Monday, April 28, 2014

The Day the Crayons Quit

The Day the Crayons Quit
by Drew Dewitt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
ages: well, everyone. I laughed out loud and might have had to put the book down to regain my composure. Total picture book success in my opinion. 

All Duncan wants to do is color, but his crayons have gone on strike. A series of letters written by the crayons to Duncan let him know that things are not copasetic in his crayon box. Red crayon is feeling overused, yellow and orange crayon are not speaking, purple demands neatness, green is actually feeling jolly, but poor, poor peach crayon is-gasp-naked! What can Duncan do to make things right?

First time author Drew Dewitt has written a clever and fun book along with NY Times bestselling illustrator Oliver Jeffers. Witty and well illustrated, The Day the Crayons Quit shows that even crayons have feelings! 

A Best Book of 2013 at Barnes and Noble and Goodreads. 

The Day the Crayons Quit

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Cows to the Rescue

Cows to the Rescue
written and illustrated by John Himmelman
ages: 4-8

What could be more fun than a day at the county fair? Until Farmer Greenstalk's truck won't start. Never fear-it's cows to the rescue! Whether it's riding the ferris wheel, helping Ernie the duck win the handsomest duck contest, or giving lessons for the pigs to win the smartest pig contest, the Greenstalk's cows are always willing to help out.

Cleverly written with hilarious illustrations, Cows to the Rescue is sure to become a favorite with your preschooler or early elementary aged child. Cows to the Rescue follows the hilarious Chickens to the Rescue and Pigs to the Rescue. Also look for Duck to the Rescue chronicling Ernie the duck and his antics.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and (more than a) Bit of a Rant....

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Cath writes Simon Snow fan fiction; spending her time writing, rewriting, and hanging out in Simon Snow forums. She and her twin sister Wren have always done things together-dressed the same, written together, and had the same friends. But now the twins are headed to college and entering a whole new world. Fangirl is a wonderfully written coming of age tale complete with fan fiction, first loves, and family heartbreaks.

Let me begin by saying brava to Ms. Rowell for a book well crafted. Themes of betrayal, rivalry, abandonment, and independence flow throughout the book. Rowell even deals with mental illness in a very honest way. Beautifully written and poignant, I could not put this book down.  

I'd love to rally behind this book and recommend it highly to each and every reader, but this being a children's book blog I have to be honest when I say that I can't. I love, love, love this book-it's amazing and I'm all for kids having access to all kinds of books. No book bans here! But I'm not for kids having access to books with themes and ideas that are just flat out inappropriate for their age. Fangirl has alcohol, sex, and mature themes. Children don't need to be sheltered, but they need to have some understanding of what they're reading. Parents: if you choose to let your child read this book, be sensible and read it before them or read it together.

And here's the rant - or my two cents about finding books that are a good fit for your reader.

The Young Adult genre in literature is relatively new. When I was growing up (yes, in the dark ages) "Young Adult" wasn't the booming genre that it is today. There were books for children and then there were books for adults. Anything in the middle usually ranged from classics to the Sweet Valley High series that my mom forbade me to read. Sometimes I wish that publishers would determine a book to be "Young Young Adult" or "Older Young Adult." I would imagine that they can come up with a more creative title, but the idea is there. Please use caution when choosing what to allow your tween or young teen to read. Just because it's at the library or a friend is reading it, doesn't mean that it's appropriate for your child. Read together or choose to preview their books. Be available to talk about these very mature themes and questions that they kids might have. Give this book a try, but please carefully consider your child's ability to handle adult subjects and language.

Finding books that are appropriate and provide kids well crafted, challenging material can be frustrating and feel impossible as a parent or teacher. It is our responsibility as adults to help our kids find "good fit books" or books that are on par with our children's abilities, personalities, and disposition.

Now get out there and read on!