Wednesday, November 22, 2006

My Feet Are Laughing

Norman, Lissette. My Feet Are Laughing. Illustrated by Frank Morrison. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2006. ISBN 0374350965. $16.00. Ages 4-8.

The picture book My Feet Are Laughing written by Lissett Norman and illustrated by Frank Morrison follows a little African American girl through her life with her mother and little sister in Harlem through poems. Norman wrote these poems as if Sadie, the main character, crafted them about her own life. Because these imaginative poems let us into the life of this young vibrant girl, we can see the day-to-day happenings in an African American family. One way we see into Sadie's glitzy world is through the illustrations drawn by Frank Morrison. While the art medium is unknown, the characters take on a sort of cartoon boldness. Morrison decided to make the characters look like everyday people, yet not like photographs in the least. I think that these illustrations add so much to the vibrant style of this book by bringing out the child-like qualities in Sadie's life. I feel that the book brings out the child in anyone who picks it up. We can all relate to Sadie's experiences and how she deals with everyday occurrences. While we may not all hide under the bed so our hair won't be brushed, we still understand how she feels about letting her hair down and free! This book is absolutely worth picking up and giving a good read!

Laura Porreca, BGSU student

Best Best Friends

Chodos-Irvine, Margaret. Best Best Friends. Illustrated by the author. Harcourt, 2006. ISBN 0152056947. $16.00. Ages 3-7.

Margaret Chodos-Irvine tells a feel good tale of a strong friendship between two young girls, Mary and Clare. The two girls do everything together, but when Mary has a birthday Clare becomes jealous of the attention Mary is receiving. By the end of the story the girls are back to being the best of friends. This real life situation proves that even the best of friends can have their differences, but in the end, a true bond will overcome any obstacle. The use of different printmaking techniques on Rives paper, and bright, exquisite colors, grabs the attention of the reader. The detailed facial expressions allow the reader to feel the emotions of the two girls. This story is great to read to young children; children will find themselves relating to the friendship of the girls. This Caldecott Honor Winner is a must read.

Rachel Adler, BGSU student

Peggony Po: A Whale of a Tale

Pinkney, Andrea. Peggony Po: A Whale of a Tale. Illustrated by Brian Pinkney. Hyperion, 2006. ISBN 0-7868-1958-8. $16.99 Ages 4-7.

Andrea Pinkney and Brian Pinkney do an excellent job in the book, Peggony-Po: A Whale of a Tale, of getting the attention of young readers. The pictures in this story are eye catching and unique. The story is a far out story about a boy who is made out of wood. Andrea Pinkney writes with a lot of detail and the colors used by Brian Pinkney are comparable to beautiful sunsets. The illustrations have rich colors that are beautiful and eye consuming. The story line was a little too wordy for my taste, but the pictures in the book made up for what was lacking in the wording. I enjoyed the pictures more because they told a story of their own. Pinkney and Pinkney had to have great imagination for a story of this depth. Anyone who is interested in looking at dramatic pictures and reading an even more adventurous story would enjoy Peggony Po, A Whale of a Tale.

Brittany Miller, BGSU student

Sleepy Boy

Polly Kanevsky. Sleepy Boy. Illustrated by Stephanie Anderson. Antheneum, 2006. ISBN 0689867352. $15.95. Ages 2-5.

See. Hear. Touch. Smell. All of these senses are brought to life in the story, Sleepy Boy. This story puts the reader through the relaxing, yet sometimes difficult process of going to sleep. The soothing and calming undertones of the story bring the reader to a place where senses are heightened and the imagination runs wild. The little boy in the story is struggling to fall asleep; however, he is comforted by the sense of his father near him and images of the small lion cub he saw at the zoo only hours before. The use of watercolors and soft charcoals is a perfect compliment to the laid back tone of the story. The pictures do not take away from the words, instead they enhance the words. As the child looks into his father's eyes the pictures and words work together in perfect harmony. The reader will enjoy the premise of the story; however, the connection of the lion cub seems a little out of place at times. Overall, this would be the perfect bedtime story for any restless preschool child.

Kevin Brown, BGSU student

Beanstalk: The Measure of a Giant

McCallum, Ann. Beanstalk: The Measure of a Giant . Illustrated by James Balkovek. Charlesbridge, 2005. ISBN 1570918937. $16.95. Ages 7-10.

McCallum takes the original story of Jack and the beanstalk and makes the giant friendly. When Jack first climbs the beanstalk he realizes that Ray the giant is only a kid like him. They become friends and learn how to deal with their height differences by using ratio’s to help them play together. McCallum uses fairly simple language, while being able to incorporate math skills wonderfully. She is able use the imagination of the story and involves her own sense of the story using her unpretentious writing. The picture style that is being used is playful and cheerful. The pictures are being shown with jovial colors. She uses many colors and bright and vibrant colors at that. Characters have their own qualities that are being presented by the pictures. The characters are a big part of what makes the pictures so powerful, the way the illustrator puts the expressions on the characters' faces. The book in my opinion did a great job of combining an older tale of Jack and the Beanstalk, into a very creative way for a child to learn a little about ratios. The pictures in the book gave an overall warm feeling about the book; it was suitable for what the author was intending for the book.

Michael Seitz, BGSU student

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Half of an Elephant

Gusti. Half of an Elephant. Illustrated by Gusti. Kane/Miller, 2006. ISBN 9781933605098. $15.95. Ages 5-9.

In this fun, unique story lives an elephant that wakes up to find that the back half of his body is missing. During the evening, the world has split in half. Through cute, creative artwork, the front half of the elephant journeys to find his other half. The artwork is masterly done in collage form, and the animals are made out of random, everyday objects, such as garbage cans and empty wooden boxes. The easily read, humorous wording allows children to fall in love with the elephant, and cheer him on. As the elephant is searching for his back half, he meets many fronts of animals, such as a leopard and a crocodile. He creatively attaches himself onto the fronts of other animals, such as a monkey, yet finds it difficult to live under those conditions. The front and back halves then realize that life is not so bad living without the other, and they imagine all the things they can now do since they are smaller. In the end of this colorful, clever, enjoyable story, the world joins together again, and the two halves of the elephant are reunited, in an entertaining way.

Erin Vanni, BGSU student

Bess and Bella

Haas, Irene. Bess and Bella. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2006. ISBN 1416900136. $14.95. Ages 3-7.

Irene Haas writes a sweet and charming story about a friendship between a young girl, Bess, who wishes greatly for a friend and finds one in a bird named Bella. The adorable pictures of Bess, Bella and many other delightful animals make this story a must for kids. Watercolor illustrations with some pastel make these pictures almost come to life on the page. This is achieved by her use of accents. For example, when Bella comes down from the sky and starts to shake the snow off of herself, Ms. Haas draws the snow into the picture so that it looks like it is swirling and that makes the picture almost come to life in front of your eyes. The childlike text makes this book’s story come alive and does so even more through the words kids know and understand and the few larger words which make the story interesting. Words like “falump” and “babushkas” are words that children do not know, but are entertaining to say and therefore make the story pleasurable for children. These words are used alongside language that children use everyday, which is why the text seems to come alive while being read. Kids will love this book because of its central theme of friendship and make-believe, two concepts all children know and understand.

Sami Gower, BGSU student

Dead guys talk: A Wild Willie Mystery

Joosse, Barbara M. Dead Guys Talk: A Wild Willie Mystery. Illustrated by Abby Carter. Clarion Books, 2006. ISBN 9780618306664. $15.00. Ages 7-10.

Dead Guys Talk is a bone-chilling tale about three curious children who are bored in the summertime looking for something to do. Willie, Kyle, and Lucy are known as the Scarface Detectives. They received a map to the town cemetery, along with a note asking for help. The next note tells them that someone wants to sell the graveyard and move the bodies. According to the note, the dead guys do not want to leave. The detectives find a way to stop the plans and they figure out who sent the notes to them. Small children will like this story, because it is mysterious and suspenseful. The imaginative story line will inspire children to become great detectives. The black and white illustrations make the books seem spooky and chilling at the same time. The illustrations were implemented in black colored pencil and wash. I thought this book was interesting and couldn’t put the book down. I wondered what these children were going to do to help save the graveyard. Children are amazing and have the best and most creative ideas and so did Willie, Kyle, and Lucy. It was mystifying and thrilling and a great book for children.

Desiree L. Reckner, BGSU student

Ugly Fish

LaReau, Kara. Ugly Fish. Illustrated by Scott Magoon. Harcourt, 2006. ISBN 9780152050825. $16.00. Ages 3 to 7.

“I am Ugly Fish,” said Ugly Fish. “And there’s only room for one fish in this tank—ME!” The writers of “Ugly Fish” tackle a major problem dealing with kids today in this fun, reality based cartoon scenario, of a fish eating all the new fish introduced in his tank. Eventually he becomes lonely and then inevitably in the end gets a taste of his own medicine. This creative, rhythmic story is written to show children an example of what bullying can do. The pen and ink drawings are comical, and with simply some digital coloring the characters pop off the pages. This is a fun story about how kindness matters and understanding that what goes around comes around!

Jamie Watson, BGSU student

Hurricane Wolf

Paterson, Diane. Hurricane Wolf. Illustrated by the author. A. Whitman, 2006. ISBN 0807534382. $16.95. Ages 5 - 8.

A hurricane is coming toward Noah’s city. Noah, a very curious kid, wants to know what his family should do. His parents simply explain and get ready for the CAT (type of hurricane) two hurricane. This fictional story is well written and can be very useful to children. The story gives helpful information about what hurricanes are, and precautions to take during a hurricane. The story is told in such a way that children reading this book would not be sacred of a hurricane or natural disasters, but it gives children knowledge in an entertaining manner. The water color illustrations in the book are very bright and busy. The people are given realistic features as well as the setting. The illustrations make the book even more interesting. The people in the book seemed very real and detailed. The colors were also very bright, which catches the reader’s attention. I think this book gives children a realistic idea of what a hurricane is, but because it’s a fictional book, it makes light of the situation. This book could be a good learning tool for a teacher when talking about weather conditions. I would recommend this book for others to read. I found things that I did not know about hurricanes, therefore this book can appeal to other age groups aside from small children.

Lauren Payden, BGSU student

Mom and Dad are Palindromes

Mark Shulman. Mom and Dad are Palindromes. Illustrated by Adam McCauley. Chronicle Books, 2006. ISBN 0811843289.

Bob has a difficult dilemma on his hands in this fictional tale, he is a PALINDROME! With great concern he confronts his parents only to find out MOM and DAD are palindromes, too. In fact, the palindromes are everywhere! Follow this fellow through this EYE opening adventure and join in on the fun by finding the 101 hidden palindromes that await. Shulman and McCauley brilliantly weave palindromes throughout the entire escapade. This book is full of fun from front to back. The amazing artwork jumps off the pages making this experience exciting and exhilarating. The illustrations illuminate ones imagination and the bright bold colors create a hustle-bustle that enhances enjoyment for all audiences.

Bob McCartt, BGSU student

The Peanut-Free Cafe

Koster, Gloria. The Peanut-Free Cafe. Illustrated by Maryann Coccoa-Leffler. A. Whitman,2006. ISBN 0807563862.

What seems to be a book about a child and his favorite foods ends up transforming into something much more detailed and exhilarating. This brief picture book describes the changes that elementary aged students make when a new student that is different from them in a unique way moves into town. Before the first page of text, we see a young boy’s hand trying to grab a jar of peanut butter. After the story begins, a world full of children with different cultures, ethics and backgrounds is brought to life. The text is age appropriate and sometimes very predictable to what may happen next. The illustrations are appealing to the eye because of their bright paintings and realistic features to the characters in the story. Children will enjoy this book not only because it is easy to understand, but more so because they can relate to what is happening throughout the entire story.

Sarah Kersey, BGSU student

The Secret-keeper

Coombs, Kate. Secret-keeper, The. Illustrated by Heather M. Solomon. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, c2006 1st ed. ISBN 0689839634. $16.95. Ages 4-8.

The Secret-keeper is a heartening story of a village’s secret-keeper, Kalli, who becomes sick over the winter because she’s been told too many dreadful secrets. In the spring a child from the village discovers she is sick and, for the first time ever, the people of the village arrive at her cottage in the forest in groups instead of only one at a time. Kalli tells the villagers “The secrets are so heavy. Dim and dark and sad, like a child lost in the snow.” The villagers gather around Kalli and come up with the idea to tell her all their good secrets to make Kalli better. The best secret comes when the potter’s son, Taln, confesses “I love the secret-keeper.” The moving story is enhanced by the warm illustrations created with watercolor, oil and collage. This is an enriching story of the power of secrets that’s sure to catch the attention of anyone who has secrets.

Brittany Launder, BGSU student

Roasted Peanuts

Egan, Tim. Roasted Peanuts. Illustrated by Tim Egan. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006. ISBN 0618337180. $16.00. Ages 6-8.

Will Sam and Jackson become baseball legends or will the game ruin their friendship? Two best friends try out for a local baseball team. A horse, Sam, makes the Grazer’s team while Jackson, a cat, does not. Sam does not have the heart for baseball like he did when he and Jackson played together. Jackson then sells roasted peanuts at Grant’s field. Sam becomes a professional at baseball while Jackson becomes known as the best roasted peanuts seller of all. The best friends then both become legends but for completely different reasons. Tim Egan’s writing style is dead-pan and not up-beat or interesting. Perhaps Egan could have added some tempo or rhythm to the writing style. Throughout Roasted Peanuts the use of ink and watercolors are very similar in color. The illustrations seemed dull and warm. Egan lacked making the illustrations stand out to grasp the reader's attention. This animalistic story of a horse and a cat becoming legends is very fictional. I did not enjoy the story line. This picture book seemed a bit boring and dull for primary grade levels.

Victoria Rogers, BGSU student

Ham and Pickles First Day of School

Nicole Rubel. Ham and Pickles First Day of School. illus. By the author. Harcourt Inc. 2006 ISBN- 13:978-0152-05039-9 ISBN- 10:0-15-205039-6 $16.00

The story begins when Pickles, a worry wart, is thinking of
every possible problem that she could have on her first day of
school. Her radical, but unintelligent older brother Ham, gives
her advice on every question. His advice is definitely out of the
ordinary, and it turns her jitters into anger. For example, when
Pickles is worried about making friends, Ham gives her advice and
tells her to say, “ I'm so glad you don't have fleas.” That
causes everyone to run from Pickles and Ham is getting on her
last nerve. In the end, she realizes that her brother may be
wacky, but his big heart wins her appreciation. The simplistic
words make it enjoyable for children who are beginning their
first days of school. The illustrations are bright and the pages
are filled with many bold objects to focus on. The use of real
flowers and photographs is definitely something that will catch
the reader's eye. This book is humorous and it replaces the first
day of school jitters with excitement.

Sharon Keller, BGSU student

Really Rabbits

Virginia Kroll. Really Rabbits. Illustrated by Philomena O’Neil. Charlesbridge, 2006. ISBN 139781570918971. $16.95. Ages 4-8.

Two lovable rabbits will win the hearts of children (and adults) in this amusing We’re Really Reading story about doing good deeds. Tulip is a pudgy brown and white rabbit owned by “Grace the girl” when “Peter the boy” brings home a chubby gray bunny, Snuggles. The rabbits soon become best friends but the action really begins when Tulip learns how to open their cage so they can escape and have adventures. Kroll’s simple sentence structure allows children to read for themselves this charming, silly tale that takes them on the rabbits’ escapades all over the house, night after night, page after page. Tulip and Snuggles show how much fun helping others can be after they get bored with only frolicking about the house and Tulip suggests something new—completing chores for the humans. They fold laundry, scrub dishes, straighten the house, and even cook a yummy tuna casserole! The parents think it’s the children, the children think it’s fairies or elves, never guessing that it’s “really rabbits” (hence, the title). The work of the rabbits causes the family to get along better and smile more, and, best of all, the children have more time to play with their sneaky but sweet rabbits. The soft pastel illustrations compliment the humorous explorations of the rabbits, featuring the cuddly bunnies rather than cluttered details. Some pictures pop off the page like photographs with text on top and bottom; other images stretch across the page with the bold text against muted backgrounds. The last page in the book is a note for parents and teachers which includes digraphs and hints for reading the story to kids to encourage learning and helping kids learn to read. This book is an all inclusive story with silly rabbits, lessons about helping others, and useful hints for reading!

Rebecca Halsey, BGSU student

The Prince and the Potty

Lewison, Wendy Cheyette. The Prince and The Potty. Illustrated by Keiko Motoyama. Simon & Schuster Books, 2006. ISBN 0689878087. Ages 1-4.

Who has not encountered a child who has rebuffed toilet training? Lewison takes this nuisance for every parent and puts an innovative twist on it using a young prince. According to the prince, “This potty doesn’t please me!” Using vivid colored pictures, the story comes alive. The king and queen are told by the Royal Wise Man to get the prince a puppy. The prince finds a puppy that pleases him and is given his own special bed and toys. However, the puppy does not know where to go potty. After days of trying the puppy finally learned to go on the cloth. The prince finally correlates the fact that everyone has a certain place they should go potty and goes in his own potty. This book will help teach toddlers that it may take time but they too can discover where to go potty.

Katelynn Vokoun, BGSU student


Winter, Jeanette. Mama? Illustrated by the author. Orlando: Hardcourt, Inc., 2006. ISBN 0152054952. $9.95. All Ages.

This touching true story about a hippo who loses his mother in the 2004 tsunami, but then finds comfort in a motherly turtle, is suitable for children because it depicts how people do not have to be the same as those they love or consider friends. It also gives hope to situations that may seem horrible or devastating because the hippo was taken away from his home and family, but is able to survive and recreate his life. The writing style is unique because other than the brief description of the true story on the last page, the only words present are “mama” and “baby.” The illustrations are made with acrylic paint on water color paper that are simple, but vibrant, and follow the popular art style by being simple shapes and solid primary colors. Winter’s uncomplicated illustrations and lack of text make this children’s book worthwhile for many age levels and tells a tale that is heart wrenching, but at the same time touching.

Brianne Barhite, BGSU student

When Horses Ride By: Children in the Times of War

Greenfield, Eloise. When The Horses Ride By: Children in the Times of War. Illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. Lee & Low Books, 2006. ISBN 1584302496. $17.95. Ages 4-8.

When the Horses Ride By is a powerful collection of fictional poems about children in the midst of a war. However, mixed in with the sadness of missing their fathers, the children are also filled with hope and joy. The poems, while discussing a tough matter, maintain all of the playful aspects of childhood. The pictures also tell a story of their own, even without the words. Each page is filled with a montage of wonderful photographs, newspaper articles, paintings and sketches with torn edges. The bright colors and collage format of the pictures in contrast with the black backing allows for a surprise on every page. The pictures also follow a historical format that actually makes the book not only interesting, but also educational. With every turn of the page, the reader gets a glimpse into a different time, culture, and war. Yet in the midst of all these differences, each child’s story is linked with the fact that their fathers are at war. It gives every child who reads the book insight into these cultures and a chance to relate to kids all over the world. It is really a delightful compilation of poems, and a must read and see for children and adults alike.

Angela Ferraro, BGSU student

The Best Kid in the World

Reynolds, Peter H. The Best Kid in the World. Illustrated by the author. Simon & Schuster, New York, 2006. ISBN 0-6889-87624-6. $15.95. Ages 3-7.

Thoughtful little SugarLoaf is back again, and this time she is working towards the Best Kid in the World Award. When her brother is rummaging through his Remembering Box he comes across his Best Kid in the World Award that was presented to him by his parents prior to SugarLoaf’s birth. SugarLoaf is immediately jealous of his award as she discovers, “It was shiny. It was sparkly. It was dazzling,” and she is determined to win one of her very own. Although she tries and tries, her efforts to become extra accommodating to her family results in one disaster after another. Regardless, the story concludes with her parents issuing SugarLoaf her very own Best Kid in the World Award for her heartfelt attempts, and we are left feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. Reynolds’ watercolor and ink illustrations are relatively simple, yet playful and cheery, but I’m left wondering exactly what kind of creature SugarLoaf is. Any child that has ever felt like they were competing with a sibling over their parent’s adoration will sympathize with the desperation and determination evident in this sugary sweet tale.

Melanie Fry, BGSU student

Carl's Nose

Schmidt, Karen Lee. Carl’s Nose. Illustrated by the author. Harcourt, Inc., 2006. ISBN- 13: 9780152050498. $16.00. Ages 4-8.

What is a dog to do when his famous ability to sniff out storms and alert his neighbors of danger is no longer needed? This is the question that Carl, of Carl’s Nose, a quirky yet heart- warming picture book written by Karen Lee Schmidt, must figure out. In the small town of Grimsville, where the weather is “perfectly awful,” lovable Carl and his one of a kind nose are heroes. But when the temperamental atmosphere of his hometown takes a “sudden fancy to sunshine,” Carl finds himself at a loss and in a fit of despair. Children and adults alike have no choice but to root for the gloomy pup and his failing sniffer, as well as, feel overwhelming joy for him when he finally gets a chance to redeem himself. Through colorful and unique watercolor illustrations, that bring the town of Grimsville to life, Schmidt tells this hero’s tale in a wonderfully comedic dialogue that will appeal to children of all ages.

Katie Antoszewski, BGSU student

Ryan Respects

Kroll, Virgina. Ryan Respects. Illustrated by Paige Billin-Frye. Albert Whitman Company, 2006. ISBN 9780807569467. $15.95. Ages 4-8.

Kroll introduces the reader to Ryan, a fun loving child who walks to school with Amy everyday. Throughout the story, Kroll modestly addresses respect issues Ryan initiates with classmates. She talently weaves the plot together to result in a book that teaches children the meaning of respect. Kroll uses several similes and is able to rhyme words to make the text flow just right. Her use of easy reading words as well as more advanced words can lead the book to be more challenging at times. The extremely detailed illustrations are unique, colorful, and interesting to children. They are emotionally satisfying and portray most every culture. This is done by the unique detail such as texture, color choice and facial expressions on characters throughout the story. Every child will have a wonderful time flipping through the pages of this story. This book is perfect for children because it is an enjoyable easy read while secretly portraying the moral of respect.

Hayley Flaum, BGSU student

Way Far Away on a Wild Safari

Peck, Jan. Way Far Away on a Wild Safari. Illustrated by Valeria Petrone. Simon & Schuster, 2006. ISBN: 1416900721. $15.95. Ages 3-6.

Way Far Away on a Wild Safari is a wonderful tale in humble words that any child can understand and have fun with. Silly words, bright colors and repetition make the book easy for children to follow. With each page an animal pops off the page and is waiting for us. Large eyes pop out from every animal and person in the book. The book introduces children to the most rudimentary jungle animals. “Big bottom-a-mus, hippopotamus” is my favorite line in the book. The line “See you later, hippopotamus” is an example of the story's repetitious nature with each animal we meet at the end of page the little boys says good bye to each animal in turn. This is a charming story that’s fun to read.

Sheena Orr, BGSU student

Monday, November 20, 2006

Meow Ruff: A Story in Concrete Poetry

Sidmin, Joyce. Meow Ruff: A Story in Concrete Poetry. Illustrated by Michelle Berg. Houghton Mifflin, 2006. ISBN: 0618448942. $16.00. Ages 4-8.

A small dog escapes from his home while a cat is left at a curbside and the two meet at the park. While starting out as enemies, a thunderstorm brews up and they seek refuge under the picnic table. As the storm continues, they become cold and huddle together. When the storm is over, they emerge as friends. The adjective loaded concrete poetry with unrhymed verses goes on to describe what is happening in the story as well as playing the part of illustrations. The wording is rhythmic and creative and does a wonderful job at describing the scene. The illustrations, mostly put together with words that describe the inanimate objects, are simplistic and require some imagination to be seen as objects. The poetry hidden within the illustrations also describes what is going to happen, for example, the cloud is made of words saying, “Thunder-pumped seething mass of gloomy fuming black-bottomed storm brewing” to indicate that a thunderstorm is quickly approaching. To indicate movement, there are subtle tone variations to show where the dog and cat have been. While the text is great at putting together several descriptive words to describe the events, the words sometimes become tightly spaced and difficult to read and seem to leave some pages cluttered with graphics.

Jennifer Moser, BGSU student

Bear's New Friend

Wilson, Karma. Bear’s New Friend. Illustrated by Jane Chapman. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2006. ISBN 0689859848. $16.95. Ages 3-7.

Bear decides he wants to go outside and play. As he is looking for his friends he keeps hearing a noise. He tries to find out who this creature is. He finds Mouse, Hare, Badger, Gopher and Mole. Still no one knows who the creature is. Then they hear a noise come from down in the hole. Then Raven and Wren show and help look too. All the friends find a shy little owl hiding. At last they all go to the swimming hole together.
Wilson uses a poetic voice throughout the story. This keeps the plot and story line flowing and easy to read. The rhythm can help smaller children to read better and memorize the story. Jane Chapman used acrylic paint for the pictures. The colors are vibrant and bright. One can really tell it is a nice warm, sunny, summer day outside. The detail is very precise, especially in the animal’s fur or feathers. The painting is just amazing because the detail is sharper towards the front of your perspective than it is towards the back (farther away). There is also tiny detail you really have to look for to even know it is there. It is almost like a hidden picture book. Bear’s New Friend is a sweet tale. It portrays how making new friends is not so easy. The characters are charming and sweet throughout just trying to figure out who the creature is and trying to become friends with him.

Ashley Wittler, BGSU student

Little Quack's new Friend

Lauren, Thompson. Little Quack’s New Friend. Illustrated by Derek Anderson. Simon and Schuster, 2006. ISBN 0689868936. $14.95. Ages 4-8.

There’s a lesson to learn in this sweet and understanding story as Little Quack shows his siblings to accept others by accepting someone as a friend that others considered different. Five ducklings were playing together when Little Ribbit asked to join. Little Quack accepts, but the others don’t because he is different from them. They all watch the fun Little Ribbit and Little Quack are having and become jealous. They decide to join the two new friends one-by-one. It may be jealousy or the ducklings might have realized just how wonderful the frog is. The illustrations, created with acrylic on Arches hot press water color paper, are bright and show excitement by showing the movement and feeling of the story. Anderson’s beautiful artwork relates to the entertaining and cheerful mood of the story with a very happy ending. Thompson’s story of the duck’s new friend is rhythmic with its own special beat. Children could chant or sing the story as they read and they would also want to join the fun to jump and play. This is one story to remember with fun and exciting possibilities.

Delilah Cooper, BGSU student

Knitting Nell

Roth, Julie Jersild. Knitting Nell. Illustrated by Julie Jersild Roth. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006. ISBN 139780618540334. $16.00. Ages 5-8.

This is a moving story about a young girl struggling to fit in at her school. After she wins an award at the local fair, she finally feels acceptance by teaching her peers her own passion in life, knitting. The water-color illustrations seem to be simple, but as the book progresses, the vibrant colors and interesting placement of pictures, entices the reader to follow the pictures and storyline. Roth places the words of the story strategically throughout the book to keep the reader interested. At the same time, she uses an assortment of page layouts to make the illustrations appealing. The words, placed below, above, and around the pictures, are appropriate for elementary students, as well as interesting to read because of the placement of the sentences. Roth’s style and approach to children’s literature is warm and welcoming to children of all ages. The pictures, as well as the storyline, are imaginative, expressive, and just right for children who are struggling with the same problems as the characters in the story.

Jessica Krouse, BGSU student

Two Little Mittens

Cohen, Miriam. Two Little Mittens. Illustrated by Miriam Cohen. Star Bright Books, 2006. ISBN 1595720448. $8.95. Ages18 months-4 years.

Cohen puts a spin on friendship when two little mittens are such good friends that they “belong together like peanut butter and jelly”. They do everything together and like all the same things, but when one mitten gets lost their worlds are turned upside down. Luckily, a warm, wooly hat offers up the suggestion to check the “Lost and Found,” and there they are reunited again. The simplistic and imaginative language allows children of young ages to enjoy such a book on friendship. The colorful and lighthearted pictures are descriptive to the story line and allow younger children to follow along with ease. Children will be appreciative of the Two Little Mittens, not only for the interesting plot of friendship but for the straightforward language and bright, vibrant pictures. The idea of friendship is evident in the story line and no matter the age of the child everyone can learn a little more about what it means to be a friend. Anyone who reads this gentle story will take a look at their own friendships and appreciate them a little more.

Angelina Crasi, BGSU student

Last Day Blues

Danneberg, Julie. Last Day Blues. Illustrated by Judy Love. Charlesbridge, 2006. ISBN: 1-58089-046-6. $16.95. Ages 4-10

The book Last Day Blues by Julie Danneberg chronicles the last week of school for Mrs. Hartwell’s class. Throughout the last week of school each day that passes makes the students bring up different things that they are all going to miss, so all the students think that Mrs. Hartwell is going to nothing but miss them and think about the past school over the summer. The students feel like they need to do something to cheer her up. Every time she says that she is going to miss something it makes the students think of things they are going to miss and this continues for the entire week.
The book covers all the basics of everything that goes on during the last week of school. In a poem that the kids write for their teacher there is a specific rhyme scheme in which each line has the same ending sound. The pictures are very colorful and catch the reader's eye by the use of well illustrated pictures and how the school yard looks and how kids remember it. The entire storyline keeps the reader's attention.
I recommend this book for children of all ages. I think that they would enjoy it and if they have experienced the last week of school firsthand and could probably go back and see that their class may have went through the same emotions and thought processes.

Jennifer Schultz, BGSU student

Inventor McGregor

Peely, Kathleen. Inventor McGregor. Illustrated by Michael Chesworth. Farrar Straus Giroux, ISBN0374336067. $16.00. Ages 4-8.

Inventor McGregor, by Kathleen T Peely, is a delightful story about an inventor who needs his family and freedom to allow his creativity to flow. The fanciful words which are used throughout the story add an element of silliness that appeals to children and adults alike. Hector McGregor, the inventor begins the story as mend-it McGregor, fixing any neighborhood problems with motivation from his “cheery wife, his five children and his hen called Hattie”. His character is transformed as he takes a job as an inventor that leaves him disconnected from all he cherishes. The colorful illustrations, by Michael Chesworth, provide an aura of isolation or happiness coordinating to McGregor’s moods. As his separation grows and his creativity withers, the now named inventor McGregor breaks free from his job and finds inspiration again in that which is truly important, his family and freedom.

Angie Schoonover, BGSU student

Franklin and the Bubble Gum

Jennings, Sharon. Franklin and the Bubble Gum. Illustrated by Sean Jeffery, Sasha McIntyre, Jelena Sisic. Kids Can Press Ltd, 2006. ISBN-13:9781553378167. $14.95. Ages 4-8.

Franklin is well known to kids these days. The book is about a turtle named Franklin, which is also a cartoon on television. Franklin finds a lucky penny and gets all the bubble gum out of the bubble gum machine with just one penny. Turns out they think someone stole all the gum so he had to go put more pennies into the machine. The owner of the machine wasn’t mad, but realized the machine was broken and thanks Franklin for being so honest. The writing is very easy for children to read. It’s a little choppy with not a lot of detailed description, but that works for little kids who can’t sort through a lot of details yet. The book is set as level 2 reader. The text does not lay over the illustrations so the text really stands out. There’s a lot of smaller single pictures spread out on the pages that keep the page layout simple. The pictures are cartoon-like and strongly resemble the pictures from the television show. They are probably at least partially computer generated. A lot of kids don’t especially like to read, but since the book relates to a cartoon they watch on television, the kids might get more interested in it. The kids can watch and read about Franklin. I think kids would like the book's easy reading, colorful illustrations and connection to the television show.

Brooke Perry, BGSU student

Monday, November 13, 2006

Humpty Dumpty

Etienne Delessert Humpty Dumpty; illus. by Etienne Delessert. 28pp/ Houghton Mifflin Company ISBN-13: 978-0-618-56987-8 $17.00 (Primary)

A Nursery Rhyme at Its Finest
The famous nursery rhyme about the broken egg, Humpty Dumpty, is re-imagined in the book Humpty Dumpty, written and illustrated by Etienne Delessert, illustrator of over eighty books. Delessert creates a complex story to explain the nursery rhyme and why Humpty Dumpty was sitting on the wall in the first place. This fictitious tale is appropriate for the primary grade levels because of its imaginative writing style and the lesson of selfishness that it provides. Although this book has a fairy-tale feel, it focuses attention on deep societal issues in an abstract way. Delessert’s colorful, detailed illustrations are perfect, and brings the world King Dumpty lives in to life. Humpty Dumpty is a necessity for any collection.

Amanda Riggenbach, BGSU student

Earth To Stella

Simon Puttock Earth To Stella! ; illus. by Philip Hopman. 32pp/Clarion 2006 ISBN 978-0618-58535-9 $16.00 (Preschool)

The book Earth To Stella!, written by Simon Puttock and illustrated by Phillip Hopman is a wonderful story full of imagination and color. The story is about a small girl named Stella and her imaginary bed time trip to space. This fiction based book is written with colorful words that Hopman brings to life with pages full of pictures and action. The character Stella flies through space in her ship and bounces around in her space suit, each scene bright with colors. Even when Stella pretends to fly home from the imaginary space adventure, her home is warm colored and inviting. Puttock brilliantly compliments Hopman’s illustrations through a story tailored to explore a childs’ imagination. The young girl also draws the audience into the fantasy as one reads on in wonder. Once again Puttock pleases in a story that draws all ages and imaginations through a colorful little girl.

Katherine Krissoff, BGSU student

Little 1

Ann and Paul Rand Little 1; illus. by Paul Rand. 36 pp/ Chronicle Books 2006 ISBN-10: 0-8118-5004-8 $15.95 (preschool).

Ann and Paul Rand capture readers by providing a fun, exciting story line of Little 1 and his search for friendship. The authors create a distinctive technique through solid black lines, engaging children in number recognition and simple addition. Rand uses graphic design to encourage his audience to combine the pictures and text together to achieve the ultimate reading experience. One might also recognize Rand’s influential designs in the book Sparkle and Spin. Little 1 offers simple yet vivid, colorful graphics accentuated by bold, black lines, making the pictures jump up off the page. The clever use of rhyming words throughout the word play makes reading and listening entertaining. This satisfying work of art would make a fine addition to any collection of books for young readers.

Abbey Kramer, BGSU student

No Room for Napoleon

Adria Meserve No Room for Napoleon; illus. by Adria Meserve. Unpaged/ Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 2006 ISBN-13: 978-0-374-35536-4 $16.00 (Preschool)

“Napoleon is a small brown dog with BIG ideas” (Adria). What an interesting approach to catching a reader’s attention before taking them on a wild ride to an island with a dog, bunny, bear, and crab! No Room for Napoleon is an outstanding book by Adria Meserve to share with adventurous youngsters in a late preschool or early primary classroom. Meserve does a remarkable job at catching her reader’s attention right from the get go in her entertaining fiction picture book. The brightly painted pictures make the reader feel as if they were on the island with Napoleon, living the dream of a dog.

Brooke Rathbun, BGSU student

Dear Tooth Fairy

Karen Gray Ruelle Dear Tooth Fairy. 32 pp/ Holiday House Reader 2006 ISBN 978-0-8234-1926-6 $14.95 (Grades 1-2)

Dear Tooth Fairy will have many young readers eager to lose their first tooth. Karen Gray Ruelle wrote this fictional book for early readers ages six to eight. The descriptive pictures are drawn with watercolors and felt tip pen. Ruelle tells an elaborate story line of Emily who has a loose tooth and the things she does to try and get her tooth out. She goes to her brother Harry for advice on such matters as how to get her tooth out and how to make sure the tooth fairy knows to come. Emily writes many letters to the tooth fairy to make sure she knows what Emily likes for her treasure. Will the tooth fairy come when she loses her tooth? How will Emily know what the tooth fairy looks like? Check out Dear Tooth Fairy to find out, and while there, also check out Ruelle’s One Nosy Pup.

Kristen Hoffa, BGSU student

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type

Doreen Cronin Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type; illus. by Betsy Lewin. 32 pp/ Simon
& Schuster 2006 ISBN 1-59961-088-4 $15.95 (Preschool)

Intriguing readers from the very start, Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, begins when Farmer Brown’s cows discover a typewriter in the barn and start to type. He is astounded and bewildered when the cows begin sending him demands. When Farmer Brown refuses their requests, the cows go on strike and the whole barnyard becomes ensnared in the amusing controversy. Reminiscent of Giggle, Giggle, Quack, Cronin’s innovative, lively storyline and lyrical text achieves an impressive balance of humor and charm. However, the real magic is found in the wild illustrations, which jump off the page and really bring the barnyard to life. Lewin’s splashy watercolors utilize eye-catching contrast, and her witty use of shadow creatively demonstrates the farmer’s growing frustration. Although the use of words such as “ultimatum” may be difficult for young readers, this endearing story’s clever characters and surprise ending will certainly leave audiences of all ages giggling.

Amber Phillips, BGSU student

Walk On! A Guide for Babies of All Ages

Frazee, Marla. Walk On! A Guide for Babies of All Ages. Unpaged/ Harcourt, Inc. 2006 ISBN 0-15-05573-8 $16.00 (Preschool)

Marla Frazee encourages restless toddlers to get up, leave behind the prickly carpeting and feel the wind blow through their wisps of hair. Walking: a simple concept to an adult, but a child? Frazee generates a how-to for baby to get up and go. A voice of encouraging coos and the reassuring proclamations guide baby to have the wobbly confidence to escape the ever-familiar carpeting beneath baby’s bottom. From baby’s first realization that “sitting there on [its] bottom [is] getting boring” until toddling off to the unexplored, Frazee’s pictures bring about a playful reality portrayed through soft tones of a child’s eye. Similar to Frazee’s beloved Mrs. Biddlebox, baby learns to move on in the world and achieve new beginnings. Frazee’s lively artwork and connections to a perspective so long ago forgotten, reminds readers of all ages that there is still a world out there to explore.

Ashley LaBrie, BGSU student

Bad Bear Detectives

Daniel Pinkwater Bad Bear Detectives; Illustrated by Jill Pinkwater. 30pp/ Houghton Mifflin Company 2006 ISBN 13:978-0618-43125-0 $16.00 (Intermediate)

Daniel Pinkwater takes readers on a journey with Polar Bears in the fictional story, Bad Bear Detectives. The magnificent and descriptive artwork, created with felt tip marker and ink on a bristol board is arguably the highlight of the book. The descriptive artwork can also be found in The Big Hibernation and The Maltese Muffin, also written by Pinkwater. Pinkwater uses a foreshadowing approach to his writing when he begins with what should be the end. The reader than follows the Polar Bears throughout town on a mission to find the stolen blueberry muffins. Pinkwater uses little descriptive words throughout the story and tends to repeat same lines between both the characters. The story line is rather bland and readers will find it difficult to continue reading.

Crystal Abney, BGSU student

Olivia Forms a Band

Ian Falconer Olivia Forms a Band; unpaged/ Antheneum Books for Young Readers 2006 ISBN 978-1-4169-2454-8

From painting a masterpiece to finding a missing toy, Olivia is back and marching her way through another amazing adventure and this little pig is not afraid of anything. When her family decides to go watch fireworks one night, Olivia decides that she needs to make a full marching band even though her mom told her, "one person doesn’t equal a band". However, this pint-sized piggy puts her creativity to use to make her vision come alive. Ian Falconer uses delightfully simple charcoal sketches to capture Olivia’s determination while simple text pours out Olivia’s imagination. This story is appealing to readers of all ages, especially to the primary ages and is a fun relatable story to everyone’s childhood imagination.

Allison Mears, BGSU student

Fly Little Bird

Tina Burke Fly, Little Bird. Kane/Miller Books 2006 ISBN 1-933605-02-2 $14.95 (Preschool)

Tina Burke’s debut picture book Fly Little Bird is a very delightful story. This fiction story about a little girl and a baby bird captures reader’s attention right from the start. With few words, Burke tells this story with her bright, detailed, adorable animated pictures. Her use of bright, yet subtle color enhances the pictures and brings them to life. Bruke is truly an educated illustrator, as evidenced by her use of shapes, motion and effective use of white space throughout the story.
I thought the book was good. It caught my eye right when I saw it. I fell in love with the pictures. This short, simple, yet fun loving story drew me in instantly. I would definitely recommend this book to teachers, parents, and students.

Heather Meeker, BGSU student

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Jungle School

Roz Davidson and Elizabeth Laird Jungle School; illus. by David Sim. 48 pp/ Crabtree Publishing 2006 ISBN 0-7787-1026-2 $15.37 (Ages 4-6)

The saying you can’t judge a book by its cover applies to, Jungle School by Elizabeth Laird, Roz Davison, and illustrated by David Sim. This book is a chapter book that’s part of a series of books called, Bananas. Jani starts going to a new school and this book is about her experience on the first day and of how others view Jani because she is in a wheelchair. Even though there are three different stories inside one book, the story lines are easy to read and easy for children to follow along with. Simple illustrations provide not only bright colors, but a bright outlook on people with disabilities and how inside, they are just like everyone else.

Mandy M. Hines, BGSU student

Little Dog

Jahn-Clough, Lisa Little Dog; illus. by the author. 32pp/ Walter Lorraine Books 2006 ISBN 0-618-57405-0 $16.00 (Preschool)

Jahn-Clough’s Little Dog is a charming story about an unlikely friendship between a homeless dog and a despondent artist. Just when Little Dog loses hope that no one will ever love him, he meets Rosa. As the story unfolds, the reader begins to see that Little Dog and Rosa complete each other. Accompanied by this uplifting tale is a small amount of text. Jahn-Clough (My Friend and I) utilizes most of the pages with her large illustrations in order to successfully convey the characters’ feelings. Through a bold use of paint color and heavy black outlines, the illustrations transform from gloomy and dark to cheerful and intensely colorful, just like Little Dog and Rosa’s friendship. Although Little Dog has an unoriginal storyline and predictable ending, it is still an affectionate story that most children will find enjoyable.

Maggie Vetter, BGSU student

The Show-and-Tell Lion

Barbara Abercrombie The Show-and-Tell-Lion; illus. by Lynne Avril Gravath. 32 pp/ Margaret K. McElderry Books 2006 ISBN 0-689-86408-6 $16.95 (Preschool)

“I have a lion!” says Matthew. During show-and-tell one day, a young boy lets his imagination get the best of him when he tells his classmates that he has a pet lion. With his mother’s help, Matthew discovers an artistic way to make his lion real. The childlike illustrations capture the warm and fuzzy essence of a child’s imagination. Illustrator Lynn Avril Cravath, continues her simplistic style (Saves the Day by Marsha Hayles) while Barb Abercrombie takes a different approach (Bad Dog, Bader) to create a believable story which can lead to many classroom extensions. Abercrombie’s text works well with the colorful, simple oil pastel drawings. Young readers will enjoy this delightful and humorous story as it teaches creativity and honesty, “and it’s always exciting.”

Katie Keller, BGSU student

The Goodnight Train

Sobel, June. The Goodnight Train; illus. by Laura Huliska-Beith. 32 pp/ Harcourt Children’s Books 2006 ISBN 0-15-205436-7 $16.00 (Preschool)

“Find your sleepers! Grab your teddy. Climb right up! Your bed is ready!” June Sobel invites readers to climb aboard, as The Goodnight Train prepares to take its sleepy passengers off to dreamland. Sobel (Shiver Me Letters: A Pirate’s ABC) uses whimsical and uncomplicated rhymes to describe a simple bedtime routine. The artwork is delightful and accompanies the story brilliantly. Illustrations come to life in rich tones done in acrylic with fabric and paper collage. Huliska-Beith’s (The Book of Bad Ideas) use bright, warm hues to start and cooler hues of green, blue and violet help the reader progress through their travels to a serene slumber. Sweet and endearing, The Goodnight Train is a perfect addition to any parent/child’s nighttime reading repertoire.

Renee Daly, BGSU student

Stanley's Wild Ride

Linda Bailey Stanley’s Wild Ride illus. by Bill Slavin. 29 pp. / Kids Can Press 2006 ISBN 1-55337-960-8 $14.95 (Primary)

Stanley is a dog who is sick of being cooped up in his backyard and wants to explore the outside world beyond his fence. When he finally realizes a way out he joins some friends and they all go on a wild adventure across town. Slavin’s fine use of acrylics on gessoed paper illustrates the movement, texture and shadows perfectly throughout the book. Stanley’s Wild Ride is fun and exciting, making the reader eager to turn the page, only to find out what will happen next to Stanley and his friends. Stanley’s Wild Ride is a short story with great pictures and is a great choice for anyone looking to go on an adventure and explore the outside world.

Kelly Lilak, BGSU student

Baby Bear's Books

Jane Yolen Baby Bear’s Books; illus. by Melissa Sweet. 30pp/Harcourt Books 2006 ISBN-13: 978-0-15-205290-4 (preschool)

Baby Bear’s Books is a great book for pre-school and primary children. Throughout the day, a baby bear finds a book to fit every special moment. The story is all in rhyme so the reader can easily glide through the text of the story. Smith illustrates the book in mixed media and collage on water color paper. This creates an effect that is appealing to the eyes. I enjoyed this story and related to it, because when I was young I was read to almost every night by my parents, so I understand the love of books the young bear has.

Ashley Stiles, BGSU student

The Garden Wall

Phyllis Limbacher Tildes The Garden Wall; 32pp/ Charlesbridge Publishing Inc. 2006 ISBN 1-57091-467-2 $16.95 (Primary)

In The Garden Wall, author and illustrator Tildes opens a gate for children into the world of a deaf. Tim is disappointed that his family is moving and he has to leave his best friend Brian. To make things more complicated he meets his new neighbor who is deaf. Will Tim be friends with her? The writing shows clear communication along with clear description about meeting someone who is deaf. Watercolor and pencil, Tildes’ media of choice add to the enjoyable story, a different way of communicating. Tildes helps readers see that true communication begins with an open mind and heart.

Laura Karhoff, BGSU student

Harvey the Painter

Lars Klinting Harvey the Painter; illustrated by Lars Klinting. 31 pages/ Kingfisher 2006 ISBN 0-7534-5955-8 $4.95 (Third Grade)

The children’s book Harvey the Painter is an adorable book perfect for letting children’s imaginations run wild. Chip and Harvey decide they are going to paint their cupboard and they have plenty of fun doing it. After painting the cupboard and making a mess of themselves, Chip decides to continue painting. He thoughtfully paints Harvey a little box and it is truly heart-warming. Though there is a little too much white on some of the pages, the artwork is very good. The illustrations are well thought out and bright for the most part. Some of the pages are rather boring however and could use much more artwork. Despite its downfalls, however, I absolutely love this cute little story and I definitely recommend it for young children to read.

Aisha Kaemming, BGSU student

Say Please

Tony Ross, Say Please. 28pp/Kane Miller Book Publishers 2006 ISBN 1-933605-16-2
$4.95 (Preschool)

Like so many children, Little Princess is learning to make use of her manners. Through repetitive reminders of etiquette, Little Princess displays triumphantly what she has learned by the end of the story line (“Say Please!”). Ross’ simple one-sentence structures on each page keep young readers on task. With his characteristic style, Ross (I Don’t Want To Go To Bed!) weaves mirrored childhood-like moments through his humorous and child-like paintings. He touches on the sensitivity of childhood through the use of softly colored paintings. This book is an excellent showcase of the relativity to childhood through subject matter as well as through the soft artwork.

Hope Pawlaczyk, BGSU student

Tree Ring Circus

Adam Rex Tree Ring Circus; illus. by the author. 32pp/Harcourt Children’s Books 2006 ISBN 0-15-205363-8 $16.00 (Preschool)

The instant classic Tree Ring Circus by Adam Rex (Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich) is a story young and old can enjoy. The small seed, planted just out of town, grows into a “fast-growing” tree, which is a home for numerous animals, including a runaway clown sitting atop the tree. Rex masterfully illustrates his story using detailed oils and mixed media on paper. The pictures and words alike are all set in a circus motif that jumps out at the reader on nearly every page. Rex takes the readers on a hilarious counting trip through the growth and destruction of a tree “three miles out of town.” Tree Ring Circus is a wonderfully simple story with beautiful detailed pictures with animals that seem to come to life. Children will want to read and examine it many times over.

Brittany Eckhart, BGSU student

Monday, November 06, 2006

Blue Burt and Wiggles

Derek Anderson Blue Burt and Wiggles 30 pp. Simon & Schuster 2006 ISBN 1-4169-0593-6 $14.95 (Preschool, Primary)

Blue Burt and Wiggles are the best of friends, ignoring the fact that they are an unlikely pair seeing as how Blue Burt is a bird and Wiggles is a worm. When the pair realizes that summer is coming to an end and that Blue Burt must fly south they are disappointed that they will have to be separated. With the help of a forgotten box of art supplies the two try to stop winter from coming. Their care for one another and efforts to stay together makes this a darling story about true friendship. Anderson’s imaginative full-spread paintings are commonly seen in his other short stories such as the Little Quack series. As usual, the vivid colors and active illustrations make the story of Blue Burt and Wiggles come to life.


Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush

Trapani, Iza (2006). Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush; illus. by the author.Watertown,MA: Charlesbridge.ISBN: 1570916632 $16.95 (Preschool)

The poor farmer in this book would just like to keep the local animals out of her garden. Despite her many attempts to keep the wildlife out, they just discover another way to sneak in. This book uses the classic song to build a fresh and exciting story. The music is simple to enhance the beautiful and amusing lyrics and resembles some of Trapani’s earlier works. The watercolor illustrations pop from the pages to show us how beautiful a garden can be. Looking at the illustrations will bring a smile to your face while sending you back to a time when your fun was only limited by your imagination. Readers will love the exciting lyrics and the enjoyment that comes from this text.

Jessica McLaughlin, BGSU studnet

Hit the Ball Duck

Jez Alborough Hit the Ball Duck; illus. by Jez Alborough. Unpaged/ Kane/Miller Book Publishers 2006 ISBN-13: 978-1-929132-96-6 $15.95 (Primary)

In the picture book Hit the Ball Duck, Alborough departs from his flap books to create a riveting fictional story about animals that want to play baseball, but everything goes wrong. Alborough rhymes throughout the story to make the story flow and bounce. Readers will enjoy the color-drenched, vibrant illustrations that enhance the storyline by drawing the audience into the world of the animals. Full-page spreads and borders produce originality in the pictures. Overall, Albourough generates an invigorating piece of work.

Antonio DeCaro, BGSU student


Julia Donaldson Spinderella; illus. by Liz Pichon. 43pp/Crabtree Publishing Company 2006 ISBN 0-7787-2628-2 (Primary)

Spinderella is a wonderful fiction book, somewhat long, but to fun read. Donaldson’s use of readable text makes the story come alive for the reader. The story focuses on a darling, little spider whose name is Spinderella, and her main mission is to learn how to count. Spinderella and her brothers and sisters love the game of soccer but always end up fighting about the teams being uneven and not being able to count the goals, until her Hairy Godmother appears and helps Spinderella with her problem. This book also provides activities and fun facts that readers can participate in that relate to the story. The vibrant and energetic colors of the spiders give the text life, and the constant movement of the spiders and their facial expressions really involve the reader in Spinderella’s life.

Danielle Devine, BGSU student

Hardworking Puppies

Lynn Reiser Hardworking Puppies 40pp/ Harcourt Trade Publishers 2006
ISBN 0152054049 $16.00 (Primary)

Hardworking Puppies by Lynn Reiser is definitely a fiction book that every kindergarten classroom should have. Reiser uses simple but exciting text to guide young readers through a basic math lesson on subtraction. As each hardworking puppy finds a job, the young reader witnesses a new subtraction problem. This book can easily be compared to Eileen Christelow’s book Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. Both books use a creative storyline to show readers how easy and fun counting down by 1's can be. Reiser’s illustrations in this book, made by using sharpie markers and watercolor paint, only adds to the enjoyment of reading this book!

Ashley Sayre, BGSU student

Pecorino Plays Ball

Alan Madison Pecorino Plays Ball; illus. by AnnaLaura Cantone. Antheneum Books for Young Readers 2006 ISBN 0-689-86522-8 $15.95 (Intermediate)

Pecorino Plays Ball by author Alan Madison and illustrator AnnaLaura Cantone is the second book in the Pecorino series. The book takes silly Pecorino through his first day of baseball, which he had never played before; in “he had never caught a baseball”. Cantone uses acrylic, pen, pencil, and collage to create very enjoyable, humorous illustrations that incorporate bold texture, unique patterns, and show vivid movement. Her perspective in size is humorous to the reader. The children in the story are very tiny, and the “grown-ups” are gigantic. When readers first meet the baseball coach his head does not even fit on the page, Madison calls him “The massive man, shaped like a bowling pin with a small head and a wide button”. Together Madison’s words and Cantone’s illustrations combine to make a humorous and fun read for the readers of Pecorino Plays Ball.

Carrie DeStazio, BGSU student

Guess Who? Peekaboo Panda and Other Animals

Chris Inns Guess Who? Peekaboo Panda and Other Animals; Kingfisher 2006 ISBN 0753459515 $5.95 (Preschool)

Peekaboo Panda, by Chris Inns, is a darling book for preschool children. Peekaboo Panda is a lot like his other book Peekaboo Puppy. Inns carefully crafts a nice tempo and rhyme to give clues to the reader what animal is hiding behind the flaps of the board book. The art work, while at first glance looks simple and cute, helps the book move along and makes it interactive for children to explore these different animals. He uses bright colors, and simple lines, and double-page images. The colors he uses gives each page a mood, and the lines encourage the reader’s eye to focus on the flaps in which one of the five animals are hiding.

Elizabeth Reagan, BGSU student

Cowboy Slim

Danneberg, Julie Cowboy Slim; illus. by Margot Apple. 1 v. (unpaged)/Charlesbridge
2006 ISBN 1-58089-0458 $15.95 (Intermediate)

Danneberg’s Cowboy Slim is a lively and animated book about a cowboy who just doesn’t fit in. Try with all his might, he cannot whip, ride, or lasso, but sure as sky is blue, he can write poetry. Danneberg’s prose embodies the life of a cowboy with a lackadaisical lifestyle, and oftentimes encouraging readers to read aloud as if they are stepping off the ranch. Danneberg’s broad vocabulary use makes the glossary a necessity but it should be placed at the front of the book rather than the back. Illustrator Margot Apple finally let her infamous Sheep in a Jeep out to dry, while she watercolors her way to cowboy land on WJ Ranch. Apple’s exalting ability to cover page-to-page portrayals of animals, humans, and landscape enhances this wonderful story.

Jesse Bockhahn, BGSU student

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Just In Case

Judith Viorst Just In Case; illus. by Diana Cain Bluthenthal. 40pp/Atheneum Books for Young Readers 2006 ISBN 0-689-87164-3 $15.95 (Intermediate)

Just In Case, by Judith Viorst is a fiction story about a little boy learning that he doesn’t need to be prepared all the time. Charlie is a little boy ready for anything. Charlie travels through adventurous happenings where he must be ready for whatever comes his way. Like, Alexander the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Viorst uses emotions to convey her message. Just In Case sends the message, “But maybe not being ready is sometimes okay.” Viorst teams up with Bluthenthal to add mixed media illustrations that produce humor to the emotions Charlie feels. This hilarious explanation of a child’s imagination of responsibility not only lets the reader have fun reading it but leaves an impacting message.

Anonymous BGSU student in S. Osborn's class

Mr. Putter and Tabby Spin the Yarn

Cynthia Rylant Mr. Putter and Tabby Spin the Yarn; illus. by Arthur Howard. 38pp/ Harcourt, Inc. 2006 ISBN-10: 0-15-205067-1 $11.20 (Intermediate)

In Cynthia Rylant’s Mr Putter and Tabby Spin the Yarn, Mr. Putter wants to show his neighbor, Mrs. Teaberry, what a good neighbor he too can be. However, when Mr. Putter provides her knitting party with tea and chocolates, his cat Tabby and Mrs. Teaberry’s dog Zeke go crazy. Rylant does a decent job of telling this short story in the third person narrative point of view. The illustrations by Arthur Howard do an incredible job of adding to the story. Howard uses descriptive facial features, strong vibrant colors, good use of space, and a good depiction of movement. This was a cute and enjoyable story with lovable characters. Rylant’s If You’ll Be My Valentine is another classic filled with affectionate characters, which tells the tale of a young boy making his own Valentine's Day cards.

Courtney Fender, BGSU student

Rocko and Spanky Have Company

Kara Lareau Rocko and Spanky Have Company: illus. by Jenna Lareau. 30 pp/ Harcourt Inc 2006 ISBN 0-15-216618-1 $16.00 (Preschool)

Kara and Jenna LaReau have delivered another great book about Rocko and Spanky the sock monkeys. In this installment, Rocko and Spanky are preparing for a visit from their mother. Despite their differences in cleaning and shopping styles, they get things ready and they have fun playing monkey-in-the-middle with their mom. The writing is very whimsical and fun and is enhanced by the creative illustrations. The illustrations are colorful and fun, and when you look closely you can see just what kind of mischief Rocko and Spanky are causing. The reader cannot wait to see what kind of adventures Rocko and Spanky are having with every turn of the page.

Liz Castle, BGSU student

At Home in the City

Sharon Gordon At Home in the City; illus by Anne Burns Images. 29 pp/ Marshall Cavendish Benchmark 2006 ISBN 0-7614-1960-8 $22.79 per/series (Primary)

Gordon takes a leap forward into a higher level of reading skill with the At Home series. Gordon’s previous publication, the Ready for School series calls for younger readers and addresses less complex concepts of life. The At Home series is an all-in-one tour of New York City, with highlights of monumental artifacts that are important to the community. With authentic photography Anne Burns definitely excites her readers and makes them feel as though they are actually visiting New York City. The pictures in motion have a unique way of producing the fast pace effect that New York City always brings. For a reader who has never had the chance to visit, this book is an excellent substitute.

Shaina Lightfoot, BGSU student

Down the Back of the Chair

Margaret Mahy Down the Back of the Chair; illus. by Polly Dunbar. 29pp/ Clarion Books 2006 ISBN 0-618-69395-5 $16.00 (Primary)

Award winning author Margaret Mahy brings the excitement and imagination again in her new book Down the Back of the Chair. This darling story is about a father who loses his keys so his children suggest looking under the chair cushion to find them. From there they meet all the crazy characters that you find down the back of the chair. Mahy takes the rather peculiar subject of the things you find underneath a chair cushion and spruces it up with eccentric characters and a great rhyming scheme through the book. Polly Dunbar enhances the story with amazing watercolor and cut paper illustrations to make the expressions of the characters pop and really helps bring the story to life.

Amanda Kungle, BGSU student

Once Upon A Dragon: Stranger Safety for Kids

Jean Pendziwol Once Upon A Dragon: Stranger Safety for Kids; illus. by Martine Gourbault. 28 pp/Kids Can Press 2006 ISBN 1-55337-722-2 $14.95 (Preschool)

Clever rhythmic patterns introduce stranger danger in a whole new way. Dragon and his friend fall into well known children stories and are strategically placed in enticing situations. Together the duo must learn to walk away from even the nicest of strangers. The familiar story lines help children to comprehend the fact that unknown people may have good intentions, but can put children into alarming and vulnerable situations. Readers will love the latest in Pendziwol’s series making learning how to resist strangers amusing and educational. Pencil crayon illustrations grace the pages with delicate fairytale images showing that unsuspecting danger can come from anywhere.

Cori Golas, BGSU students

When You Are Happy

Eileen Spinelli When You Are Happy; illus. by Geraldo Valerio unpaged/ Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing 2006 ISBN 0-689-86251-2

When You Are Happy is a delightful story about a little girl who finds comfort and reassurance from the members of her family who explain to her that love complements every mood. Spinelli uses simple but poetic words to express the love the members of the little girls’ family have for her, and GeraldoValerio does a wonderful job creating exciting pictures that jump off the page. The pictures are filled with bright, colorful, and fun art work with the use of acrylic paints. Valerio also illustrated Spinelli’s newest book Do You Have a Hat? When You Are Happy takes children through a wonderful journey of how a family would do anything in the world to make their daughter, granddaughter, and sister happy.

Gayle Grotsky, BGSU student

Baby Shoes

Dashka Slater Baby Shoes; Illus. by Hiroe Nakata. Bloomsbury Children’s Books 2006 ISBN 1-58234-684-4 $15.95 (Preschool)

While shopping, Baby chooses brand-new, high-jumping, fast-running, fine-looking plain white shoes. As Baby drags his mama all through the town he manages to get a little bit of everything from grass stains to plum juice on his shoes! Mama and Baby share “Uh-oh’s” and “Oh-no’s”, but Baby’s shoes just “Go-go-go”! Slater (Firefighters in the Dark) once again attracts young readers by allowing the direction of the story to be lead by an endearing child. The rhythmic pattern of the text grabs the reader’s attention, and the repetitive refrain of the story encourages youngsters to sing along. Nakata uses her famous watercolors to depict the lively text and really bring the colors of Baby’s trip through town to life. This interactive book is excellent for playful toddlers who will relate easily to the story and will respond excitedly to the song-like story.

Mary Rucker, BGSU student

Lettice the Flower Girl

Stanley, Mandy Lettice the Flower Girl; 24pp/ Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 2005 ISBN-13 978-4169-1157-9; ISBN-10 1-4169-1157-X $9.95 (Preschool-First Grade)

Once again Stanley has managed to compel her readers with the stories of Lettice the rabbit. In the story, Lettice has the honor to be a flower girl in her dance teachers’ wedding. Lettice is excited for the day to come and is involved in a search to find a missing component to the wedding. The illustrations throughout the book bring movement to the words on the page. The illustrations are full of glitter and bright colors that help to bring out the mood that has been set. Stanley manages to connect to the early childhood age group with stories that are not only fun to read but capture the readers’ attention.

Brittany Schaller, BGSU student

Dear Tooth Fairy

Karen Gray Ruelle Dear Tooth Fairy. 32pp/Holiday House 2006 ISBN 0-8234-1929-0 $14.95 (Grades 1-2)

Once again, Karen Gray Ruelle brings to life the fun-loving kittens Emily and Harry. In Dear Tooth Fairy, Emily, the smallest kitten, is preparing to lose her first tooth and readers follow her through all of her attempts to get in contact with the Tooth Fairy. Ruelle takes readers back to losing their first tooth through her descriptive language and detailed, colorful pictures. The story is a great book for readers who are afraid of losing teeth and who are unsure of what the Tooth Fairy may have in store for them. The book will keep the attention of primary elementary students with the brightly colored pictures and humorous storyline.

Amanda Miller, BGSU student

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Jack's Bed

Lynne Rickards Jack’s Bed; illus. by Rosalind Beardshaw. 48 pp/Crabtree Publishing 2006 ISBN 0-7787-1028-9 $14.97 (Preschool)

In her picture book debut, Rickards tells a whimsical tale of a boy named Jack and his adventures with his bed. From being scared of the mystical creatures that appear on his wall to having make believe fun, this tale teaches a few interesting lessons. The story stays true to its fiction classification as Jack weaves his imagination through the pages. Preschool children will easily relate as Jack drags his feet when it comes to bedtime, struggles with his nighttime fears that can only be put to rest in the safety of his parents’ bed, and ultimately discovers his creative mind that turns his bed into a wonderland of adventure. Among the short, choppy sentences lies a blanket of color brushed across each page. Through these words and vivid images, this creatively concocted book brings a sense of fun to something as simple as a bed.

Lindsay Jacobs, BGSU student


Ursula Dubosarsky Rex; illus. by David Mackintosh. 31pp/Roaring Book Press
2005ISBN 1-59643-186-5 $16.95 (Primary)

Dubosarsky has created yet another wonderful children’s book to add to her collection. Rex is a charming little class pet that every child is excited to take home for an evening of adventure that is recorded in the class notebook. Mackintosh recreates the class notebook with precise primary exaggeration when he depicts each sleepover with Rex. Dubosarsky’s short sentences paired with Mackintosh’s notebook paper art create a captivating story that children are sure to love. The only question left to ask is, “What would you do if Rex came to visit you?”

Elizabeth Port, BGSU student

Just Teenie

Susan Meddaugh Just Teenie; illus. by the author. 32pp/Houghton Mifflin 2006 ISBN 978-0-618-68565-3 $16.00 (Preschool) WC 152

Susan Meddaugh shows her great imaginative writing skills once again in the book Just Teenie. Justine, a young elementary student, faces the challenge of being a small person in a world that seems just too big for her. After being given the nickname “Teenie” by everyone, she decides to make a wish at a local fortune teller to grow bigger. Little did she know that she wouldn’t be the one growing, but all of a sudden she would become bigger than her surroundings. Meddaugh’s creative writing allows the reader to become involved in this little girl’s life and keeps the reader wondering what’s going to happen next. The illustrations in this book aren’t too detailed and flashy but done well enough to get a great picture of the story. Readers are given a chance to be taken back to their own childhood to recall some old childhood stories.

Joe Redden, BGSU student

Mommy in My Pocket

Carol Hunt Senderak Mommy in My Pocket; illus. by Hiroe Nakata. 24pp/ Hyperion Books For Children 2006 ISBN 0-7868-5596-7 $12.99 (Preschool)

Senderak’s use of words allows the reader to feel calm in her debut writing of Mommy in My Pocket. She takes a scary event for young children, leaving mommy, and shows children that their mommy is always with them. Her simple use of words is appropriate for the story line and audience. Mommy in My Pocket is empowered by the detailing of the gentle illustrations by Hiroe Nakata (Two is for Twins). With Nakata’s soft illustrations and vibrant colors, Senderak’s story is entirely captivating.

Heather Ritchey, BGSU student

Go To Sleep, Gecko!

MacDonald, Margaret Read Go To Sleep, Gecko!; illus. by Geraldo Valerio. Unpaged/ August House Publishers, Inc. 2006 ISBN-10:0-87483-780-4 $16.95 (Preschool - Primary)

Based on a Balinese folktale, Margaret Read MacDonald retells the story Go To Sleep, Gecko! with a bit of a twist, using colorful and cheerful images by Geraldo Valerio. MacDonald creates an imaginative storyline to explain how the world works. The animals and hurdles that arise in the book are funny and attention grabbing for children of the preschool through primary stages. As in his other illustrations, Valerio uses his stunning illustrations to help guide the readers through this charming folktale of how the world works.

LaTisha Bloom, BGSU Student