238. Little Golden Book Freewheelin’ Favorites” by Dannis Shealy and Miryam

Although my son looooooooves cars beyond any other toys, he doesn’t mind reading about other things. Still every time we come across a book about  four wheels and an engine, my son’s eyes light up like head lights. Today’s book was a triple treat as it contains not one, but three vrooming stories.

First, Big Blue Bill tells a story about exciting lives of big trucks on the road. He mentions his buddies, like Tanker Tina or Bony Tony, a car carrier. He pays respect to hard-working construction machines. After all, they build new roads. He also advises not to drive behind a Garbage Truck in the city. It is not fun to get stuck behind that stinker.  

In the second story, we meet a happy man and his dump truck. The man waves and tips the trailer every time he meets a friend. It becomes really interesting when the dump truck gets a bunch of unusual  passengers…

The third story is a  real show of Monster Truck’s monstrous power. Crushing, crunching, flying in the air… Thrilling suspense.

Typical Golden Books: cute, engaging stories and bright pictures.

 

237. “Slop Goes The Soup” A Noisy Warthog Word Book by Pamela Edwards

Warthogs were getting ready for a dinner party. It was time to set the table. But then, as a result of one innocent ACHOO,  a  pot of soup went SLOP, wet hooves went SLITHERING on the floor, a table started to CLATTER and a painting CRASHED… It was a pretty scary scene, until… a little teddy bear dove into the pudding.  With one big PLOP, everyone started to GIGGLe and before long the soup was  cheerfully BUBBLING again.

It is a noisy book indeed! A very creative use of onomatopoeia.  A simple story about a clumsy warthog, but so entertaining! Especially, when paired up with Henry Cole’s imaginative and truly hilarious pictures.

236. “Little Goblins Ten” by Pamela Jane

Who lives “over in the forest where the trees hide the sun”?   A mommy monster and her scampering little monster, Daddy ghost and his two boo-ing ghosties,  3,4,5, six little cackling witches with their mom, 7,8,9, and a family of goblins with their ten children.  The forest is filled with all kinds of scary creatures: fire-breathing dragons, staring zombies or rattling skeletons. But wait a minute, don’t they look like a bunch of  trick-or-treaters?

Actually, it is hard to know for sure whether the beasts are real or pretend, but this is just what keeps the reader on the edge, without scaring the life out of them. The same can be said about Jane Manning’s pictures: just a right dose of frightening. A very clever and original counting book, written in rhyme and  filled with spooky onomatopoeia. A wonderful read aloud story, not only for Halloween.

235. “I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More by Karen Beaumont

A little boy decided to add some color to his house and painted the walls, ceiling, curtains… Not to his mother delight, though. The paint went back to the closet and “Ya ain’t a-gonna paint no more!” Well, maybe not the house, but how about painting his head red, back black or legs like an easter egg?

This outrageously hilarious book, bursting with colors thanks to the vibrant Southern slang and to David Catrow’s pictures, will make you and your little readers burst with laughter.

Hopefully, this story will also help you see that whatever “out of the line”your child does, like carving in an antique table, or covering himself with a container of vaseline, or learning how to use scissors by cutting her hair and clothes ( real cases),  it could always be worse…

234. “Little Black Crow” by Chris Raschka

Someone once said about a singer, that if he can sing a song about a little sparrow well, he must be good. I am going to say the same about Chris Raschka. He created a picture book about a little crow. And didn’t he do an exquisite job!

Imagine snow-covered fields and a boy sitting on a wooden fence, talking to a crow resting on a power line. He seems to have lots of existential questions to the bird. “Where do you go in the cold white snow? (…) Whom do you meet? (..) Do you ever complain? (…)Are you a boy like me? (…) Are you never afraid? (…) Might you ever wonder about someone… like me?

The script  is so lyrical. It is written with delicate rhymes, repetitions, melodic rhythm, which carry the reader through the story, as if on the crow’s wings. You virtually hear the wind, you feel the cold, you are dazzled the wintry sun. You feel the loneliness of the boy. You submerge in the poetic and enigmatic setting, so beautifully and subtly watercolor-painted by this award-winning artist. With a few strokes of a brush, he created a masterpiece. And I am under the spell.

 

233. “I Love you Through and Through” by Bernadette Rossetti- Shustak

The Valentine’s is just one day away, so I hope you have already taken care of your cards, flowers, chocolates or have another extra original plan to express your love to your special others.  But if you are still looking for suitable words to express your love to your little children, why not to do it with today’s book?

I can’t imagine a parent who wouldn’t  relate to this simple, yet so powerful confession, as well as most endearing pictures by Caroline Jayne Church. “I love you inside and outside… I love your silly side, your mad side… I love your ears and your nose… I love you through and through… yesterday, today and tomorrow, too.”

I might have quoted half of the script already- that’s how skinny the book is!  But do we need a lot of words to express our love? I guess we just need the right ones. And then, we just must remember that actions speak louder than words, so let’s not forget to act accordingly. Not only on the Valentine’s Day, but “yesterday, today and tomorrow, too.”

 

232. “Read to Tiger” by S. F. Fore

A little boy is trying to read his book on the couch, but he  can’t focus, because there is a tiger behind the couch, which keeps chomp-chomp- chewing gum, growling like a bear, choo-choo-tooting while riding a toy train or practicing karate kicks. Finally, the boy gives the tiger a talking. But when the boy tries to focus again, the Tiger suddenly shows an interest in the book, and so the boy gets to read the book to Tiger.

As cute as absurd. Fun to  read-out-loud thanks to the lively writing  filled amusing onomatopoeia. Cheerfully illustrated by  R. W. Alley. A great story for the whole family, with a useful hint for every older sibling who can’t do their ‘stuff” in peace because the younger brother or sister wants to play the noisiest games right next to them. Why not to stop ‘shushing’ them and instead,  engage them in what you are doing? Or take a break from what you are doing and jut read to them. They will love it and they will love you!

 

231. “Will It Be a Baby Brother?” by Eve Bunting

I am not sure whether it is a new trend or am I just noticing it more, but the books about a new baby in the family seem to be  mushrooming. Unfortunately, I don’t find it to be  necessary a good thing. All of the stories are basically the same:  a big brother or sister-to-be is anxious to find out if the new baby will be a little brother or-sister. Of course, boys want playful baby boys and girls want cute baby girls. Usually, they get the opposite, but they are delighted anyway. It is a nice concept and a relevant message, but after one or two books, there is no surprise in the script anymore. I would like to see a little twist to the story or a follow-up. For example, what happens in the first year of the new baby. He or she was supposed to be a playmate, but the baby just sleeps, cries and eats and gets all the attention.

But, if your demand for the new baby book is not yet fully met,  you might enjoy reading about little Edward. Even though he wanted his mom to bring “a James” from the hospital, was more than okay with “a Sara”. And he would never give her to aunt Elizabeth, as he had planned earlier on. The pictures by Beth Spiegel, although not extra memorable, are a cheerfully pastel addition to this amusing story.

 

230. “No Ghost Under My Bed” by Guido Van Genechten

Jake couldn’t fall asleep because of a ghost under his bed. According to Jake’s dad, it was just the cracking of the bed. Then Jake heard a ghost behind the curtain and in the chest, but Dad confirmed that it was just the wind and heating noise. Jake still could hear a ghost, though. Dad still couldn’t believe it and to prove his point performed a thorough check under the carpet and behind the door. Finally, Jake was convinced that there was no ghosts in his room, because… his dad had chased them all away. 

The other night my son was seriously bothered by a bee buzzing around his bed. When I said I couldn’t hear anything, he insisted otherwise.  He had seen a bee outside earlier on and it must have gotten to our house. Normally, I would have tried to talk him out of this imaginary buzz, but after I had read Jake’s story, I knew better. We waited until the bee would fly away and I reassured my son that all the doors and windows were closed and no bee would come to his room. It worked. However illogical my explanation was.

A perfect read for every child whose night-time sleep gets disturbed by ghosts and other terrifying creatures squatting in their bedrooms. Very interesting and original illustrations, in the dark colors of the night and the warm and cosy night-light.

229. “Cornelius” a fable by Leo Lionni

Cornelius was not an ordinary crocodile. Instead of moving around on all fours, as every decent crocodile should, Cornelius walked on two legs. He could see further and more, but none of his mates on the river beach appeared to care. Cornelius decided to walk away from the ignorant crowd. He met a monkey, who taught him other things, like standing on his head or hanging from the tree by his tail. The crocodiles on the beach didn’t SEEM excited about this achievement either, but as soon as Cornelius wasn’t looking, they rushed to a tree trying to… hang by the tail like a monkey.

What I love about Leo Lionni’s stories, is their power to overwhelm you with reflections. Not one, or two, but with the whole bunch of them. ‘Cornelius’ makes me think about the toxic power of jealousy and ignorance, and about the immunity one must have on order not to get infected by the crowd stupidity. It makes me ponder about how difficult it is to be a teacher in your own country, and how liberating it can be  to just walk away from those who don’t understand and don’t appreciate. If you can SEE great things, if you can also learn to DO great things. And why wouldn’t you? “All you need it a lot of hard work and a little help.”, as the monkey told Cornelius.

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