Saturday, March 2, 2013

Feelin' grumpy?

Big Rabbit's Bad Mood is great for both toddlers and preschoolers. Small kids have off days and might not always understand their own feelings. Big Rabbit sure doesn't understand the bad mood following him around everywhere, wiping his boogers on the carpet and eating his radio. That bad mood is all Big Rabbit can think about until a shining brilliant idea comes to him to lure the bad mood out of his house. Yes! That just might do the trick.

Note: Other reviews pointed out that essentially the bad mood dissipates when (SPOILER ALERT!) Big Rabbit's mom and friends show up for a surprise birthday party. And, yeah, that does happen, but what is also in the book is the idea that you have to be responsible for your own person. When unable to reach his friends to help take his mind off his bad mood, Big Rabbit comes up with his own plan to get the bad mood to leave him alone.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Let's talk about forming a union

What a great introduction to collective bargaining. Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin is hilarious. The cows have found a typewriter and are cold in the barn. So begins the negotiations with Farmer Brown. At first Farmer Brown is resistant to the idea of caving in to the demands of his cows. After all, cows that type? That's impossible! But when the cows go on strike and the chickens join in on the fight, Farmer Brown has to rethink his position. What choice does he have? A farmer can't very well run a farm without milk and eggs, can he?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A whatchamacallit

The beautiful illustations alone make Il Sung Na's The Thingamabob worth a look, but my favorite part is the process of trying to figure out what the unknown item is. One day an elephant is walking along and stumbles upon an umbrella (a.k.a. the thingamabob). He does not know what it is so he spends the rest of the book trying it out. Can he hide behind it? Float in it? Fly with it? It reminds me every time I read it of the wonder the worlds holds.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

How to dress for cold weather

Longjohns by Kit Allen is all about simplicity. Simple illustrations with simple words provide a great story for the younger set. Not that it doesn't carry over to toddlers and preschoolers. The book can be used to learn sight words and, without trying to ascribe too many benefits to such a book, the educational takeaway is that it is a good idea to dress appropriately for the weather outside.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Magically Woven Tale

 Many children's stories have their origins from the Brother's Grimm. And many of their original stories were dark, scary, and cautionary.  The tale of Rumpelstiltskin is no different - a small man cons a young woman into giving up her firstborn child to him, she must learn his name if she is to keep her child.  Is there anything scarier for a child than a mother giving up her baby?

Paul O Zelinsky brings this dark tale to new light through beautiful oil paintings and lyrical language.  Each page is its own work of art, and will be enjoyed by children and appreciated by adults.  Zelinsky doesn't simplify any of the story and uses complex sentence structures and "big" words to tell the story.  Which is partly why it won the Caldecott Honor in 1987.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Otis the Tractor

This is one of the sweetest books ever. Otis is a gentle, fun-spirited tractor who enjoys life on the farm. His best friend is the calf who sleeps in the stall next to his in the barn. They spend their days working and playing and sitting under the apple tree. Then the big yellow tractor shows up and Otis is displaced.
The story deals with learning we still have value and can impact the lives of others long after we think we have become obsolete. It's about friendship. And it's about the putt puff puttedy chuff that saves the day.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Dank you!

Patrick McDonnell's The Monsters' Monster is a fabulous and wonderful little kid book inspired by Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Monsters Grouch, Grump and little Gloom n' Doom are living in a "dark monster castle, high atop a dark monster mountain, overlooking a monster-fearing village." They do all sorts of things little monsters do. And then they come up with the idea to create the "biggest, baddest monster EVER!" With help from a bolt of lightning they create their monster, but this monster is nothing like them. He's gentle and kind and sweet and loves doughnuts. This book is a treat for all readers, young and old.