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July 27, 2010 > Footnotes


Hello and Happy Summer to you all. This month we're introducing lots of books for the younger set. Not to worry, older readers, there'll be more for you next month, promise!

For preschool:

The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen, illustrated by Dan Hanna. There is a gloomy glum fish swimming in the sea, with a big frown on his face. His friends plead with him to smile, but whenever they do he responds:

"I'm a pout-pout fish
With a pout-pout face,
So I spread the dreary-wearies
All over the place"

Sadly, nothing they say or do seems to change his mind. Then one day, something and someone completely unexpected comes and changes this fish's attitude forever. What in the vast ocean could that be? Entertaining verse and funny illustrations make this book a charmer! (FSG hardback, $16.99)

Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Daniel Jennewein. How do you know if you are ready for kindergarten? It can be a scary thing for young children; they don't know what to expect! Do they have to know all about using scissors? What if they are shy? How will they make new friends? In this friendly book all those kinds of situations are addressed through a young buffalo and his first days in school. He learns how to hold his scissors, how to act during recess, and how to share. For children anticipating their first school day in September, this gentle book is a perfect way to help them know what fun they are going to have in kindergarten! (Harper Collins hardback, $16.00)

For Kindergarteners and up:

Orangutans are Ticklish: fun facts from an animal photographer by Steve Grubman, with Jill Davis. Steve Grubman has taken pictures of all kinds of animals in his studio, starting with an African elephant that had to step on a suitcase for a Samsonite commercial. In this book he brings you his favorites, and includes all sorts of fascinating facts.

Do you know what it means when a hippo yawns? It does NOT mean that she's sleepy! Do you know why aardvarks have such large ears? Or that a kangaroo's hop is called a saltation? Or that an alligator pants just like a dog when it gets too hot? Cool pictures make these animals crawl right out of the book to join you as you explore through these pages. Side notes about all the things Steve had to go through to get these pictures are an added bonus. Come get friendly with all sorts of animals. Did you know that giraffes whistle? Honest! (Schwartz and Wade hardback, $16.99)

For First graders:

The Sandwich Swap by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, with Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Tracia Tusa. Two little girls are the best of friends. They do everything together: draw pictures, jump rope, and eat lunch. Lunch is where things get weird. Every day Lily brings a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and every day Salma brings a hummus and pita sandwich. Each girl secretly thinks the other girls' lunch is YUCK! But they never say so out loud.

Then one day Lily can't hold back any more. "Your sandwich looks kind of yucky," she blurts out. "Yeah, well your sandwich looks gross and it smells bad, too!" Salma snaps back. They surely don't intend to break things apart between them, and never intend for the whole school to get involved, but that's just what happens. How in the world are these girls ever going to repair their friendship without giving up their own preferences? A book all about how cultural differences can drive us apart, or bond us together and make us stronger! (Hyperion hardback, $16.99)

Also for First graders:

Hip Hop Dog by Chris Raschka, illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky. Do you have a child who is fascinated by rap? Finding it tough to locate something suitable in content? Look no further; here comes the Hip Hop Dog! His cap is backwards, his rhyme infectious. Read it aloud and you will be hooked.

I'm the zoom-est and the boom-est, spread no gloom-est, say no doom-est
I'm the top-est, never stop-est, Boston Pop-est, be be bop-est
I jazzle dazzle like it as the Hip Hop Dog

No doubt about it, this book is just plain fun! (HarperCollins hardback, $16.99)

For Second graders and up:

Nico and Lola: Kindness Shared Between a Boy and a Dog by Meggan Hill, photography by Susan M. Graunke. A young boy named Nico is asked a favor by his Aunt Sue: would he be so kind as to take care of her beloved dog Lola while she is gone for the weekend? He agrees to help her, but then wonders to himself, "How will I be so kind?"

Enchanting color photos follow Nico in his efforts to be so kind to Aunt Sue's adorable black pug. Each page tells the story of their weekend and ends with a simple explanation, such as "Being kind is smiling at someone new" or "Being kind is being a good listener." I found myself captivated by their story, and it became one of my favorites to share with friends, young and old. Whether a dog lover or not, this book is sure to make you and your child smile. (Harper hardback, $16.99)

Also for Second graders:

Rules for School by Alec Greven, illustrated by Kei Acedera. You may remember another book by Alec, called "How to Talk to Girls." Alec's back with this non-fiction look at how to "get ready for, take charge and rule the school!" He includes helpful tips such as "think before you sit," and the three main things that always bug teachers and are sure to get a student into trouble (not that your child would ever do something like this) This book is for kids written by a kid in their own lingo-much better than getting a lecture from some ole adult (yes, I am an ole adult)! Help your elementary school child be the best he or she can be, encourage them to follow Alec's Rules for School. (Harper Collins hardback, $9.99)

And finally, for all ages:

Life With Dogs by the Editors of Life Books. Do you love dogs? Puppies, adult dogs, working dogs, show dogs, guard dogs, lazy dogs, sleeping dogs, snow dogs, basset hounds, German shepherds, labs, collies-all of these and more are in this lovely book. Children will love the photos, which alternate between funny and touching. Adults will also enjoy quotes from some of the most famous people in our time. Mark Twain, for example, said, "The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's." This is a great book to sit down and share with someone you love. (Time Inc. hardback, $17.95)

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