Friday, June 27, 2008

Engelbert Sneem and his Dream Vacuum Machine

By Daniel Postgate


At bedtime, children worry about monsters under the bed and noises in the dark. This book doesn't have any of those scary things, but it has Engelbert Sneem! At night, he sneaks into homes and sucks the dreams right out of children's heads while they are sleeping with his dream vacuum machine. He stores the dreams in pottery flagons and seals them tight. Then he goes off on his dragon-pulled carriage to his Castle of Sneem, where all the dreams are stored in the Dungeon of Dreams. When Engelbert wants "a nice little treat," he uncorks a flagon and gets to "savour a sumptuous dream at his leisure." One night, Engelbert uncorks a nightmare - a dream about him! He gets to see himself as he truly is and he doesn't like it. Resolved to change his ways, he releases all the good dreams and now only sucks up frightening dreams so children will never have nightmares again. This book could be potentially frightening, but the illustrations have a softness to them as does the story, which is part-fantasy, part fairy-tale. Engelbert is not portrayed as scary or evil. Also, the text is in rhyme which makes for a good read-aloud. This is a great story for bedtime!

Carl's Summer Vacation

By Alexandra Day


What a perfect book for summer! Carl, the lovable Rottweiler and Madeleine, the adorable toddler are back in another wonderful story. It's summertime and the family has gone to camp. Mom recommends that Carl and Madeleine take a nice nap in the hammock so they will be rested for that night's fireworks. But, that doesn't happen! There are too many adventures to be had on vacation - canoeing on the lake, berry picking, and playing at the park. Later that evening, Mom can't understand why these two are so tired after such a long "nap!" The illustrations are delightful, showing the joy and wonder of summertime fun. They convey a dreamlike atmosphere, which allows the reader to get a sense of the lazy days of summer. Carl is a protective dog, allowing Madeleine to ride around on him as they explore. This is a perfect summertime read and it will definitely get you in the mood for a little vacation.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach

By Melanie Watt


I love Scaredy Squirrel! If you've never experienced a Scaredy adventure, you are in a for a treat! This is the third book featuring Scaredy. As you might guess, Scaredy is fearful of many things: germs, sea monsters, and falling coconuts. He is determined to build his own beach where he will be safe and not encounter any of these crowds. But, lo and behold, he's missing the sound of the ocean! He decides to make a quick trip, that is VERY carefully planned out, to the beach to get a seashell. There he finds a different type of crowd he wasn't planning on - people! What's a scaredy squirrel to do? This witty and fun book is perfect for summer reading. Did I mention it's funny too? Anyone who has ever had a worry-moment will relate to Scaredy.

Little Hoot

By Amy Krouse Rosenthal; illustrated by Jen Corace


This book is an amusing twist on a familiar childhood dilemma - bedtime. Little Hoot does not like bedtime, but for a completely different reason: he wants to go to bed early like his friends, but "when you're an owl, you have to stay up late, late, late." It's not fair that he has to stay up playing. When he complains to his parents, they tell him he has to stay up for one more hour! Oh no! Little Hoot doesn't like this at all. Will he ever get to go to bed? This is a charming story for bedtime. The illustrations are wonderful at conveying Little Hoot's feelings through his facial expressions and mannerisms. Children will delight in this story and it's take on bedtime.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I Got a "D" in Salami

By Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver


This is the second book in the Hank Zipzer series, and it is a hoot! Poor Hank, a fourth-grader, did not do well on his report card - a D in math, a D in spelling, and a D in reading! He doesn't want his parents to find out, so he and his friends come up with a hilarious solution while at his mom's deli (hence the salami). But, the situation backfires on Hank and it's a laugh-out-loud fest for the reader to see if Hank is going to make it out of this dilemma. I listened to the audio book read by author Henry Winkler (the Fonz) and ended up cracking up during several parts of the book. Hank is a lovable character, full of spirit and wise-cracks! The salami incident is pure slapstick humor. There is also a great part of the book where Hank gets tested for learning challenges. This could be a nerve-wracking situation for many children, but the authors do a wonderful job of depicting it. It doesn't hurt that when Hank's involved, there is sure to be some fun! This is a great book for a reluctant reader and I fully recommend the audio book. Henry Winkler's reading is wonderful, giving such spirit and fun to the characters.