Monthly Archives: August 2009

That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown

emily

Written by Cressida Cowell, Illustrated by Neal Layton

Hyperion Books for Children, 2006

Once upon a time, there was a little girl called Emily Brown and an old gray rabbit called Stanley. One day, Emily Brown and Stanley were launching themselves into outer space to look for alien life-forms when there was a rat-a-tat-tat! at the kitchen door. It was the Chief Footman to the Queen. He said, “The Queen has very kindly noticed your rabbit. She would like to have that Bunnywunny.”

Smart girl that Emily Brown is, she says no thank you. (And pointedly reminds the imposing Footman that her rabbit’s name is Stanley, not “Bunnywunny.”) Continue reading

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Grandmother’s Pigeon

pigeon

By Louise Erdrich, Illustrated by Jim LeMarche

Hyperion Books for Children, 1996

As it turned out, Grandmother was a far more mysterious woman than any of us knew. It was common knowledge that she had trained kicking mules. We’d often heard how she had skied the Continental Divide. I was with her myself once when she turned back a vicious dog by planting herself firm in its path and staring into its eyes.

I have always been fond of books which start in media res. But let’s just cut to the chase, shall we? Erdrich rocks. Continue reading

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Leaf

leaf

Ideas, sound effects and pictures by Stephen Michael King

Roaring Book Press, 2008

No running text in this small book, just the occasional sound effect — the snip, snip of a mother’s eager scissors, the pitter, patter, splot of  a trickling shower. But the gorgeously simple drawings do a fine job of telling the story. Continue reading

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The Summer Snowman

summersnowman

by Gene Zion, Pictures by Margaret Bloy Graham

Harper & Row, 1955

On the last day of winter, when it snowed for the last time, Henry and his brother Pete made a little snowman…an especially small one. It was so much fun, they didn’t even hear their mother calling them for supper. That night when they went to bed, they tried to fall asleep but kept getting up and going to the window to look down at the little snowman standing in the cold, bright moonlight on their front lawn…Henry started to cry…”The moon will melt the snowman and in the morning he’ll be gone!”

Anxiety about a melting snowman can only mean one thing: Mom? Can you find me room in the freezer? But the narrative here goes a bit beyond that. Continue reading

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Arthur and Guen

arthur

By Jon Koons, Illustrated by Igor Oleynikov

Dutton Children’s Books, 2008

In the days of old, long, long ago, there were kings and knights and castles. There were princesses and dragons. There was heraldry and magic. And there was a boy named Arthur…

Here’s proof (yet again) that you can so judge a book by its cover. The phrase, “An original tale of Young Camelot,” just seals the deal for me. Continue reading

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Dig Ivan Dig!

ivan

By Wendy Ann Gardner

Hyperion, 2002

Four o’clock on the fifth floor, life for Ivan was such a bore. He had space to roam and run, but nothing that he thought was fun. Though his loft was nice and big, all he wanted to do was…dig.

Continue reading

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Blueberries for Sal

blueberries

By Robert McCloskey

Viking, 1948

Little Sal picked three berries and dropped them in her little tin pail…kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk! She picked three more berries and ate them. Then she picked more berries and dropped one in the pail — kuplunk! And the rest she ate. Then Little Sal ate all four blueberries out of her pail!

Continue reading

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Nate the Great and the Lost List

 

nate

by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, illustrated by Marc Simont

Yearling, 1975

I, Nate the Great, am a busy detective. One morning I was not busy. I was on my vacation. I was sitting under a tree enjoying the breeze with my dog, Sludge, and a pancake. He needed a vacation too. My friend Claude came into the yard. I knew that he had lost something. Claude was always losing things…”I lost the grocery list I was taking to the grocery store. Can you help me find it?” “I, Nate the Great, am on my vacation,” I said. “When will your vacation be over?” “At lunch.”

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The Paperboy

paper

Story and paintings by Dav Pilkey

Scholastic, 1996

The mornings of the paperboy are still dark and they are always cold even in the summer. And on these cold mornings the paperboy’s bed is still warm and it is always hard to get out — even for his dog…but they do.

Continue reading

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