When Dad explains why it took so very long to get the milk from the corner store, a brother and sister have to listen to an outrageous tale including a professor dinosaur, time travel and a hot air balloon. The book is reminiscent of Dr. Seuss’s And To Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street except it’s the dad telling the story and it’s Neil Gaiman’s voice and it’s Skottie Young‘s black and white illustrations. It’s also much longer, more like an illustrated novel with special fonts. There are no chapter breaks, and it’s fast-paced, making it easy to read in one sitting.
Ah, milk, it does a body good. Especially the literary kind.
Bears do sleep, not hibernate, during winter months. In lyrical verse, Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple (Yolen’s daughter) provide an ode to sleep, first for little snakes, skunks and turtles, and then for lovely YOU. It reminds me of Mem Fox’s Time For Bed, a classic at our house. Illustrations by Brooke Dyer provide a timeless quality. Incidentally (or perhaps purposefully), Brooke Dyer is the daughter of illustrator Jane Dyer, who illustrated Time for Bed. I feel a Venn Diagram coming on…
There is a soft spot in my heart for squirrels and their stories. Kate DiCamillo has created an important book about a superhero squirrel whose best weapon is poetry. As Dr. Meecham says, “Take this squirrel, for instance. Ulysses. Do I believe he can type poetry? Sure, I do believe it. There is much more beauty in the world if I believe such a thing is possible.”
Of course, Flora believes because she’s the one who saved him from the terrible vacuum incident and the one who loves him beyond all measure. For a story of friendship, belief and heroism, Flora & Ulysses will surely do the trick. It’s also a cool hybrid sort, with pages of graphic novel format mixed in with traditional chapters, illustrated by K.G. Campbell.
Matt Phelan‘s graphic novel is a rare history of vaudeville for children. Set in Muskegon and Bluffton, Michigan in the early 1900s, it shows all of the main acts while still focusing on friendships and the angst of growing up.
Henry and Buster are summertime friends, hanging out at The Actor’s Colony. Henry, a local yokel who helps out in his dad’s hardware store, wants nothing more than to join the performers. Buster secretly wants to be a civil engineer, but with only one day of school under his belt and star status in the world of vaudeville, it was unlikely.
With an author’s note and vintage photo at the end, Bluffton will pique kids’ performing passions and the history thereof.
Listen up all of you Six Plus One Traits people: This is your book for voice. And it’s a finalist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.
The scouts are two raccoons, J’miah and Bingo, who live in a DeSoto deep in the Texas swamp. There are snakes and people who make pure cane sugar pies and hogs that fly through no impetus of their own. Then there’s the Sugar Man himself who is very old and sleepy and not known by many people anymore–but he’s the only one who can save the swamp from sure destruction by alligator wrestlers and stadium developers who’d pave the whole ecosystem down.
As in The Underneath, Kathi Appelt writes about the swamp culture with a mix of magic and faith. This time there’s more history, more animals, more everything.
When I was young, we had an ongoing joke in the classroom. For you to understand this, you need to know I’m Canadian and in school we all learned French because Canada is a bilingual country. It would get noisy outside in the hall so someone would, “Shut the door” and someone else would invariably respond, “I love you too.” Get it?
If you say “Shut the door” in an exotic accent, making the initial “sh” sound more like a “zh”, it sounds a lot like “Je t’adore” which is French for “I love you.” After reading Amy Krouse Rosenthal‘s picture book, I realize that was a wordle: “groups of words that sound exactly the same but mean different things.”
Amy’s wordles are much funnier and all in the English language, and they have fabulous illustrations by Serge Bloch.