Monday, February 7, 2011

Some recent picture book reviews

Inspired by Katie over at Sharing Soda, I thought I'd put in some picture book reviews. (It gives me an easy blog post, since I'm copying and pasting from Goodreads!) I don't do storytimes regularly in my current job (sigh), but it's been fun to look at picture books based on how our 2 year old son enjoys them.

(These are in reverse reading order, FYI):

Mrs. O'Leary's CowMrs. O'Leary's Cow by Mary Ann Hoberman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don't know enough about the song/spin-off that this is based on to really appreciate it, but N. really likes it--there's a cow AND firefighters, so what's not to like?!

Arthur's Underwear:  An Arthur Adventure(Arthur Adventure Series)Arthur's Underwear: An Arthur Adventure by Marc Brown

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I think it's nice that Brown did an underwear book just because lots of kids asked for one (see the dedication), but I'm not that impressed with the story--although, I guess I wouldn't find it that easy to write a whole story about underwear!
N. thinks it's hilarious, although he doesn't get the dream sequences or the amoeba. The book did inspire the realization of a truism about kids: the difference between a 2 year old and an 8 year old is their opinion on going without pants.

Anansi and the Moss-Covered RockAnansi and the Moss-Covered Rock by Eric A. Kimmel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh, my. I'm not a huge trickster-tale fan, but this was a good one. The original premise (a magic rock that knocks out anyone who comes along and says, "Isn't this a strange moss-covered rock?") takes some getting used to, but both Anansi's tricks on others, and the trick that finally gets him (for now) are really funny. So is the sound effect (KPOM!) with which everyone is knocked out and Janet Stevens' illustrations of huge jungle animals on their backs. Finally, this is a good book for learning attention to detail, as my 2 year old started to notice that Little Bush Deer (who comes into the story about half-way through) was appearing in the pictures all along.
But the real reason I now love this book: I walked in to said 2-year-old's room a little over a week ago, watched him walk around in a circle, look on the floor, say, "Oh, what a strange rock!" then yell "KPOM!" and "fall" down on his back. It was absolutely HILARIOUS.

Arthur's Nose : 25th Anniversary Limited EditionArthur's Nose : 25th Anniversary Limited Edition by Marc Brown

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I always thought it a little ironic that the hero of the series that started with Arthur's Nose has had a shrinking nose throughout the years. Still, the classic is good, and most of the immediate characters are recognizable, even to a 2 year old.

Terrific (New York Times Best Illustrated Books (Awards))Terrific (New York Times Best Illustrated Books by Jon Agee

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jon Agee books tend to be hit-or-miss with me, and this one was a hit! A tall tale about a man whose numerous misfortunes (winning a trip to Bermuda, being shipwrecked, finding a talking parrot...) lead to a friendship with the above-mentioned parrot. The title comes from the man's (usually sarcastic) exclamation at each new development.

And to Think That We Thought That We'd Never Be FriendsAnd to Think That We Thought That We'd Never Be Friends by Mary Ann Hoberman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was of two minds on this one--I liked the verse, and the first couple scenarios (siblings fighting, solved when they decide to share a soda or do something different) had nice messages. As the book went on, though, it got a little too New Age-y for me: if everyone just walks around the world together making lots of noise, we'll all be friends! Or maybe I'm just overly cynical about books that N. is not yet old enough to sit through...

Time to Sleep, Sheep the Sheep!Time to Sleep, Sheep the Sheep! by Mo Willems

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another "Cat the Cat" book, which N. received for Christmas. I especially love this one because of the cute getting-ready-for-bed scenes and the clever line about using the potty. N. especially loves to go around asking, "Checkers, anyone?" (at random intervals).

View all my reviews