Children’s Books

The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. PreSchool-Grade 3—Henry loves books. In fact, he literally devours them. And the more he eats, the smarter he gets. When he starts eating too many too fast, he can no longer digest them, and their contents get all mixed up. The simple cartoon illustrations twinkle with humor and feeling. Done in paint and pencil on smart backdrops—pages from old books—the pictures set the stage for the quirky story. When forced to give up eating his favorite volumes, Henry eventually learns to enjoy reading them. However, an actual bite taken out of the back cover suggests he still succumbs to the occasional indulgence. This well-done package will charm its audience. The snappy text works well for reading aloud, but older children will enjoy exploring the subtle details hidden in the illustrations and backgrounds.—Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Made in Mexico by Peter Laufer

“I learned to play guitar on an instrument made in Paracho, Mexico.  This lovely book with its charming illustrations is a fitting tribute to the town and the culture that produces these fine-sounding instruments.”  Linda Ronstadt

LaRue For Mayor by Mark Teague

From Amazon.com:  Those familiar with this wonderfully hilarious series will be familiar with the very effective format that Mark Teague has used in the past and has pretty well perfected in this third installment of the Adventures of Ike LaRue. If you are a dog person, or an animal person, for that matter, you will instantly recognize our own dog or a dog you have known in the antics of Ike.

Squids Will Be Squids by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith

From Publishers Weekly

Scieszka and Smith, creators of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, turn their attention away from fairy tales to reinvent the fable, thinly disguising sage bits of advice as pithy morals. Foxes and grapes are too pedestrian for these veteran absurdists, who tackle boastfulness in “Duckbilled Platypus vs. BeefSnakStikR” and who denounce vanity in the story of a skateboarding frog. Unusual characters notwithstanding, each piece highlights an everyday, modern situation in the manner of Aesop’s classics.

Nacho and Lolita by Pam Munoz Ryan

From Booklist

Gr. 1-3. If you think Jeanne Willis’ Tadpole’s Promise (2005), in which a romantically involved tadpole and caterpillar metamorphose into predator and prey, is too much of a downer, here’s a happier interspecies romance–one that puts magical flourishes on a Mexican folktale Ryan heard from her grandmother. Nacho is a pitacoche bird that “carries all the colors of the world in his feathers,” but he longs for a companion. Then he meets a migratory swallow named Lolita, and ooh-la-la! He cannot fly well enough to return with her to South America, so he converts his enchanted feathers into bright flowers that cloak the landscape and guide the returning Lolita back to his side. Although the seams between truthful animal behavior and anthropomorphic fantasy seem a bit rough, Ryan’s cozy storytelling will draw listeners close, and the Colombian-born illustrator cleverly exploits the contrast between the drought-scarred backdrops and Nacho’s brilliance to achieve a vibrancy that is unusual in colored-pencil illustrations. A fanciful, broadly appealing affirmation of the transforming power of love. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Lizette’s Green Sock by Catharina Valckx

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. PreSchool-Grade 2–What is the use of one green sock? That is the central question asked (and very satisfactorily answered) here. When an intrepid young bird finds and sports her verdant treasure, she is teased by the nefarious feline brothers, Tom and Tim. Their limited imaginations can only conceive of socks in pairs. Lizette’s rodent pal, Bert, envisions another use for the footwear, proudly modeling the cap concept. More teasing, a caring mother, and a fishy friend add interest to this celebration of the ordinary–and of friendship. Valckx’s droll caricatures, executed in watercolor, are brimming with personality. Adept at understatement, the illustrator uses spare backgrounds and strong outlines to convey a mood in a minimum of strokes: dejected shoulders, a wilted flower, a coquettish kerchief on Mama speak volumes. Pair this with Kristine O’Connell George’s One Mitten (Clarion, 2004) or other favorite tales of creativity.–Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Book Fair Day by Lynn Plourde

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3–Fans of Plourde’s School Picture Day (2002), Teacher Appreciation Day (2003), and Pajama Day (2005, all Dutton) will recognize many old friends in this humorous episode. Here, Dewey Booker is so excited about Book Fair Day that he wheels his wagon to school to carry home all of his purchases. When he learns that his class is not scheduled to visit the fair until the end of the day, he devises a number of schemes to get to the library before the books are sold out. In one determined attempt, he disguises himself as a kindergartner by walking on his knees. Each plan is stymied by his teacher, Mrs. Shepherd, and Mr. Opus, the school librarian. Dewey’s day ends happily when he realizes that both his teacher and Mr. Opus are as eager as he is to get the right books into his hands. Plays on words related to books and reading abound. Wickstrom’s colorful cartoon illustrations capture the zaniness of the boy’s antics. Readers who love a good story as much as Dewey does are in for a treat.–Maura Bresnahan, High Plain Elementary School, Andover, MA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Wild About Books by Judy Sierra

Booklist

PreS-Gr. 2. In this rollicking story, librarian Molly McGrew accidentally drives her bookmobile into the zoo, and then the fun begins! The animals draw close to listen to a Dr. Seuss story, and soon they begin stampeding “to learn all about this new something called reading.” Many picture-book authors who try their hands at rhyme have less-than-stellar results. Here, the best part of the book is Sierra’s handy way with a rhyming text that not only scans properly but also is both clever and full of images that will amuse children (“Tasmanian devils found books so exciting / That soon they had given up fighting for writing”). The wild animal goings-on offer illustrator Brown an opportunity to get away from his vaguely aardvarklike Arthur and create some real animals–in fact, about every animal one can think of. All the slaphappy art fits nicely into double-page spreads that allow the energetic action room to breathe. That’s good because there are tons of things to look at, all in sunny colors. Not only are the animals reading books but they are also hugging them, licking the pictures off the pages, and trying their “hands” at writing. A wonderful advertisement for the joys of a literary life. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Monkey Business by Wallace Edwards

From Publishers Weekly

As he did in Alphabeasts, Wallace pairs deadpan text with multilayered illustrations that are at once humorous and absurd, likely to elicit grins from both adults and children. His latest title focuses on idioms (a definition of the term appears on the first page), with a cast of anthropomorphic animals set in bizarre situations. All the scenes make jokes that should have easy kid appeal. Owen, the literal “bull in a china shop,” unconsciously manages to entwine his horns, tail and cane around several ceramic pieces (“Not again,” he sighs). A walrus who “had no intention of sharing his cupcake” sports a candy cane in place of a tusk (a “real sweet tooth”). Attentive readers can also spot a monkey hidden in each scene—these visual tricks and other hide and seek-type games echo Graeme Base’s works.

Far From Shore by Sophie Webb

“Another fascinating expedition:.the you-are-there immediacy of the narrative-and the clear and colorful watercolor-and-gouache landscapes and drawings of the birds form an appealing travelogue that is as exciting as it is informative.” –School Library Journal, starred review