Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Creepy Pair of Underwear!

We met Jasper Rabbit before in Creepy Carrots. Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown team up again to bring us an older Jasper in Creepy Pair of Underwear!. Jasper and his mom go shopping for new underwear. She picks out white underwear but he spies some creepy underwear, "so creepy and so comfy". Could he have just one pair?


Mom thinks they are a bit too creepy but Jasper protests that they are cool not creepy and besides he is a big rabbit now. He wears his creepy underwear to bed. With the lights out, his cool new underwear glows a ghoulish green. After changing his underwear, he buries the creepy underwear at the bottom of his hamper. When he wakes the next morning, he is wearing the ghoulish underwear!
He throws them in the garbage can but when he gets home from school, they are in his drawer. He mails them to China, but they return, he cuts them up with his mom's good sewing scissors; they are gone for good. Just to be sure, he checks his room carefully, they is no creepy underwear. Stepping into the bathroom to brush his teeth he sees them hanging from the towel rack. 

It is time for serious measures; he takes the underwear and a shovel and bikes past Crackenhopper Field to Creekhanger Hill. He digs a deep hole at the very top of the hill and throws the glowing underwear in. He buries the creepy underwear and rides home. So all is well, right? Not so fast. There might be something worse than creepy underwear.

Peter Brown's artwork is black, white, grey and ghoulish green with just a touch of orange in Crackenhopper Field.

The Sonoma County Library has ten copies.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Barkus

Newbery Medalist, Patricia MacLachlan, has written a charming beginning chapter book about a girl and her dog. Barkus is a gift from Nicky's Uncle Everton. Barkus is smart, he does tricks and he doesn't bite. Perfect! In five chapters, Barkus becomes class pet in Nicky's classroom, has a birthday party, finds and mothers a newborn kitten and goes on a backyard campout with Nicky and the kitten.
Dog lovers will love this book, I have had a dog like Barkus and I bet many of you have, too.



The full color illustrations by Marc Boutavant animate the story. The font is large and the words are well spaced. Emerging readers and older reluctant readers will find this beneficial. If you look closely at the tag on Barkus' collar, you will see it says "Book 1". A sequel is due out next year.

The Sonoma County Library has five copies. Great book for first and second grade classrooms.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Jabari Jumps

In 1956, I convinced my father to part with the princely sum of $7 so I could swim every summer day in our municipal pool. Like Jabari, it took me awhile to get up the nerve to jump off the diving board. Gaia Cornwall has perfectly captured the process of gathering the courage to jump the first time in Jabari Jumps. 

Jabari decides that today is the day, he has passed his swim test and he's good at jumping. He and his dad watch other kids climb, it looks easy. He starts to climb the ladder, it is very tall. He's a little tired, he climbs down to do some stretches first. Maybe tomorrow would be a better day. Dad tells him it is okay to be a little scared but sometimes it can turn into a little surprise, too. Jabari starts his climb again, all the way up and onto the board to the very edge. We see what he sees, his toes on the edge of the diving board and the water far below. He is ready, he loves surprises. Off he flies into the water. He did it! He is a good jumper! High fives from dad and he is off to jump again.



The Sonoma County Library will have twelve copies by the end of the month. This book was published May 9 so it doesn't have an AR level yet. Most of the vocabulary is accessible to kids who read at the end of first grade beginning of second grade level. The font is large and bold with just a couple of sentences per page.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors

Drew Daywalt, author of The Day The Crayons Quit and The Day The Crayons Came Home has teamed up with Adam Rex to create The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors. It is such a genius idea, I am surprised it hasn't been done before.

This is the story of three great warriors, Rock who lives in the Kingdom of the Backyard, Paper who lives in the Empire of Mom's Home Office and Scissors who lives in the tiny village of Junk Drawer. Each warrior has beaten all who have challenged them in their realms and leaves their homes to find greater challenges. Rock and Scissors meet in the great cavern of the Two-Car Garage. Scissors asks Rock if he is wearing his battle pants, Rock agrees to fight her. An epic battle ensues, Rock wins. Scissors is grateful to be beaten. Rock is less happy because there is no one to challenge him. Enter stage right is Paper. Rock challenges him to a duel. Paper wins. Rock thanks Paper for beating him. This time it is Paper who bemoans the lack of a worthy opponent. Enter Scissors. A great battle begins with Scissors victorious. The three warriors dance for joy and become great friends. Then begins round after round of  three-way battles. Battles so epic that children today still honor the warriors by playing...Rock, Paper, Scissors.


The Sonoma County Library has seven copies. Several second graders have read this book to me and had very little problem with the vocabulary. It does not have an AR level yet as it was just published on May 2. I am looking for someone to explain to me why it is inevitable that Paper beats Half Eaten Bag of Trail Mix.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Value of Fairy Tales


Fairy Tale and Folk Tale recommendations at A Mighty Girl from picture books to chapter books including books with diverse characters. One of my favorites is Uni the Unicorn by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.


The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munch is one of my go to books for baby showers. 


The Sonoma County Library has eighteen copies. The AR is 3.8.

The Princess in Black series by Shannon and Dean Hale is a favorite of my youngest granddaughter.


The Sonoma County Library has eighteen copies. Thr AR is 3.2.

The Whisper by Pamela Zagerenski 




Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee


The Sonoma County Library has thirteen copies. The AR is 4.9.

This just a sample of the almost 200 books with mighty girls as heroines at A Mighty Girl. There are literally hundreds of articles and topics all with book recommendations, check it out.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Good for Nothing Button!

 The third Elephant & Piggie Like Reading book is out: The Good for Nothing Button! by Charise Mericle Harper. Red Bird and Blue Bird see Yellow Bird who has a button. What does it do they ask. Nothing says Yellow Bird and he demonstrates, nothing happens. Blue Bird wishes to try pushing the button. He pushes it and is surprised. Surprise is not nothing! Red Bird tries, but is not surprised, but then is sad because she wasn't. Sad is not nothing! Yellow Bird is frustrated with his pals. A button cannot make you sad. Blue Bird tries again, this time he is surprised again. The button makes them happy. Yellow bird is frustrated, the button does NOTHING! He presses the button again and again. Does it make him mad? Or calm? Or icky? No, the button makes funny. He likes being funny. The three birds press the button and frolic until they are exhausted, then head off to do more nothing. Elephant & Piggie introduce the book and end it with Gerald wanting to push a button, the only available looking one is Piggie's nose. She is im-press-ed.

All the words in the book are in speech balloons. the fonts are large and well spaced making it easier for beginning readers. The entire story is told using less than 75 different words. If your child does not know the words button or nothing, they surely will by the end of the book. They will laugh, too.



 The Sonoma County Library has twelve copies.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Bad Guys

Aaron Blabey, like his fellow Australian, Andy Griffiths, knows what kids like. He has picked characters that everyone knows are bad guys: Mr. Wolf, Mr. Snake, Mr. Shark and Mr. Piranha, but has them form a gang to do good deeds and redeem their reputations. Of course, they aren't particularity talented at doing good deeds but the job gets done one way or an other. 

The original idea belongs to Mr. Wolf. He's a good guy at heart; maybe he has blown down a house or two and dressed up like an old lady but he is really a nice guy deep inside. We get a peek at his rap sheet. There appear to be a few more incidents than he reported. He introduces Mr. Snake whose rap sheet includes a rampage at Mr. Ho's Pet Store. We are next introduced to Mr. Piranha who has come all the way from Bolivia. His rap sheet includes one crime: eating tourists. The last to arrive is Mr. Shark, Mr. Wolf covers up his rap sheet. About all we can see is a notation "Will literally eat ANYTHING or ANYBODY".

Over cupcakes, Mr. Wolf introduces the idea of the Good Guys Club. The others are a tad skeptical. After some coaxing the guys decide to try a small project: rescuing a cat stuck in a tree. The cat gets down from the tree by being scared to death by Mr. Piranha. But they still feel pretty good about helping the cat so they plan a bigger caper. This time it is freeing 200 puppies kept prisoner in the maximum security dog pound. The scheme is elaborate, not everything goes according to plan but the puppies are freed, terrified of their rescuers. Success! To be continued...

The story and pictures each tell part of the story, every page has just a few sentences with dynamic black and white drawings and the fonts are bold and easy to read. The series is a good transition to longer chapter books. Two of my second grade students read out loud all 138 pages in less than thirty minutes laughing all the way. There are two more books in this series, with a third due out in August.                             



The Sonoma County Library has six copies. The AR is 2.4.