TRUCKS, TRACTORS AND CARS:
A PICTURE BOOK ROUNDUP
Race Car Dreams
Written by Sharon Chriscoe
Illustrated by Dave Mottram
(Running Press Kids; $16.95, Ages 2-6)
A little race car settles down after a long, tiring day in this new going-to-bed book for little ones into all things automobile. It’s a quick read with approximately 200 words but it’s packed with cuteness! Adorable illustrations accompany the quiet rhyming text as the race car gets ready for bed and has sweet dreams. I’d highly recommend this book as a fun alternative to any animal-themed bedtime books. It’s sure to be a much requested going-to-bed story.
With Any Luck, I’ll Drive a Truck
Written by David Friend
Illustrated by Michael Rex
(Nancy Paulsen Books; $16.99, Ages 3-5)
This is a clever, witty book written from a young boy’s perspective about when he learned how to operate several trucks and big machines. It’s hilarious how the author gets you believing that at such a young age, this boy is using a cement mixer, backhoe, 18-wheeler … you name it and this boy has probably operated it! You come to find out they are all toy trucks he’s operated and his room is like a parking lot, but when he grows up he’d love to drive a truck. Great rhyme teaches about various large trucks, and wonderfully bold and bright illustrations make this book one of my new favorites!
Duck on a Tractor
Written and illustrated by David Shannon
(The Blue Sky Press/ Scholastic; $16.99, Ages 4-8)
Duck gets on a tractor, after all he rode a bike before! After pressing a few petals and trying various things he turned a “shiny little piece of metal by the steering wheel.” Pretty soon all the farm animals are hopping on for the ride, saying their regular animals sounds by thinking something different. The animals end up going onto the main road past the diner and it’s such a sight to see that nobody can quite believe all those animals are on a tractor. Yet once the diner crowd goes outside there’s no trace of the animals. The farmer must have just left the tractor on! Another great book from David Shannon with spectacular illustrations that are sure to enthrall kids ages 4-8.
ALL ABOUT DAVID SHANNON’S BUGS IN MY HAIR!
“WARNING: The head lice in this book will make you ITCHY!”
And guess what? It’s true. BUGS IN MY HAIR! (The Blue Sky Press/Scholastic, $17.99, ages 4 and up), by local Burbank-based, award-winning author and illustrator, David Shannon, is a perfect picture book year round, but especially for back-to-school time when so many things are new. Especially head lice.
Thank you, David Shannon, for taking the “shame” and “humiliation” out of head lice. In fact, with Bugs in My Hair!, Shannon has actually succeeded in making the experience seem almost, well … fun! Okay, maybe fun is stretching it. Itchy is more accurate because simply saying lice and nits causes an instant uncomfortable, uncontrollable urge to scratch and squirm
Bugs in my Hair! gives kids who have had a case of head lice an opportunity to claim membership in the “been there, done that” club that many young readers may unwittingly join one day. I can see them shouting out their personal experiences as the school librarian reads the story to a class of second graders. “I had so many head lice my mom had to call up the Census Bureau.”
The artwork makes this book stand out among head lice stories. It’s hilarious, imaginative and genuinely complements every single line. I’m particularly partial to the page featuring BUGZILLA conquering the world. This ’50s movie style illustration is so clever and exaggerated that both kids and parents will crack up. The popcorn chomping louse lounging on the sofa with a remote in one claw, a drink in another is brilliant. On the other end of the sofa, relaxing with the latest issue of Parasite magazine, is a cigar smoking louse squishing the main character, a red-headed youth who wants nothing more than these nuisances to go bye-bye. “It was like they took over our whole life!” (more…)
Meet guest reviewer, Lindy Michaels, whose passion is to inspire young minds through children’s literature. Lindy owned L.A.’s first children’s bookshop, OF BOOKS AND SUCH (1972-1987) where she did storytelling, taught drama to children, had art and poetry contests and the like. According to Lindy, “It was truly a ‘land of enchantment.” She also spent years lecturing on realism in children’s literature at colleges in the state. For close to five years Lindy has worked for Barnes and Noble in the children’s section and does storytelling every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. where we first met. I think she might even be more gaga over kids’ books than me, if that’s possible!
Head over to BOOKSTAR, 12136 Ventura Blvd., Studio City 91604, (818) 505-9528, and remember to mark your calendars for Sept. 4th. Ted Jacobs has set children’s poetry to Celtic music, has two CDs out and he and his group will be doing a concert at BookStar on Sept. 4, during Lindy’s regular Sat. 10:30 am storytelling. “It’s going to be fabulous!!”
In today’s post she’s chosen to share some of her particular personal favorites:
LEONARDO THE TERRIBLE MONSTER
Unfortunately, try as he might and much to his chagrin, Leonardo can’t seem to scare anyone. What’s a monster to do? Determined and after much research, he finally finds the perfect victim that he is sure he can “scare the tuna salad” out of. Sam!
In this utterly delightful Mo Willems’ picture book, Leonardo learns there just might be something more important than to follow what he believed to be his mission in life, which is not to be a terrible monster, after all, but to be a wonderful friend. A humorous and wonderful message for children ages three to six.
THE BEAR THAT WASN’T
One lovely, early spring morning, the bear emerges from his cave after his winter’s hibernation. Imagine his surprise to find his forest gone and in it’s place, a huge factory. Even more of a surprise is when he’s told to “get to work!” by the factory’s Foreman, General Manager, numerous Vice Presidents and finally the factory President.
“But I’m a bear,” he tells them over and over again.
“No, you’re a silly man who wears a fur coat and needs a shave!” they tell him back.
Even the bears in the zoo and circus agree, otherwise, wouldn’t the bear be in a cage or riding a tricycle like them? And so, the bear, not completely convinced, does go to work in the factory… that is, until winter returns and he must question exactly who he is.
Originally published in 1946 and with the original, charming illustrations, this wonderful story still holds up, helping to teach young children to live the truth of who they really are.
ALICE THE FAIRY
Alice is a fairy, albeit, a temporary fairy, because, let’s be honest, her magical fairy skills are, well, lacking. “You have to pass a lot of tests to be a permanent fairy!” so complains Alice.
Oh, for sure, when she spills fruit juice on her white dress, she does turn it red (magic!) and when she gets on her daddy’s back, she does turn him into a horse! Hey, not too bad for a mere temporary fairy.
Just like Alice, young children can make their own fairy magic and like Alice, get a lot of giggles doing it.
This lesser known picture book by David Shannon, of NO, DAVID fame, is a total delight children will want to hear over and over again and parents will delight in reading it to them, over and over again.