Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hip Hop Dog

Submitted by Ms. Tess!
Meet the most awesome rapping dog since PaRappa the Rapper in Hip Hop Dog by Chris Raschka, illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky. The Hip Hop Dog's story is a bit of a sad one. All his litter-mates were adopted, but he has no one to care for him. He looks at all the pure-bred dogs from the street and wonders why he is "the saddest and the baddest, the baddest and the saddest." But he's learned to survive. He's a true city dog. He spends his nights sniffing out cool music, and his days ruling the dog park. Written in the style of rap lyrics, Hip Hop Dog is a treat to read aloud, with plenty of opportunity to make every dog sound imaginable. Use it to start of conversation with you child about stray dogs, or just read it for fun, and see why "it's all right to be the Hip Hop Dog." See this book listed in our catalog

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Submitted by Ms. Tess!
I love to hear people's stories about the imaginary friends they had when they were kids. This probably explains why I love Pingo by Brandon Mull, with illustrations by Brandon Dorman. Like many little boys, Chad has an imaginary friend: Pingo, a diminuative, furry, half-dressed, horned, (and adorable) creature, with whom he fights ninja armies, and whips up magic potions (just a few of their many activities). But as Chad gets older, he starts being made fun of for having an imaginary friend. And as he gets even older, he finds he's more interested in girls, or getting his reports done than playing with Pingo. But Pingo never really leaves his side. When Chad is a very old man, and lonely living in rest home, he rediscovers Pingo, and the fun they used to have. They go on more adventures, jet-skiing, to Africa, to counsel with mighty chieftans. If your child is having trouble letting go of their imaginary friend, you might consider reading Pingo with them, and reassuring them that they will always have a friend in their imagination. See this book listed in the catalog


Submitted by Ms. Tess!
Remember singing "There Was an Old Lady that Swallowed a Fly" when you were a kid? Well, here is a similar story for a new generation: Jump! by Scott M. Fischer. In this book, the word "jump" could easily be replaced with the word "chomp," as it begins with a bug - a "snug little bug," "sleeping on a jug," until a frog comes along and... "JUMP!" This continues, until a whale eats a shark, whose eaten a croc, whose eaten a dog, whose eaten a cat, whose eaten a frog (the one we were just talking about), and then spits them all out his blow-hole! Honestly, the whole animals-eating-animals genre is one I think every child should experience. Often, they don't find it quite as scandalous as we grown-ups do, and if they do, it gives you a good chance to chat about the circle of life with your youngster! See this book listed in our catalog

The Goat-Faced Girl

Submitted by Ms. Catherine!
Princess stories have been around forever, and there is hardly a little girl out there who doesn't appreciate a good one. But what about a story in which a young girl works hard, and is able to give the "bird brained" prince his just desserts? In The Goat-Faced Girl, an Italian folktale retold by Leah Marinsky Sharpe, and illustrated by Jane Marinsky, the young heroine, as lovely and intelligent as she might be, is as lazy as a bed bug. Her dear sorceress mother fears for her daughter’s future as a lazy lump. With a bit of magic, some cookbooks, and some hard work, our heroine learns that perhaps spending your life being waited on by servants with a boring lazy prince is not the best option. Maybe hard work and a brain will win out over beauty after all! See this book listed in our catalog

Sophie Peterman Tells the Truth!

Submitted by special guest blogger Ms. Judie from the Charlotte Hall branch!
Sophie Peterman Tells the Truth by Sarah Weeks. Sophie Peterman is a beacon of truth in the picture book world. She lays it all on the line, and gives us the skinny on baby brothers. And the skinny is not pretty: baby brothers smell bad, they mess up your stuff, they look like aliens, and they SOMEHOW manage to convince the grown-ups that they're cute. As an older sibling myself, I know from experience that everything Sophie tells us is true, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Sophie learns how important she is to her baby brother and starts to see how maybe having him around could be okay. This book will be hilariously familiar to anyone who has had to endure a baby brother (or sister) and somehow learned to like it. See this book listed in our catalog

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tess's Tree

Submitted by Tess from Lexington Park!
I will freely admit the first thing that drew me to Tess's Tree by Jess M. Brallier, with illustrations by Peter H. Reynolds, is that my name is in the title. Besides my name, it also features trees, which I like, and a little girl with dark hair and bangs, just like me! But I'm not blogging about it for those reasons. I wanted to feature Tess's Tree here because it has the potential to be a very important book in your child's life. The book is about a little girl named Tess, and a tree that she loves very much, but more importantly the story is about coping with loss. See, Tess's tree needs to be chopped down, and to help her mourn, a funeral is held for the tree. When Tess sees how many people cared for her tree, and that her tree lived a long, happy life, she feels better, and is able to let go of sad feelings, and say a proper goodbye. See this book listed in our catalog

So Many Days

Submitted by Melissa from Lexington Park!
So Many Days by Alison McGhee, with illustrations by Taeeun Yoo, is the perfect cure for a "bad day." Regardless of your age, it speaks the words we all long to hear when things just don’t feel right. Written in verse, and having a very "zen like" style, So Many Days is calming to read and hear. This simple story, with clear illustrations, can be shared with group or an individual, for celebration, or as a bed time story, to lift a sad spirit, or rejoice in a great accomplishment. A true "feel good" book, with a very personal message: that no obstacle is too tall, no storm too rough. That mistakes may happen, but in the end, regardless the trial, you are stronger, braver, and loved, more than you know. See this book listed in our catalog

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Submitted by Melissa from Lexington Park!
Ungrateful. That’s one word to summarize Billy, a character from the book Whatever by William Bee. No matter what is done for Billy, “whatever” is his only expression of thanks. His father, aiming to please, shows him extraordinary things: a very tall giraffe, the world’s curliest trumpet. He even flies him to the edge of outer space! But, unfortunately all Billy can say is, “whatever.” *Sigh* Then, one day, the world’s hungriest tiger comes along, and things change for Billy. This is a snarky tale of a boy who doesn’t appreciate the effort of others and in doing so, learns a valuable lesson... the hard way. The words and pictures are simple, but the message is loud and clear. This is a book for parents looking for a platform in which to explore the values of appreciation and gratefulness, told in true fairy tale fashion. See this book listed in our catalog

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Grouchy Ladybug

Submitted by Jill from Leonardtown!
The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle. The grouchy ladybug does not want to share his yummy aphids! What’s more, he’s out to pick a fight. But when another ladybug stands up to him, the grouchy ladybug declares, “you’re not big enough to fight!” He flies off in a huff to find somebody bigger to pick on. We follow the grouchy bug hour by hour through the day as he challenges bigger and bigger creatures, until at last an enormous blue whale causes the ladybug to reconsider his rude behavior. Will the grouchy ladybug ever learn to share? Along with its great story, The Grouchy Ladybug is beautifully designed. Eric Carle’s signature painting style is bright and bold. Smaller flaps and partial pages gradually increase in size as they reveal larger and larger animals, and the size of the print grows too. A small drawing of a clock face in each illustration lets advanced readers practice telling time as the ladybug’s day progresses. The Grouchy Ladybug is a fun read-aloud to share again and again. See this book listed in our catalog

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Henry in Love

Submitted by Catherine from Charlotte Hall!
Your first love is something that you always remember. For some it’s a whirlwind romance, but for others, it’s as simple as a blueberry muffin. In Henry in Love by Peter McCarty, love is as simple as can be. Henry is a young kitten, who thinks that Chloe the rabbit is just the loveliest girl in school. After all, she can run fast, turn cartwheels, and her long white ears flop over in a delightfully sweet way. Who wouldn’t be smitten? McCarty perfectly captures that feel of puppy… kitten and rabbit… love where everything is simple and sweet. His illustrations, while light and simple, add a touch of humour that brings much to the story. This is a sweet and lovely story that will make you want to smile, and eat a blueberry muffin. See this book listed in our catalog

The Steel Pan Man of Harlem

Submitted by Catherine from Charlotte Hall!
"The Pied Piper of Hamlin" is a story that is familiar to most. The gloomy tale teaches a lesson of honesty and the importance of keeping one’s word. However, its dark theme and plot makes it one that many children will find scary. The Steel Pan Man of Harlem by Colin Bootman teaches the same lessons with a much lighter touch. Set in Harlem, rather than the German countryside, the mysterious man, gifted with the ability to drive away the rats, hails from the Caribbean, and it’s a steel drum rather than a pipe that makes the magical music. With beautiful water color illustrations that are as much a part of the story as the text, Bootman updates this tale with a new twist: the ending, so dark and frightening in the original, is made funny instead. Rather than every child in town being led to their doom, only the cruel mayor is made to dance away from the town. If you are looking for a lesson on honesty, or simply an updated version of this classic tale, The Steel Pan Man of Harlem will be a great choice. See this book listed in our catalog

The Scarecrow's Dance

Submitted by Sue from Leonardtown!
The Scarecrow’s Dance by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline. This sweet rhyming story about a scarecrow's place on the farm, and the magical night he becomes free from his post, will enchant young readers and inspire them to rhyme. The full page, beautiful illustrations are done in acryl gouache and watercolor. Scarecrow finds himself free from his post one early autumn night. He skips through the fields and farm, and dances under the moon. As he passes by the farm house, he hears a young boy’s prayer for the farm and for him. Scarecrow is touched, and understands where he belongs, and his importance for the first time. He dances back towards his pole back in his field, and kneels to pray of rain, and sod, and faith, and beauty. “For anyone can dance,” thought he, “But only I can keep fields free.” See this book listed in our catalog


Submitted by Allana from Leonardtown!
So, what do wolves really prefer to eat? If it isn’t little girls wearing red hoods, then maybe Rabbit can find out, when he borrows a book about wolves from the library. The book Wolves by Emily Gravett is certainly not for the faint hearted! Rabbit is so engrossed in his book that he doesn’t realize he is a major part of the story! There is good news for the squeamish: an alternate ending to the story, which I’m sure will bring a huge sigh of relief. This is a witty and entertaining book, probably more suitable to kids ages 5 and up. See also The Odd Egg by the same author. See this book listed in our catalog

Pet Shop Lullaby

Submitted by Carol from Charlotte Hall!
Pet Shop Lullaby by Mary Ann Fraser is a short, simple story about a pet shop, and what happens in a pet shop at night. All the animals sleep at night, except of course for the hyper hamster. The hamster comes alive at night. He just can't sleep. He loves to play on his wheel, and scratch, and munch all night long. However, all the other animals are getting very cranky because of this, and they try to think of ways to get the hamster to sleep. They try everything. They give him a bath, brush his teeth, sing to him, read him a story, and tuck him in. Read to find out if the animals can get the hamster to sleep at night. See this book listed in our catalog

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Book! Book! Book!

Submitted by county youth coordinator Janis!
Book! Book! Book! by Deborah Bruss. When the children go back to school after summer vacation, all the animals are bored. Hen announces she is going to town to find something to do. She sees happy children coming from the library, so each animal decides to go inside the library. However, the librarian cannot understand the animals, so she chases each one out. The hen finally goes inside, and flaps her wings and says, "Book! Book! Book!" The librarian complies, and the group of animals head back to the farm, each with a book. They are sitting under a tree reading, having a story time of their own in one of the great illustrations in this book. This is a great book for talking about the sequence of the story. What happens, first, second, and last is an important early literacy skill, to focus on comprehension. See this book listed in our catalog

I Always, ALWAYS Get My Way

Submitted by Amanda from Lexington Park!
I Always, ALWAYS Get My Way by Thad Kranesky. Emmy is an adorable three year old who gets into trouble left and right. She spills juice on Daddy's pants, but doesn't get in trouble, "after all... she is only three." She "trips" over her brother Tom's toy race car track and destroys it, but gets out of trouble by making a "tiny little scene, and Mom yells at Tom, after all... she is only three." She builds a dollhouse out of her sister Suzie's stuff and Suzie get a time out for not sharing, after all Emmy is only three! She plays pirate queen and buries all her loot ( her brothers boot, she sister's rings, and half the silverware) -- when her Dad finds her, he makes her clean up, even though she is only three! Emmy gets into more and more trouble through out the book until finally Mom has had it. She dresses up her brother's pet lizard, floods the upstairs hall, soaks her sisters shoes, and throws the lizard into her mother's lap. After all that, Emmy is finally punished, possibly until she is four! This is a cute book about being spoiled. It is written in rhyme, and is sure to make you giggle. The great pictures depict all the trouble Emmy gets into, as well as her sweet faces, and the fits she throws to get out of trouble! See this book listed in our catalog
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