Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Everything Else: Cybils Nominations, The T's

Think I can finish all the quick reviews before December 1st? Then you'll just be seeing the longer reviews I've been thinking about up until that exciting moment when shortlists are announced on January 1st!

We'll see if I make it...

  • The Taming of Lola: A shrew story by Ellen Weiss. Hm. Shakespeare with shrews. Somehow I didn't make the connection until I was reading the back cover. Or maybe because "Taming of the Shrew" isn't one of my favorite Shakespeare plays. However, it makes a cute and funny picturebook! Lola the shrew is a spoiled brat. Her huge temper tantrums and endless screaming have made everyone in her family wearily acquiese with her wishes. Until the day her cousin Lester comes to visit...and he's just as spoiled and bratty as she is. The two of them miss out on a lot of fun, choosing to fight instead. Finally, they compromise and realize they don't have to get their own way all the time. The humorous interjections from the Granny telling the story are perfect and I loved the way the author didn't reform Lola into a little angel - she's still quite the shrew! Review copy provided by Abrams.

  • Ten on the sled by Kim Norman. This chilly retelling of "Ten in the Bed" sets the rollicking rhyme in the cold north country and piles ten furry animals onto a sled. One by one, they slide out until...they're ready to go for another sled ride in the moonlight! This is a perfect choice for toddler storytime. The infectious rhymes, counting, and easily identifiable animals will hold children's interest until the last page. Borrowed from library.

  • The Boys by Jeff Newman. This subtle wordless story won't be for everyone, but for the perfect reader it's the perfect book! A little boy, new to the neighborhood, can't bring himself to ask to join in with the other kids playing baseball. So he joins "the boys", a quartet of elderly gentlemen on a park bench. As each day passes, he blends in more and more...until the boys decide something must be done. Each picture is full of details that tell a delightfully funny and heartwarming story. It's not just about sticking with your own generation though - by the story's end, the little boy has new friends, the kids in the park have a great new player...and "the boys" have become an enthusiastic audience. Charming, unique, and exquisite. Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.
  • This tree counts by Alison Formento. I really enjoyed the collage and digital illustrations. They had a beautiful texture and colors. But the story was confusing. It starts out as a counting book, then becomes a science/nature lesson on different types of trees, then there's poetry. Then we learn what things are made from wood and we're back to counting again, this time it's the new trees being planted. Hmm. Wait a minute. Ah, I see it's a unit study centered around trees. Interesting, very interesting. Teachers are sure to want this one for use in their classrooms. And I really, really like those illustrations. Review copy received from Albert Whitman.
  • Tree House by Marije & Ronald Tolman. Another wordless book here. So many wordless books are sooo gorgeous...but they just don't circulate well. This quiet, beautiful story of various animals arriving at a tree house is gorgeous. Color washes over the pages, then centers on various small animals. Delicate details are skilfully woven into the oversize illustrations. But...will it circulate? This is another one that will appeal to a small group of quiet, sensitive children. Even if they don't have the circ stats of a Fancy Nancy or Mo Willems, it's good to have some books that appeal to this sector of children. Review copy received from Boyds Mills Press.
  • The Trucker by Barbara Samuels. The perfect story for all small truckers! Beautifully paced, delightfully illustrated. Leo, a truck-obsessed small boy, is disappointed when his mom brings home a cat instead of the toy truck he's been hoping for...but Lola the cat turns out to be a trucker too! Recommended. Borrowed from library.
  • Two heads are better than one by Michael Dahl. George only has one head - and that's not good because George is a monster and EVERYONE in his family has two heads, except him. Sure, his great-grandpa only had one head - but who wants to look like that? George tries everything he can think of to grow another head, but nothing works. Finally, a new monster comes to town...and George discovers there just might be a way to get a second head...and maybe two heads are better than one! A fun take on self-acceptance and adaptability. And monsters. Fun! Review copy provided by Picture Window.
Well, I guess I'm not going to finish before December. Bummer. But I'm ALMOST done!

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