Thursday, September 29, 2011

Picture Book Mini Thoughts

I have a massive pile of picture books, greedily borrowed from neighboring libraries, which I've been looking through to decide what to use in coming storytimes. Sadly, I cannot keep them at my library, much though I would like to transfer the contents of other libraries' new shelves to my own...Also, I need to clean my library shelves off in anticipation of Cybils!

Ten Little Caterpillars by Bill Martin, illustrated by Lois Ehlert. Why has no one thought to combine these two before? An excellent idea, I say! Would make a great flannel board, also a good toddler storytime choice. Must squeeze into order list somehow.

Otto the boy who loved cars by Kara LaReau, illustrated by Scott Magoon. This cautionary tale will appeal to parents who are going nuts with kids who are obsessed with Thomas, vehicles, or any other early childhood subject craze. I don't know how popular it will be with kids though. Will use in a storytime, but I'll just borrow it from somebody else.

Rock 'n' Roll Mole by Carolyn Crimi, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger. Perfect music-themed book! Not too many terms or weird behavior kids won't recognize, but enough jokes for adults. Will definitely use this in storytime.

Thelonious Mouse by Orel Protopopescu, illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf. This, on the other hand, is not a useful music-themed book. The basic plot is good and the pictures are fun, but I personally don't have the time to learn how to scat (or the wits to remember) prior to storytime. Of course, if you already know how, or are a jazz fan (I'm not and neither, at least based on our circulation, is anyone in our community) this might be a good choice.

How do you hug a porcupine by Laurie Isop, illustrated by Gwen Millward. Excellent, bouncy rhymes, lots of humor, fun illustrations, this is a winner! Some of the art might be a little small for a giant storytime, but it will work fine for us - toddlers and preschoolers.

Perfect Snow by Barbara Reid. Not sure how I feel about the illustrations, nice story and interesting art, but not too useful for a storytime because of the complexity - comic strips combined with illustrations. Might purchase it to add to my snow picture book collection though.

The Cazuela that the farm maiden stirred by Samantha Vamos, illustrated by Rafael Lopez. Really loved the art, but there's too many Spanish words the kids won't know to use in storytime. Would work with an older group - maybe 1st grade - who could figure out the story from context. Will look for other titles with this illustrator.

If waffles were like boys by Charise Mericle Harper, illustrated by Scott Magoon. Like Harper's Cupcake, this is a quirky book that kids will love. I don't know that I'd read it in storytime, because it's a fairly small format and there would inevitably be some mom to complain that it stereotypes boys, but it's a fun story to add to the collection.

Hampire by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, illustrated by Howard Fine. I don't like the illustrations as well as the author's earlier Quackenstein, but this is a fun fake-scary book that will make a great Halloween read. Definitely try to get this one.

One moon, two cats by Laura Godwin, illustrated by Yoko Tanaka. Didn't like the illustrations, but it might work in a toddler storytime.

Too many dinosaurs by Mercer Mayer. Must have! Hilarious, great story, Mayer always does very readable, child-friendly titles.

Grandpa Green by Lane Smith. Unlike Smith, who really writes for adults, imo. This title is more child-friendly, but not enough to justify squeezing the money for it out of my tiny budget.

Squish Rabbit by Katherine Battersby. This one, I will squeeze money out for! Or at least try. A bit like Scaredy Squirrel, but sweeter.

Blue Chicken by Deborah Freedman. There are plenty of white animals mixing colors books, but none with such gorgeous, clean art as this title. Must have! Need more budget! Love this story!

Uh-Oh by Mary DePalma. A cute concept, but the illustrations are too chaotic and the book format too small for storytime.

Batty by Sarah Dyer. Eh. A clever concept, but rather shopworn plot.

Haunted House, Haunted Mouse by Judy Cox, illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler. Actually already bought this one, and I'm glad I did. Ebbeler's illustrations aren't exactly to my taste, but they work really well at a distance, making this a perfect storytime book. It's got a nice mix of scary and but not too scary as well.

Halloween Surprise by Corinne Demas, illustrated by R. W. Alley. Really loved this one - I like Alley's illustrations of course. Is it just me, or have kids completely stopped making their own Halloween costumes? I can't remember the last time I saw a homemade one. It's a great pity and I dislike Halloween not because of any religious reasons, but because it seems to have changed what used to be a fun experiment in imagination with lots of candy thrown in into a creepy verging on sick celebration of commercialism. Also, I'm annoyed that my apartment neighbors have hung beware tape with skeletons everywhere and I keep knocking my head on it. Grah. Anyways, this is a very cute book.

The Boy from the Dragon Palace by Margaret Read MacDonald, illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa. Not sure how parents will react to the repeated description of the "snot-nosede boy" but I have had really good reactions to most of MacDonald's renditions, so will borrow this again for a storytime sometime.

The Lost and Found Pony by Tracy Dockray. A bit overly sentimental, but nice pictures and I need more horse books. And my patrons like the cute and sweet. A little melancholy for a storytime perhaps though.

Pirate Nap: A book of Colors by Danna Smith, illustrated by Valeria Petrone. Not actually about colors, bland illustrations, so-so rhymes. Meh. Will lend it to Miss P to try on the toddlers, but not worth the money to buy.

I'm Adopted by Shelley Rotner and Sheila Kelly. Simple text and lots of photographs. Will date quickly, as fashions change, but definitely worth buying now. We have several families with adopted children and this is a nice introduction without getting too sentimental and covering a range of reasons for adoption.

Pomelo Begins to Grow by Ramona Badescu, illustrated by Benjamin Chaud. Oddly philosophical and lengthy but the lyrical text draws the reader in and it's a joyous celebration of growing bigger. Would really like to try this on a storytime and see how it works.

Ella May and the Wishing Stone by Cary Fagan, illustrated by Genevieve Cote. Pretty illustrations, a nice story with a moral, but too long!

King Jack and the Dragon by Peter Bently, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. Great, imaginative story, wonderful read-aloud, Oxenbury's sweet and enthusiastic illustrations. Will definitely put it on the list, but using it in storytime...the question is, will parents complain if I read it in storytime because of the glimpses of underwear? Yes, people wear loose pants and sometimes undies show. Yes, it's quite possible parents will complain. Some of my parents are...a little uptight. Hmm....I love this story so much, I don't care. I'm going to use it!

10 Turkeys in the Road by Brenda Reeves Sturgis, illustrated by David Slonim. I was expecting a Thanksgiving story, but this would be a fun counting story to add to the concept books.

My Rhinoceros by Jon Agee. Not as hilarious as Mr. Putney's Quacking Dog, but this will be a great book for older kids who will appreciate the deadpan humor. Might try it if I get an older group for preschool.

Sigh. Now I need to redo my budget for the next couple months to fit in some of these picture books...

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