Monday, March 27, 2017

Good Night Owl

Greg Pizzoli seems to have a thing for obsessive characters. The crocodile in 2014 Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal book, The Watermelon Seed, was obsessed with watermelon and then obsessed with the imagined consequences of swallowing a watermelon seed. While reading this book, a first grade student  said repeatedly, "I really, really love this book".

In Good Night Owl, Owl hears an unfamiliar noise as he is going to bed. He checks the door, there is no one there. As he is returning to bed, he hears it again, this time from the cupboard. He takes everything out but can't find the source of the sound. He goes back to bed and hears it again. Is it coming from under the floor? He pulls up every floor board but does not find it. This pattern is repeated as he dismantles the roof and the walls but he is no closer to finding the source of the sound. In his bed, under the stars, he finally sees the source of the noise: a mouse. After Owl says "good night noise" they both go to sleep. This book received a 2017 Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor.
I love that Owl is holding a book on the cover; a picture says a thousand words. The font is large and well spaced. It is easy for a beginning reader to tell where one word ends and another begins.

The Sonoma County Library has five copies. The AR is 1.7.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I Am (Not) Scared

My first ride on a roller coaster was when I was dating my husband. We rode the Cyclone at Excelsior Park towards the end of its almost fifty year life. To say it was rickety would be an understatement. I was pretty sure the whole thing would come down before the end of the ride but it didn't. It took a good fifteen years before I got on another one and that was because I didn't know Space Mountain was a roller coaster. Roller coasters are even more terrifying in the dark. I am sure this is a brain issue because my favorite ride is a log flume ride. I have been on them in parks all over the United States; they are scary but I have fun. Other than the addition of water, what is the difference between a log flume ride and a roller coaster?

Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant are back with another book about two bear friends from the Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal book You Are (Not) Small. Our friends want to ride the Loop of Doom but one is brave and one is a little scared. The brave one lists many things that are much scarier: snakes, a tub of hairy spiders, a hot lava pit, a pan of fried ants and a space alien with pink eyes and furry teeth. Suddenly, the roller coaster seems less scary. Their car comes forward with a snake in the back seat. They decide to be scared together. Up they go, around a loop-de-loop, down with their arms in the air and back to safety. Smiling, they agree that the ride was scary but off they go, with the snake, to ride again.

With about fifty unique words, Anna Kang creates a funny story about having fun while being scared. Christopher Weyant's ink and watercolor pictures fill in the details. The font is large, bold and well-spaced which makes it perfect for beginning readers.

The Sonoma County Library has four copies. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


Author, Mac Barnett and illustrator, Jon Klassen's two previous collaborations,  Extra Yarn and Sam & Dave Dig A Hole won Caldecott Honors. They have teamed up again to create Triangle, the first book in a planned trilogy. 

Triangle lives in a house shaped like a triangle, with a triangle shaped door. He wants to play a trick on his friend, Square. On his way to Square's house he passes triangular shaped hills, then hills "that weren't triangles anymore" and finally to square shaped hills. Because he knows Square is afraid of snakes, Triangle says "HISS" sounding like a snake at his friend's door. Square is frightened. Triangle keeps hissing but soon he is laughing too hard to hiss anymore. Square recognizes the laugh and chases Triangle past the square hills , the undefined shape hills and the triangle shaped hills to Triangle's house where he gets stuck in the triangle shaped door. He is blocking the light and guess what? Triangle is afraid of the dark. Square says he planned his revenge, does the reader believe him?

John Klassen's artwork is known for his use of earth-toned palettes. In this book, he introduces a pale blueish green that he uses both alone and in overlays of earth tones to create darker toned greens. The font is large, well spaced and easy to read. There is plenty of white space and few words on each page. Kids who read at a mid-year first grade level or higher can read this book with little help.

The Sonoma County Library has ten copies. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Go, Otto, Go!

David Milgrim won a Theodore Seuss Geisel Honor this year for the fifth book in his Adventures of Otto series, Go, Otto, Go! Otto misses his family, so he decides to build a spaceship to go visit. His friends are sad to see him leave. They watch as his ship goes "up, up, up" and then "down, down, down" right back to where he started: "home, sweet, home".

Most of the story is told by the illustrations. The text is simple and minimal.The font is large and easy to read and there is plenty of white space. Go, Otto, Go! and the other books in the series are perfect for brand new readers.

The Sonoma County Library has twelve copies. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Happy Birthday, Dr Seuss

Tomorrow,  March 2 is the 113th anniversary of the birth of Theodor Seuss Geisel, known to generations of children as Dr. Seuss. He believed learning to read should be fun and exciting. He respected children and trusted their intelligence. As I have said before, I grew up in a Dick and Jane world. Dr. Seuss changed that.

It is also  is Read Across America Day. Celebrated in conjunction with the March 2 Birthday of Dr. Seuss, The National Education Association (NEA) sponsors the day to help create a nation of readers.