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!