Saturday, November 22, 2014

Skippyjon Jones: Snow What

 Cover image for Skippyjon Jones snow what
Skippyjon Jones: Snow What
by Judy Schachner
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2014. Picture Book

Skippyjon Jones is back with another adventure just in time for winter.  Skippyjon likes to play with his sisters in the snow, but he doesn't like to listen to their kissy princess bedtime stories.  When their mother starts to read Snow White to them, Skippyjon goes into his bedroom and makes up his own story about saving the princess. As usual, Skippyjon teams up with his chihuahua friends and together they brave the winter night to find the frozen princess Snow What.  This book has all that fans have come to expect from Skippyjon Jones; snappy bilingual word play, high and hilarious adventure, and plenty of kitty bravado. As an added bonus the publisher has included an audio CD of the story read by the author.

Bear Hug

 Cover image for Bear hug
Bear Hug
by Katharine McEwen
Templar Books, 2014. Picture Book

A young adult bear forages in the forest just as his Mama and Papa bear taught him. One day he meets another bear and they begin spending time together gathering food and building a den in a cave.  When winter comes they stay together and in spring they emerge with a little bear cub in tow. The bear parents begin to teach their cub the same skills their parents taught them.  This is a lovely simple book about the wonder of the life cycle.  McEwen tells the story with minimal text--only a sentence per page-- and with colorful collage illustrations.  McEwen makes good use of translucent papers in the collage, so that the bears' forest home looks like it has depth and dimension. This book could be enjoyed by preschoolers at home, or used as a read aloud STEM book for kindergarten or first grade classes.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Display: Boredom Busters


Kitchen Science Experiments: How Does your Mold Garden Grow?
By Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
Introduces basic chemistry concepts that can be learned in everyday kitchens, with easy-to-follow instructions and scientific explanations for each experiment.

Magic Up Your Sleeve
By Helaine Becker
Learn to perform fun, step-by-step tricks with common household items. Learn intriguing facts about magicians of the past and their awe-inspiring tricks. Get the inside scoop on how to stage a magic show that'll leave audiences amazed and astounded.

Xtreme Illusions
By Anna Bowles
Seeing is believing. But what if you simply can't believe your eyes? Dive into another dimension and experience the eye-boggling and brain-twisting extremes of these awesome optical illusions. This mind-bending collection of visual puzzles will amaze your friends, mystify your family and even blow your own mind!

Easy Origami Toys
By Christopher L. Harbo
Provides instructions and diagrams for making a variety of toy origami models.

Harry Potter Magic Eye Book: 3D Magical Moments
By Magic Eye Inc.
Computer-generated 3D images of Harry Potter characters emerge when the viewer "decodes" the drawings.

The Big Book of Things to Make
By James Mitchem
Check out how to build a periscope, design a board game, mastermind a water fight, sculpt soap monsters, and more.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Beautiful Yetta's Hanukkah Kitten

Cover image for Beautiful Yetta's Hanukkah kitten
Beautiful Yetta's Hanukkah Kitten
by Daniel Pinkwater
illustrated Jill Pinkwater
Feiwel and Friends, 2014. Picture Book

Yetta the chicken lives in the trees of Brooklyn and mothers a whole group of escaped parrots.  One winter she finds a kitten shivering in the cold.  She wants to help it, but doesn't know how.  She and the parrots decide to take the kitten to a kindly Jewish woman they know.  She welcomes the kitten, and treats the assembled birds to Hanukkah latkas. This is the second Beautiful Yetta story.  In the first she falls off a farm cart, finds herself in the city, and meets the parrots.  Yetta is a Yiddish and everything she says is printed in English and Yiddish, with a pronunciation provided below. The parrots' dialog is printed in English and Spanish with pronunciation beneath. The illustrations, done with marker and ink pen, are very child friendly. This is a cute holiday story about extending kindness to those in need.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Stubby the War Dog

Cover image for Stubby the war dog : the true story of world war I 's bravest dog

Stubby the Ward Dog: The True Story of World War I's Bravest Dog
by Ann Bausum
National Geographic Kids, 2014. Nonfiction, 72 p.

At the outset of WWI a mixed breed dog started hanging out around the field at Yale University where new military recruits were drilling.  He was befriended by J. Robert Conroy of the Yankee Division.  When it was time to ship out to Europe, Conroy smuggled the dog, whom he named Stubby because of his short tail, aboard the transport ship.  Very soon Stubby had endeared himself to the whole regiment and even learned to do a salute to commanding officers.  On the front, Stubby became an important addition to the war effort.  He cheered the troops in the trenches, carried messages, and helped to find wounded soldiers after battle.  He was even wounded twice, and was eventually awarded special medals for his faithful service. Bausum's writing is interesting and age appropriate, but she is also meticulous about sorting out legend from fact and noting her sources.  The book is illustrated with reproductions of historical photos and memorabilia that Conroy kept while Stubby was alive, and donated to the Smithsonian after the dog's death. This engaging nonfiction is a tribute to a brave dog, but also a child friendly introduction to American involvement in the Great War.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Display: Bedtime Bonding Books

Nighty Night ZooBorns
By Andrew Bleiman and Chris Eastland
Employing text designed for emerging readers, a skill-building bedtime tale features endearing ZooBorns photography that depicts adorable animal babies settling down to sleep.

Night Science for Kids
By Terry Krautwurst
Provides ideas and activities for discovering what changes in the world after dark, including the arrival of moths and owls, fog, and the stars.

The Sunset Switch
By Kathleen V. Kudlinski
Simple text and warm illustrations give readers a glimpse into the night when daytime animals go to sleep and nighttime animals take over.

The Moonflower
By Peter Loewer
A brief look at some of nature's nocturnal behavior including the blooming of the moonflower, how moths drink, how bats "see," and how vines climb.

Goodnight Book for Latter-day Saints
By Jenna Mitchell
Stories, poems, and other bedtime activities for you and your little one.

Buddha at Bedtime
By Dharmachari Nagaraja
A retelling of 20 ancient Buddhist tales intended to impart wisdom and moral guidance to children. Each story highlights a moral or ethical dilemma that echoes those that children face in their own lives. At the conclusion of each story, applicable Buddhist principles are discussed.

Bedtime Math
By Laura Overdeck
Over 100 kid-friendly math problems on topics from jalapeños and submarines to roller coasters and flamingos, designed to make math a fun part of kids' everyday lives.

Animal Faces at Night
By Hannah Kate Sackett
Introduces some of the animals that come out primarily at night, including fruit bats, aardvarks, jaguars, and geckos.

Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night
By Joyce Sidman
A collection of poems that celebrate the wonder, mystery, and danger of the night and describes the many things that hide in the dark.

Where is the Night Train Going
By Eileen Spinelli
A collection of poems that appeals to the imagination of young children. Bright watercolor drawings accompany each poem.

Where Does the Sun Sleep
By Time-Life for Children
Answers questions about the world at night, including whether people move in their sleep, whether flowers and trees sleep, why the moon changes shape, and why fireflies glow in the dark.

The Goodnight Book For Moms and Little Ones
By Alice Wong and Lena Tabori
A collection of stories, tales and legends, songs and lullabies, literary excerpts, poetry, activities, recipes, prayers and star charts.

Display: Curiously Unusual Books

This Book Just Ate My Dog!
By Richard Byrne
When her dog disappears into the gutter of the book, Bella calls for help. But when the helpers disappear too, Bella realizes it will take more than a tug on the leash to put things right.

Don’t Push the Button!
By Bill Cotter
The only rule in Larry's book is that the reader not push the button, but when no one is looking, it may be irresistible.

The Black Book of Colors
By Menena Cottin
This title invites readers to imagine living without sight through remarkable illustrations done with raised lines and descriptions of colors based on imagery. Braille letters accompany the illustrations and a full Braille alphabet offers sighted readers help reading along with their fingers.

The Day the Crayons Quit
By Drew Daywalt
When Duncan arrives at school one morning, he finds a stack of letters, one from each of his crayons, complaining about how he uses them.

Moo!
By David LaRochelle
When Cow gets her hooves on the farmer's car, she takes it for a wild ride through the country.

My Milk Toof
By Inhae Lee
Follows two baby teeth named Ickle and Lardee as they navigate the pleasures and perils of being very small in a very big world.

Warning: Do Not Open This Book!
By Adam Lehrhaupt
Monkeys, toucans, and alligators unleash mayhem.

An Undone Fairy Tale
By Ian Lendler
When it's illustrator cannot keep up with its reader, a story about shelfish; pie loving king takes numerous silly detours.

Tap the Magic Tree
By Christie Matheson
Invites the reader to tap, rub, touch, and wiggle illustrations to make an apple tree bloom, produce fruit, and lose its leaves.

The Book with No Pictures
By B. J. Novak
In this book with no pictures, the reader has to say every silly word, no matter what.

Aoki
By Annelore Parot
Inspired by traditional Japanese dolls, this story introduces the reader to Japanese vocabulary and culture as Aoki tours Tokyo with her friend.

Is There a Dog in This Book?
By Viviane Schwarz
Can cats and dogs share the same turf? Revisit the age-old dilemma with a hide-and-seek romp among furry friends.

There Are No Cats in This Book
By Viviane Schwarz
Filled with the spirit of adventure, three cats pack their suitcases and try to escape from their book.

Gallop! : A Scanimation Picture Book
By Rufus Butler Seder
Employing a patented new technology called Scanimation, each page is a marvel that brings animals, along with one shining star, to life with art that literally moves. It's impossible not to flip the page, and flip it again, and again, and again.

Swing! : a Scanimation Picture Book
By Rufus Butler Seder
Now Swing! does for kids what Gallop! does for animals—a boy rides a bike, a girl kicks her soccer ball, a swimmer cuts through the water, and a skater pirouettes on ice. The effect is joyous, magical, mesmerizing, and taps into the the endless fascination that children find in watching other children.

Dragonology: The Complete Book of Dragons
By Dugald Steer
Do you believe in dragons? Now, for the first time, the long-lost research of renowned nineteenth century dragonologist Dr. Ernest Drake is presented in all its eccentric glory, happily bridging the gap between dragon legend and fact.

Press Here
By Heve Tullet
Instructs the reader on how to interact with the illustrations to create imaginative images.

We Are In a Book
By Mo Willems
Gerald and Piggie discover the joy of being read. But what will happen when the book ends?

Display: Letters to Santa

Truth About Santa Claus
By James Cross Giblin
Explains how historical facts, religious mythology, folklore, tradition, and commercial promotion have combined to give us the modern figure of Santa Claus.

Dear Santa: The Letters of James B. Dobbins
By Bill Harley
James Dobbins writes letters to Santa Claus, detailing what he and some family members want for Christmas and explaining his behavior of the past year.

Santas of the World
By George Ouwendijk Explains that people of various cultures from around the world have different ideas about Santa Claus or a comparable mythical figure who is often seen as a gift-giver.

Letters from Father Christmas
By J.R.R. Tolkien
A collection of illustrated letters from Father Christmas recapping the activities of the preceding year at the North Pole. The letters were written by the author to his children.

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place


The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place
by Julie Berry
Roaring Book Press, 2014. Fiction 351 p

One Sunday afternoon at St. Etheldreda's School for Young Ladies the head mistress and her slimy brother suddenly drop dead.  The seven students of the Victorian girl's boarding school must make a quick decision.  Do they report the deaths to the authorities and face the inevitability of the school being shut down, or do they hide the murders and enjoy, for the first time, some measure of freedom and control of their future? Lead by Smooth Alice, the seven girls begin an elaborate charade to fool all the nosy neighbor, police, doctors and suitors and keep their bid for independence alive. Focusing on strong and quirky girl characters,  Berry has created a fast paced, and darkly funny murder mystery for those who like The Series of Unfortunate Events, and the Enola Holmes mysteries.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Winter Moon Song

 Cover image for Winter moon song
Winter Moon Song
by Martha Brooks
illustrated by Leticia Ruifernández
Groundwood Books, 2014. Picture Book

Young Rabbit has been practicing with the rabbit choir as it prepares to sing the Winter Moon Song.  He wonders how the tradition of the Winter Moon Song began so his mother tells him the story of the rabbit in the moon.  As the little rabbit sings the song that has been sung by rabbits for generations, he feels connected to all rabbits, young and old, and sees his place in their grand history. Brooks' sweet, gentle, story bucks the recent trend for short sassy text. It is illustrated with soft watercolors in muted white, blue, and black. This one is a great choice to for parents who want to snuggle up with a little one and savor a longer story on a cold winter evening.