Saturday, May 19, 2012

16 Down, 72 To Go, PLUS Miss A's Take

We have fearlessly barreled straight into our 100 book list. Recall, if you will, that we automatically checked 12 books off the list by virtue of ownership.
Since I posted the list last Saturday, we have been to the Orem library three times and the Provo library twice. I really underestimated my kids' appetite for books.
We went back on Friday to drop off everything we've read, pick up a few books I put on Hold and pick up more books.
The books we read up until Friday's trip:

1. Abuela by Arthur Dorros - (★★★★) Audrey and Henry really liked this one. The pictures were colorful, the story fanciful. A few Spanish phrases were included throughout, which Audrey really likes to listen to.

2. Actual Size by Steve Jenkins - (★★★★★) We all liked this book. As the title may suggest to you (it didn't immediately to me), this book shows pictures of animals, or significant parts of them, in actual size. The biggest reaction was when we unfolded the page with the crocodile jaws. The kids were amazed.

3. Bark, George by Jules Feiffer - (★★★★) A mother dog tries to get her puppy to bark. A variety of other animal noises come out of this sweet pooch and the best part is his mother's reactions to it all. The silliness was not lost on my kids!

4. Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson - (★★★★) Bear hosts a party in cave, while he's asleep. Now that's talent! The pictures were engaging and the narration was fun. As the words got bigger, my voice got bigger. Honestly, Henry got a little worried near the end! ;)

7. Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells - (★★★1/2) Both of my kids love Max and Ruby. Audrey because she used to watch it and Henry because Audrey does. Audrey wrinkled her nose and "yiiichhh-ed" Max's cake. She was completely engaged. I give it a 3 1/2 star rating only because I had to explain quite a few things to the kids or they wouldn't have understood what was going on.

8. Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business by Esphyr Slobodkina - (★★★★) I remember this book from when I was a kid. I loved it, so I was fulfilled when it turned out my kids enjoyed it as well. The accidental cleverness of the Peddler may have been lost on my kids, but the naughtiness of the monkeys certainly wasn't. Cute!

9. Caramba by Marie-Louise Gay - (★★★3/4) Audrey struggled with this one just a little because the premise requires the child to accept that all cats can fly. It wasn't until the book showed pictures of cats flying that she started to get into the story. In the end, Caramba's desire to fit in was replaced with the satisfaction of finally discovering his true talent.

10. The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss - (★★★3/4) As simple as this story was, my husband reports that the kids were not especially entertained with it. A little boy plants a seed and, despite what everyone tells him, continues to care for it until he grows a beautiful carrot. Perhaps the message of patience and determination did sink in somewhere in my kids' heads but, like the book, is only starting out as a little seed.

11. Charlie Cook’s Favourite Book by Julia Donaldson - (★★★) I really enjoyed the cleverness of this book. It starts out with a little boy reading his favorite book about a pirate who reads a book about someone else who reads a book about someone else who reads a book about someone else, and on and on. The rhythmic rhyming was fun to read and the pictures were cute and engaging. In the end, the book reading returns to the little boy reading his favorite book. I think that, while Audrey was interested, she seemed to be confused by the titular character being read about by a character in his own book. The concept of infinity seemed to be a bit beyond her and meant for a child a little older.

12. Chester by Mélanie Watt - (★★★) This book is about the author trying to write a story about a mouse while her strong-willed cat, Chester, insists that the story be about him. He uses a big red marker to change her story into what he wants. They end up in a battle of wits trying to control the story. In the end, the author out-smarts her cat... or does she? This was another one that I found clever, fresh and funny. When I got to the end and looked at Audrey, she had a confused little frown on her face. When I asked her if she thought the book was funny and cute, she shook her head. Like the previous book, I think she would enjoy this book if she were a little older.

14. Chicken Little by Ed Emberley - (★★★★1/2) The classic story with a slight spin, it's really the pictures that make it stand out. Bold, slightly manic colors explode from the page as the ridiculous, petrified poultry race around trying to escape the perceived end of the world. The ending is a little more friendly to the sensitive feelings of young children, i.e. the birds don't get eaten. However, as the birds march into the fox's mouth, my children were both fully aware of the danger and appropriately concerned. Overall, a great read.

15. Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin - (★★★) The title says almost all there is to say about this book. The cows are typing because they are asking for the farmer to do something nice for them; and, in turn, the farmer doesn't want to give them what they want. The issue quickly escalates out of the control of the farmer who eventually gives in. Perhaps it was my tone while reading it, but my kids were not engaged in this story at all. They understood that it was silly for the cows to type, but they didn't seem to comprehend why it was happening at all. Perhaps my tone was off because I couldn't help but think of Animal Farm by George Orwell. I think I find demanding, intelligent barnyard animals to be creepy.

16. The Complete Adventures of the Mole Sisters by Roslyn Schwartz - (★★1/2) My kids really seemed to like this book of 10 short stories. The pictures were cute and the Mole Sisters were sweet. I found the books to be overly simplified as far as word usage goes. There were phrases that the Mole Sisters used regularly that didn't describe what was going on at all. Maybe these adventures were happening just for the sake of adventuring, but there really didn't seem to be any point to them other than a "because we can" sort of attitude. In my opinion, there should be some sort of point to it all. Honestly, the biggest reaction from my kids was their exclamations of concern that there was a spider in the Mole Sisters' house.

18. Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French - (★★★★) I thought the diary-style story telling from the perspective of the Wombat was adorable. "I woke up, I slept, I woke up, I ate dinner - grass, I slept, I woke up," The wombat pesters a family that moves into a house nearby, cutely harassing them into giving him food. I think the humor of it was lost on my kids, however. The pictures were beautiful and engaging, the story gentle and the kids enjoyed that. If nothing else, my kids were able to learn from the book what a wombat is.

19. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems - (★★★★★) Audrey immediately understood the absurdity of a pigeon driving a bus, but she quickly fell victim to the pigeon's cajoling ways.She knew she should say no, but hesitated when he seemed mad at her. She was completely immersed in the book and frequently looked to me for help when she couldn't figure out what to do about that pesky bird. We liked this book so much, that we went ahead and read the other two Pigeon books I picked up from the library. We read The Pigeon Wants a Puppy and The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog. The drawings were fun, the pigeon's expressions wildly varied. I have half a mind to buy the whole series of Pigeon books!

22. Elmer by David McKee - (★★★★★) Elmer is an elephant who isn't elephant-colored but has many colors all over his body like patchwork. He wants to be like the other elephants, so he goes out to find a way to change how he looks. When he comes back, no one recognizes him. This story was fun, colorful and entertaining. The kids really enjoyed it and I think, on a certain level, understood the point of the book. Everyone loved Elmer as he was and he finally realized that in the end.


Shydandelion said...

Awesomely comprehensive book reviews! I always appreciate a little honesty when it comes to children's books. It seems like anybody can write and publish a children's book these days without having any sort of clue what would be exciting to a child...just sayin'...

Rebecca said...

when Devlyn and I read Romeo and Juliet and Julius Cesaer together she was in sixth grade. It was fun when the light bulb lit up!


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