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!