Thursday, October 16, 2008


By Leslie Helakoski
Illustrated by Lee Harper
Most enjoyed by free spirits of all ages

Woolbur is different. When all of the other sheep are getting their wool sheared, Woolbur is creating a sculpture. When he's supposed to be spinning wool like the other sheep, Woolbur is riding the spinning wheel like an amusement park ride. Every time Maa and Paa Sheep point out the error of his ways, Woolbur only answers with a 'Isn't it great?'. Maa and Paa are at wit's end trying to figure Woolbur out. Grandpa is the only one that wisely says 'Don't worry'. And in the end, he's the one that's right, as you'll find out when you read this wonderful salute to free spirits every where.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Duck For President

By Doreen Cronin
Illustrated by Betsy Lewin
Most enjoyed by voters of all ages

It's presidential election time, that wonderful time that comes once every four years when we have a chance to choose a new leader for our country. So who are you voting for? Will it be John McCain? What about Barack Obama? Or how about Duck? Who? Read 'Duck for President' and you'll wish this story's maverick is one you really could vote for!

All of the animals on Farmer Brown's farm have to do chores. Duck, however, does not like doing chores. He decides to call an election to get someone new to run the farm. Much to his delight, the animals elect him, making him the new guy in charge. But Duck finds that running the farm is not as easy as he thought. What's a duck to do? Run for higher office!

Grown-ups will love the subtle humor found in the text and the pictures. And the humor aside, 'Duck for President' does give young readers a hint of what real candidates for public office have to do on the campaign trail, from kissing babies to giving speeches. Enjoy this one before you head off to your polling place in November!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Old Bear

Written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes
Most enjoyed by Preschoolers through 1st Graders

Kevin Henkes is the master of telling simple stories children love with illustrations that make the story unforgettable. In 'Old Bear', he's done it yet again with a story about the seasons for the youngest readers.

Old Bear goes to sleep just as it's beginning to snow. As he sleeps, he dreams of the different seasons, waking when it's spring only to wonder if it is real or just part of his dream.

The changing seasons are shown in corresponding color schemes; pastels for spring, variations of green for summer, and shades of golds, reds and browns for fall. My favorite is the illustration of winter, with its beautiful blues. Why not take a walk outside after reading 'Old Bear' and see what colors are around you. Can you tell what season it is just by the colors you see?

A wonderful story to share in any season with your favorite reader.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pumpkin Town

(Or, Nothing is Better and Worse Than a Pumpkin)
By Katie Mcky
Illustrated by Pablo Bernasconi
Most enjoyed by Preschoolers through 3rd Graders

Pumpkin season is upon us. Their bright color is easy to spot while driving around town and through the surrounding countryside. Time to buy a few for decorating and carving. But before you carve your pumpkin this year, read 'Pumpkin Town' and be sure to save the seeds. You'll see why at the end of this post.

Jose and his brothers are pumpkin farmers. Each summer, they grow pumpkins of all sizes for making pies and jack-o-lanterns. Each fall, they bring the pumpkins to town to sell. But before they sell them, Jose's father tells the boys to take the seeds from some of the best pumpkins to sow in next year's garden. Jose and his brother carefully separate the brightest seeds and toss the smaller, dull seeds out the window. The wind snatches them up and sends them sailing over the town at the bottom of the hill. By spring, the town is covered in vines and come summer, there are enough pumpkins to break roofs and shatter fences.

As the brothers survey the town from their hill home, they realize the mistake they've made and sneak down during the night to make a mountain of pumpkins for the town to sell. With the money the townsfolk make, they build a statue in the brothers' honor, thanking them for righting a wrong. The brothers are sent home with five large watermelons and young readers will delight to see what happens to the watermelon seeds when the brothers are done.

Author Katie Mcky, a former school teacher, often watched her young students work extra hard to correct a mistake or right a wrong they had committed. She wanted to recognize their hard work and so wrote a story in their honor. But don't think 'Pumpkin Town' is a heavy-handed story with a moral. The story's message is subtle, wonderfully illustrated with collage art images. Readers will enjoy looking at the pictures just as much as they'll enjoy the idea of a town overrun with pumpkins.
Which brings us back to pumpkin seeds. What will you be doing with your seeds after you carve your pumpkin this year?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Birthday for Cow!

Written and illustrated by Jan Thomas
Most enjoyed by Preschoolers through 1st grade

It is Cow's birthday and Pig and Mouse are baking a cake for the occasion. But wait! Duck wants to add a turnip! Pig and Mouse are quite sure there is no room in this cake for a turnip, but Duck is not so easily convinced. He keeps insisting the turnip get included somehow. But what does Cow think? Wait 'til you see what happens at the end of this funny book.

Jan Thomas brings Cow, Mouse, Duck and Pig back for this story of good intentions gone astray. The bold colors and simple text make this a great choice for younger readers. It's also the right level if there is a beginner reader in the house. I love the expressions on the characters' faces; they cover a whole range of emotions and almost tell the story on their own. Read 'A Birthday for Cow' this then go stand in front of a mirror: how would your face look if someone wanted to put a turnip in your birthday cake?

Monday, October 6, 2008

New Elephant and Piggie Books!

Yeah! We have the newest Elephant and Piggie books!
Kids young and not so young can't get enough of these two characters. I've had 6th graders ask if there are more on the shelves because they've read all the titles we have. They'll be happy to see the latest additions.
A good friendship can go sour when one party's toy gets broken by the other. In 'I Love My New Toy', Piggie can't wait to show Gerald his new toy, but Gerald accidentally breaks it. Piggie is upset and angry. Will he give up being friends with Gerald? Kids can relate to both Piggie and Gerald's feelings because they've been in their spots before. How the problem is solved gives them ideas for resolving toy crises themselves.

Isn't it fun to surprise your friend once in a while? Hide behind a door and jump out with a loud 'Boo!'? In 'I Will Surprise My Friend!', Elephant and Piggie watch two squirrels do just that. It looks like so much fun, the best friends decide to surprise each other. Except it doesn't quite work out the way they had planned. Watch the expressions on Elephant and Piggie's faces as the tension builds for them to surprise each other. You just may find yourself looking through your house to find someone to surprise!