Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Wee Christmas Cabin of Carn-na-Ween

The Wee Christmas Cabin of Carn-na-ween The Wee Christmas Cabin of Carn-na-ween by Ruth Sawyer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A really beautiful Irish tale set during Christmas time during The Great Famine. The illustrations are beautiful and have a softness to them which complement the story. This would be wonderful read aloud by someone with an Irish accent. I'd love to share it with children at storytime, but I think my Central New York accent just won't do it justice.

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Monday, August 31, 2009

Giddy About Graphic Novels

In case you haven't noticed, I love reading graphic novels for kids! I know I review alot of them, but that's because I really think these books are fabulous. They are quick reads, so they are perfect for kids who may be daunted by long chapter books. Also, they are packed with hilarious, snappy dialogue, which makes kids (and let's face it, adults!) laugh. They also have really great graphics, which are part of the overall story. I've gotten alot of kids who "hate to read" hooked on this genre, which makes me a happy librarian. Here are some recent picks of mine, which I think you'll really love!

Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute, Volume 1

Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians, Volume 2

by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Hector, Dee and Terrence have always wondered what their school Lunch Lady does outside of the cafeteria. Little do they know, she along with her sidekick Betty are serving up more than chicken nuggets...they are serving justice! In the first volume, Lunch Lady becomes very wary of the new substitute math teacher. She decides to follow him home one night, the same night Hector, Dee and Terrence decide to follow Lunch Lady to see what she does when she's not at school. Lunch Lady discovers the substitute teacher is a robot! And the kids discover Lunch Lady is more than just your average lunch lady. In the second volume, Lunch Lady and the kids think something fishy is going on with the school librarians. Instead of being friendly and helpful, they have closed the library and become very secretive. Will Lunch Lady serve justice to the cyborg substitutes and league of librarians? You'll have to check out these books to find out!

Salt Water Taffy: The Seaside Adventures of Jack and Benny
A Climb Up Mt. Barnabas, Volume 2
by Matthew Loux

Jack and Benny are back for another adventure on Chowder Bay in Maine, where anything can happen. In this volume, Jack and Benny decide to hike up the very steep mountain, Mt. Barnabas in search of Barnabas, the Great Golden Eagle, who also has a wee problem with stealing hats. After their father's favorite cap was stolen, the boys head out to tackle the mountain. Along the way, they encounter Dan, the talking wolf, a giant rock-climbing turtle, and of course, the talking lobsters from Volume 1 (The Legend of Old Salty). Hey, I said anything can happen in Chowder Bay! Will the boys ever make it to the top and will they get their dad's hat back? Check out this series for some fun and silly adventures!

Monday, July 20, 2009


Written and illustrated by Jennifer Sattler

PICTURE BOOK (ages 3 and up)

The familiar saying "you are what you eat" proves to be very true in this quirky picture book. Sylvie is a curious flamingo who asks her mom "why are we pink?" Her mother replies "because the little shrimp we eat are pink." Quickly, Sylvie looks around at the other things on the island and decides to change things up. She discovers that eating some palm leaves turns her green, licking a striped towel turns her orange and white, and chewing on a flower-pattern hat turns her into a bouquet. After all this adventurous eating, she gets a pretty bad tummy-ache and doesn't feel like herself at all. She also doesn't look anything like her family! She goes back to eating shrimp, but dessert is a different palate of colors. Children will giggle at the changes in Sylvie and enjoy seeing what else she tries out. This is a cute book about being yourself, but also trying out different things.

Farley Follows His Nose

By Lynn Johnston & Beth Cruikshank

PICTURE BOOK (ages 4 and up)

Farley is a lovable, friendly dog who just got a bath. Unfortunately, he doesn't stay clean for long, as his nose ("sniff, snorfle, snuff") leads him off running away from his owners in search of the smells of hot dogs and children. He loves those smells. Farley goes further into town searching for something to eat and drink and he encounters new people and places he's never visited before. He discovers a little boy who is lost. Using his nose, Farley helps the little boy find his home again. It's then that Farley realizes he misses his own home too, so off he sniffs in search of the way home. He finally gets home, but then Elly sniffs the air and "Peeee-YEWWWW! Farley, you need another bath!" Poor Farley! This book is a joy to read aloud and the illustrations perfectly capture Farley and his adventures. This is a must-read for any fan of the comic strip For Better or For Worse, as it's written by the creator and stars the family dog of that series. This is a wonderful book to share at storytime. Farley is such a lovable dog, it's impossible not to smile at this story.

1000 Times No

By Mr. Warburton

PICTURE BOOK (ages 3 and up)

Anyone who has spent any time with a toddler will soon learn their favorite word - "NO." In fact, it's one of the first words my little cousin said (even before "Dada"). This book celebrates that word in all it's formats. Little Noah's mom tells him "it's time to leave" and he responds "no." But he doesn't just say "no" in English; he says it in Russian ("nyet"), Pig Latin ("o-nay"), Robot ("negative"), and in many other languages and ways (word search or Morse code, anyone?). When he's all "no'd" out, his mom tells him if he doesn't want to go to the playground he can stay home. Well, Noah just can't say no to that. But putting pants on is a whole other battle and on the last page we see Mom leading Noah to the park is his diaper-bottomed glory. The illustrations are bold and colorful and depict Noah with blond hair, curls poking out of the top if his head, and a large diaper that looks like it's about to fall off at any moment. He dons the appropriate outfit for his voyage through different cultures and children will enjoy seeing the many ways you can say "no." This book is absolutely delightful!

Frankie Pickle and the Closet of Doom

By Eric Wight

FICTION (ages 7 and up)

When you were a kid, what was your least favorite chore? If you were anything like Frankie Pickle it was cleaning your room. Franklin Lorenzo Piccolini is a kid who loves video games and action figures. He has a very vivid imagination and along with his trusty side-kick, his dog Argyle, he goes on many adventures. One day, his mom told him he had to clean his room, but Frankie argued why, since it's just going to get dirty again. His mom said okay, he didn't have to clean his room since it was his space, but he was responsible for whatever happened to the room. So laundry piled up, toys got lost under piles of trash, and the Dryer Sheet Fairy (a.k.a. Mom) didn't visit his room again. Pretty soon, things got stinky, especially Frankie. One night, something smelled so horrible that Frankie couldn't take it anymore and so off he went to fight dirt and the dreaded Bacteria Breath (a moldy salami and relish sandwich). This book is a combination of a graphic novel and chapter book format. It is wonderful for reluctant readers and the graphics fit in nicely with the text. Whenever Frankie goes on an adventure a la Indiana Jones, you get the comic book format. This book is hilarious and will be enjoyed by children and parents too! You'll never look at cleaning your room as a boring chore again!

Horrid Henry

By Francesca Simon; illustrated by Tony Ross

FICTION (ages 6 and up)

Have you ever met a child who loves to pull pranks, get into mischief, and just do bad things? No? Well, let me introduce you to Horrid Henry. "Henry was horrid. Everyone said so, even his mother. Henry threw food, Henry grabbed, Henry pushed and shoved and pinched. Even his teddy bear, Mr. Kill, avoided him when possible." Yikes, right? Henry has a brother, Perfect Peter, who is the complete opposite of him. Henry gets into alot of trouble throughout this book, such as pretending to be perfect, ruining a dance recital, and making a huge mess in the kitchen with his neighbor Moody Margaret. All of these pranks make for a very fun read. This little book is full of huge laughs and it contains four stories. It's perfect for early readers and reluctant readers, and is great as a read-aloud. For even more horridness, check out the other books in this series: Horrid Henry's Stinkbomb, Horrid Henry Tricks the Toothfairy, Horrid Henry and the Mega-Mean Time Machine, Horrid Henry and the Soccer Fiend, and Horrid Henry and the Mummy's Curse.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Benny and Penny: Just Pretend

By Geoffrey Hayes

GRAPHIC NOVEL (all ages)

Benny and Penny are brother and sister. Benny is pretending to be a swashbuckling pirate and his little sister Penny wants to play with him too. But Benny doesn't want Penny tagging along after him, so he tells her "No! Pirates are brave, and you are a cry-baby." But their mom makes him, so he decides to play hide-and-seek, and hides her in a box. After a while of playing pirate on his own, he goes looking for her, but can't find her where he left her. He discovers he doesn't enjoy playing on his own as much. Eventually he finds Penny and he apologizes, and they both play pirate together. This a great book that depicts the eternal "battle" between older and younger siblings (I remember those squabbles well) regarding playtime. The illustrations are sweet and colorful and realistically portray the emotions of Benny as he goes from an annoyed older brother to a loving and sharing brother. This is another great choice for beginning readers as the text is simple and repetitive. Look for the second book in this series, Benny and Penny: The Big No-No, currently in processing at our library!

Johnny Boo: Twinkle Power

By James Kochalka

GRAPHIC NOVEL (all ages)

This is the second volume in the Johnny Boo series; the first book is The Best Little Ghost in the World. You don't have to read the first one to understand what is going on in this story, but both are absolutely silly and charming. Johnny Boo is a little ghost who has a best friend, Squiggle, who is an even littler ghost. Johnny Boo has a special power, Boo Power. Poor Squiggle doesn't have a special power, but he loves the stars in the sky because they have Twinkle Power. He decides to go off into space to find some for himself. While he is gone, Johnny Boo runs into his other friend, Ice Cream Monster. Ice Cream Monster wants to learn how to say "BOO" but ends up saying "EEK" instead. Squiggle hears the "EEK" and thinks Johnny Boo is in trouble, so he swoops in to save the day now that he has his very own Twinkle Power. You just can't help smiling while you read it. It is perfect for young children, especially those learning how to read because the text is simple and repetitive. The graphics are very expressive, even in their simplicity. After you read this, I dare you not to be wiggly!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tales from Outer Suburbia

By Shaun Tan

FICTION - ages 12 and up

I've got to admit, I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book at first glance. A collection of 15 short stories? Short stories are not my cup of tea because they are, well, short, and it seems like nothing gets resolved at the end. Well, I am glad I gave this book a chance because it is stunning! First, let's talk about the artwork. Absolutely lovely! It ranges from full-page black and white or color illustrations to smaller illustrations spackled onto the pages. My favorite one accompanies the story "Distant Rain," which is about a poem that someone writes, but never lets anyone see. It is full of pieces of handwritten paper that have been ripped up, but are now pieced together to form the words of the story. Each illustration is full of details which capture the eye, forcing it to look at every bit. Tan uses the illustrations as a piece of storytelling, enhancing each short story and providing clues and context to what you are reading. Sometimes the stories are a little weird and hard to understand, but they fit into this strange land of Outer Suburbia he has created for the reader. What is wonderful about the stories is they are very open-ended, forcing the reader to ask questions and resolve it in their own way; it also begs a second, even third reading. I wouldn't recommend this for younger children, because I don't think they will understand the stories or the illustrations, and they may think some are a little "dark." It's great for tweens and teens, and is a perfect choice for reluctant readers.

That's Papa's Way

By Kate Banks; illustrated by Lauren Castillo


This is a beautiful story of a father and his young daughter as they head out for a day of fishing. The day begins with searching the woods for earthworms. Papa picks them up with his fingers - "that's his way" - and his daughter uses a shovel to scoop them up - "that's my way." As the story progresses, each one has their own way of doing things, like rowing and catching fish. Papa is patient and reassuring, and you can see the joy on the young girl's face when she finally catches a fish. The story ends with Papa and daughter on the porch swing, giving each other a hug because "that's his way...and...that's my way, too." The illustrations have a softness to them, which enhances the tenderness of the story. An absolutely wonderful book for sharing one-on-one with your father or grandpa and just in time for Father's Day too!

Boo Hoo Bird

By Jeremy Tankard


Poor Bird was playing catch with Raccoon and got bonked on the head with the ball. OUCH! Poor Raccoon tried kissing his head, but that didn't help. It still hurt! Rabbit tried a hug, Beaver tried a cookie, Sheep tried a game of hide and seek, and Fox tried a Band-Aid, but nothing made Bird's Boo Boo feel better, and he still cried. Pretty soon, all of Bird's friends began crying because nothing was making their friend better. After that, Bird realized his bonked head didn't really hurt anymore and he was all better now. His friends decide to play catch again...I bet you can guess what happens...BONK! The animals are illustrated with a bold outline and in very bright, primary colors, which make them jump off the page. This is an adorable book and perfect for reassuring a little someone who has a boo-boo that it will feel better soon.

Duck! Rabbit!

By Amy Krouse Rosenthal; illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld


Sometimes, it's all about how you look at things, and in the case of this book, that is especially true! This book uses a visual puzzle and one person says, "Hey, look! A duck!" To which the other person replies, "That's not a duck. That's a rabbit!" And the debate is on! The bill of the duck can also be seen as the flapping long ears of a rabbit. The illustrations use a very bold black line to outline the animal, which makes it easy for children to really look at the puzzle and see both animals. We get to see them eat, hide away, and hop/fly throughout the book, which makes it great for children to see the duck....I mean, rabbit! This is a wonderful book to share and a great way to get a new "perspective" on things!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Super-Fun Poetry Books

In celebration of National Poetry Month (yes, I realize it was last month - I'm behind on this posting), I wanted to showcase some great poetry books we've recently added to our children's collection. For those of you who think poetry is boring, dry, or a chore to read, try these out - I promise you won't have to count out the meters!

Orangutan Tongs: Poems to Tickle Your Tongue

By Jon Agee

(ages 5 and up)

If you like tongue twisters, then this is the book for you! I stumbled my way through several of these, such as "Walter Witter called a waiter: "Waiter, over here! I want some water, waiter. Water, waiter! Is that clear?" Each poem is silly and the illustrations with their bold outlines perfectly match them. You're guaranteed a silly read with this one!

The Underwear Salesman: And Other Jobs for Better or Verse

By J. Patrick Lewis

(ages 7 and up)

Have you ever thought about what you'd like to be when you grow up? Maybe you haven't made your mind up yet. If so, check out this book of poems for some interesting job possibilities. There's jobs you've heard of like an auto mechanic and butcher. And then there are some wacky jobs, like a dictionary maker and banana picker. There's even a poem about me, the Librarian (well, not me, specifically, but it could be about me) and it says "No one has more fun than I!" So true! One of my favorite silly poems is about the Exterminator - "I come to de-bug what's under de rug." There's a job poem in this book for everyone!

A Whiff of Pine, a Hint of Skunk: A Forest of Poems

By Deborah Ruddell; Illustrated by Joan Rankin

(ages 4 and up)

Aaahhh...nature. Nothing smells quite as good as when you go outside and take in a deep breath of fresh air. Let's hope Pepe LePew isn't out and about stinking up the air! As the title states, these poems celebrate all the different aspects of nature and the animals that inhabit the forest. What's really fun about the format of the poems is they start at spring with everything waking up and finish with winter. One of my favorites is "Biography of a Beaver" - "Bucktoothed Cleaver/Tree Retriever/Building Conceiver/True Believer/Waterproof Weaver/Overachiever/Roll-Up-Her-Sleever-/Hooray for the Beaver!" If you enjoy the outdoors, you'll really like these poems!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Salt Water Taffy: The Seaside Adventures of Jack and Benny

By Matthew Loux

GRAPHIC NOVEL (ages 7 and up)

I'm planning a summer trip to Bar Harbor, Maine, so when I saw this graphic novel on our library shelf, I thought I'd give it a try to get into the summer holiday mood. It surely did! It's full of action and is very fast-paced. The illustrations are in black and white with a lot of bold lines, which give the characters energy. This story is about two brothers, eleven-year old Jack and eight-year old Benny. Their parents decide to take them (kicking and screaming) on a summer-long vacation to Chowder Bay, Maine, a tiny coastal town in the middle of nowhere. There is no TV...gasp! The batteries went out in the Gameboy...NOOOOOO!!! Now what are the brothers going to do? Thankfully, they meet Angus O'Neil, a local fisherman and he regales them with a tale about Old Salty, an enormous, elusive lobster (think Loch Ness Monster, only not a loch, but an ocean) who Angus tangled with back in the day. The boys are then thrown into a mystery - Dr. True's Salt Water Taffy Shop has been robbed! Not a piece of taffy remains, but why are there taffy wrappers along the beach? Will the boys solve the mystery? Will Angus prove Old Salty exists? You'll have to read this book to find out!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Chicken Cheeks

By Michael Ian Black; illustrated by Kevin Hawkes


Let's face it - nothing makes you chuckle more than jokes about rear ends! Adults, kids, everyone giggles when it comes to this part of the anatomy. Sometimes, books about bums can be off-color, but in the case of this giggle-inducing picture book, it is quite harmless yet hilarious. As the book description so aptly tells, "This is a story with a beginning, a middle, and a whole lot of ends." It starts off with a bear on a ladder looking up into a tree. What is out of his reach? That's a surprise, but what I will tell you is this industrious bear gathers the help of his animal friends to create a very tall "stack" in the hopes of reaching the top of the tree. It's during the stacking of animals we encounter a moose caboose, chicken cheeks, penguin patootie, and turkey tushy, to name a few. The simple rhyming phrases matching animals with their respective posterior ends makes for a giggle-inducing read. The illustrations are also wonderful, showcasing each animal as he precariously balances on top of another animal. My favorite illustration is of the turkey on top of the polar bear, and he is holding his nose as the poor turkey's tushy is on top of his head! You'll have to read this book to find out if the animals ever reach the top of the tree. This book is very funny, and doesn't depict butts in a toilet-humor way, so it's completely appropriate for young children. Parents, be prepared for repeat readings of this one!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Do You Love Me?

By Joost Elffers and Curious Pictures

PICTURE BOOK (ages 2-5)

This is an adorable book about the unconditional love between a parent and child. The child asks a simple question, "do you love me?" and the parent responds, "always, dear." The book is made up of these simple questions and reassuring answers about love and being needed. The computerized illustrations use bright colors on a solid background, which brings the focus to the creatures, who resemble elephants, bears, and rabbits. They have long, rounded noses, which they use to connect to each other and show their love. This is a wonderful story to share at bedtime. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Those Darn Squirrels!

By Adam Rubin; illustrated by Daniel Salmieri


If you have a father like mine obsessed with birds (and his beloved birdfeeders), then you'll get a chuckle out of this book! Old Man Fookwire is a grumpy curmudgeon who only likes birds. He likes painting pictures of birds and feeding the birds and the birds love their birdfeeders filled with seeds. Guess who else likes the birdfeeders? That's right - "those darn squirrels!" The squirrels start stealing the bird food, which makes the birds and Old Man Fookwire very unhappy. He doesn't like those pesky squirrels, so he devises a way to keep them out of his backyard. Do you think his high-tech force field will keep the squirrels away? You'll have to read this silly, fun story to find out. And make sure you share it with your dad or grandpa...heehee!

Friday, January 16, 2009

God's Dream

By Desmond Tutu & Douglas Carlton Abrams; illustrated by LeUyen Pham


This is a beautiful book with a wonderful message. It begins with a question - "what do you dream about in your loveliest of dreams?" It then asks you - "do you know what God dreams about?" He dreams about empathy towards other, sharing, and caring about each other regardless of race or religion. The illustrations are bright and depict children from different ethnicities, showing that it doesn't matter where you are from, you are still "brothers and sisters." This book is simply beautiful and a great one to share one on one with your child.