Tag Archives: Picture book

Scurvy Scoundrels! Aaarrrgh!

Last Wednesday’s storytime was an interesting one. We read two books about pirates, which were both cute and funny.

First up we read Captain Buckleboots on the Naughty Step by Mark Sperring. It was a great story to teach children how to admit it when they’ve done something wrong, and most importantly how to say they are sorry. It also impressed upon them that even when they get in trouble they are still loved. The story is about a little boy who gets sent to the naughty step, and who gets joined there by an unlikely cast of characters including Captain Buckleboots the pirate, a knight, an astronaut, and a monster. As we learn what each of them have done to land themselves on the naughty step we also get to see how each of them find their own unique way of apologizing. As far as moralistic stories go I was impressed by this one, and the children and their parents enjoyed it as well. We especially like the charming and memorable illustrations that Tom McLaughlin created for the story. I’m definitely going to check into more of his work. All in all this book garnered 4 bookies!

Next we read another pirate story, Small Saul by Ashley Spires. Small Saul is definitely the little black sheep, or red-headed step-child, of the pirating world. He likes things clean and orderly, likes to sing, bake, and decorate. Because he is so very different from all of the other pirates Saul has a hard time finding his place on board. Will his new crew ever accept him for who he is? Or is Saul just not destined to be a pirate after all? Well you can find out if you open the pages of this endearing little book, which is filled with cool and fun illustrations cover to cover. I highly recommend this as just a general good storybook, one sure to elicit laughter from both adults and children alike. 4 bookies!

*Bonus*

If you are looking for something piratical to read for an older crowd then check out these and see what you think:

The Bloody Jack Series by L.A. Meyer, I’ve heard really great things about these and I really hope I draw Bloody Jack out of The Hat sometime in the near future.

Terra Vonnel and The Skulls of Aries by D.C. Akers, after stumbling upon these recently I added them to The Hat and am simply salivating in anticipation of drawing them.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, come one guys, it’s the Godfather of pirate books. Everyone should read it. Everyone. Yes you too.

and finally

First published in 1905, this is the 1915 cover.

Doctor Syn by Russell Thorndike, these were first recommended to me by some of my British friends and they are freaking awesome. They are also out of print, so if you are lucky enough to find copies snatch them up and share them with your friends. You will thank me. I promise.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Picture Books, Story Time

I see London, I see France…

I see animals in underpants! You can see animals in underpants too, if you pick up a copy of The Underpants Zoo!

Ok ok, enough of my silly rhyming. On to the reviewing.

At The Underpants Zoo by Brian Sendelbach all of the animals wear underpants! Reading the book we take a tour through this silly zoo, and get to see exactly what kind of underpants a zebra, crocodile, or elephant might wear. Written in rhyme, which we all know I love, this was a cute funny book that any child is sure to love. The illustrations were bright and fun and they really popped, perfect for this story and a great way to get young children exited about wearing big girl or big boy underpants. I daresay the children thought it was a lot funnier than most adults would, but it was met with gales of laughter and a lot of excitement. There’s not much more I can say about this title, it wasn’t one of my personal favorites but there again I’m not 5 anymore. The kids absolutely loved it though, so you should definitely listen more to what they thought. 😛

This next book wasn’t a storytime book, yet. The other book we did at storytime with The Underpants Zoo was Giraffes Can’t Dance which I reviewed here earlier. But to follow the theme of underpants related stories, I’ll review for you guys Dinosaurs Love Underpants by Claire Freedman. Another hilarious rhyming homage to the glory of underpants.

In Dinosaurs Love Underpants we learn the real reason why dinosaurs went extinct, they became far too obsessed with wearing underpants. T. Rex starts the trend when, instead of eating the cave men, he decides to take their underpants instead. Once again there isn’t a lot of plot to the story, possibly an underpants story theme, but what it lacks in plot it surely makes up for with fabulous illustrations and great humor. I particularly love the cover illustration, which just cracks me up and fills me with a sense of childhood adventure and fun.

*Bonus Review*

What is it about underpants that inspires so much childlike humor and infinite silliness? What is it about them that gives even grown-ups the giggle fits? It’s an age old question to which we may never have an answer. What I do know is that there is a whole series of chapter books devoted to underwear humor. Of course I am talking about The Captain Underpants Series by Dav Pilkey.

In The Adventures of Captain Underpants, Harold and George are two fourth grade pranksters who take it a little further than usual by hypnotizing their principal into believing he is an underpants wearing super-hero. Of course they think it’s hilarious until he escapes and starts chasing down bad guys wearing nothing but underwear and a cape. Which is actually more hilarious. The series follows the antics of these boys and Captain Underpants, their erstwhile principal. While it will definitely not be to everyone’s taste (mine for example) the books are indeed funny and very appealing to children of a certain age and taste. I wasn’t of an age or taste, probably ever, to appreciate them. In fact I really really disliked them. BUT I can see the appeal to kids.

If it gets them to read, I’m all for it. Unfortunately this is one of the books that often suffers censorship from parents because of the “dumb”, “stupid”, or “gross” humor and because it does nothing to broaden a child’s mind. That said, let me ask does Nora Roberts broaden yours? If your kid wants to read, no matter what it is, please encourage it. As Pilkey states on his site, this may be too silly for grown-ups and you should probably get a child’s permission before reading.

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Terrible Pet Stories!

On Wednesday at Storytime we read two stories about very different kinds of terrible pets.

First we read Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown

You all might remember an earlier post I wrote about another Peter Brown book in which I expressed my affection for him. After reading this most recent Brown book at Storytime, affection has turned into undying love. Children Make Terrible Pets is simply adorable. Lucy, a cute little bear in a pink tutu, finds a little boy in the woods one day. She takes him home and names him Squeaker after the only noise he makes and then begs her mother to let her keep him. Which her mother eventually does (even though everyone knows that children make terrible pets), on one condition. Squeaker is Lucy’s responsibility. She has to take care of him and make sure he has everything he needs. This works out for a while and the bear and the boy have a lot of fun together, until Squeaker starts making messes and ripping up the furniture!

Brown says he got the inspiration for the story from something his mother used to say to him when he was young and would drag in wild animals asking to keep them as pets. She would ask him how he would like it if a wild animal took him home and kept him as a pet. This book has a great message for kids about the responsibilities involved in having any pet, and also about keeping the wild in wildlife.

My Storytime kids were highly amused, as were their parents and myself. The book totally reminded me of my own childhood antics. I kidnapped countless critters and brought them home to be my pets for an afternoon. The parents seemed to relate to the story as well, although from the other end of the spectrum. Everyone enjoyed it!

Also, did I mention the illustrations? Once again Brown did his own illustrations, and once again they have a quirky charm that is 100% his own and oh so adorable. See for yourself:

5 Bookies!

Then, continuing in the Terrible Pets vein, we read Tumford The Terrible by Nancy Tillman.

Written in rhyme (always popular with children, and, well, me) Tumford The Terrible is the story of a cat named Tumford and the trouble he causes around his house. He doesn’t do it on purpose, but when he makes a mess or breaks something instead of taking responsibility and apologizing he hides. Then one day his owners are going to a fair, and Tumford really wants to go with them. So they agree to take him, but only if he promises not to cause any trouble and to apologize if he does. He promises and off they go. Tumford is on his best behavior, and tries his hardest to stay out of trouble, but trouble just seems to find him wherever he goes. Can he take responsibility and apologize for the trouble he causes? Or will he just hide like he always does?

This is one of my new favorite picture books. It’s a great book for anyone that has a hard time saying they are sorry, and it conveys the message to young ones that no matter what they are always loved. Nancy Tillman has been a favorite of mine for a very long time, with her sweet, whimsical stories and freaking incredible illustrations. And Tumford doesn’t fail to bring whimsy, humor, and fantastic illustrations. One of the reasons I like Tillman as an illustrator so much is because of how real her pictures feel, they kind of suck you in and give you this warm and fuzzy feeling of joy. I wish I had been able to find my favorite picture of Tumford online so that I could share it with you guys but you’ll just have to click on the Nancy Tillman link and watch the Tumford slide show to see it. Or better yet, buy the book! My very favorite scene was so funny. I literally laughed for 10 minutes and all of my co-workers that I shared the picture with found it equally amusing, was of Tumford walking to the fair in his yellow wellies. He is walking on his hind legs and has his front legs out in the air in front of him doing a zombie-walk. I found it so amusing because he looks like a kitty doing the dance to Thriller. And I’m not gonna lie, that picture was the soul reason the book made Storytime. 😀

5 Bookies for Tumford The Terrible!

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Filed under Book Reviews, Literary Projects, Picture Books, Reading, Story Time

Apologies!*

I haven’t been online much for the past week or so. Sorry guys, I was on vacation which means I was outside or dashing from place to place, or something. I haven’t even been reading! Eekgads! I’ll be getting back to it soon though, no worries. Just wanted to let you all know where I’ve been.

BTW expect to see a whole lot more children’s picture book reviews in the future, I just received a promotion and now I’m in charge of the children’s department at the bookstore! Yay! Soooo much fun to be had!

Do any of you have particular picture books that are favorites? I’m looking for ideas for storytime, bonus points if you know of fun activities to go with the books!

*I apologize for the previous misspelling! Thanks GC!

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