Thursday, June 15, 2017

Little Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin

Little Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin (2017)
This is a wordless story, so it won’t work for many storytimes, but those with smaller more intimate storytimes and who do programs with wordless books should be aware of this one. A brown-skinned girl takes her beloved fox stuffy to the park, where it is stolen by a real fox. The girl and her friend travel into the animal village to search for the toy. They eventually track it down to the fox’s house and the little fox’s mother makes it return the toy. The girl, seeing how sad the fox is, decides to let the little fox keep her beloved toy, and in return the fox gives her a unicorn toy to keep. With lots of emotion, and a large trim size with clear illustrations AND lots of detail, this is a wordless book that could work in a small storytime, or in a visual literacy bookclub.

Themes/topics: stuffed animals, sharing, foxes, wordless, show and tell

Monday, June 12, 2017

Gorilla Loves Vanilla by Chae Strathie and Nicola O’Byrne

Gorilla Loves Vanilla by Chae Strathie and Nicola O’Byrne (2016)
In a sugary sweet fantasy-land where humans and animals live side-by-side, Sam’s Sundaes serves up any kind of ice cream imaginable. A series of animals make special requests for ice cream—all of which horrify the others—but Sam serves them up their heart’s desire, from blue cheese ice cream for mouse to a worm sundae for chicken. The large format, silly premise, and length make this a fun read for storytime. Note that the final request from gorilla relies on British pronunciation (trying to rhyme filler with vanilla), so a little practice breaking the rhythm is wise.

Themes/topics: ice cream, food, sweets, treats, taste, trying new things, sharing, gorillas

Sample text from one spread:
The chicken said,
“I’ll have a cone full of worms
I like nothing more
than an ice cream that squirms.

“It’s funny the way that it wriggles and jiggles.
It tickles my beak and it gives me the giggles.”

It sounded
too squirmy,
but Sam didn’t blink
He rustled up wormy ice cream in a wink. 


Friday, June 9, 2017

Green Pants by Kenneth Kraegel

Green Pants by Kenneth Kraegel (2017)
I really liked Kraegel’s earlier book, “The Song of Delphine” and just love “Green Pants.” My youngest brother actually refused to wear clothing that wasn’t green for a few years—adorable in retrospect, but a bit trying at the time. Jameson will only wear green pants, which allow him to dunk, dive and dance like no other. When he meets his cousin’s fiancĂ©e, he is smitten and agrees to be in their wedding—until his mother breaks the bad news: tuxedos have black pants. Jameson truly wrestles with what to do, and ends up solving the problem in a perfectly acceptable and authentic way. Utterly utterly charming

Themes/topics: weddings, clothing, pants, underwear, choices

Most spreads have just a few words or a single sentence. This sample is the spread with the most words:
The next morning, Jameson’s mother said, “You know, being in a wedding is a big deal. There will be a lot of standing.”
“No problem,” Jameson said.
“And you’ll have to smile nicely for all the photos”
“No problem.”
“And you’ll have to use your best manners at dinner.”
“No problem.”
“And one more thing,” his mother said slowly. “You will have to wear a tuxedo.”
“Okay.” Jameson nodded. “No problem!”
“Jameson, the tuxedo will be black.”
WHAT?” Jameson gasped. “BLACK pants? BLACK? Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m afraid so.”

Monday, June 5, 2017

One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree

One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree by Daniel Bernstrom, pictures by Brendan Wenzel (2016) #ownvoices 

This is one of those books that just delights in words, sounds, and vocabulary. A boy strolls along, distracted by his pinwheel and is gobbled by a snake under the eponymous branches of the eucalyptus tree. The boy keeps convincing the snake that there’s room for the snake to keep eating—his belly isn’t full yet. Of course, eventually the snake reaches his limit, and, with an enormous belch, all the eaten creatures are freed. The snake slithers off with a tummy-ache, and the boy reclines happily in the shade of the tree—but a crocodile peeks around, hinting at more adventures. I love this one, and I think it’s a delight to read out loud, but do recommend practicing it because there are a couple of places where the rhymes take an unexpected rhythm.

Themes/topics: Jungle, snakes, trees, tricksters, flies, eating

Sample text from three spreads:
One day in the leaves of the eucalyptus tree hung a scare in the air where no eye could see, when along skipped a boy with a whirly-twirly toy, to the shade of the eucalyptus, eucalyptus tree.

Down, down slid the snake from the leaves of the tree and gobbled up the boy with his whirly-twirly toy, one day in the eucalyptus eucalyptus tree.

“I’ll bet,” said the boy, in the belly dark and deep, “that you’re still very hungry and there’s more that you can eat.”
“Do you think,” said the snake to the boy with the toy, “That there’s room for something yummy with you inside my tummy?”