Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

Ever wondered what your crayons were up to when you've stopped coloring for the day and closed up your box?  What do they think about?  What do they discuss when they're all alone together in close quarters?

Well Duncan's crayons decide they've had enough - they go on strike!  The Day the Crayons Quit is a collection of hilarious letters that Duncan's crayons write to Duncan, explaining why they've had it and why they'll do no more coloring until Duncan meets
their demands.

This book is easily in my top ten favorite picture books.  Once you've read it, you'll want to check out its sequel, The Day the Crayons Came Home.  -JW

Reserve your copies.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith

A great picture book is as fun for the grown-up who reads it as it is for the child who reads along. Such a book is The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka (prounounced SHESS-ka) and illustrated by Lane Smith. Scieszka’s subversive humor and Smith’s wild drawings and text layout make these warped retellings of classic fairy tales a delight for children and adults alike.  In the title tale, unlike his counterpart the Gingerbread Man, nobody’s quite as excited to chase the Stinky Cheese Man. Readers will also encounter familiar friends like the Little Red Hen, the Ugly Duckling and the Boy Who Cried – well, let’s just say it’s not “Wolf” this time. 

Scieszka is a former elementary school teacher who wanted to write books that got boys excited, as he felt they were often less enthusiastic readers. It works – boys seem to really enjoy these twisted tales, and if this Caldecott Honor book isn’t enough for you, Scieszka and Smith also bring you The Frog Prince Continued, and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. There are many more stories for kids by this author and illustrator, both as a team and individually, in both picture books and chapter books. - DR

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg

I've had some difficulty deciding which book to write about for the Library's celebration of National Picture Book Month; I've considered books from my childhood and books that my kids loved when they were younger.  In the end, though, I chose a book which I discovered as an adult, one that has held endless fascination for me and many other readers over the years. 

This is not a storybook in the traditional sense, though there is a story behind it.  In his introduction, Van Allsburg relates the tale of Harris Burdick, a young man who presented himself at a publisher's office one day many years ago carrying fourteen captioned drawings for the publisher's perusal.  Each drawing belonged to an illustrated story, he said, which he hoped the publisher would like to buy.  The latter was fascinated by the drawings, and asked to see the stories.  Burdick promised to return the next day, but never arrived for his appointment, leaving the publisher with nothing but a set of tantalizing clues to unknown stories.  This book, then, purports to collect those illustrations.

Van Allsburg's visual style blends realism with fancy, as his highly detailed pen and ink illustrations give weight to his dream-like stories of the fantastic invading the everyday.  In the case of Harris Burdick, the viewers are invited into the pictures and asked to complete the stories themselves.  Over the years, many have taken him up on the invitation, including authors like Sherman Alexie, Linda Sue Park, and Stephen King, whose creations were collected in The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: 14 Amazing Authors Tell the Tales, which celebrated the original book on its 25th anniversary.  I highly recommend both this and the original, whenever you'd like to spark your own imagination!  -BR

Check out this picture book.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash by Trinka Hakes Noble

One of the most entertaining books of my childhood was The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash by Trinka Hakes Noble.  My mother was terrified of snakes, so naturally I was one of those kids that gravitated toward reptiles, amphibians, and a myriad of creatures that slither and crawl and generally make grown women scream.  Hence my attraction to this book.  Story-wise, Jimmy’s Boa does what children’s books don’t typically do: it starts at the end of the story and works its way back to the beginning.  This, when paired with the one-of-a-kind illustration style of Steven Kellogg, makes a hilarious book that is fun to read (and look at) again and again.  -JW

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter has captured the imaginations of many a reader. The book was first published in 1902 and is considered a classic among children’s stories. The beautifully
illustrated pages tell the tale of Peter Rabbit, a mischievous bunny who failed to follow his mother’s orders to stay out of Mr. McGregor’s garden. In all twenty-two pages, the story presents elements of danger and suspense and serves as a warning to children who misbehave. Peter enters Mr. McGregor’s garden, is chased by Mr. McGregor, falls into a watering can and encounters an old mouse and a white cat. When Peter finally arrives home safely, his mother gives him chamomile tea and puts him to bed while his siblings are served a delightful meal consisting of bread, milk and blackberries. 

As a small child, I remember my mother reading this book to me. I was thrilled by the colorful, detailed illustrations and the story itself. I grew up in the country and could relate to the garden setting and the main character who is a cottontail bunny. After re-reading this classic, I still enjoy the story itself as well as Beatrix Potter’s careful attention to detail.  –JK 

Reserve this book. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Vinnie and Abraham by Dawn FitzGerald; illustrated by Catherine Stock

I am excited the Reader’s Corner has chosen to honor National Picture Book Month.  This is a blog usually reserved for adults so I was pleased to discover we will be sharing picture books.  Picture Book Month was created to stress the importance of picture books.  Picture books have become informational and a great way to learn about our past, our present and even our future.
 One of my favorites is Vinnie and Abraham by Dawn FitzGerald.  This is the true story of Vinnie Ream, who at age 14, became one of the U.S. Postal Service's first female employees.  In her spare time Vinnie liked to sculpt.  She apprenticed herself to a renowned sculptor and did so well that at age 18, she had sessions with President Lincoln where she worked to create his likeness. After Lincoln's assassination, Congress commissioned her to sculpt a marble statue of the late president.  This statue is still on display in the Capitol rotunda.
I loved the story of this young girl who was allowed to do something so incredibly important.  On a trip to Washington D.C. with my husband I was thrilled to see this statue in the Capitol rotunda.  It meant much more to me because had I had read a picture book that brought this story to life.  I gazed up at this statue with amazement and could feel Vinnie standing right next to me as I admired her beautiful work.    -CP

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton

I was recently introduced to this hilarious picture book at a library conference and am delighted to share it with you! 

Princess Pinecone is a young princess who also dreams of being a great warrior, one day competing in the Great Battle. She trains hard most days with this goal in mind and when her birthday finally arrives she hopes to get the horse she asked for; a strong horse fit for a true warrior! Instead she receives a horse that is small, round, and has a major gas problem. What’s a girl to do?

Pinecone perseveres and works with what she’s got. She trains the pony as best as she can, but things really aren’t looking so good. In spite of her confidence that her pony is mostly hopeless and that they will never be champions, the Princess enters herself and her pudgy pony into the Great Battle alongside the top warriors in the land. Who will emerge victorious? Will Pinecone and her pony be instantly defeated or does she have an ace up her sleeve and not even know it? 

I love that this book turns the idea of a traditional warrior on its head and features a female character in a strong, non-traditional princess role. These elements combined with bold and humorous illustrations, the comedy value of the goofy warrior’s antics and Pinecone’s gassy pony really puts it over the top for me. This is one of the best picture books I’ve read in long time. I can’t wait to read this book out loud to my Niece and Nephews, I’m sure they will get a kick out of it!  -KR