Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Do you ever feel like you need a midweek pick-me-up?  This week I definitely did, and I got it yesterday when my friends came over, with toddlers in tow, for our weekly coffee, tea, and conversation time.  One friend (who I can always count on for good book recommendations!) brought three clever and rather offbeat books to share, that her preschool-age daughter recently picked out at the library. All three are irresistibly funny and great for grades K-3 (unless you happen to have a 4- well, almost 5- year-old! preschooler like her daughter Sophie, who has a very quick and sophisticated sense of humor!)

By the way - what are some of your favorite funny books??

What's So Scary?WHAT'S SO SCARY? by John Stadler. Review from Library School Journal: Upset that the illustrator has drawn him into the wrong book, a dog tries to get the story right before its conclusion. The artist, it seems, is a bit of a klutz and some spilled paint causes the cast of characters that he has just drawn to flee in terror. Finally, the pup takes matters into his own paws and draws an appropriate ending, which just happens to fit the story he thought he belonged in all along. The text is infused with funny one-liners, sight gags, and wordplay such as "If a tree falls in a book and no one is reading, does anybody know?" or "I've got a sinking feeling" as a boat is filling with water. A narrative strand involves a tortoise and a hare with amusing brief dialogue. The brightly colored illustrations make use of perspective in an imaginative and amusing way. Younger readers may find it confusing, but visually sophisticated youngsters will appreciate the unusual premise.

When Dinosaurs Came with Everything (Junior Library Guild Selection)WHEN DINOSAURS CAME WITH EVERYTHING by Elise Broach, illustrations by David Small.  While running errands with his mom, a young boy is suffering from boredom - until he sees a sign at the bakery they've stopped at that says, "Buy a Dozen, get a Dinosaur".  He can't believe his eyes.  "They must mean a toy," his mom says.  After they purchase their dozen doughnuts, the store owner hands over a dinosaur...a REAL, LIVE, DINOSAUR.  His mother begins to panic a bit as they come to the realization that all the stores in town are participating in this dinosaur "giveaway of the day"!  (After they've acquired four of these giants, his mom decides to go home immediately).  More fun ensues as she finds ways of solving the "problem" of having the dinos in their home.  Great for independent readers or read aloud listeners.

Beware of the Storybook WolvesBEWARE OF THE STORYBOOK WOLVES by Lauren Child. This author/illustrator does a clever job of communicating the real fears and runaway imaginations that can inhabit young minds.  Her witty and silly text, combined with her unique illustrations, will turn those unspoken fears into out-loud laughter.  Just imagine what you would do if a storybook character Wolf and his side-kick (more ridiculous than threatening) climbed out of your book and into your room!  Well, a young boy named Herb outwits the Wolf when he reaches into his fairy tale treasury and shakes out more characters, such as Cinderella and a Fairy Godmother, who lend help and some hilarious antics.


  1. I enjoy Lauren Child's whimsical illustrations and the use of collaged fabric...we love her Charlie and Lola books, I also really liked "Who wants to be a poodle...I don't" and will have a look for this one! Thanks!!!

  2. She is a new author for me - I'm excited to look into the books you mentioned! Thanks!