted by Ms. Tess!
Check out the latest from three-time Caldecott winner David Wiesner, Art & Max. On the surface, a story of two rambunctious lizards, Art & Max is really a book about the power and possibility of art. Arthur (Art for short) is an experienced painter, painting the finest of portraits. Max is a total beginner. Max wants to paint! What should he paint? Art suggests Max paint him. Max takes this literally, and slathers Art in color! What happens next is a somewhat bizarre, but creative, adventure, leading us to question: Is art still "art" when it's abstract? When it's "just" a drawing? Can art really be defined as one thing or another? And should it be? A soothing desert palette serves as a background to Art's Pollock-esque transformation, and a differentiation in font designates a dialogue between our two title characters. Art & Max is truly a wonder to behold. See this book listed in our catalog

The Duck Who Played the Kazoo

Submitted by Ms. Tess!
Get out your kazoo and play along with The Duck Who Played the Kazoo by Amy E. Sklansky, with pictures by Tiphanie Beeke! Meet a white duck who loves to paddle around his beautiful lake and play his shiny kazoo. But he's awfully lonely since a hurricane blew through, so he says goodbye to his lake, and sets off in search of a new home. He flies south until he finds a river filled with brown ducks. He plays them a tune on the kazoo, and they become fast friends! They have great fun paddling up and down the river, but when the seasons start to change again, our hero thinks of the lake he left behind. He asks his new friends to fly there with him and they all agree! The duck is no longer alone! Your child will hopefully enjoy the poetic rhyme and cadence of this story, and the repeating "zu zu" refrain of the duck's kazoo! See this book listed in our catalog

Oh, Daddy!

Submitted by Ms. Jill!
Oh, Daddy! by Bob Shea is a terrific and funny book to share with your daddy. This little hippo’s daddy is so silly! He doesn’t know how to do the simplest things. Daddy tries getting dressed with his underpants on top, gets into the car via the window, and waters little Hippo instead of the flowers. Good thing little Hippo is such big boy and can show Daddy the right way to do things! This sweet, silly story ends with little Hippo demonstrating to Daddy, for the umpteenth time, the most important skill of all: how to give big hugs! Your little hippo (or daddy) will want to read this book again and again. See this book listed in our catalog

Animal Strike at the Zoo, It's True!

Submitted by Ms. Tammy!
Animal Strike at the Zoo, It’s True! by Karma Wilson. One day, the elephants at the local zoo complain "We’re only paid peanuts!" This starts all the other animals talking about how unfair the pay is, and they all decide to go on strike! Soon the monkeys are demanding a pool, and the zebras want root beer floats. The zookeeper works frantically to grant the silly demands of the animals. Just when it appears all hope is lost, a little girl visiting for the first time bursts into tears over the animals not doing their jobs. A hush comes over the zoo and in that moment the animals realize the importance of their jobs, returning the zoo to normal. The brightly colored illustrations of the animals and the rhythmic text quickly make this book a favorite. See this book listed in our catalog

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pugdog

Submitted by Ms. Tess!
It might be my penchant for wrinkley-faced canines, or this book's wonderful message of tolerance, but I just love Pugdog by Andrea U'Ren. Mike doesn't know much about dogs. When he brings home his new best friend, he names the pup Pugdog. Pugdog loves to chase squirrels, dig holes, and play tug-of-war! Pugdog loves to chew on bones and get belly rubs! But one day Mike takes Pugdog to the vet and discovers that Pugdog is female. Mike feels awful. He's been treating Pugdog like a boy this whole time! Desperate to right his mistake, he gives Pugdog some lessons on how to be girly. He takes her to the doggy salon, dresses her in a prissy outfit, and points out a pretty poodle in the park for her to emulate. Pugdog is miserable! She tries hard to be a lady, but her heart just isn't in it. Mike finally realizes that he must love Pugdog for who she is, and let her do "boy stuff" if that's what truly makes her happy. See this book listed in our catalog

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Baby Bear's Books

Submitted by Ms. Janis!
Baby Bear’s Books by Jane Yolen. Baby Bear loves to be read to! He always convinces someone to read to him from morning ‘til night. He and his stuffed bee listen to stories, and sometimes Baby Bear “reads” a wordless book aloud. The rhyming phrases will capture a day in the life of this cub as his parents and older brother delight in his love of books. Collage illustrations and other forms of art create great illustrations. The illustrations are large enough to share with a story time group. All of Baby Bear’s activities, such as honey gathering, fishing, eating, and relaxing, are accompanied with reading books. Baby Bear has books piled up on the table, the front porch, shelves, and even the hammock! See this book listed in our catalog

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Missing Piece and The Missing Piece Meets the Big O

Submitted by Ms. Tess!
One of my most favorite creators of art and literature for children is Shel Silverstein. And his greatest gifts to us, in my opinion, are his books The Missing Piece and The Missing Piece Meets the Big O. They both send a positive and understated message of self-acceptance and finding peace from within.
The Missing Piece begins "It was missing a piece. And it was not happy." We then proceed to follow "it" as it looks for its missing piece. It rolls along, slowly since it's not complete, singing, and occasionally pausing for a butterfly to land on it. It tries several pieces, until it meets one that fits. Although it is complete, it can no longer sing, and it rolls too fast for butterflies to land. It realizes that it is happy, even though it is flawed, and leaves the missing piece behind, finally at peace with itself. See this book listed in our catalog
In The Missing Piece Meets the Big O we find out what happened to the piece left behind. "The missing piece sat alone..." the book begins. The piece tries to fit in, in various situations. It tries whatever it can--being attractive, being flashy--but the piece just doesn't fit in anywhere. One day the piece meets the Big O. The piece would like to fit in the with Big O, and roll with it, but the Big O is complete, and not missing any pieces. "Perhaps you can roll by yourself" the Big O says. The missing piece is a triangle, not really built for rolling. But it can try, and try it does, and after a while it changes shape, finding it doesn't need to fit with anyone to roll. The piece had what it takes to move on its own all along. See this book listed in our catalog
The Missing Piece and The Missing Piece Meets the Big O are books your child can enjoy now, that will have whole new meanings to them when re-read years later.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

So Close

Submitted by Ms. Tess!
So Close by Natalia Colombo is a breath-taking book about the power of "hello." It's about a duck and a rabbit who see each other every day. They pass each other on the way to work, and the way home. Whether they're walking, or driving their cars. Whether they're in a hurry, or looking sad. They always walk right by each other and never say "hello." But, as the book says, "what a difference one little word could make." Mr. Duck and Mr. Rabbit seem to live very lonely lives, and if they would only just say "hello" to one another, they might make a very good friend! This is a great book to demonstrate to your little one the importance of kindness, even in the form of just a friendly greeting, and how that can lead to very special relationships! See this book listed in our catalog

Big Scary Monster

Submitted by Ms. Carol!
Big Scary Monster by Thomas Docherty is a story about a monster who is indeed very big and scary. He lives on a mountain, and all the little creatures that live on the mountain are very scared of the Big Scary Monster. He would jump out and scare all the little creatures when they least expected it. The little creatures began to hide from the Big Scary Monster. Big Scary Monster begins to get bored because he has nobody to scare. He looks down in the valley and sees other creatures playing and decides to go down and scare them. But when Big Scary Monster gets there he realizes that he is not so big anymore... the creatures are much bigger than him! The big creatures jump out and scare Big Scary Monster when he least expects it. He runs all the way back up the mountain. When he gets back he is so lonely he begins to cry. Then, when he least expects it, all the small creatures jump out and scare him all at once. After that they all become friends and play together happily. Of course their favorite game is "BOO!" See this book listed in our catalog

Monday, October 4, 2010

Too Purpley!

Submitted by Ms. Catherine!
They say clothes make the man. But what about the three-year-old? Anyone who knows a child knows that opinions start early. In Too Purpley by Jean Reidy, and illustrated by Genevieve LeLoup, a little girl cannot decide what to wear one day. As someone who once (at the age of three) downright refused to get dressed for preschool because I only had purple clothing, and that morning I decided that my favorite color was pink, I was able to identify with this book. The book opens with a little girl declaring loudly that she will not wear these clothes! Each page features her dressed in outfits that are simply “too purpley,” “too stripey,” and even “too feathery.” The illustrations are bright and fun, and provide a chance for kids to point out just what’s wrong with each outfit. By the end of the book, all will cheer when our heroine finds the absolutely perfect outfit - “So comfy and just right!” See this book listed in our catalog

Lily's Victory Garden

Submitted by Ms. Allana!
Surprisingly touching and brilliantly told, Lily’s Victory Garden by Helen L. Wilbur is a story about a family during war time. Young children often struggle with historical fiction, because they don’t relate to the past or to the children of a different era. I believe that this book is one of a few really great generation-gap fillers because of the themes of family relationships, the nature of giving, helping each other, and pulling together during hardships, all of which transcend time. The style of illustration by Robert Gantt Steele, a trained architect, is called “portraiture,” which works wonderfully with this story. Lily is too young to join the town lottery for a small plot of garden, so she approaches a neighbor who has the largest garden in the area. She discovers that the lady of the house is very sick, and the husband doesn’t want to be bothered, but the wife steps in to encourage the project, and the result is very moving. I loved this book, and think it will be enjoyed by many families. See this book listed in our catalog

Turkey Trouble

Submitted by Ms. Amanda!
Thanksgiving makes me think of Turkey, but it makes Turkey nervous! In Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano, Turkey has a big problem! Thanksgiving is approaching, and Farmer Joe is looking for him. Turkey has a great idea to avoid becoming Thanksgiving dinner: he will dress like a horse, because surely Farmer Joe wouldn't eat a horse for Thanksgiving dinner. It turns out that Turkey is too short to be a horse, so he dresses as a cow but he is too thin to be a cow. Next, Turkey dresses as a pig, but he is too clean to be a pig, so he decides to dress as a sheep, but that doesn't work either. Then it hits Turkey... he can disguise himself as a rooster to avoid becoming Thanksgiving dinner! But wait... what if Farmer Joe decides to have Rooster for Thanksgiving when he can't find Turkey? Finally Turkey comes up with his best idea yet: he disguises himself as a pizza delivery man and delivers Farmer Joe a pizza for Thanksgiving dinner! Yum! Pizza for Thanksgiving dinner! This is great story for both kids and adults. The illustrations of each of Turkey's disguises are great! See this book listed in our catalog

Thursday, September 30, 2010

How Rocket Learned to Read

Submitted by Ms. Tess!
How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills is an adorable story about the experience of learning to read, and loving to read! Rocket is a dog who loves to play outside. One day, as he is trying to nap, he is a accosted by an enthusiastic and scholarly bird, who wants Rocket to be her student. At first Rocket is disturbed, but soon finds he is interested in the stories the bird reads, and the letters and words that make up the stories. Soon Rocket is visiting the bird every day, until the seasons change and the bird must fly away. During the cold months, Rocket continues to practice his spelling, and when spring comes again, he is reunited with his bird teacher to read, spell, and learn some more. I really love this book. The message is wonderful and the illustrations are colorful and inviting. This is an excellent story for the young dog, bird, or book lover in your life! See this book listed in our catalog

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins

Submitted by Ms. Tess!
The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins is an extraordinary book about an extraordinary figure, Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins. This Caldecott honor book (2001) by Barbara Kerley, illustrated by (the incomparable) Brian Selznick, tells the remarkable story of Mr. Hawkins, an artist who dared to dream in the 1800's. Waterhouse loved to sketch and sculpt animals, and was especially fascinated by dinosaurs. He was asked by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to create life size dinosaurs for their Crystal Palace. Not much was known about what dinosaurs looked like back then, so Waterhouse used as much scientific data as he could find, and his imagination, to create wondrous creatures! He even invited top scientists of the day to have dinner in his cast of the Iguanodon! He then traveled to the United States and spent 2 years building dinosaurs to be displayed in New York City, but they were tragically destroyed by vandals (probably in the employ of notorious,villainous, American politician "Boss" Tweed) and buried in Central Park. Waterhouse Hawkins would be thrilled to see what we've discovered about dinosaurs since his lifetime, and his legacy lives on, through his dinosaurs, which you can still visit in England, and this book about his life. See this book listed in our catalog

Little Pink Pup

Submitted by Ms. Catherine!
Sometimes, when you are different from the rest of your family members, you can feel out of place. In Little Pink Pup by Johanna Kerby we meet Pink, a premature piglet who just didn’t fit in with his pig family. His brothers and sisters were simply too big, and Pink could never get enough food. But while Pink didn’t fit with his piglet brothers and sisters, he was the perfect size to move into the house. Tink the family dog had just had a litter of pups and welcomed a foster pig too! Pink fit right in with his new dachshund brothers and sisters. The puppies were just the right size for him to play with. And, while he didn’t look anything like his new siblings, no one minded in the least! Eventually, Pink moved back out to the barn with the other pigs, but his doggie friends still come to visit and play. Pink’s story is true, and Little Pink Pup is filled with photographs of Pink and his family as they eat, sleep, grow, and play together. This is a wonderful book for any child who loves animals and wants to see real pictures of piglets and puppies. It can also be a nice story for any child who is feeling out of place, and needs a reminder that no matter how different you are there is always a place in the family for you. See this book listed in our catlog

Monday, September 27, 2010

Manners with a Library Book

Submitted by Ms. Carol!
Manners with a Library Book written by Amanda Doering Tourville, and illustrated by Chris Lensch, is a good book for teaching children how to care for books, particularly library books. It explains that caring for library books is using good manners, and that everyone should use good manners. You should not eat or drink while reading books, and you should always have clean hands before handling library books. The book also discusses how everyone should be careful turning the pages of a book, and always use a bookmark instead of folding the pages. It is important to be responsible and return your books, or renew them on time. There is also a page in the back that has interesting facts about libraries. Manners with a Library Book is a great book to read to children who are new to the library to show them how they should take care of library books, but also as a refresher for children who need reminding every now and then. See this book listed in our catalog

Friday, September 17, 2010

Some Dogs Do

Submitted by Ms. Sue!
Some Dogs Do by Jez Alborough. Do dogs fly? They walk, they run, they jump, but dogs don’t fly. This is the story of a dog named Sid. One day, on his way to school, Sid was feeling very happy. All of a sudden, his paws just lifted off the ground, and Sid fell up, toward the sky! It was wonderful! When Sid got to school that day he couldn’t wait to tell all his friends and his teacher about what had just happened to him. The reaction to Sid’s story was not what he was expecting. They didn’t believe him. They thought he was making it up. "You’re a dog, and dogs don’t fly." "But I did," said Sid. "I did…I did." This is a fun and heartwarming tale of one dog's very own miracle, and how sometimes they really do come true! Some Dogs Do makes for a nice read aloud book, and the large, colorful, soft illustrations are done in gouache. See this book listed in our catalog

The Bus for Us

Submitted by Ms. Jill!
The Bus for Us by Suzanne Bloom. It’s Tess’s first day of school, and she is so excited to ride the bus for the very first time! She waits at the bus stop with her older friend, Gus. One at a time, many different vehicles appear around the corner. As just the very front end of each one comes into view, Tess asks, “Is this the bus for us, Gus?” Young readers can guess what kind of vehicle is coming, then chorus along as the next full-page spread reveals the entire picture: “No Tess. This is a... FIRE ENGINE!” The simple, predictable text and built-in guessing game will make this book a favorite for young vehicle enthusiasts. Bright watercolors of a taxi cab, tow truck, backhoe, and more parade across the page as Tess and her multicultural classmates wait and watch. When the “bus for us” at long last arrives, and it’s time to head off to school! See this book listed in our catalog

Bears! Bears! Bears!

Submitted by Ms. Catherine!
I’m going on a bear hunt! I want to catch some bears! But since there aren’t any bears in St. Mary’s County, I will hunt for bears at my library! Bears! Bears! Bears! by Bob Barner is a great book for any kids who think that bears are the bees’ knees. Each page features a different type of bear with beautifully textured illustrations. You can dive with the polar bears, climb with the moon bears, and doze with the black bears. The end of the book features true facts about the eight different species of bear pictured in the book. There is also a map of the world showing you all the places you can go looking for bears! So check out Bears! Bears Bears! today and learn about your favorite kind of bear! See this book listed in our catalog
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