Okay, it's been a month since I decided to do this, and I have been reading a variety from the Picture Book and Juvenile lists.
First, the Picture Books:
The Dog Who Belonged to No One, by Amy Hest--This book is utterly charming. From the gentle illustrations by Amy Bates to the easy rhythms and rhymes of Ms. Hest's text, the book moved quickly without feeling rushed. The lonely little dog with crooked ears and the lonely little girl with the time-consuming task of delivering her family's baked goods to the town are in desperately in need of each other. My 5-year-old and my 7-year old both enjoyed this. But I think I liked it more.
The Pout-Pout Fish, by Deborah Diesen--My kids ask for this one over and over. Something about it really strikes a chord with them. Whether it's the repetitive text or the funny illustrations by Dan Hanna, I'm not sure. It definitely has the kid stamp of approval! The Pout-Pout Fish is grumpy and his face is permanently pouting. Through a series of encounters with other sea creatures who try to encourage him to smile, his frown remains. He does finally learn to smile, but I'm not going to give away the whole ending!
Skunkdog, by Emily Jenkins--The story of a dog with no sense of smell. Ms Jenkins made me think about how this particular "disability" really would be a disability for a dog. It would completely rob them of their social skills, considering how much dogs rely on their sense of smell for identifying features and creatures of the world around them. Dumpling is a dog clueless to her predicament. When her family moves to the country, she is left to explore new territory without the use of her nose. Of course, she encounters...a skunk. She immediately tries to make friends. The skunk is understandably wary and sprays Dumpling. Dumpling's family tries a variety of ways to get rid of the smell, but no sooner are they successful than Dumpling and the skunk meet again.
Bats at the Library, by Brian Lies--This book held little charm for me. I'm not sure why. Maybe because as a librarian, I find the idea of flying rodents invading my space to be a little too creepy-crummy. The illustrations are meant to be cute, and they are, but the text feels forced to me, and there's no real storyline to follow.
A Whiff of Pine, A Hint of Skunk: A Forest of Poems--I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of poems. My five-year-old sat still for it, but didn't seem particularly engaged. The illustrations held more attraction for her than did the poems. On the other hand, she doesn't have much experience with wandering through the woods, so her frame of reference for the material is limited.
I'll do mini-reviews of the two Juvenile novels I read in the next post.