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Picture book reviews by librarians for everyone.
Updated: 58 min 28 sec ago

Run, Dog! by Cécile Boyer

Wed, 2014-08-13 01:01

Wordless books are always an interesting addition to a storytime. The silence is somewhat intimidating to a storyteller who is used to using inflection to get a point across. But, if you brave it, I think you will realize their value and begin to enjoy sharing them with children. Wordless pictures allow the readers to put their own imagination and spin on the story. So, you don’t tell the story, the kids read it. Kinda neat, huh?


Run, Dog! is great because it combines wordlessness with a lift-the-flap format. The result is almost a “flip book” where the movement of the pages shows the animation of the illustrations.   The illustrations themselves are very simple and clear and while they can easily be seen from a distance, they also have enough detail to be interesting.


This seemingly simple book is superbly done and will be enjoyed both one-on-one and with groups.

  • Storytime or lapsit appropriate
  • Easily viewed illustrations


Check the WRL catalog for Run, Dog!

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Two Nests by Laurence Anholt, illus. by Jim Coplestone

Mon, 2014-08-11 00:00

Divorce is not a pleasant experience for anyone involved. However, if you must tackle this difficult topic, let me recommend Two Nests by Laurence Anholt. Presented in a very simple manner the story follows two birds as they build a nest together, hatch a baby bird, and then squabble in their too small nest. They build a new nest for daddy and everyone is sad, but baby bird learns that instead of only one home, he now has two!

A nice rhyming book with clear illustrations, this book will be helpful for any young child going through the confusion of divorce. Using birds to tell the tale makes the story accessible to children of every culture. Simple illustrations and rhyming text also make this a candidate for storytime.

  • Storytime or lapsit appropriate
  • Easily viewed illustrations
  • Rhyming book

Check the WRL catalog for Two Nests.

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Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea

Fri, 2014-08-08 01:01

Goat is not having a good day! There’s a new unicorn in town and goat just can’t compare. Unicorn flies, he makes it rain cupcakes and he eats rainbows and glitter! Goat just gets grumpier. Until unicorn starts to point out all the flaws he thinks he has and how he thinks goat is so much better at everything he does. Can these two become friends? Bob Shea has written and illustrated Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great and it’s a winner. It helps children see and appreciate the differences in themselves and their friends. I always recommend this one to teachers looking for books at the beginning of school that will help the children accept everyone in the class. Goat and unicorn learn to work together to be an awesome team!

Check the WRL catalog for Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great.

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The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Swartz, illus. by Dan Santat

Wed, 2014-08-06 01:01

The Three Ninja Pigs is the classic “three little pigs” tale with a ninja twist! Our three piggy siblings [two boys and a girl] are tired of the wolf huffing and puffing all over the place. They decide to do something about it. NINJA SCHOOL! They work hard but the first two don’t complete their education and, of course, run to their sister who has all the skills to take care of the wolf with super cool ninja moves. The wolf is big and bad and gets scared out of town. Author Corey Rosen Schwartz tell the story in rhyme which adds to the drama. Have fun reading this one to the kids in your life and remember NINJAS RULE!

Check the WRL catalog for The Three Ninja Pigs.

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The Great Lollipop Caper by Dan Krall

Mon, 2014-08-04 01:01

The Great Lollipop Caper is a perfect book for the whole family. Adults admire Mr. Caper’s acidic earthiness and kids love lollipops that are sweet and tangy. What could go wrong? Dan Krall tells a very funny story of how Mr. Caper decides to get the children to love him instead of Lollipop. But it doesn’t work out quite the way he expects it to and Lollipop must save him. Share this one with your children and you will enjoy it as much as they do, I always read this at my school age story times and we brainstorm first about what a caper might taste like.

Check the WRL catalog for The Great Lollipop Caper.

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The Emperor’s Cool Clothes by Lee Harper

Fri, 2014-08-01 01:01

The Emperor’s Cool Clothes is a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s famous tale but this one stands out as a new classic! First there is the vain emperor who just happens to be a penguin. Then we have the two rogues of the very cool, new store in town, Two Rogues Cool Clothing. The emperor wants to be the coolest dressed emperor so he hires the Rogue brothers to make him some cool clothes. The brothers decide to pull the traditional scam of invisible but really cool clothes. The emperor parades around town and realizes he is in fact naked but what’s an emperor to do but just go with it. The Emperor’s Cool Clothes has the best characters that stay true to their personalities. Lee Harper has brought the famous tale up to date and used polar animals to do it.

Check the WRL catalog for The Emperor’s Cool Clothes.

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Seriously, Cinderella is so Annoying! by Trisha Speed Shaskan

Wed, 2014-07-30 01:01

I love classic stories retold by the supposedly evil character! In Seriously, Cinderella Is So Annoying, the wicked stepmother gets her chance to tell what really happens. All the poor woman wants to do is get married and live happily ever after. But after the wedding, the new hubby leaves her with a dirty house and Cinderella. According to the stepmother, all Cinderella does, night and day, is talk, talk, talk. The house is a wreck and Cinderella talks to birds. The meals need cooking and Cinderella talks to squirrels. She tells stories about everything! Trisha Speed Shaskan does a great job with this book. It’s one that stays on my story time shelf.

Check the WRL catalog for Seriously, Cinderella is so Annoying.

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The Mystery of Eatum Hall by John Kelly and Cathy Tincknell

Mon, 2014-07-28 01:01

Horace and Glenda Pork-Fowler are off on an exciting free weekend at Eatum Hall! As they approach the hall through the forest, they are still clueless as to why they have been invited. Dr. Hunter is nowhere to be seen and the mystery of the weekend grows. But look very closely at the illustrations because they tell the real story of the weekend. Horace and Glenda have a grand time and leave well rested and still clueless but what has happened to Dr. Hunter? His friends are about to find out! The Mystery of Eatum Hall by John Kelly and Cathy Tincknell is so much fun and it stays on my story time shelf. I use it with school age children and it’s always great.

Check the WRL catalog for The Mystery of Eatum Hall.

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Milo’s Hat Trick by Jon Agee

Fri, 2014-07-25 01:01

Milo the Magnificent was not magnificent at all. In fact, his whole magic show was a disaster. Milo needed to clean up his act! On his quest for a better trick, Milo meets a talented and flexible bear who might just help him go from bad to brilliant!

I’ve read this book aloud at least a dozen times and it never gets old! Each time, my group is giggling and laughing right up to the very end. In typical Jon Agee fashion, this story is hilariously written with its clever and quick witted text and the illustrations are expressive and filled with subtle humor. A perfect book for school aged children in grades K-3.

Check the WRL catalog for Milo’s Hat Trick.

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Magic Box: A Magical Story by Katie Cleminson

Wed, 2014-07-23 01:01

It’s Eva’s birthday and she is given a very special present…a magic box! Eva climbs inside. With the wave of her wand she pulls rabbits from hats, makes things float in the air, throws a fantastic party complete with delicious food, entertaining musicians and lots of dancing. But for her best trick of all she wishes for a pet named Monty and gets more than she bargained for.
I love this book because it reminds me of how much enjoyment my children always got out of a seemingly ordinary box. This simple story is rich with whimsical illustrations and celebrates the power of imagination. It is a perfect book to use in a birthday story time with a toddler group or to share one on one with your children at home.

Check the WRL catalog for Magic Box: A Magical Story.

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Who Is Driving? by Leo Timmers

Mon, 2014-07-21 01:01

From fire trucks to race cars and from tractors to airplanes, this book is full of vehicles that every youngster will enjoy. In this problem solving gem, Leo Timmers creates characters dressed in clothes that match the vehicle they are driving. Each page has 4 four costumed animals and the reader is asked to guess “Who is driving the….?” The character is matched with the vehicle on the next page to reveal the answer. Sometimes it gets a little tricky, though, and you have to look really hard to figure out which ones coincide.

I’ve used this book for story time and it was a little bit too hard for my younger audiences but worked like a charm for Kindergarten. At home, one on one, you could get away with reading it to younger children. The story is simple enough that the kids can almost “read” it themselves. The illustrations are bold and colorful and full of detail making it a visually pleasing book that is sure to pass the test. Drive on over to the library and check it out!

Check the WRL catalog for Who Is Driving?

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Good News, Bad News by Jeff Mack

Fri, 2014-07-18 01:01

Is your glass half empty or half full? When life hands you lemons, do you make lemonade? And, can two friends overcome a series of unfavorable events when all they want to do is have a nice picnic together? Well, if you follow along with Rabbit and Mouse in Jeff Mack’s story, Good News, Bad News, having a good or bad time will all depend on your point of view.

“Good News, Bad News” is the only text throughout the story that relies on illustrations. Author/illustrator Jeff Mack brings together a wonderfully hilarious story of two friends and their reaction to and handling of life’s unexpected challenges. The illustrations are colorful and depict lots of action and expression. This in turn successfully emphasizes the characters’ comical predicaments and reactions as they try to enjoy a picnic.

Rain, wormy apples and a swarm of bees threaten. Learn how Rabbit and Mouse are able to reach a positive conclusion to their picnic day gone awry.

This story is well suited for children five and up as they would understand the humor in the illustrations more so than a younger child.

Check the WRL catalog for Good News, Bad News.

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The Pigeon Needs a Bath! by Mo Willems

Wed, 2014-07-16 01:01

Children never seem to tire of Mo Willems’ Pigeon books and neither do their parents. In The Pigeon Need a Bath! readers can expect the same humorous antics for which the Pigeon stories are so beloved.

The story begins with the reader being introduced to the Bus Driver character from Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. He informs the reader that the Pigeon needs a bath and he could use some help. As usual, the Pigeon has his own strong opinions and he announces that he doesn’t really need a bath. The Pigeon gives various arguments as to why he doesn’t need a bath. His points start out calm and rational, but he is, after all, the Pigeon. He eventually loses it as his strong convictions rapidly deteriorate. One comical point in particular is when the Pigeon questions the readers own cleanliness and their right to judge him.

Mo Willems’ illustrations are fun and are always successful in depicting the range of emotions that make the Pigeon so comical in his zeal to prove a point. It’s hard not to laugh as he whips himself into frenzy.
Readers are certain to enjoy the conclusion and the Pigeon’s comedy of errors when he discovers the truth about bathing.

Check the WRL catalog for The Pigeon Needs a Bath!

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Whose Stripes? by Fiona Munro, illus. by Jo Garden

Mon, 2014-07-14 01:01

Whose Stripes? is a lift-a-flap board book that children will enjoy hearing again and again.

With rhyming text the reader is asked to guess what animal is being described. Additional clues are presented through the bright bold stripes of different jungle animals. The stripes for each animal are displayed on a flap that when lifted reveals the identity of the animal whose stripe is being depicted.

This is a fun interactive book that will appeal to children as young as 16 months to as old as five years of age. It can be a used as a tool to help children learn to identify animals by name and their unique patterns.
Though best of all, it’s just a great deal of fun for you and your little one to enjoy together.

Check the WRL catalog for Whose Stripes?

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Lion vs Rabbit by Alex Latimer

Fri, 2014-07-11 01:01

In Alex Latimer’s Lion vs. Rabbit the jungle animals were tired of Lion bullying them! They tried hiring someone to handle Lion but Bear couldn’t and Moose couldn’t and Tiger couldn’t. Soon enough Bear, Moose and Tiger were on their way home having been defeated by Lion. Who could take on the bully king of the jungle? Rabbit arrives and soon Lion is wondering how this small creature can win at every contest. Rabbit uses his brain and a few surprises to show Lion that it’s no fun being a bully. I’ve read this book in many story times and it’s always a winner.

Check the WRL catalog for Lion vs Rabbit.

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I’m the Scariest Thing in the Jungle by David G. Derrick Jr.

Wed, 2014-07-09 01:01

Who’s the scariest thing in the jungle? Is it the mighty tiger or the great crocodile? David G. Derrick Jr. has written and illustrated this great book where tiger and crocodile boast about who is the scariest. On and on they challenge each other, until they discover they are far from home and something is looking for them. Something big, something scary!
Of course, it turns out alright but the little scare at the end is just right for story time.

Check the WRL catalog for I’m the Scariest Thing in the Jungle.

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Humpty Dumpty Climbs Again by Dave Horowitz

Mon, 2014-07-07 01:01

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, the end.
Wait a minute, what really happens after the great fall? He could not be put together again?
Not according to Dave Horowitz. In his book Humpty Dumpty Climbs Again, we have an outgoing, mountain climbing egg until the great fall and on doctor’s orders he must not climb again. This, of course, leads to one depressed egg. He’s sitting around in his underwear, watching TV and eating potato chips. His nursery rhyme friends all visit trying to snap him out of it but it’s not until the king’s favorite horse needs rescuing off the side of a mountain that Humpty Dumpty gets back in the climbing gear and to the rescue! I read this book in story time quite often and it never fails, the kids love Humpty Dumpty and his go for it attitude. Thank you Dave Horowitz for a great book.

Check the WRL catalog for Humpty Dumpty Climbs Again.

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Bug Patrol by Denise Dowling Mortensen, illus. by Cece Bell

Fri, 2014-07-04 01:01

This is a delightful, interactive story suitable for preschoolers up to second graders. As a children’s librarian I quite often get asked for picture books concerning manners. Captain Bob is a policeman tasked to keep good order in his community and enforce good manners when necessary. The vibrant, contemporary illustrations enhance the fun, rhyming text. The neighborhood is made up of a variety of bugs. Captain Bob arrives in his little bubble police car – Wee-O! Wee-O! Wee-o! Woo! He comes across greedy ants, naughty beetles, and speeding spiders on their motor cycles. He visits with local bees and helps re-locate the neighborhood cockroaches to a nearby land fill. Captain Bob even manages to rescue a baby flea and reunite him with mom. Finally he gets a call to quiet down some hard-partying cockroaches. This is all in a day’s work for this hard working policeman. Eventually he gets to hurry home.

“Hurry Home
to my nest
And the bugs
that I love

Cece Bell, the illustrator, is known for her Sock Monkey books. She has a great site for children’s book reviews on her webpage: http://cecebell.wordpress.com/. On a local note, she is also a former student of William and Mary! Denise Dowling Mortensen is known for her books: Wake up Engines and Goodnight Engines.

Check the WRL catalog for Bug Patrol.

Categories: Pied Piper Pics

Kid Tea by Elizabeth Ficocelli, illus. by Glin Dibley

Wed, 2014-07-02 01:01

Looking for a color book that’s off the spectrum? Try Kid Tea for a different and lively audience-participation read-aloud.

Rhyming text follows a boy and girl’s week of play, in which the children get covered with brown mud on Monday, purple popsicles on Tuesday, yellow Jell-O on Wednesday, and so forth. At the end of each day–such as the purple popsicle one– the text exclaims, “Dunk me in the tub, please, for purple kid tea!”

Yes, I know, that sounds a little gross. But the cartoonish illustrations of the kids submerged in different colors of bath water are a great way to help kids learn colors. And kids will love belting out the “refrain.”

This book would be fun to read and then share again with a flannel board. A color matching game would be another great follow-up.

Check the WRL catalog for Kid Tea.

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Early Bird by Toni Yuly

Mon, 2014-06-30 01:01

If you are looking for a fun, but quiet, action book for toddlers, this is a great one. The children can join in with the little red bird as she wakes, takes a deep breath, then scrunches under a spider web, creeps around a corner and even jumps over the cat during an early morning outing.

The text is minimal, and the bright illustrations are ideal even for a large group. Children and adults will suspect what is coming when the Early Bird happens upon the Early Worm. But never fear. This little story ends with a fun surprise.

This author has another title, Night Owl, scheduled to be released in January of 2015, and I’m looking forward to it!

Check the WRL catalog for Early Bird.

Categories: Pied Piper Pics