Monday, November 28, 2011

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin

Pete the Cat has brand-new white shoes. Walking down the street, they change colors as he steps into various things. But that doesn't upset Pete. He just keeps on walking and singing.

What I thought: I liked it. The story (AKA song) flows well and the illustrations are great. Pete is especially cute. I can see so many uses for Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes in story time. I also love how Pete doesn't get upset. I think Pete might be a hippie.

Story Time Themes: Music, Colors (White, Red, Blue, Brown), Emotions (Pete doesn't get upset!)

The sequel Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes will be a great addition to my kindergarten/school story time. I'd pair it with If You Take a Mouse to School and Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten?

(Illus. James Dean. Harper, 2008)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Corsets & Clockwork: 13 Steampunk Romances edited by Trisha Telep

Summary from Dark, urban fantasies come to life in the newest collection of Steampunk stories, Corsets & Clockwork. Young heroes and heroines battle evils with the help of supernatural or super-technological powers, each individual story perfectly balancing historical and fantastical elements. Throw in epic romances that transcend time, and this trendy, engrossing anthology is sure to become another hit for the fast-growing Steampunk genre!

What I thought: This is a collection that will likely appeal to a wide audience. I loved the editor's explanation of steampunk romance in the introduction. As with all collections, there were some stories I liked and others I didn't. My favorites are "Wild Magic" by Ann Aguire, "Deadwood" by Michael Scott, "The Airship Gemini" by Jaclyn Dolamore, and "Tick, Tick, Boom" by Kiersten White.

(RP Teens, 2011)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fins Are Forever by Tera Lynn Childs

Fins Are Forever picks up right where Forgive My Fins ended. Lily is still doing the human thing. In fact, she'll be doing it forever. She loves Quince and therefore doesn't plan to bond with anyone else. In a little less than three weeks, Lily will be 18. As an unbonded royal, she will renounce her title and future as queen. Now her focus is on the future--her human future to be specific--graduating, making good on the SAT, and getting accepted to college. Her bratty cousin Dosinia arrives and throws a wrench into the works. Before Lily knows what's happening, Doe is making eyes at Lily's former crush Brody. Tellin, a prince from a neighboring kingdom also comes for a visit. Lily thought she had her life figured out. Now, she's not so sure.

What I thought: What I liked most about Forgive My Fins doesn't really have any place in this book. Quince and Lily are in love. Ergo, the tension is gone. Fins Are Forever was still an enjoyable book. Lily's interactions with Doe are particularly great. (I love my sister now, but boy was she a pill when we were growing up!) Again with the cliffhanger ending. The third Fins book will be out next summer according to Tera's blog. A title is in the works, but not definite.

(Katherine Tegen, 2011)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

Twelve years ago, Ansel and Gretchen lost their sister in the woods. Recently kicked out by their stepmother, the two head across the country bound for the beach. Their car breaks down in Live Oak, South Carolina. Ansel becomes a handyman for local candy maker Sophia Kelly who is also an outcast. Gretchen befriends Samuel, another local outcast but for different reasons. Gretchen discovers that the "witch" that took her sister wasn't a witch but a werewolf. With Samuel's help, Gretchen overcomes her fear and solves the mystery of the missing girls in Live Oak.

What I thought: Okay, so now I understand the term "companion novel." While Sweetly is a retelling of "Hansel and Gretel," it also adds in the Fenris mythology from Sisters Red. I think I like Sweetly better than Sisters Red. Samuel and Gretchen's relationship is nice. The development from unlikely allies to friends to something more was excellent. Fathomless, a retelling of "The Little Mermaid," is scheduled to be published in 2012.

(Little, Brown, and Company, 2011)

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Woods by Paul Hoppe

Missing his favorite stuffed toy, a little boy must go into the woods to find his bunny. He isn't afraid until...

What I thought: I loved The Woods. It has minimal text and great illustrations. I'd pair it with Where the Wild Things Are and Ferocious Wild Beasts for a fun story time. My favorite illustrations are everyone (sans monster) walking along and sharing the bunny.

Story Time Themes: Monsters, Beasts

(Chronicle, 2011)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Sniffles for Bear by Bonny Becker

Poor Bear has a cold. He believes he's on death's doorstep. Luckily for him, Dr. Mouse is on call. Mouse refuses to let Bear sink into depression on top of his cold.

What I thought: I loved it! Bear and Mouse continue to delight me. In this adventure, the contrast between the friends' outlooks is magnified. Bear making a will put me in mind of Amy from Little Women. The illustrations are great as usual. My favorites are Bear when Mouse comes in, Mouse helping Bear to bed, and Mouse sick in bed.

Story Time Themes: Friendship, Illness (pair with Bear Feels Sick by Karma Wilson)

(Illus. Kady MacDonald Denton. Candlewick, 2011)

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Birthday for Bear by Bonny Becker

Remember Bear? He hated visitors until Mouse came along? Well, now he hates birthdays, but I think we can count on Mouse to change that.

What I thought: Hilarious! Bear and Mouse are such great characters. Bear's repeated insistence that he hates birthdays will draw giggles from all children. The illustrations are lovely as always. I think Kady is becoming one of my favorite illustrators. She used such soft color and the detail, oh my! My favorite illustrations are Bear sweeping Mouse out and party time (pp.48-50).

Story Time Themes: Birthdays, Friendship

(Illus. Kady MacDonald Denton. Candlewick, 2009)

Friday, November 11, 2011

You Will Be My Friend! by Peter Brown

Lucy of Children Make Terrible Pets is back. This time her goal is not a pet but a friend. She is certain she can find one friend in the forest. As you can imagine, many of the animals aren't excited about being forced to be friends with Lucy. Lucy tries. She really does, but to no avail.

What I thought: It's nice to see Lucy again. I thought her first book was hilarious. (A side note, I tried to use Children Make Terrible Pets in preschool story time, and it didn't go over well. I think the book needs a slightly older audience.) Lucy's quest for a friend is funny and sweet. I like the illustrations. I'm still a big fan of Brown's color scheme. My favorite illustrations are Lucy on the ostrich, the flamingo, and Lucy and the flamingo.

Story Time Themes: Friendship, Animals (Pair with The Little, Little Girl with the Big, Big Voice by Kristen Balouch)

(Little, Brown, & Company, 2011)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Goyangi Means Cat by Christine McDonnell

Soo Min doesn't know many English words. She teaches her new parents some Korean word. Her favorite word is goyangi or cat.

What I thought: A beautiful story with equally beautiful illustrations. The story is sweet. I love the illustrations. The Asian papers used in them were just right.

Story Time Themes: Pets, Friendship

(Illus. Steve Johnson & Lou Fancher. Viking, 2011)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Zoozical by Judy Sierra

Animals at the Springfield Zoo don't like winter. You might say they were depressed. But one day, an unlikely pair of friends liven things up with a little music. Soon the whole zoo is planning a musical...I mean a zoozical.

What I thought: Fun, fun. I can't wait to use Zoozical during a musical story time. The animals have picked the songs for me. The illustrations are great. My favorites are the sad animals, the happy animals (x 3), and the end.

Story Time Themes: Zoos, Music

(Illus. Marc Brown. Knopf, 2011.)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Should I Share My Ice Cream? by Mo Willems

(An Elephant & Piggie Book)

Gerald's elation at procuring some ice cream is short-lived as he debates the merits of sharing it with Piggie. Before he realizes it, his ice cream has melted! What's an elephant to do?

What I thought: A perfect book for summer in the Elephant & Piggie series. These two characters are quickly becoming one of my favorite sets of literary friends.

Story Time Themes: Friends, Ice Cream, Summer

(Hyperion, 2011)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fox & Hen Together by Beatrice Rodriguez

Fox and Hen are married and expecting a baby. Their only problem is an empty fridge. Hen leaves the egg with Fox and goes off with Crab to catch (as in fish) some food. Fishing turns out to be more involved than Hen imagined. Will she ever make it back to Fox and their baby?

What I thought: Rodriguez really understands the concept of wordless picture books. Her illustrations are perfect for adding your own narration. She shows the action so clearly. My favorite illustration is Fox and Hen having dinner with their baby and Crab at the end of the story. Read my review of Fox and Hen's first adventure in The Chicken Thief.

(Enchanted Lion, 2011)