Oh what a happy day when two of my favorite picture book authors/illustrators have come together to make this book. “Drywater Gulch had a toad problemOh what a happy day when two of my favorite picture book authors/illustrators have come together to make this book. “Drywater Gulch had a toad problem.” And since Drywater Gulch looks like a town nestled in the midst of Goblin Valley State Park in Utah, the pesky toads that are a problem are not the toads that hop around…these toads are the typical Western outlaws that “never-say-thank-you outlaw kind of toad.” And quite the toad problem it is. These three rough, tough outlaws just about scared the pants off of everyone in Drywater Gulch. Thankfully “hope rode into town. [enter Kid Sheriff riding into town] Slowly. On a tortoise. [dramatic page turn] Give him a minute.” And although the town initially doesn’t believe that Kid Sheriff can help at all, he turns out to be smarter than all three of the toads put together…and the rest of the town too. It is amazing what a kid can do, eh?
So, the brilliant story is one that kids will enjoy (and I desperately wish I could tell at a storytime tomorrow), but what about the illustrations? Do not worry. The illustrations are in the brilliant hands of Lane Smith. Are there bits of money and coins that fly out of the bank explosion? Check. Are there layers upon layers of foreground and background images that perfectly frame the main illustrations of the characters? Double check. Are there detailed drawings of dinosaurs that could destroy a Western town? Triple check. Seriously, these illustrations are masterfully crafted so that readers could spend hours looking at all the details as they laugh along with the storyline.
This is one of my all-time favorite books for 2014. Here’s to hoping that there are more wonderful books in store for both Bob Shea and Lane Smith. The world needs more stories from them both....more
Tip and J.Lo are in for even more adventures in this sequel to “The True Meaning of Smekday.” J.Lo wants to head to New Boovworld, the Boov’s new planTip and J.Lo are in for even more adventures in this sequel to “The True Meaning of Smekday.” J.Lo wants to head to New Boovworld, the Boov’s new planet located on one of Saturn’s moons, in order to clear his name from all wrong-doings that happened with the Boov’s failed attempt at conquering Earth. Tip wants to go on anther adventure (even though it doesn’t seem like her mother is willing to let her go with J.Lo). Once they get to New Boovworld, the two realize that clearing J.Lo’s name might be harder than they thought. Smek is running for president (thanks to the fact that the Earth’s failed takeover has made some Boov realize that Smek might not be the best leader the Boov have to offer. So when Smek realizes that J.Lo is around again, he decides to cast all blame (for everything horrible that the Boov have had to endure) on J.Lo. Scientific drama is all around. Can J.Lo clear his name? Can Tip survive another day? Will either one ever get back to Earth again?
This is another hilarious science fiction edition to library shelves. This book is especially perfect for those that loved seeing how Tip and J.Lo saved the world. But the best part is, this isn’t a remake of previous adventures. This isn’t another adventure where Tip and J.Lo save two species from the Gorg. Instead, this is a real look at what the aftermath of what the near-invasion and near double-invasion would have done to all Boov-kind, with a lot of comedic twists....more
This is another collection of comics that are put together to make a loose story arc of Big Nate’s life over the course of about a year. Since it is mThis is another collection of comics that are put together to make a loose story arc of Big Nate’s life over the course of about a year. Since it is mostly comics put together in a book, most pages have the basic four-panel comic with the punchline in the fourth panel. Sometimes the comics next to each other can be put together to create more of a continuous story. Other times a comic’s subject changes from one page to another only to come back to a vague overarching theme once again. Sometimes there is a comic that has eight panels all on one page. These bits add the same amount of comedic humor to the book as do the rest of the comics. Each panel is illustrated in full color and is the same style as all other Big Nate comic compilations and Big Nate novellas. With the edition of a “pull-out” Big Nate poster, readers who are a fan of the series will especially enjoy this look at this edition of Big Nate....more
Frank Einstein is a kid who like his grandpa loves science. His parents are away (they tend to love traveling) so Frank spends a lot of time with hisFrank Einstein is a kid who like his grandpa loves science. His parents are away (they tend to love traveling) so Frank spends a lot of time with his grandpa. Lucky for all involved Grandpa Al has a Fix It! shop with a laboratory attached that Frank gets to use to do his science experiments. In fact, Grandpa Al is the best kind of grandpa for Frank to have around because Grandpa Al won the Science Prize once upon a time and loves supporting Frank’s science efforts (and can actually understand what Frank is saying when he talks shop). Frank is now trying to win the Science Prize himself so he can save Fix It! from being bought up by a mysterious company that is buying all sorts of land in the area.
Of course Frank can’t doing all this by himself. He has a trusty side-kick named…Watson. And he is (just like his name) the perfect side-kick. He helps Frank put together a robot that can think for itself. (Or at least helps with the initial assembly…Klink the robot actually finished building itself and then built Klank, another robot.) And there is also an evil arch-nemesis named T. Edison who is as evil as any kid genius can be. Which does complicate life, the Science Prize, and the safety of the world (all in that order).
Oh, and let’s just talk about the fun illustrations! They are cartoony enough to get kids to believe the impossible science is possible. But not too crazy that older kids wouldn’t be interested in actually looking at them (or laughing at all the science diagrams of Frank’s alarm clock or other inventions and science explanations). And there are even little details that are great. For example on either side of the page numbers you have a couple circles that look like the heads of some screws (the kind that need a Phillips screwdriver).
This is seriously one of the best books for elementary school kids that I have read in a while. Not only is it funny and amusing (what else would you expect from Jon Scieszka?) there are so many science-y things thrown in that kids will totally enjoy (how can kids not enjoy science when there are robots who think for themselves, bubblegum peanut butter, and floating skateboards?). In fact, with all sorts of random bits of physics or chemistry thrown in to the story I think not only will kids enjoy reading this book, they will want to participate in more science experiments themselves. In fact the look on Watson’s face (when he sees the robots for the first time) totally describes this book: “It’s one part surprise, one part fear, a dash of a smile, and a twist of disbelief.” Yeah, kids will dig it. More, please!...more
In this edition of the Hazardous Tales Nathan Hale (the patriot/spy) is telling the British officer and the hangman about two ironclad ships that fougIn this edition of the Hazardous Tales Nathan Hale (the patriot/spy) is telling the British officer and the hangman about two ironclad ships that fought in the Civil War. One ship was used for the Confederate navy and the other was part of the Union navy. The South salvaged a burned ship and covered it with iron. The North hired a Swedish inventor to build a small iron ship quickly. Both ships had problems. Both ships made a difference for their respective navies. And of course there are all kinds of bits that made me laugh out loud. (Especially the research babies and the correction baby. I didn’t realize how fun it would be to read some end notes at the end of a story.)...more
Believe it or not this was my first reading of Pippi Longstocking. I think I would have liked the story more if I had read it first as a child. As anBelieve it or not this was my first reading of Pippi Longstocking. I think I would have liked the story more if I had read it first as a child. As an adult I found that Pippi was a little bit crazy and a little bit annoying. However, I think kids will really enjoy this book. For one thing Pippi does whatever she wants. And kids often wish they could as well. Plus kids will enjoy the crazy way that Pippi does things (making cookies on the kitchen floor or having a monkey and a horse for pets are just normal for Pippi). And the fact that Pippi always gets the upper hand when facing robbers or ringmasters at the circus. I can see why kids will like the book. As far as the illustrations go, I really love them. I like the combination of fun textures for the floor or clothes or whatnot combined with the whimsical way the characters are drawn. And let’s but honest, the whimsical character illustrations are perfect for a character like Pippi Longstocking. All in all this is a fun book, and since it is a classic literature character I am glad that I was finally introduced to her spirit and independence....more
For a book that only has two words (plus a few signs), this sure has packed a lot of emotion into those two words! In this particular story a cow is hFor a book that only has two words (plus a few signs), this sure has packed a lot of emotion into those two words! In this particular story a cow is happily “moo”ing when she sees the farmer put a “car for sale” sign on a little red car. The cow is excited to try out the car and takes it for a drive (up and down a lot of hills). Unfortunately the cow crashes the car on top of a policeman’s cruiser. The cow must then walk back to the farm where the farmer is waiting for yet another explanation.
This book reminds me of the book Banana! by Ed Vere where there are so many things that can all be said with the same one word. I love how kids start laughing when they realize that it isn’t what is said…but how it is said. I read this book once to some nieces and nephews. From then on out the kiddos “read” the book themselves and to each other, all the while having fun giving their own take on what way is the right way to say the word “MOO!” This will soon become a classic read aloud for any of my story time crowds....more
In this fun edition of Elephant and Piggie, Piggie tells Gerald that she is now a frog. This worries Gerald. One minute Piggie was a pig and the nextIn this fun edition of Elephant and Piggie, Piggie tells Gerald that she is now a frog. This worries Gerald. One minute Piggie was a pig and the next she was a frog. And he doesn’t want to be a frog. Soon enough Gerald learns about the world of make believe and imagination. And then even though Gerald doesn’t want to be a frog, he does decide that playing pretend might be fun.
This is another fun gem of an early reader that Mo Willems has created. I especially enjoyed the fact that the book is all about pretending…seeing how that is what the bulk of my childhood was spent doing. This is just another book that shows just how much I love the mind of Mo Willems. He is quite the genius and this is one more quality book that has found a place in my literary heart....more
Desmond Pucket has a thing for monsters. He loves them and loves doing practical jokes to bring out the monster thrill in everyone. Only, not everyoneDesmond Pucket has a thing for monsters. He loves them and loves doing practical jokes to bring out the monster thrill in everyone. Only, not everyone is all that excited about his spooky entrances, fake blood, or scary stories. Mr. Needles (the school disciplinarian) is one of those people. In fact, he is so sick of the jokes that he is sure Desmond has done (only he can’t prove most of them) that he is jumping at the chance to kick Desmond out of school. When Desmond’s older sister Rachel has a slumber party, Desmond can’t help but scare everyone a bit…only Mr. Needles’ daughter was one of the girls sleeping over. And not Desmond only has three chances to change his ways or be kicked out. And if he is kicked out he can’t go on the class field trip to “Mountain Full of Monsters” (which he has only been wanting to go to for four years).
His three chances include being part of an extra curricular activity. His three options are A/V Club, Newspaper Staff, and Drama Club. He totally gets booted out of A/V Club (and he deserved it). But is sabotaged out of the Newspaper Staff. When things start happening that look like monstrous practical jokes in Drama Club, Desmond gets nervous. Because now he is not the one doing the monstrous mayhem. Will Desmond be able to figure it all out in time to save himself from being kicked out of school (and more importantly to be able to stay long enough to go on the class field trip).
This is a hilarious book. Desmond is one funny kid, the type of kid that would get most people to laugh along with him (if they weren’t too frightened by the actual monster-bit of his jokes). And readers will laugh along with Desmond in part due to the hilarious illustrations scattered throughout the text. In fact, there are two kinds of illustrations. First is the illustrations that show just what is happening to Desmond and crew. The second type of illustrations are the type that Desmond “drew” to show his plans or his particular ideas. (And these are done in a different style with some textured “paper” under the drawings.) Add the elements of monsters and you have one comical character in a memorable story. Readers who like Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Big Nate will enjoy the illustration/text mash up and the comedic elements of this story. And when they laugh-out-loud they will wonder why there aren’t more in this series yet. Desmond is a fun school-kid who will be enjoyed and around for a monstrously long time. Well done, Tatulli. Well done....more
I just had to share this one. Not much to say, but so fun that I had to share it. This is like those Where’s Waldo books only it is with Doctor Who. II just had to share this one. Not much to say, but so fun that I had to share it. This is like those Where’s Waldo books only it is with Doctor Who. I know loads of kids who love the search-and-find picture books. So this is a fun idea for those parents who are into Doctor Who and are excited about looking for something other than the red and white stripes. Honestly, the adults might like this book more than the kiddos. Now if only all the other iconic movies could have their own search-and-find books. Perhaps Pride and Prejudice or Star Wars perhaps? Maybe Sherlock?...more
One day a fox and a goose see each other across the street. [Yup, the goose and the fox are in a street...and they have clothes and other things thatOne day a fox and a goose see each other across the street. [Yup, the goose and the fox are in a street...and they have clothes and other things that personify them. And the fox is dressed in a dapper suit that makes he seem like the sort that gets his way, a lot. And the goose only has a kerchief tied on her head and a basket. Totally giving off the "peasant" look.] So they see each other and the pages cut to black with some words…reminiscent of an old silent film’s black screen with the text printed in white. [It totally makes me think that the organ music will start any second.] The fox proceeds to invite the goose to go on a stroll, then to his house, then to have dinner. The goose agrees to each of these suggestions. After each suggestion a progressively larger number of chicks tell everyone [us as well as the fox/goose duo] that “That is NOT a good idea!” But the two are headless of what the chicks say and the melodrama continues. [I only wish the fox could have twirled a mustache like any of the famous villains in melodramas...like Babe's in Toyland's Barnaby. The fox totally needed a mustache, and some train tracks. And the "dun, dun, dun, dun, DUN" music in the background.]
And then there is the ending. It made me laugh. It made my nieces and nephews laugh. In fact, their first reaction was to immediately read the book again because they HAD to read it again once they knew the ending. Because some things are that good…and this one is. Seriously, you all need to read this book. Sooner rather than later. You will be glad you did!...more
Exclamation Mark tries not to stand out among all his friends that are periods. But it doesn’t work. (….!….) No matter what happens he stands out. TheExclamation Mark tries not to stand out among all his friends that are periods. But it doesn’t work. (….!….) No matter what happens he stands out. Then along comes another punctuation mark—Question Mark. She starts to do what she is good at, asking questions:
“Hello? Who are you? What grade are you in? What’s your favorite color? Do you like frogs? What’s your favorite ice cream? When’s your birthday? Know any good jokes? Do you wanna race to the corner?”
With these (and many more) questions, Exclamation Mark gets a little flustered and yells, “STOP!” And thanks to the fact that he is an Exclamation Mark his one word makes quite the impression. Then suddenly he is happy about who he is. And he finds other things that he wants to say, with his exclamation powers.
This is a hilarious book. I loved that the pages all look like lined paper children would use to practice writing their spelling and letters in grade school. I love the expressions that are portrayed on all of the punctuation. Needless to say there is a lot expressed, not just in how a word is punctuated, but also in the little faces on these cute characters. Although this might be too advanced to understand for some of my story time kiddos, I think this will soon become an elementary school classic story that will be told as students learn about the importance and use of punctuation. And, I know I liked it because I laughed out loud multiple times when reading this for the first time. Then I jumped up and down in front of my coworkers and read it again…out loud. Nicely done!...more
This is the classical “Who’s on First?” exchange that is now in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Only it is in a picture book form.This is the classical “Who’s on First?” exchange that is now in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Only it is in a picture book form. And it has fun animals as baseball players. Each baseball player is a different animal. This is perfect for the younger crowd who will surely not mistake a snake or a dog or a chicken for the wrong crazy-named baseball player. And, they will love that I Don’t Give a Hoot (the shortstop) is an owl.
I didn’t know if this book would really work for kids to understand or even think funny. But then I watched my 8-year-old nephew read it. He kept laughing and telling us the punch lines. When the book was over he said, “I don’t know! Third Base!” Needless to say, he got the jokes....more
Greg Heffley has a lot going on…and for most of it he is “stuck” in his house. They are finishing up the few weeks of school between Thanksgiving andGreg Heffley has a lot going on…and for most of it he is “stuck” in his house. They are finishing up the few weeks of school between Thanksgiving and the winter break, but with all the snow and keeping his virtual pet happy he is inside his house a lot.
This is a typical Diary of a Wimpy Kid book. But it is on audio. I wasn’t sure if I would like an audio book since there is so much portrayed through the illustrations. But this audio made me laugh out loud. More than once. When I didn’t want to because Greg Heffley is the type of kid that does stuff that I find annoying. It was still annoying. The reader just made me laugh about it. And that is the whole point of a good audio book reader. I can see why kids like this book. And now I know why they like the audio (even though it doesn’t have any of the pictures). It doesn’t matter. The audio was just as funny. And that is what matters....more
Okay, seriously. I LOVE THIS BOOK! I didn’t know much about it going into reading it. I just knew that it had a good review. Well, now I know why! SerOkay, seriously. I LOVE THIS BOOK! I didn’t know much about it going into reading it. I just knew that it had a good review. Well, now I know why! Seriously, I think that one of the happiest things in the world of juvenile fiction is that this is going to be a series of brilliant books. And that will make me very happy! Especially because this is a level that doesn’t have very many things that I love. It is harder than the easiest readers. But it isn’t as hard as a Nancy Drew book. It is probably on par with the Magic Treehouse sort of books. And it is the smaller size (for younger readers to hold) and has the larger text (for those just learning to read) and loads of white space and illustrations. Plus, the story is actually good. And not just good, it made me laugh out loud. Which is important! So what is it about you ask? Well, let me tell you.
Nick and Maxine move into a new apartment. One day Maxine has her brother come to her bedroom and stand on the dresser to look out the window. (And yes, Nick asks how Maxine knew that he needed to do that. Which is such a great question to bring up in this type of book. If kids are going to do weird, crazy things at least they might acknowledge that they are doing them…even if Maxine never really told Nick how she discovered that a kid needed to stand on top of a dresser to actually see something important.) Anyway, while Nick is on top of Maxine’s dresser he discoveres that behind all of the apartment buildings on the block is a tiny little house. But there is no way from the street to get to the house. And this leads to Nick and Maxine going on a quest to ask the janitor (who was in the boiler room) about the house and how to get there.
Mike the janitor tells them that the nice old lady Mrs. Noodlekugel lives there and that they just have to get to the house by going through the boiler room, but to not tell their parents that he told them. Of course later the parents randomly decide to tell Nick and Maxine that they should never go bother the nice Mrs. Noodlekugel or to go to her house or even step on her porch. And, you know exactly what adventure Nick and Maxine head off to do.
There they find a wonderful place with a nice old lady who is every bit as nice as Mike or their parents told them she was. And there is also a talking cat. And some mice who help with cooking.
Seriously, I will say it again. This was a great beginning chapter book! I also loved what the parents had to say at the end of the story. I really shouldn’t say too much more about this book. Because, well…it is one that should be read and enjoyed. So stop reading this review and head out to find this book. Then read it. Then read it to your favorite kiddo…or watch them read it. Because it is funny. That’s why....more
I love a good joke when doing a school tour or school visit. I like it when I often talk to kids in 2nd or 3rd grade and I have a particularly good joI love a good joke when doing a school tour or school visit. I like it when I often talk to kids in 2nd or 3rd grade and I have a particularly good joke they laugh. I love it when I talk to a 5th or 6th grader and tell them a funny joke and they try not to smile, but they do anyway. This book is full of good jokes to tell. And they are about all sorts of fun, spooky creatures. But the best part…there are MUMMY JOKES! Why should I be excited about this? Because I can sure use some good mummy jokes when planning next year’s summer reading program at the library. For example, how funny would it be if I was doing a school visit and busted out:
Q: Why are mummies bad singers?
A: Because they are tomb deaf.
I think the kids would totally crack up! Don’t believe me? How about:
Q: Why don’t mummies use doorbells?
A: Because they like to wrap at the door.
Yeah, you know you smiled at those too. Yeah, good stuff. I will keep this in mind for next Halloween as well as the Summer Reading Program 2013!...more
Ha! This is another GREAT picture book! Seriously, you might want to go put this book on hold before you continue reading this book. It is one that yoHa! This is another GREAT picture book! Seriously, you might want to go put this book on hold before you continue reading this book. It is one that you will want to read with your kiddo! Hurry, go to the library website and put it on hold. Okay, back? Now I'll tell you why it is so good.
Lily is a little girl who sees something wonderful in her garden. And she always wanted a doggy! This doggy is big and hairy...and looks very similar to a big brown bear that has escaped from the zoo. Kiddos will laugh over the funny things that Lily gets her "doggy" to do. And once the zoo comes to claim the runaway bear...Lily is excited that she finds something else in her garden.
Basically this is a hysterical picture book. It is funny and parents won't mind reading this story over and over again to youngsters. Which is great because this is one book that will be requested over and over again....more
This was my 22nd book for the YALSA Best Books Reading Challenge. And this was another audio book that I read while on vacation. (Wahoo for audio bookThis was my 22nd book for the YALSA Best Books Reading Challenge. And this was another audio book that I read while on vacation. (Wahoo for audio books while on vacation!)
Fifty contestants board a plane headed for the Miss Teen Dream Pagent. But the plane crasses on a desert island and these potential beauty queens must learn how to be pretty while surviving snakes and evil corporation brainwashing. As readers find out, the girls aren't on their own for long. A group of savvy pirates become shipwrecked and the Teen Dream Contestants prove that they can fix a boat while flirtting and trading beauty secrets.
This book is funny. It not only is a beauty pagent gone wrong, it is about how commercials and big-time corporations try to tell us what beauty and femininity is. There were times when I almost snorted. Especially because the the outstanding way that Libba Bray (yeah, that's right...the author) read the audio book. I loved her character voices. If I didn't hear her talking at the end and telling all about how she really was the author, I would have sworn she was a talented voice-actress who read audio books for a living.
One thing that the author talked about at the end of the audio book is how many people don't like certain teen books because of too much swearing or other content. She mentioned that many teens do swear or hear swearing. And that is just what teen life is. However, not every teen likes hearing that many swear words or some of the details in this book that are just a touch gritty. There were some parts where I was uncomfortable. This doesn't mean that this is a bad book or shouldn't be read. It just means that when I recommend it I will need to know my audience. Many of my friends for example will probably not enjoy reading this for those reasons. But many teens will. So I am glad I read it...even though due to how I don't want to hear that amount of language again I probably wouldn't read it a second time myself. This is a funny, interesting book that will be loved by many. I just need to make sure I know reading styles before I recommend it. Smart, well-written book....more
Did I mention before how much I love Elephant and Piggie? Because if not...you all should know that this is yet another AMAZING book with a fun endingDid I mention before how much I love Elephant and Piggie? Because if not...you all should know that this is yet another AMAZING book with a fun ending. That Mo Willems is brilliant!...more
Is Everyone Ready for FUN? Then RUN to the library to check out this book! I can't even explain how AMAZING it is. But then again, if you love Jan ThoIs Everyone Ready for FUN? Then RUN to the library to check out this book! I can't even explain how AMAZING it is. But then again, if you love Jan Thomas the way that I do...then you won't be surprised!
Three cows decide that they are ready for fun. They head for Chicken's small sofa and start jumping. Chicken does not think this is fun. Chicken does not like how squashed the sofa looks. Chicken tells those cows that they need to not jump anymore. So they decide to do something else on the sofa. Dance. Dancing is fun. Soon chicken is losing feathers over all the things that the three cows are doing on his sofa. Such a fun read. Kiddos will want to read it again and again.
Hurry, you won't have any more fun unless you check out this book. Totally worth it!...more