February 18, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

A Robust Crop of Summer and Fall Titles| Elementary Picture Books

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redstarBram, Elizabeth. Rufus the Writer. illus. by Chuck Groenink. 40p. ebook available. Random/Schwartz & Wade. Jul. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780385378536; lib. ed. $20.99. ISBN 9780385378543. LC 2014010945.

Gr 1-3–Rufus is a dreamy, imaginative kid with loads of creative energy. He decides to put his talents to work for him one summer by running a “story stand.” The boy dons a bow tie and sets himself up with a table and his pens in his front yard and gets down to business. Rufus prides himself in crafting each story to suit his customers’ tastes and interests. The book contains four of his fully illustrated child-centric selections. Groenink chooses a lush and delicious sun-drenched palette for his upbeat and lively full-bleed gouache, acrylic, and pencil artwork. Rufus’s own creations are clearly set off from the main narrative by orange borders and depictions of different writing implements. You might ask yourselves what kind of a kid turns down a trip to the beach? One who takes himself and his creativity seriously. His neighbor Sara asks, “How much will it [a story] cost?” Rufus replies, “Whatever you think. Surprise me.” The highlight comes at the end of the day when the friends gather to exchange their barters and read their stories. Upon receiving “Annie and the Dancing Teapot” as an early birthday gift, Rufus’s sister Annie says, “This is the best present ever! Can you read it to me?” “Of course,” he replied. VERDICT A charming, celebratory ode to the writing life and those who follow their artistic inclinations wherever they lead.–Luann Toth, School Library Journal

redstarDesbordes, Astrid. Edmond, the Moonlit Party. tr. from French by Claudia Zoe Bedrick. illus. by Marc Boutavant. 32p. Enchanted Lion. Jul. 2015. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781592701742.

PreS-Gr 1 –Edmond, a red squirrel, is a real homebody. He loves to make nut jam, read adventure stories, and is masterful at making pompoms. Mr. George Owl, his upstairs neighbor in their chestnut tree, is always out and about. He spends his time collecting feathers, moss, bark, and such, which he uses to create elaborate disguises. At the bottom of the chestnut tree lives Harry, a bear, who is known far and wide for his outstanding parties. These quirky yet endearing characters form the basis of the story that draws the neighbors together, with the help of some most excellent nut jam, and brings timid Edmond (wearing his best pompom hat) out of his shell as he accompanies George (dressed as a seagull) to the party. The only thing more engaging than the characterizations are Boutavant’s bright and luminous illustrations. The depictions of the interiors of the creatures’ homes and woodland friends and neighbors are cheery and fanciful and moonlit scenes are pure magic. For anyone who has every been hesitant to take a social risk, Edmond is a great role model. He’s determined to continue his pursuits of making nut jam and pompoms, too. But he’s decided that being surrounded by friends was surely what suited him best of all. VERDICT A sweet and satisfying treat, especially for those who are late to the friendship party.–Luann Toth, School Library Journal

redstarHenkes, Kevin. Waiting. illus. by Kevin Henkes. 32p. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Sept. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062368430; lib. ed. $18.89. ISBN 9780062368447. LC 2014030560.

PreS-K –Five toys sit on a windowsill, each waiting for something. There’s an owl with spots waiting for the moon, a pig with the umbrella waiting for the rain, a bear with a kite waiting for the wind, and a puppy on a sled waiting for the snow. And then there’s a “rabbit with stars,” content to simply look out the window. With an economy of words and gently repeating patterns, the text informs readers about the emotional ups and downs of this tiny band of friends: what makes them happy (getting what they’ve waited for), what makes them sad (when one of them goes away), and what surprises them (gifts, visitors, new friends.) Along with happiness and friendship, there are small moments of grief, anxiety, and existential wonder—all thoughtfully and authentically depicted with childlike honesty and optimism. On thick, creamy pages, Henkes uses brown ink with touches of watercolor and colored pencil in muted shades of pink, green, and blue to depict the softly rounded figures, shown small before the expanse of the four-paned window. Henkes varies the compositions with vignettes and a four-page wordless sequence showing the beautiful (a rainbow, fireworks) and sometimes scary (lightning) sights that the toys observe from the vantage point of their windowsill. The careful placement of the text and images establishes a leisurely pace, encouraging readers and listeners to slow down, examine the pictures, and discuss. Are these sentient little beings or are they moved and posed by an unseen child? Henkes leaves it up to readers to determine. VERDICT Waiting further cements Henkes’s place alongside picture book legends like Margaret Wise Brown, Crockett Johnson, and Ruth Krauss, through his lyrical text, uncluttered yet wondrously expressive illustrations, and utmost respect for the emotional life of young children.–Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal

redstarJenkins, Emily. Toys Meet Snow. illus. by Paul O. Zelinsky. 40p. ebook available. Random/Schwartz & Wade. Sept. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780385373302. LC 2014010935.

PreS-Gr 2 –Converting their wildly successful “Toys” chapter books (Random) into picture book format, Jenkins and Zelinsky have crafted a story ideal for the younger set, ramping up the adorable factor, while retaining the whimsical spirit of the originals. With their owner, the Little Girl, away for winter vacation, plush animals StingRay and Lumphy the buffalo, along with their pal Plastic the bouncy red ball, suit up (Lumphy sports a mitten on his head, and “dry-clean only” StingRay outfits herself in a plastic bag) and head outside for their very first snow day. Naively knowledgeable StingRay confidently offers her own explanations for the world around them (“‘[Snow is] a blanket of peace over the world’”), but Plastic gently corrects her (“‘No, it’s frozen water…. I read it in a book’”). The three friends take part in their own amusingly endearing versions of typical snow day activities—building a snowman and making snow angels—before watching the sunset and returning inside. By turns witty and tender, the digitally rendered, rich, painterly illustrations vividly conjure up a startlingly stunning winter wonderland, conveying its awe-inspiring beauty from the toy’s-eye perspective. Zelinsky affectionately imbues these characters with a warmth that never veers toward the cloying, and his use of light and dark as day slowly turns to evening is masterly. The text is soothingly lyrical in its simplicity; relying on only a few lines of dialogue, Jenkins effectively gives each of the characters their own voice. VERDICT Utterly enchanting; a perfect bedtime read.–Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal

redstarPearle, Ida. The Moon Is Going to Addy’s House. illus. by Ida Pearle. 32p. Dial. Jul. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780803740549. LC 2014020048.

PreS-Gr 1 –The perceived movements of the moon during a car ride are a source of mystery and delight to children—and there is no shortage of picture books on the topic. Pearle, however, brings fresh excitement to this phenomenon with her dynamic cut-paper collages. The story opens at the end of a “play date.” Addy and her sister have been building with blocks at a friend’s home in the city. The pale moon is visible through the window and in subsequent compositions. As the family drives home, the girls play hide-and-seek with the orb, searching throughout the bustling neighborhood, under the bridge, and behind the mountains. Pearle employs a variety of techniques to maintain interest. A warm palette turns cool; paper choices range from the vibrant marbleized swirls of a façade to the wispy rice paper suggesting a cloud. Shifting perspectives include a bird’s-eye view and a reflection. Particularly effective is the illusion of the scenery as a blurred stack of horizontal lines as the family rides swiftly through the country, windows rolled down, hair blowing about. The first-person text is sparse and childlike. The blank faces (except for a few slight, occasional lines, suggesting a cheekbone or eye socket), may strike some as odd, but there is much to recommend this spirited offering, not the least of which is the dazzling conclusion in which the pajama-clad Addy is shown in simultaneous succession. The spread captures eight different positions of a moonlit cartwheel. VERDICT A lovely celebration of a magical celestial companion.–Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library

redstarSavage, Stephen. Where’s Walrus? and Penguin? illus. by Stephen Savage. 32p. Scholastic. Sept. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780545402958.

PreS-Gr 2 –One drizzly day, adventuresome Walrus escapes from the zoo—as he did in Where’s Walrus? (Scholastic, 2011)—but this time, he’s accompanied by his new pal, Penguin. The two seem to be one step ahead of the blue-uniformed and mustachioed zookeeper who has difficulty spotting the runaways, though young children will readily point them out in the clean-lined, digitally created, colorful illustrations. The two make their way through the wordless pages, trying their hands at a variety of occupations, including newspaper hawker, opera star, and baseball player until an accident leads them in an unexpected direction. Gentle humor is displayed throughout the tale of the enterprising pair as they wear a variety of hats that depict their occupation of the moment and render them, at times, unrecognizable to the baffled but relentless zookeeper. VERDICT This charming book stands on its own and will be welcomed by readers new to Walrus as well as fans of the original.–Maryann H. Owen, Children’s Literature Specialist, Mt. Pleasant, WI

The following titles are reviewed in this month's print issue:

Alborozo, Gabriel. Good Night, Firefly. illus. by Gabriel Alborozo. 32p. Holt. Jun. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781627792226.

Alexander, Rilla. Her Idea. illus. by Rilla Alexander. 56p. Flying Eye Books. 2015. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781909263406.

Anstee, Ashlyn. Are We There, Yeti? illus. by Ashlyn Anstee. 40p. S. & S. Jul. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481430890; ebk. $12.99. ISBN 9781481430906.

Antony, Steve. The Queen’s Hat. illus. by Steve Antony. 32p. Scholastic. Sept. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780545835565.

Barrett, Ron. Cats Get Famous. illus. by Ron Barrett. 32p. ebook available. S. & S./Paula Wiseman Bks. Sept. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781442494534.

Berry, Lynne. Squid Kid the Magnificent. illus. by Luke LaMarca. 48p. Disney-Hyperion. Jun. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781423161196. LC 2011027769.

Choldenko, Gennifer. Putting the Monkeys to Bed. illus. by Jack E. Davis. 32p. Putnam. Jun. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780399246234; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780698408548.

Comstock, Eric & Marilyn Sadler. Charlie Piechart and the Case of the Missing Pizza Slice. illus. by Eric Comstock. 40p. (A Charlie Piechart Mystery). HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks. Sept. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062370549. LC 2014946657.

Cordell, Ryan & Evie Cordell. Two Girls Want a Puppy. illus. by Maple Lam. 32p. HarperCollins. Jun. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062292612.

Crowley, Ashley. Officer Panda: Fingerprint Detective. illus. by Ashley Crowley. 32p. HarperCollins/Harper. Oct. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062366269.

Czekaj, Jef. Austin, Lost in America. illus. by Jef Czekaj. 40p. HarperCollins/Balzer & Bray. Sept. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062280176.

Day, Nancy Raines. What in the World?: Numbers in Nature. illus. by Kurt Cyrus. 32p. ebook available. S. & S./Beach Lane. Sept. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481400602.

Dean, James Kimberly Dean. Pete the Cat: and the Bedtime Blues. illus. by James Dean. 40p. (Pete the Cat). HarperCollins/Harper. Oct. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062304308; lib. ed. $18.89. ISBN 9780062304315.

DeDonato, Rick. Pipsie, Nature Detective: The Disappearing Caterpillar. illus. by Tracy Bishop. 32p. Amazon/Two Lions. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781477826300. LC 2014918307.

Ellis, Carson. Home. illus. by Carson Ellis. 40p. Candlewick. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763665296. LC 2014931830.

Esberger, Trudi. The Boy Who Lost His Bumble. illus. by Trudi Esberger. 32p. Child’s Play. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781846436628; pap. $7.99. ISBN 9781846436611.

Ferri, Giuliano. Luke & the Little Seed. illus. by Giuliano Ferri. 32p. Minedition. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9789888240944.

Garza, Xavier. The Great and Mighty Nikko!: A Bilingual Counting Book. illus. by Xavier Garza. 32p. Cinco Puntos. Jul. 2015. pap. $7.95. ISBN 9781935955832; ebk. $7.95. ISBN 9781935955849. BL

Gravett, Emily. Bear & Hare Go Fishing. illus. by Emily Gravett. 42p. ebook available. S. & S. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481422895.

Harrison, Hannah E. Bernice Gets Carried Away. illus. by Hannah E. Harrison. 32p. Dial. Jul. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780803739161. LC 2014023521.

Hills, Tad. R Is for Rocket. illus. by Tad Hills. 40p. Random/Schwartz & Wade. Jul. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780553522280; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780553522303.

Horácek, Petr. The Fly. illus. by Petr Horácek. 32p. Candlewick. 2015. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780763674809. LC 2013957523.

Hughes, Emily. The Little Gardener. illus. by Emily Hughes. 40p. Flying Eye Books. Aug. 2015. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781909263437.

IPCAR, Dahlov. Black and White. illus. by Dahlov Ipcar. 40p. Flying Eye Bks. 2015. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781909263444.

Jackson, Ellen. Beastly Babies. illus. by Brendan Wenzel. 32p. S. & S./Beach Lane. Jul. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781442408340; ebk. $12.99. ISBN 9781481425858. LC 2014009702.

Jantzen, Doug. Henry Hyena, Why Won’t You Laugh? illus. by Jean Claude. 32p. S. & S./Aladdin. Jul. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481428224; ebk. $12.99. ISBN 9781481428231. LC 2014040724.

Jones, Val. Who Wants Broccoli? illus. by Val Jones. 40p. HarperCollins/Harper. Jun. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062303516.

Kasza, Keiko. Finders Keepers. illus. by Keiko Kasza. 32p. ebook available. Putnam. Aug. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780399168987. LC 2014022119.

Kim, YeShil. My Best Buddy. illus. by Miguel Tanco. 32p. (MySELF Bookshelf). Norwood House. 2015. Tr $22.60. ISBN 9781599536583; pap. $11.94. ISBN 9781603576932. LC 2014030340.

KO, Sangmi. A Dog Wearing Shoes. illus. by Sangmi Ko. 48p. Random/Schwartz & Wade. Sept. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780385383967. LC 2014010934.

Liu, Cynthea. Bike On, Bear! illus. by Kristyna Litten. 32p. ebook available. S. & S./Aladdin. Jun. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481405065.

Ljungkvist, Laura. Search and Spot: Animals! illus. by Laura Ljungkvist. 40p. HMH. Oct. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544540057.

McElligott, Matthew. Mad Scientist Academy: The Dinosaur Disaster. illus. by Matthew McElligott. 40p. Crown. Jul. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780553523744; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780553523775.

Mack, Jeff. Who Needs a Bath? illus. by Jeff Mack. 40p. HarperCollins/Harper. Oct. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062220288.

Maresca, Beth Anne. Megan Owlet. illus. by Beth Anne Maresca. 32p. ebook available. Sky Pony. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781632204042.

Metcalf, Paula. A Guide to Sisters. illus. by Suzanne Barton. 32p. Random. Jul. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780553498998. LC 2014014554.

Min, SooHyeon. The Drummer Boy. illus. by Peggy Nile. 32p. (MySELF Bookshelf). Norwood House. 2015. Tr $22.60. ISBN 9781599536613; pap. $11.94. ISBN 9781603576963. LC 2014030344.

Morrissey, Patricia Aguilar. Magdalena’s Picnic/El Picnic de Magdalena. illus. by Gretchen Deahl. 32p. ebook available. Red Heart. 2014. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781938566158. LC 2014955310. BL

Olien, Jessica. Shark Detective! illus. by Jessica Olien. 32p. HarperCollins/Balzer & Bray Bks. Sept. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062357144.

Olivera, Ramon. ABCs on Wings. illus. by Ramon Olivera. 40p. S. & S./Little Simon. Jul. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481432429; ebk. $12.99. ISBN 9781481432436.

Paul, Alison. The Plan. illus. by Barbara Lehman. 32p. HMH. Nov. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544283336.

Perret, Delphine. Pedro and George. tr. from French. illus. by Delphine Perret. 32p. ebook available. S. & S./Atheneum. Jun. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481429252. LC 2014020003.

Pett, Mark. Lizard from the Park. illus. by Mark Pett. 40p. ebook available. S. & S. Sept. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781442483217. LC 2014040078.

Plant, David J. Hungry Roscoe. illus. by David J. Plant. 40p. Flying Eye Books. Jun. 2015. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781909263536.

Rand, Emily. A Dog Day. illus. by Emily Rand. 32p. Tate. 2015. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781849762908.

Rivera-Ashford, Roni Capin. My Tata’s Remedies/Los remedios de mi Tata. illus. by Antonio Castro L. 40p. Cinco Puntos. 2015. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781935955917; pap. $8.95. ISBN 9781935955894. BL

Rosenberg, Madelyn. How to Behave at a Dog Show. illus. by Heather Ross. 32p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks. Sept. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062279279.

Rosenthal, Amy Krouse. Friendshape: An Uplifting Celebration of Friendship. illus. by Tom Lichtenheld. 40p. Scholastic. Aug. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780545436823. LC 2013953391.

Rose, Caroline Starr. Over in the Wetlands: A Hurricane-on-the-Bayou Story. illus. by Rob Dunlavey. 40p. ebook available. Random/Schwartz & Wade. Jul. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780449810163; lib. ed. $20.99. ISBN 9780449810170. LC 2013018301.

Rostoker-Gruber, Karen. Ferret Fun in the Sun. illus. by Paul Rátz de Tagyos. 32p. Amazon/Two Lions. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781477826317.

Saltzberg, Barney. Inside This Book: (are three books). illus. by Barney Saltzberg. 40p. Abrams Appleseed. 2015. Tr $15.95. ISBN 9781419714870.

Scheffler, Axel. Flip Flap Safari. illus. by Axel Scheffler. 28p. Candlewick. 2015. Tr $11.99. ISBN 9780763676056. LC 2014939362.

Ug, Philippe. Robots: Watch Out, Water About! tr. from French by Cynthia Hall. paper engineering by Philippe Ug. 16p. Prestel. Jul. 2014. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9783791371986.

Underwood, Deborah. Interstellar Cinderella. illus. by Meg Hunt. 40p. Chronicle. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781452125329; ebk. $11.99. ISBN 9781452137858. LC 2014001505.

Ungerer, Tomi. Snail, Where Are You? illus. by Tomi Ungerer. 32p. Phaidon. 2015. Tr $14.95. ISBN 9780714867991.

Vere, Ed. Max the Brave. illus. by Ed Vere. 32p. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. Sept. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781492616511.

Voake, Charlotte. Melissa’s Octopus and Other Unsuitable Pets. illus. by Charlotte Voake. 32p. Candlewick. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763674816. LC 2013957483.

Whitehead, Jenny. You’re a Crab: A Moody Day Book. illus. by Jenny Whitehead. 32p. Holt. Jun. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780805093612.

Yaccarino, Dan. Billy and Goat at the State Fair. illus. by Dan Yaccarino. 40p. ebook available. Knopf. Jun. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780385753258; lib. ed. $19.99. ISBN 9780385753265.

Yankey, Lindsey. Sun and Moon. illus. by Lindsey Yankey. 32p. Simply Read Bks. 2015. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781927018606.

Yee, Wong Herbert. My Autumn Book. illus. by Wong Hebert Yee. 32p. Holt/Christy Ottaviano Bks. Aug. 2015. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780805099225.

Yolen, Jane. The Stranded Whale. illus. by Melanie Cataldo. 32p. Candlewick. Aug. 2015. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780763669539. LC 2014951789.

Yoon, Salina. Penguin’s Big Adventure. illus. by Salina Yoon. 40p. Bloomsbury. Sept. 2015. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780802738288.

This article was published in School Library Journal's June 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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