Thursday, July 30, 2009

If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff

Numeroff, Laura. If You Take a Mouse to the Movies. Illus. Felicia Bond. New York: Laura Geringer, 2000.

It’s Christmastime and Mouse is going to the movies. Popcorn inspires him to make a chain and that leads to the purchase of a Christmas tree, lots of snow play, and the making of other decorations.

What I thought: A Christmas story from Numeroff—what fun! I love the illustrations. They give me so many ideas for a story time program. I can see children making ornaments just like Mouse does. I have to wonder if the other animals are jealous of Mouse. Not only does he get cookies, he gets to go places. In 2000, he went to the movies. In 2002, he went to school. Where should the other animals get to go?

If You Take a Moose to the Mayor’s Office
If You Take a Pig to the Post Office
If You Take a Cat to the Carwash
If You Take a Dog to the Dentist
If You Take a Fox to the Firehouse
If You Take a Rabbit to the Racetrack
If You Take a Snake to the Salon

Note: Readers will meet most of these animals in If You Give a Pig a Party (2005)

Please leave your guesses in the comments!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Goose Chase by Patrice Kindl

Kindl, Patrice. Goose Chase. New York: Puffin, 2001.

Alexandria Aurora Fortnato has been cursed. She’s as beautiful as the dawn. Her hair sheds gold dust. She weeps diamonds. These may not seem like curses, but they resulted in her being locked in a tower for six months and forced to choose between King Claudio the Cruel and Prince Edmund of Dorloo (a bumbling fool). Before she was cursed, Alexandria was just a simple Goose Girl. She minded her own business and tended her 12 geese. Though her geese rescue her from the tower, she’s not out of danger. The king and prince might still be pursuing her. She lands in a den of ogresses. The bumbling prince becomes her traveling companion. They are captured by the king’s soldiers. A marriage is in the offing. Can her geese save her now? Or will it be a crown, a ring, and a necklace that deliver her from marriage to the king?

What I thought: A delightful tale fraught with misadventure. This book was truly a pleasure to read. Alexandria has such great character and voice. I love how the ending is not quite complete. Patrice, if you’re reading this, I’d love to see a sequel.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel

Bruel, Nick. Bad Kitty. New Milford, CT: Neal Porter, 2005.

Kitty isn’t really bad. She’s only bad when forced to eat healthy food like eggplant and water cress. Then she does bad things. She “endangered the goldfish” and “yowled all night” for a start/ However, her behavior always improves when her humans stock up on the food she enjoys such as goose goulash and whale waffles. After such a scrumptious feast, Kitty must make amends. She “kissed the goldfish” and “sang opera all night.”

What I thought: Nick Bruel is a genius. This delightful book takes readers on a romp through the alphabet four times. When I first saw Bad Kitty on, I knew I had to have my very own copy. Thank you, Mr. Bruel, for hours of entertainment as I read the book repeatedly.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Blood & Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause

Klause, Annette Curtis. Blood and Chocolate. New York: Laurel Leaf, 1997.

Vivian Gandillon is a werewolf. Part human, part wolf. Her interest in Aidan, a sensitive, poetic human, makes it difficult for her to reconcile the two halves of herself. Gabriel, the young, handsome new leader of the pack, offers her a new perspective on her dilemma. Who will she choose?

What I thought: Sexy and complicated are the best ways to describe this book. Readers can relate to Vivian’s identity struggle. Yes, she’s a werewolf, but she’s also a teen girl. They question who they are, who they want to be. It’s the natural process of growing up. For those of you who have seen the movie, the book is SO much better. I don’t know why they bothered to make a movie when they changed every aspect of the book.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

If You Take a Mouse to School by Laura Numeroff

Numeroff, Laura. If You Take a Mouse to School. Illus. Felicia Bond. New York: Laura Gereinger, 2002.

Have you ever wanted to take your pet to school. In this story, a boy takes his pet mouse to school and they have many adventures. The mouse dabbles in all the scholastic arts and makes great messes.

What I thought: I’m glad Numeroff wrote another book about Mouse. He’s a great character. Bond outdid herself with the illustrations. There’s so much to look at on each page.

Read All Numeroff’s Circular Stories:
If You Give a Mouse A Cookie (1985)
If You Give a Mouse a Muffin (1991)
If You Give a Pig a Pancake (1998)
If You Take a Mouse to the Movies (2000)
If You Take a Mouse to School (2002)
If You Give a Pig a Party (2006)
If You Give a Cat a Cupcake (2009)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Squashed by Joan Bauer

Bauer, Joan. Squashed. New York: Speak, 1992.

Max and Ellie both have weight problems. Max needs to gain a few hundred. Ellie wants to lose twenty. Did I mention Max is the giant pumpkin Ellie’s growing for a local competition? Their journey to weigh-in day is fraught with pumpkin thieves, guard dogs, and frost threats.

What I thought: Bauer is one of my favorite authors. This book, one of her first, is refreshing in the midst of other newer young adult novels. I would even call the book timeless. It’s 17 years old, but the issues Ellie deals with are the same issues girls are still dealing with today. Ellie is such a likeable character. The book is one of struggles. Girl against nature. Girls against self. Girl against others.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff

Numeroff, Laura. If You Give a Moose a Muffin. Illus. Felicia Bond. New York: Laura Gereinger, 1991.

One boy’s adventures with a moose—it all started with a muffin. (And ended with one, too.)

What I thought: Numeroff’s forays into the realm of “what if” continue to delight me.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Water Song by Suzanne Weyn

Weyn, Suzanne. Water Song. New York: Simon Pulse, 2006.

The war has trapped Emma Winthrop on her family estate in Belgium. She rescues Jack from her well. He’s been injured by chlorine gas. No sooner than she saves him than German troops commandeer her home. To protect herself and Jack (an American fighting for the British), Emma tells the Germans that they are married. Jack and Emma have an uneasy relationship. She’s disgusted by his disfigured looks and looks down on him. He’s enchanted by her beauty and just wants a kiss. The precarious nature of their situation draws them closer. They both want to aid the Allied cause and escape their confinement. Jack’s special, you might even say magical, way with water is a great help.

What I thought: What depth Weyn gives to the classic fairy tale “The Frog Prince.” Emma is more than a silly princess. Jack is certainly not a frog though Emma thinks he looks like one when he’s injured. The World War I setting is wonderful. This book is a fairy tale, a fantasy, and historical fiction all at the same time.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

Numeroff, Laura. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Illus. Felicia Bond. New York: Laura Gereinger, 1985.

Did you know that cookies and milk could inspire adventures? Well, they can. Just ask the mouse.

What I thought: This book is a classic. Numeroff has really hit on something with her circular stories. If find myself wanting to read them again and again. Bond’s whimsical illustrations add to my enjoyment.