Henry writes a letter to his Grampa telling him all about his new dog named Charley. Henry also asks when Grampa will next come to visit. Grampa write...moreHenry writes a letter to his Grampa telling him all about his new dog named Charley. Henry also asks when Grampa will next come to visit. Grampa writes Henry back informing him when he will arrive at the train station and that he isn’t sure if he likes dogs. Finally the day of Grampa’s visit arrives. Henry and Charley head to the train station to wait for Grampa. Charley does playful doggy things while waiting. Eventually Grampa’s train comes. Grampa still isn’t sure about the dog. On the way back to Henry’s house Grampa’s hat blows away with the wind and snow. Charley rescues it. Soon Grampa realizes that he and Charley will be good friends after all. This is a sweet story that shows the concern one grandchild has for his grandpa and his dog to get along. There are fun pictures on most of the pages of text showing the playful nature of Charley. There are also large illustrations that showcase Henry, Charley and Grampa’s personalities and their small little story. This is a cozy story for those who love their pets or who enjoy the small conflicts of losing a hat in the wind. Plus, with all the snow that is blowing around, the story reminds us how family and pets can keep our hearts warm.(less)
I loved Mitchell for a long time. So of course I was happy to see he was back in this next book. So not only does Mitchell love to drive, he also love...moreI loved Mitchell for a long time. So of course I was happy to see he was back in this next book. So not only does Mitchell love to drive, he also loves to crash things. So Mitchell’s dad decides to do something about it. He takes him bowling where it is perfectly acceptable to crash things. Only Mitchell isn’t as good at is as his dad. And he is very frustrated. But, just like before Mitchell’s dad has come up with a great way to direct Mitchell’s energy…and it is a great solution. And there is a “triple steamin’-hot-potato dance, with salsa” thrown in. So who wouldn’t like this book?(less)
This book is about a group of kids that find an elephant. And they want to keep him. So they hide him and hope that the grownups in their lives won’t...moreThis book is about a group of kids that find an elephant. And they want to keep him. So they hide him and hope that the grownups in their lives won’t find him or mind. Of course the kids have a great deal of fun…but the adults aren’t so sure about keeping an elephant for a pet. So they send the elephant away on a bus. The kids are sad. But don’t worry. The grownups changed their mind and the kids can keep the elephant. Only, the bus has left. Good thing Phil knew how to climb trees (and therefore didn’t really go on the bus).(less)
Once again Annie and Simon have a few stories to share. In the first Annie decides to draw pictures of the “living things” that they see while at a la...moreOnce again Annie and Simon have a few stories to share. In the first Annie decides to draw pictures of the “living things” that they see while at a lake. Of course Annie needs a bit of help with her drawings and Simon who “know[s] everything” is there to help. And speaking of help, Annie is more than willing to “help” when Simon has a sneeze, because of course that means that Simon is sick and needs to read an “appendix story” to feel better. Being the king big brother that he is, Simon lets Annie boss him around (all in the name of making him feel better) and ends up reading the story to Annie. Then there is the story of the dog Hazel and how Annie (probably) wouldn’t trade her for a cat. Or the story about Annie gathering some horse chestnuts and not wanting to share them with the squirrels.
So, basically this is yet another fun edition of happy brother/sister stories with Annie and Simon. I like how patient Simon is with Annie. He knows just how to guide her enthusiasm and creativity. And she knows just how to show how much she cares and respects her big brother. Since there are four good stories (or chapters) this is a good book for kids who have learned how to read and are ready for some more complex stories with longer and trickier sentences than a basic easy reader. Seriously, this book is a great addition to the easy reader genre. And the grownups listening to kiddos read will enjoy the stories so much they just might ask to have the kiddo read it to them again.(less)
Little Owl doesn’t like his new, orange scarf. It is itchy and too long. Little Owl tries to loose his scarf, but Mommy Owl always finds it. One day L...moreLittle Owl doesn’t like his new, orange scarf. It is itchy and too long. Little Owl tries to loose his scarf, but Mommy Owl always finds it. One day Little Owl is headed on a field trip to the zoo. Mommy Owl makes sure that he takes along his orange scarf. However, when he comes back he tells Mommy all about the fun from the trip…but the orange scarf is nowhere to be seen. Mommy calls the zoo to see if it can be found…but it is missing. Mommy and Little Owl decide to make another scarf, only this time they are going to pick the yarn and make the scarf together. And Little Owl loves his new scarf. And he especially loves visiting the zoo and the giraffe (who happens to have a long, orange neck that stays warm with a long, orange scarf).
I like how the illustrations are basically just the two colors: orange and teal blue (with a little bit of grey). Then Little Owl and everything else are done with line drawings and just small touches of color. And the use of white-space is just brilliant. And the scarf, now that is fun. It is not just orange, but it has different textures take make it so the various patterns draw your eye. That means that the focus is on the story itself and the scarf. And for an owl’s face that just is a couple of eyes and a triangle for a beak…there is sure a lot of expression shown there (especially when forced to wear the orange scarf). This is just a great story with loads of textures and characterization.(less)
A mother goes away to a conference for a week or so and leaves a father in charge of his two children. There are loads of things that he needs to reme...moreA mother goes away to a conference for a week or so and leaves a father in charge of his two children. There are loads of things that he needs to remember. One of them is that they are almost out of milk and he will have to pick some up. One morning the two children realize that there is no milk for their cereal. If not for the fact that that also means that there is no milk for the father’s tea, then breakfast just might have been milk-less. But Father realizes that he should pop down to the store and get some milk. After what seems like ages he comes back with the milk. When the children question what took so long, he tells them a fantastical journey about how getting the milk actually was an adventure through time and space (and for the most part was spent with a dinosaur). Basically it is just enough parts wacky and funny and amusing to make kids laugh over the potential whopper of a story their father tells.
I liked the story. And I think the reason that I liked the story as much as I did was because of the crazy story and the delightful details in the illustrations. I liked how “fortunately” the father happened to have milk in his pocket when it came time to save the world (because of course only a bottle of milk–or two–could ever save the day from space aliens and time traveling). But hey, if the children really do believe Father, then the milk that they have for their cereal is some important milk! And who wouldn’t want to have the “most important meal of the day” have such an impressive start as with THAT milk? Seriously, this is a funny story. Almost like one of those whopper stories that are so good you forget how impossible it all would be. This is totally like that. The only sad thing for me is that I enjoyed the story so much I wanted one of my nephews to read it right away…and he wasn’t that interested. Granted, it could have been the fact that there were other library books that had captured his attention…but it saddened me that I haven’t gotten my book-talking skills up to par to get kids to jump at the chance to read the book. But, I will try again. Perhaps I will read it aloud to him when my nephew is taking a drink (of milk) and might be more in the mood for something that could make him snort milk through his nose.(less)
Baby Billy is different from many other babies. He has a mustache. His family isn’t sure if it is a “good-guy mustache or a bad-guy mustache.” (Bad-gu...moreBaby Billy is different from many other babies. He has a mustache. His family isn’t sure if it is a “good-guy mustache or a bad-guy mustache.” (Bad-guy mustaches turn up at the ends.) At first they are sure that he is a good-guy because he does all kinds of good-guy things (even though they don’t always result in the perfect good-guy endings for everyone else). But then one day his mustache “curled up at the ends” and he became a bad-guy! He did all kinds of things to make others cry and be upset (which he somewhat did before it’s just his intentions were more “bad-guy” this go-round). Fortunately for everyone he got caught by his mom and thrown into jail (the crib). Once he decided to be a good-guy again he was allowed to come out. And just in time, there was a new baby who wanted to play. (And this baby had a beard!)
This is a funny story that kids will especially think is funny since they will laugh at the absurdity of a baby having a mustache (or a beard). The illustrations match the mood of the good-guy vs. bad-guy elements. In the parts when Billy is good the background colors are light and cool. When Billy turns “bad” the colors go to a warm orange-yellow to a brownish-red. The facial expressions on Billy’s family are also hilarious. Kids will enjoy looking at the contradiction of Billy’s “good” actions and the upset faces of his brother and sister. Not to mention how over-dramatic his parents are when they cry just as he turns “bad.” With mustaches been ever-present in random party favors and decorations, parents will enjoy this book about a popular fad.(less)
This is a hilarious story about a Daddy who is good at giving horsey-back rides. Only some horse rustlers saw him and Dad-knapped him. Fortunately the...moreThis is a hilarious story about a Daddy who is good at giving horsey-back rides. Only some horse rustlers saw him and Dad-knapped him. Fortunately the kids are pretty smart and were able to figure out what happened and were off to the rescue. They found him at a rodeo as a buckin’ bronco. As the kids and Daddy made their way out of the arena, the horse rustlers went after them. They had to go through a circus (right through the “flaming hoop of doom”), a polo match, the Kentucky Derby, and all the way to Canada where some Canadian Mounties (aka the kids) were able to save the day. They were then able to ride their daddy off into the sunset and back home…where their mom (who is really good at giving airplane rides) was waiting.
This is a great book. I seriously laughed out loud multiple times. Probably it helped that I have nieces and nephews who love to get “horsey” rides from our family. Though they tend to give “high horse” rides (aka rides on their shoulders). I love how this celebrates the fact that these parents are playing with their kids. And that the kids get to save the day is a bonus. The illustrations are fun (I love that the Dad’s shoes have horse-shoe designs on the bottom of them). There are loads of textures (from blades of grass to textures in the spot-light in the circus) that just make the illustrations rich and interesting to look at. And the kids have all sorts of fun outfits for the various places that they are going (and how funny that the little boy often sports a diaper with his tux or whatnot). This is one of those books that kids will enjoy based on the irony that comes from the improbability of it all. Well done.(less)
A young green dragon wants a book read at bedtime. The book is about a dragon who doesn’t sleep and is therefore a “bright angry red”. The young drago...moreA young green dragon wants a book read at bedtime. The book is about a dragon who doesn’t sleep and is therefore a “bright angry red”. The young dragon enjoyed the book so much that the multiple cries of “again” alerts the adult dragon to read the story all over again (and again). The adult dragon obliges and re-reads; however, he is getting sleepy. The young dragon gets angry that the story isn’t read due to the slumbering dragon and therefore turns red with anger…and blows a hole in the back of the book.
This is a fun book. I like that the story within the story is funny and has a good balance of repetition and continuation of the story so that readers know it is the same story without getting bored by its length. Also, youngsters will enjoy saying the “again!” along with the young dragon. I like the subtle red cheeks when the dragon first starts to get angry. And the details of the two dragons are a nice contrast compared to the sketches and scale-less dragon in the story. Plus the way the text in the story move around once the young dragon starts getting angry adds some dramatic lines to the illustrations. Fun story.(less)
One day Marta and John found a boy asleep on their porch. He had a note in his pocket that said, “Plees taik kair of Jacob. He is a god good boy. Wil...moreOne day Marta and John found a boy asleep on their porch. He had a note in his pocket that said, “Plees taik kair of Jacob. He is a god good boy. Wil be bak wen we can.” Needless to say Marta and John are just a bit baffled. They have no idea where the boy came from, how long he would be there, or what they should do with the boy. And to top it all off, the boy can’t tell them. He understands Marta and John, but he can’t talk–he is mute. Soon life on the farm gets into a rhythm. Jacob enjoys spending time with the dog and the cow (who both also just randomly turned up one day). And with a little encouragement from Marta and John he develops talents in painting and music. Before long the farm wouldn’t seem like home without Jacob. But there is always the nagging feeling that Jacob came from someone somewhere…and that someone will be back. And Marta and John don’t know what they will do about it when that day comes. How can one give one’s heart away knowing that it might be taken away? But how can one not love Jacob?
This is a sweet, slow-paced story that cares more about the emotions behind the details of life then the actual mystery of finding Jacob’s relations. In true Sharon Creech fashion readers are going to get to know these characters. To the point that it won’t matter that Jacob can’t talk. Readers will know him without having to hear his dialogue. The way that Creech describes how he taps or paints will explain more about what is going on in Jacob’s mind than Jacob could even attempt to explain to Marta and John. And perhaps this is one reason why readers might like this book. Because sometimes it is hard for kids to explain all the emotions and feelings that are happening. Sometimes kids don’t even understand them themselves. And the beauty of this is that they can see more in the relationship of this boy who is loved no matter how he came to the farmers than in the emptiness in the air left from lack of speech. In a world where kids have so much going on, so much to do, it is nice to step back and look at how a simple smile can really be all that is needed (that and a few bags of jelly beans). Once again, Sharon Creech has given the world an excellent story, if only readers will slow down and take the time to enjoy it.(less)