Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Roundup of Picture Books

We've read a few fun picture books in the last week or so:

The Girl and the Elephant, by Nicole de Cock, begins, "This is the girl. She often goes to the zoo. She goes to see the animals, wishing there were no bars between them." The plain words and simple but beautiful illustrations tell the tale of a girl who becomes friends with an elephant at the zoo, and then follows the elephant back to Africa. It is a lovely book with a fantastical story. My seven-year-old daughter was charmed.

Clarabella's Teeth, by An Vrombaut, is the tale of a crocodile who has so many teeth that it takes her all day to brush them. By the time Clarabella is done brushing, her friends are done playing and going to bed. Don't worry, there is a solution. My four-year-old son found the bright colored pictures and humorous tale very entertaining.

Chato's Kitchen, by Gary Soto and illustrated by Susan Guevara, is the story of a cat who invites his new neighbors, a family of mice, over "for dinner." Unfortunately for the cat, he ends up eating a vegetarian meal. Fortunately, he has made a wonderful feast of salsa, fajitas, enchiladas, and other items that taste just fine without mouse meat. It's a cute story with a Latino theme, and it includes a glossary of the Spanish words used if you are not familiar with them. My kids enjoyed the story, but didn't ask to hear it again.

Super-Completely and Totally the Messiest by Judith Viorst is a story told by a girl convinced that she has the messiest little sister in the world. Many examples are given, complete with detailed illustrations of the chaos that young Sophie leaves wherever she goes. Luckily Sophie's family seems to appreciate that she is a good kid who just happens to leave a trail behind her wherever she goes. Both my kids liked this book, but it seemed to particularly appeal to my daughter, whose room tends to look like a post-Katrina photo of New Orleans.

All these books were plucked, seemingly at random, off the library shelves in about two minutes. I'm often surprised at how many good books my children find this way. None of these books are ones that I would run out and buy, but they certainly were worth reading and borrowing for a few weeks. Our weekly trip to the library has been a great part of this summer.

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