Friday, April 29, 2011

Mammalabila by Douglas Florian

Animals abound in Florian's collection of mammal poems.

What I thought
: I really like this collection. I've never read Florian before and was pleasantly surprised. His collection of mammals is eclectic and therein lies the appeal. My favorite poems are the fox, the otter, the giraffe, and the hippo (I love hippos!). The illustrations are great. They look like children created them. That's a compliments as these will appeal to kids. My favorite illustrations are the mole (from the table of contents), the rhebok, and the tapir. Mammalabilia would pair well with Prelutsky's If Not For the Cat and Elliott's In the Wild.

(Harcourt, 2000)

Monday, April 25, 2011

My Dog May Be a Genius by Jack Prelutsky

Summary from dust jacket: Have you ever encountered an underwater marching band, a pig in a bathing suit, a pet orangutan, or a witch in a hardware store? Have you ever sat with a skunk in a courtroom, shopped for a dinosaur, or conversed with a Bupple, a Wosstrus, a Violinnet, or a Celloon? You will have, once you′ve read this exuberant collaboration from Jack Prelutsky and his "partner in crime" James Stevenson.

What I thought
: A great collection for kids. Such silly, improbable poems. I love Prelutsky's wide, varied vocabulary. My favorite poems are "the View from Here," "If You Were a Rhinoceros," "One Day in the Woods," "A Fox Has Caught the Chickens," "Some Chickens," "The Average Hippopotamus," and "I'm Dancing with My Elephants." Stevenson's illustrations are perfect. I can't pick a favorite.

(Illus. James Stevenson. Greenwillow, 2010)

Friday, April 22, 2011

If Not for the Cat by Jack Prelutsky

Prelutsky offers 17 poems, haiku to be specific, riddles if you will, to readers. Can you guess the creatures?

What I thought
: Delightful! I never knew haiku had the possibility of being riddles, but Prelutsky showed me. These would be great to share with elementary school age children. Don't show the illustrations until they've guessed what creature. My favorite haiku are the elephant, the otter, the beaver, and the butterflies. The illustrations are gorgeous--so realistic and colorful. My favorites are the otter, the parrot, the butterfly, the hummingbird. This collection would pair well with David Elliott's In the Wild.

Story Time Theme
: Animals

(Illus. Ted Rand. Greenwillow, 2004)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman

The sun sets. The moon rises. The night creatures come out to play--the raccoon, the owl, the cricket, and more. In 12 poems, Joyce Sidman explores the night. Explanatory notes and a glossary add to the collection.

What I thought
: Not my favorite collection by Sidman, but enjoyable nonetheless. My favorite poems are "I Am a Baby Porcupette," "Ballad of the Wandering Eft" (the chorus is particularly lovely), and "Moon's Lament." The illustrations are great. They suit the subject perfectly--an impeccable blend of light and dark. My favorite illustrations are "Mushrooms" and "Primrose Moth."

(Illus. Rick Allen. Houghton Mifflin, 2010)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw

A collection of 17 syllable poems (senryu, like haiku) tells the story of an adopted shelter cat. His new owner calls him Won Ton. Read his story to discover Won Ton's real name.

What I thought
: I loved it. I'm not really a cat fan in real life, but I like cat picture books, poetry, etc. I can't resist a book that makes use of Japanese poetic forms. A wonderful story. My favorite poems are "Dogs have hair. Cats have fur" and "Your Tummy..." I love the illustrations especially those of won Ton. They have bold lines and saturated color. My favorite is Won Ton wanting attention and Won Ton on the boy's tummy.

Story Time Themes
: Cats, Japan (Haiku)

(Illus. Eugene Yelchin. Henry Holt, 2011)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys by Bob Raczka

Guys like nature. That's a fact. Here are six haiku for each season all about guys enjoying nature.

What I thought
: I really like this collection. I can definitely see the boy appeal. Haiku has always been one of my favorite poetic forms and I agree with Raczka about haiku being a good form to introduce guys to poetry. They're short and easy to understand. My favorite is about the puddle and the sister. I love the color scheme Reynolds uses with a color for each season. My favorite illustrations are the guy and his sister, the boy under the snow covered tree, and the boys at the end of the book.

(Illus. Peter H. Reynolds. Houghton Mifflin, 2010)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Camille Saint-Saëns’s The Carnival of the Animals with new verses by Jack Prelutsky

In 1886, Saint-Saëns composed The Carnival of the Animals. Fast forward 124 years. Jack Prelutsky has added poems and Mary GrandPré has added illustrations to create this lovely tribute to Saint-Saëns' original composition. Complete with audio CD, it is a worthy tribute.

What I thought
: I'll be honest. I've listened to classical music a lot, but I've never heard of Camille Saint-Saëns or his The Carnival of the Animals. I bough the collection because Prelutsky wrote the poetry. The poems are great fun as Prelutsky's always are. My favorites are "Rooster and Hens," "Elephants," and "Birds." The illustrations are magical. My favorites are "Birds" and "Swan." The note to parents and teachers at the end of the collection was very informative. I haven't yet had a chance to listen to the audio CD, but I know it will be wonderful.

(Illus. Mary GrandPré. Knopf, 2010)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Happy D.E.A.R. Day!

It's D.E.A.R. Day! That's right--Drop Everything And Read Day. Many thanks to author Beverly Cleary for inspiring this great holiday. She introduced the idea of D.E.A.R. in her book Ramona Quimby, Age 8. Cleary turns 95 today. Celebrate her birthday and D.E.A.R. Day by reading. I'll be reading spring themed books in story time today, but I also plan to read Henry Huggins this afternoon. My new goal is to read all of Beverly Cleary's books.

Don't forget to "Drop Everything And Read" today!

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Dazzling Display of Dogs by Betsy Franco

If you like dogs, this is the book for you. In cleverly constructed concrete poems and bright illustrations, you'll meet more dogs than you can imagine.

What I thought
: With her A Curious Collection of Cats, Franco introduced me to the fun world of concrete poems. Her second collection of concrete poems didn't disappoint me. Fun is the perfect word to describe it. Kids will love reading the poems and admiring the illustrations. My favorite poems are "Pug Appeal," Jake the Jack Russell Terrier," Bubbles," "Dog Haiku," and "Miss Olive's Teddy Bear." The illustrations are bright, colorful, and utterly appealing. My favorite illustrations are "Bubbles," "Crazy Combo," "Circling Poem I," and "Perkins' Tail."

(Illus. Michael Wertz. Tricycle Press, 2011)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards

The summer of 1888 sees the beginning of a romance between Celestia, a rich man's daughter, and Peter, an employee at the hotel. Their separation doesn't end their romance. In the summer of 1889, Celestia and Peter find each other again. But on May 31st, their lives are forever changed when the rains don't stop and the rivers keep rising. When the South Fork Reservoir breaks, can they survive the flood?

What I thought
: I can't resist a verse novel and Three Rivers Rising was quite good. My favorite parts were those concerning Celestia and Peter, but Maura and her husband's story was moving as well. I'd never heard of the Jonhstown Flood, but would like to know more. My favorite verses are those about the memory quilt Maura makes. The book read very quickly. I think that's one of the main appeals of verse novels.

I read Three Rivers Rising for the Young Adult Historical Fiction Challenge.

(Knopf, 2010)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Today at the Bluebird Cafe: A Branchful of Birds by Deborah Ruddell

Have you ever considered birds? I mean, we see them, admire them, but have you ever stopped to think what they might have to say? Deborah Ruddell did and presents their thoughts in this collection of 22 poems.

What I thought
: I've liked Deborah Ruddell ever since I read her A Whiff of Pine, A Hint of Skunk. Reading her first collection was highly enjoyable. These poems are full of imagery and surprises. Perhaps not as humorous as those in her second collection, but satisfying all the same. My favorite poems are "The Cardinal," "There's a Robin in the Bathroom," The Kingfisher," The Quail," "Bravo, Bobolink," and "The Swan." My most favorite is "The Swan." I read it during a fairy tale themed after school program and the kids loved it. The illustrations are lovely--so soft and yet bright colored. My favorites are the puffin and the swan.

(Illus. Joan Rankin. Margaret K. McElderry, 2007)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Bunny's Easter Egg by Anne Mortimer

Bunny is very tired after hiding all her Easter eggs, but she can't find a good place to sleep. She leaves the one egg she didn't hide behind to search for a good napping place., Every place has its faults--too noisy, too lumpy, too wet, and so on. In defeat, Bunny returns to her basket and finds a new friend.

What I thought: Loved it! I'm a sucker for a good Easter book. The story is great. I like the onomatopoeia and the repetition. The illustrations are beautiful. I really enjoyed looking for the egg hidden on each page. I think children will, too.

Story Time Theme: Easter

(Katherine Tegen, 2010)

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Pig Parade Is A Terrible Idea by Michael Ian Black

A pig parade is a great idea. What? Are you sure about that? I think a pig parade is a terrible idea. Let me tell you why.

What I thought: This book is as entertaining as Black's others (Chicken Cheeks & The Purple Kangaroo). I like how the narrator tries to convince the reader that a pig parade is, indeed, a terrible idea. A Pig Parade Is A Terrible Idea is a humorous book that will appeal to readers of all ages. I love the illustrations. They are so colorful and realistic. My favorites are the pig parade and the panda parade. Dare I hope that there will be a sequel to this book all about pandas?

Story Time Themes: Pigs, Michael Ian Black, Silly Books

(Illus. Kevin Hawkes. Simon & Schuster, 2010)