Pied Piper Pics
Rabbit takes refuge in his rabbit home after being chased by a fox in the dark. Little does he know that he will have a stream of visitors also running from the fox. First to arrive is Duck, who is followed by Mouse, and then Lamb. They are all squeezed in together in Rabbit’s very small bed when there is another knock at the door. Duck opens it to find Baby Fox on the doorstep. Expecting to be eaten, the animals are surprised that Baby Fox also needs shelter because he lost his mom. Readers will not be surprised that the next knock at the door is indeed Mother Fox searching for her baby. They will be pleased at the nice ending when Mother Fox offers up her soft and snuggly body as a bed for all of the animals. Young readers will enjoy looking in the pictures at the beginning of the book to find the fox lurking in the dark background. The mixed media illustrations will certainly put readers at ease throughout this satisfying story.
Check the WRL catalog for The Fox in the Dark.
This book is sure to appeal to picky eaters. It starts out by telling the reader about all of the things that Little Pea likes to do. He enjoys things like rolling down hills, hanging out with his pea pals, and snuggling with mom and dad. However, one thing that poor Little Pea cannot stand is being forced to eat candy for dinner. In case you didn’t know, it is what you have to eat for dinner every day when you are a pea! It doesn’t matter that each day is a different kind of candy – it is still candy, candy, and more candy day after day. Mom and Dad insist that Little Pea eat all of his candy or there will be no dessert. Of course, dessert just happens to be spinach, which Little Pea loves. Will Little Pea find a way to choke down the candy in order to get dessert? The ink and watercolor illustrations are charming, and children and adults alike will relate to this humorous tale of picky eating. Readers will never look at peas in the same way after reading this fun tale. Candy for dinner, hmmmmm is that a new diet fad?
Check the WRL catalog for Little Pea.
The Little Red Pen is a modern day version of the story The Little Red Hen. In this story The Little Red Pen needs help grading a mountain of homework so the students will learn. She calls on her school supply friends stapler, scissors, eraser, pushpin, and highlighter to help her with this task. “Not I!” they all reply. The Little Red Pen is left to work alone. Exhausted from all her hard work she rolls off the desk into the trash can aka “The Pit of No Return.” Her school supply friends organize a rescue to save her. Will the Little Red Pen be lost forever? Read this entertaining story to find out if they succeed. The cartoon style drawings and humor will delight elementary children. This is a great book for teaching the importance of hard work and teamwork.
Check the WRL catalog for The Little Red Pen.
Pete the Cat is one cool blue cat and a favorite with young children. In Pete’s latest adventure he is wearing his favorite shirt with four, big, round, groovy buttons. Pete loves his shirt so much he sings a song about it. But one by one his buttons fall off his shirt. “Did Pete cry? Goodness, no! Buttons come and buttons go.” Count down with Pete as he discovers a very special button at the end of the story. As with many of Eric Litwin’s books, the repetitive text and bright, colorful illustrations will delight beginning readers. This book is a good educational tool for teaching rhythm, rhyme, and number concepts. Great read aloud or sing aloud for a large group reading.
Check the WRL catalog for Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons.
Chu is a panda bear whose sneezes cause bad things to happen. His parents are worried he is going to sneeze so they keep asking him if he will. Chu keeps saying no as his parents take him to a library and then to a diner. Finally Chu and his parents arrive at the circus, but they don’t ask him if he is going to sneeze. Chu’s sneeze blows down the circus tent and sends everything in the library and the diner flying!
The text is fairly simple and minimal, and as such is best suited for younger children ages 2-6. What truly makes this book special, however, are the illustrations by Adam Rex. They are absolutely gorgeous, extremely detailed, and light up every page. Children will especially enjoy being able to pick out the various animals that are the patrons of each establishment that Chu visits, and they will surely laugh when Chu finally sneezes. Chu’s Day is also a great storytime pick because kids love predicting whether they think Chu is actually going to sneeze or not.
Check the WRL catalog for Chu’s Day.
A man with an unwieldy mane of hair is noticed by a curious young girl named Bonnie who proclaims that he has “got crazy hair.” The man is very proud of his hair and he tells Bonnie that birds, gorillas, tigers and an entire menagerie of animals live in his hair. He goes on to describe that people live and go on expeditions, play music, fly, go to fairs, and sail ships in his hair. Bonnie recommends that he comb his hair to calm it down and the man says she can try so she does. But the man’s hair pulls Bonnie inside and she has grand adventures with all the people and animals inside the crazy hair!
Crazy Hair has a theme which may be unsuitable for really young kids along with a significant amount of text so I recommend this book for ages 4-8. This is a book kids will relate to because nearly all children have had experiences with trying to tame their messy hair! Crazy Hair is a great book to read aloud at storytime because the story is written in rhyming stanzas, so it has a great rhythm to it. The kids will also exclaim at the more fantastical elements of the story and the twist ending will keep everyone on their toes. Last but not least, Dave McKean’s abstract and quirky illustrations immerse you in the story and will create an excellent base for kids’ imaginations to run wild.
Check the WRL catalog for Crazy Hair.
A Walk in London tells the story of a mother-daughter day-trip spent exploring the historic city of London. They wander from Westminster to Buckingham Palace to the Tower of London, visiting all the most famous and well-known London attractions. They see the Changing of the Guard outside Buckingham Palace, the bronze lions in Trafalgar Square, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the crown jewels in the Tower of London.
Each double-page spread features trivia in different, smaller fonts which can help to hold the attention of older children, enabling this book to be read and enjoyed by multiple ages at the same time. I learned that Norway sends a huge Christmas tree to London every year to stand in Trafalgar Square; there has been a cathedral on the site of St. Paul’s for more than 1.400 years; and the crown jewels have never been stolen, although Thomas Blood did try in 1671.
The book is full of lovely illustrations that are somewhat reminiscent of Quentin Blake’s style. The author is a graduate of the Royal College of Art in London. A Walk in New York was his first picture book, which began as a series of paintings that were short-listed for the Victoria and Albert Museum Illustration Awards. A Walk in London ends with a beautiful fold-out panorama of the Thames and the location of major sites on the river.
Without doubt this book would serve as a great introduction if your family ever plans a trip to London. The tour is rich with commentary about sites throughout the city, and so it’s also a wonderful way to explore a new city without ever leaving the comfort of your home.
Check the WRL catalog for A Walk in London.
Science Verse is the story of a young student, who’s been struck with the curse of Science Verse! His science teacher, Mr. Newton, tells him that if he listens closely enough he will be able to hear “the poetry of science in everything.” And the next day, everything suddenly and inexplicably begins to rhyme!
The book is composed of a series of twenty-three poems that are intended to help children learn about and remember a whole variety of important scientific concepts. The author uses the rhythmic patterns of several famous poems with all-new content, ranging from dinosaurs, to evolution, the stars, and even scientific method. They vary in length from a few lines to several stanzas.
I’m a big fan of witty, well-written children’s books with plays on words and linguistic ingenuity. A few of my favorite poems in the book include: the water cycle (to “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring”), the food chain (to “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”), atoms (to “The Song of Hiawatha”), the five senses (to “The Ride of Paul Revere”), and the Big Bang (to “ ’Twas the Night Before Christmas”).
‘Twas the night before Any Thing, and all through deep space,
Nothing existed – time, matter, or place.
No stockings, no chimneys. It was hotter than hot,
Everything was compressed in one very dense dot.
Using the rhythms of familiar poems or nursery rhymes is a brilliant mnemonic device and the book comes with a CD to play that features all the poems in the book. Scieszka (“rhymes with ‘Fresca’ ”) includes a list at the end of the book, describing which well-known poems served as inspiration, for those intrinsically curious individuals who may wish to read the originals. But don’t worry: children do not have to be familiar with the original works in order to enjoy the humor. Lane Smith’s distinctive collage artwork compliments the text perfectly, incorporating drawings, paintings, and printed materials.
In addition to being a great read, this interesting, intelligent and irreverent picture book would be a great addition to any elementary teacher’s library. And if Science Verse is a hit, they’ve also written Math Curse, which is in the library’s collection.
Check the WRL catalog for Science Verse.
The Legend of El Dorado was written and illustrated by Beatriz Vidal. The story was adapted by Nancy Van Laan for this book. Born in Argentina, Beatriz Vidal gives a fresh look at an ancient myth told by her father when she was a child. The native Chibchas people live near a magical lake called Lake Guatavita. In this beautiful land, ruled by the King, his wife, and his daughter, there are boundless treasures; the waters literally flow gold with the precious metal. But one day the princess disturbs the magical lake and awakens an emerald serpent. Tthe lives of everyone in the village are forever altered. So begins the legend of El Dorado, which translates to “the Gilded Man,” for the King must cover himself with gold powder before he can dive into the lake to save his young daughter. The illustrations in this book truly bring the magic of this story to life. The gold and the jewels nearly shine off the page, and the deep blues and greens of the water and landscape are simply enchanting. One could find themself wondering where such a country could be discovered, or if perhaps it is already there under their nose. Van Laan does an excellent job of adapting this story from its native language into English in such a poetic manner. It is hard to believe it was not originally told this way. This book is perfect for late elementary school students who are comfortable reading on their own. However, it is also highly appropriate for story times or group readings, or even for someone who wishes to read it to a younger child, especially because it is so visually appealing.
Check the WRL catalog for The Legend of El Dorado: A Latin American Tale.
Chalk & Cheese, written and illustrated by Tim Warnes, is a sweet and fun story of two unlikely friends. In this book the protagonists are Cheese, a British mouse, and Chalk, a dog living in New York City. Chalk and Cheese have been corresponding via postcards for quite a while, so one day Cheese decides he is going to visit his friend. However, the Big Apple is a lot bigger than this tiny country mouse expected. Both friends learn that they are very different from each other, especially in their upbringing, but by learning about these differences they are able to finally become even closer than before. This leads them to realizing that perhaps they are not too different from one another.
This cute story is set up much like a comic book, using the style of multiple panels per page. It is a great book for early elementary-aged children to read to themselves. The pictures and speech bubbles also make it a book that could be fun to read aloud in pairs. Warnes’ quirky writing style and original artwork make this a book that seamlessly blends picture book and comic book, something that is sure to appeal to any child who has a love for animals and travel.
Check the WRL catalog for Chalk & Cheese.
Is your toddler or preschooler learning about colors? Does he or she love trains? If so, Freight Train is a must read! It is a classic, Caldecott award winning, concept book written and illustrated by Donald Crews. With only a few simple words to a page and vibrant primary colors, Crews tells the story of a train from the beginning to the end. Crews also labeled the train cars to help children learn more about the different components that make up trains. Lastly, Crews does an incredible job blending the colors of each car together to represent the rapid movement of the train, which provides vibrant, bright illustrations for the children and parents!
If you have not read this classic book, check it out. I guarantee you and your child will be reading it time and time again.
Check the WRL catalog for Freight Train.
Benjamin Franklin, Dragons, and Pigs, oh my! Read All About It! by Laura and Jenna Bush is a great book for school-aged kids and younger children who enjoy listening to a longer story. Tyrone Brown, the main character, rules the school at Good Day Elementary. He is great at math, science, the monkey bars, and he enjoys just about everything about school except reading. However, his teacher tells him, “You never know who you are going to meet in a good book.” Tyrone does not believe his teacher, until one day, characters start appearing in his classroom! One of the characters eventually goes missing, and Tyrone and his friends go on a search in the school to find the missing character! Read Read All About It! to find out which character goes missing, if they find the character, and where they find the character.
Denise Brunkus does wonderful, colorful illustrations. For those not familiar with her work, she has illustrated many books including the popular Junie B. Jones series.
Check the WRL catalog for Read All About It!
Yawn, stretch, snore, run, slide, slip, slap are just some of the many action words in Snore Dinosaur Snore, written and illustrated by John Bendall-Brunello! This fun book is perfect for younger children, toddlers, and preschoolers with the colorful pictures, big easy to read words, and action words. Not only is this a great book to read, but it also is a great book to act out. It is sure to leave both parents and children laughing, especially if your family can relate to these persistent baby dinosaurs that try and try to wake their mommy up! It seems as if the baby dinosaurs have tried everything…will these baby dinos succeed? Be sure to read Snore Dinosaur Snore to find out!
Check the WRL catalog for Snore Dinosaur Snore.
Is your child learning to tell time, count or understand rhyme? If so, Hickory Dickory Dock, written and illustrated by Keith Baker, is the book to read! While based on the familiar nursery rhyme titled, “Hickory Dickory Dock,” Baker creates his own version of the nursery rhyme with one busy mouse and lots of crazy animals. Be sure to read Hickory Dickory Dock to have fun counting, singing, rhyming, and of course to see what keeps the teeny tiny mouse busy every hour!
Toddlers and younger elementary school students will enjoy this colorful and easy to read book.
Check the WRL catalog for Hickory, Dickory, Dock.
Once your little one starts growing, nothing is more exciting than turning another year older. Then once your little one is a year older, what is more exciting than growing a half year older and celebrating being 2 and a half or 3 and a half? Growing up can lead to excitement, questions, and maybe even a little nervousness. If your little one is growing older, asking questions, or feeling a little nervous, he or she will easily be able to relate to Pomelo, the growing, pink little elephant in this story. Pomelo realizes that he has started growing. He is bigger than his dandelion plant, strawberries, and even a teeny tiny potato! Woo hoo – he is very excited that he is taller and maybe even stronger. But then, he starts asking questions such as, “Will I grow equally all over?”. Growing up is making him a little nervous! Be sure to read Pomelo Begins to Grow to find out what Pomelo thinks of growing up in the end!
In addition to the fun, relatable storyline written by Badescu, Benjamin Chaud does some beautiful illustrations with bright drawings. It is truly a great book for your growing toddlers.
Check the WRL catalog for Pomelo Begins to Grow.
Jake is a delightful character who is not interested in a varied diet, quite
the opposite. He turns down everything except peanut butter. As a true peanut butter lover I fell in love with this book! This story is engaging as you follow his parents’ frustration. Then they hatch an ingenious plan to solve Jake’s finicky eating habits. The rhyming storyline will keep young children listening and wondering what Jake will eat next. Adults will be
entertained by the phenomenal pictures in this book. The layers of humor in the pictures are a definite highlight in Jake Goes Peanuts.
Check the WRL catalog for Jake Goes Peanuts.
The importance of family order has been proven. Who we become has its
origins in our birth order. This sweet, funny and oh so telling story will
ring true for the reader. As we follow Gladys, Hilda and Rose we will
relate to them as they live their days together. One favorite page for me
is when the two younger sisters are in bed and they watch big sister in her
own room staying up late at night, laughing and being important. Of course,
the younger sisters become tired of bossy big sister Gladys. The plan they
make is beyond anything you would expect and the silliness of it makes this
a fun story to share with your family.
Check the WRL catalog for Eating up Gladys.
This tale about a dragon, Ultimon, is a wonderful book for elementary-aged children who are interested in dragons or astronomy. GrandPré’s beautiful illustrations full of muted purples, greens, and blues steal the show in this bedtime book. Ultimon is so sad to be the last dragon on earth, but he is called into the sky and becomes the constellation Draco the Dragon, which can be found close to the North Star.
The entirety of the story flows with a rhythm meant to lull the reader to appreciate the stargazing suggested at the close. Burleigh writes, “Walk out, reader,/In the blackest night—/Gaze up where the stars/Are crisp and bright./Next to the polestar/That guides with its beams—/See! A dragon/Constellation gleams.”
Check the WRL catalog for Flight of the Last Dragon.
In his first book, author-illustrator K.G. Campbell’s main character, Lester, is faced with a compelling and relatable problem. Little red-headed Lester likes neatness and order, but when his family takes in his elderly Cousin Clara, his sense of style is overrun with ugly sweaters. Lester’s parents insist on him wearing Clara’s knitted creations to school, causing him humiliation reminiscent of Ralphie’s bunny suit in A Christmas Story. Campbell writes, “The next morning there was another sweater. This one covered bits it shouldn’t and didn’t cover bits it should. It was an irksome pink and dotted with oddly placed upside-down pockets. It was GHASTLY.”
Cousin Clara’s sweaters keep meeting mysterious and unfortunate accidents until she finally meets some more appreciative clients. Elementary-aged children and their parents will enjoy this book about having to be polite in the face of some “unique” gifts. The illustrations only add to the delight; however, this book is not recommended for anyone with coulrophobia (fear of clowns).
Check the WRL catalog for Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters.
Woodrow for President: A Tail of Voting, Campaigns, and Elections by Peter W. Barnes and Cheryl Shaw Barnes
Woodrow G. Washingtail’s parents dreamed that he would be president from day one. He grew up tall, strong, and smart. He got good grades all the way through college, and then he went back to his home town to start a family. Woodrow ran his own business and helped out in the community. He was a good family mouse, and everyone liked him. They told him to run for town council, then senator, and then governor. After he finished his terms, he began to campaign to be president. He debated and campaigned, and eventually he became the nominee for the Bull Mouse political party. Woodrow becomes President, and after the Inauguration Ball he says that he must go to bed. Woodrow must get up the next day because there are many promises to keep.
Woodrow for President is a good book to help introduce young people to how the US government works, and how elections work. The story of Woodrow is told in a rhyming, lighthearted way. This would be a good book to pull out and read to your class or your child right around Election Day. Other good reads would be the House Mouse, Senate Mouse and Woodrow, the White House Mouse by the same authors, which talk about more aspects of government.
Check the WRL catalog for Woodrow for President: A Tail of Voting, Campaigns, and Elections.