Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The story of root children/ by Sibylle von Olfers

Well, it is a German book about root kids living underground. They help mother Earth doing various preparations for seasons: painting lady bugs and washing beetles. Summer comes, they play in the forest, but when cold winds of fall  change warmth of summer, root children return underground, to  the cozy and warm place. Well, there is no place better than home!

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Ksenia R

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Knuffle Bunny/ by Mo Willems

KNUFFLE BUNNY A CAUTIONARY TALE was written and illustrated by Moe Willems (the same author who gave us DON'T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS).  The illustrations are unconventional black and white photos overlaid with colorful and expressive cartoon characters and objects.  The story line is nothing out of the ordinary.  Trixie, before she could speak words, walked to the laundromat with Daddy to put in a load of laundry and they left.  But then she realized she did not have her Knuffle Bunny!  She tried to communicate to her daddy that her favorite companion in all the world was missing.  Not having the vocabulary she needed to make him understand, she did everything she could to show him how unhappy she was.  She had a meltdown.  You have to get this book just to see the illustration of this toddler going "boneless". I never realized that becoming limp and refusing to stand up actually had a name!   Fortunately, Trixie's Mommy knew right away,  what was wrong.  Trixie's "I told you so" expression when Daddy finally realized his mistake lets you know she feels completely validated.  We can all relate to the frustration a parent feels when a child has a tantrum but few of us can remember and understand what it feels like to be so little and have it be so hard to get adults to understand you.  I love the end of this book but I I want you to read it in Trixie's words.

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Bonnie R    

Thomas the tank engine/ by The rev.W. Awdry

THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE  contains four stories written by the Reverend W Awdry but starts with a letter:
Dear Christopher,

Here is your friend Thomas the Tank Engine.  He wanted to
come out of his station yard and see the world. These stories tell
you how he did it.
I hope you will like them because you helped me to make them.
Your Loving Daddy
How many authors have been inspired of motivated by their children to put pen to paper?  This was the case when this clergyman and railroad enthusiast created these stories and characters that would make him famous to amuse his son, Christopher, during a bout of measles at the age of two and a half.  Each story takes young Christopher through the sometimes cheeky, sometimes impatient, sometimes boastful little engine's humbling experiences as he interacts with others and grows up to become a really useful engine.  Now that's enough to put a smile on any face!
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 Bonnie R

Oh, the places you'll go!/ by Dr. Seuss

Its another genius classic by Dr Seuss!!  OH, THE PLACES YOU'LL GO! is a wonderful, moving book about life ! 
 "You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. ....  Wherever you go, you will top all the rest. Except when you don't.  Because, sometimes, you won't. .... The Waiting Place....  NO! That's not for you!  Somehow you'll escape all that waiting and staying.  ....  Oh, the places you'll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored.  There are games to be won.  ....  Fame!  You'll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win on TV. ......Except when the don't.  Because, sometimes, they won't. ....  And when you're alone there's a very good chance you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. ... And will you succeed?  Yes!  You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)"  
With the outrageously bizarre style of illustrations we would expect from Dr. Seuss and love, this book is reminder that the path to success will include setbacks and delays and difficulties overcome by optimism and perseverance.  You're going to love it!  I'll guarantee it!

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Bonnie R

If you give mouse a cookie/ by Laura Numeroff

Giving a hungry traveler a cookie might seem like a nice thing to do, but in IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE by Laura Joffe Numeroff, it is only the first in a series of interconnected and ever-increasing requests.  Brightly colored illustrations by Felicia Bond accompany the narration about how giving a mouse a cookie will lead him to ask for a glass of milk, and then a straw, and so on. Young readers will be amazed to see how giving a tiny mouse a small snack can actually result in having the mouse give himself a haircut, sweep and mop the house, and draw himself a picture.  It's a good segue to a lesson about the repercussions and unforeseen effects of our decisions and actions.
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Bonnie R

Monday, November 28, 2011

The adventures of the dish and the spoon/ by Mini Grey

The best part of the book was the anticipation. Its story let me down as a little boring. The illustrations were great, but it seemed like Bonnie and Clide without the bloody masacre. Maybe my son will stay away from loan sharks : the best moral of the story.

Bryan R

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Alice in Wonderland/ by Lewis Carroll

It's one of the most peculiar books i have ever read. It was much more delight compared to the cartoon from my childhood. There is a continious pun and play with English language, so i would always ask myself while reading: how would you translate this? and this?
The conversations among the characters in the books are of a great absurdity; but this is exactly what makes a book such a fun to read. I will probably now start a notebook to write down all the memorable quotes from this masterpiece:

"and how many hours a day did you do your lessons?" said Alice in a hurry to change the subject.
"ten hours the first day," said the Mock Turtle: "nine the next, and so on."
"What a curious plan!" exclaimed Alice
"That's the reason why they're called lessons,"- the Gryphon remarked: "because they lessen from day to day."

Curiouser and curiouser! (Alice)

'Give your evidence,' said the King; 'and don't be nervous, or I'll have you executed on the spot.'

Overall, one of the most imaginative and cleverly entertaining books i have read. I am very happy to have read it in original language; to enjoy it thoroughly.

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Ksenia R

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Jungle book/ by Rudyard Kipling

“The Jungle Book” is a collection of stories by Rudyard Kipling. I had a preconceived idea about “Jungle Book” thanks to Disney. I was waiting for a dancing fool of a bear, and got a stern head master that would bruise his pupil Mowgli. I loved the story of Mowgli and am happy to find out there are more Mowgli story in “The Second Jungle Book”. I can’t wait to read.
The stories in the Jungle Book are Mowgli's Brothers, The White Seal, Rikki Tikki Tavi, Toomai of the Elephants, and Her Majesty's Servants.
I was very happy to read “Rikki Tikki Tavi” it was one of my favorite cartoons growing up. And “Her Majesty’s Servants” reminded me of reading “War Horse” with its brave and not-so brave war animals talking of there duties in war
Bryan R

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Friday, November 25, 2011

lavender's blue

A great book of nursery rhymes: famous and not so, some are still recited and loved. The illustrations are quite imaginative, some are black and white, some are in color. I  particularly remember one verse  about Humpty Dumpty, who was sitting on the wall. It was translated into Russian, and i really loved reciting it over and over in my childhood. This book is a real treasury of memories, childhood and the long gone past.
And here is one of my favorite verses form this book, because it reminds me of my husband:

Curly Locks! curly locks! wilt thou be mine?
Thou shall't not wash dishes, nor yet feed the swine,
But sit on a cushion and sew a fine seam,
And feed upon strawberries, sugar, and cream!

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Ksenia R

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


LOST AND FOUND is a creation of Oliver Jeffers with his spare and humorous illustrations in beautiful water color paintings that give expressiveness to each of the characters.  I love the ridiculousness of the boy's stick legs, the lollipop trees with square shapes overlaid, and the oh-so-cute pudgy penguin! The story is one of a boy and the penguin he finds on his doorstep. Assuming he is lost, the boy attempts to return him to the South Pole. After a long and dangerous adventure, the boy realizes that the penguin was not lost-- he was lonely and looking for a friend.  Its a reminder that being a problem solver is not always the right thing to do and emphasizes the importance of companionship, friendship and a hug. 

Bonnie R

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Peggy Rathmann used intricate silhouettes on a variety of beautiful sky-scapes to illustrate THE DAY THE BABIES CRAWLED AWAY.  As the day progresses toward evening the color changes a little creating a vibrant happy feeling despite the trouble that the babies get into in following butterflies, frogs, bats and other things.  The main character in this poem is the boy who heroically  "saves the day" by being a guardian and retriever of the babies, reuniting them to their families at the end of the day.  He looked the part of the hero he was in what appeared  to me to be an Aeromax Jr. Fire Fighter Helmet which, of course never came off ... not even when he fell fast asleep.   What a day!   I especially like the next to last page - a precious mother-son moment.

Bonnie R
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THE QUANGLE WANGLE'S HAT by Edward Lear is a poem read to Louise Voce by her grandmother when she was a child.  It inspired the the illustrations of Mr Quangle Wangle Quee, his incredibly attractive and roomy hat, the Crumpetty Tree and the host of guests that bring this classic nonsensical poetry to life.  The story line takes us from sympathizing with Quangle Wangle eating his jam and jelly and bread all alone to a very happy Quangle Wangle enjoying the wonderful noise of his "hat-lodgers". I love his broad smile! 

Bonnie R 
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Pija Lindenbaum's hilarious illustrations and Bridget's winning personality make BRIDGET AND THE MOOSE BROTHERS a delightful read.  I always say, experience is something you get when you're not getting what you want.  But, in this case, Bridget's experience with the misbehaving, untidy, disrespectful, loud, intrusive, disgusting, demanding moose brothers revealed what it was that she didn't want. Perhaps being an only child is not so bad after-all. 

Bonnie R.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

HE ELEPHANT AND THE BAD BABY written by Elfrida Vipont

If you ask me, THE ELEPHANT AND THE BAD BABY written by Elfrida Vipont and illustrated by Raymond Briggs is the story of baby taken for a ride by a bad elephant. Every time the elephant stretched out his trunk something was stolen and the two of them were chased by a disgruntled merchant as they went rumpeta, rumpeta, rumpeta, all down the road. Finally the baby's fault was declared... "He never once said please!" That is bad.  But he quickly learned his lesson... "And the Bad Baby said, "PLEASE! I want to go home to my mother."   I loved the Bad Baby's mother's reception!

Bonnie R

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SKIPPYJON JONES by Judy Schachner

SKIPPYJON JONES  is a rambunctious Siamese kitten with large ears that make him look like a Chihuahua. He is known as El Skippito, the great sword fighter, (a "Zorro"-like hero) to his group of imaginary friends, Los Chimichangos, a roving band of Mexican Chihuahuas .  High adventure ensues as he defends them from the menacing giant Bumblebee Bandito who has been stealing their beans...
"Red beans, black beans,
Boston baked and blue,
Cocoa, coffee Kidney beans,
Pinto and jelly too!"
"And now he comes for us, Poquito added. Because we are full of beans too."
Skippito Friskito was the dog for the job.
Bangito!  Crashito!  Pop-ito!  Skippito!   Who knew that playing with your imaginary friends could cause such a ruckus in a boy kitten's closet?
But all is well that ends with "Buenas noches, mis amigos."   Thank you, Judy Schachner, for such an action-packed, clever, fun book.   

Bonnie R
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Nutcracker/ by Ernst Hoffman

This story never aged; but inspired movies, plays, ballets, retelling tales. I have been reading it this evening, and enjoyed it as in my childhood many years ago. As an adult now i paid more attention to coulinary details than to a description of a magic realms : i noticed tasty nuts, crunchy cookies, pork sausgae, pink lard( must be delicious!) and other delicatessen..... Nutcracker is on the ugly side, but a brave guy fighting rats : certainly not from our urban environment of pretty-looking men in tight jeans! I remember watching cartoon and weeping three brooks, because he was so ugly but lovable! Fascinating romantic story of interest to young girls who will marry construction workers or  loggers! I enjoyed it quite sincerely(although i am married to a refined man!)

Ksenia R

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Monday, November 14, 2011

The sea monster/ by Chris Wormell

It is a sad picture book and everyone is lonely in it. I thought it was written by a Russian writer, so sad it is.... There is a lonely sea monster, a lonely fisherman and a boy with a dog who sails a boat on the beach. The story reminded me of a Slavic mythological spirit of water (Vodyanoi, picture is attached) who lives in solitude under the water, drowns beautiful women and always sings songs about  how"it would be great to have any company but frogs and leeches". In the end, the fisherman gets a company of a boy and a lonely sea monsters gets a trophy : the boy's boat......

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Ksenia R

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

The story of War horse is a historical fiction( my favorite genre). It is told through the horse's viewpoint. Joey was an English farm horse who was sold to the British army leaving behind the boy he grew up with,Albert. This story vividly tells the roles of the war horse in WWI: an ambulance horse, cavalry, mounted infantry, artillery and others. Along the way, Joey makes lots of friends but still longs for a chance to be reunited with Albert.

" A horse's life may be more valuable than a  man's life because a horse holds no evil at his heart"

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Bryan R

Good dog, Carl/ by Alexandra Day

Amost wordless picture book about what happens when Moma leaves her baby to be watched by THE "Good dog, Carl". Oh, the things they do! Swimming in the aquarium, dancing, playing with food, checking the fridge, washing in the tub. The book reminded me of Cat in the Hat by DR.Seuss( do you remember what happened when the children were left alone?) But when Moma comes home, everything is in its place: baby in cleaned and dried is back in the bed, garbage back in the bin, pillows are back on the sofa.... Good dog, Carl!!!
Adorable little book with life-alike pictures!Carl is so responsible!

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Ksenia R

We're going on a bear hunt

I had to read this book because library patrons ask for it so often... Now i know what they are talking about! "We're going on a bear hunt.. we are not scared!" It is a funny little book about looking for a bear, and in fact encountering him! The way back home is just so fast now!

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Ksenia R


Alexis Deacon's BEEGU is the story of a lost and alienated alien and the unconditional acceptance of the small creatures she meets on a playground.  The moral of the story is simple.....  You have only one opportunity to make a first impression and acts of kindness have lasting effects. 

Bonnie R 
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Humphrey's Corner by Sally Hunter

Humphrey's Corner by Sally Hunter is a book of endearing depictions of a day in the life of Humphrey, a toddler elephant, as he searches his home for the perfect place to play with his toy rabbit, Mop and his blanket, Mooey under the watchful eye of his ever so patient Mommy.  "Are you all right, little love?" asked Mommy.  And finally, he found that special place in the kitchen.  It was very cozy.... and near Mommy.  All mommies of toddlers will relate and all mommies of adult children will remember. 
Thanks, Sally.

Bonnie R

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I HATE SCHOOL written by Jeanne Willis

In I HATE SCHOOL  written by Jeanne Willis you'll meet Honor Brown.  She has a dramatic way expressing the horrors of school but only the illustrations of Tony Ross could make you understand how very horrible her experience was!  No wonder she hoped it would burn down!  School was much the same for my youngest son.  I don't remember him hoping the school would burn down but he did hope for a speedy return of Jesus Christ.  And, that's no exaggeration!

Bonnie R
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Thursday, November 10, 2011

WOLVES by Emily Gravett

Hear ye, hear ye, all librarians.  Please know ther may be a very good reason a book has not been returned.  Like the rabbit in Emily Gravett's WOLVES, a reader may get lost reading a good book.  This story was a little "twisted" and made me laugh out loud!  Thank you Emily for "piecing together" an alternative ending for our younger readers!  :-)

Bonnie R

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Comet in Moominland

This is the story from my childhood, because i grew up watching Russian cartoons about Moomins'life. This book is one the several in the series about a life of Moomins. In this book, Moomin Troll and his friends are looking for some scientists to find out about the dangerous comet approaching the Earth. The comet will certainly smash the Earth and Moomin Troll, Sniff and Snusmumrik try to warn their friends and relatives about this danger. In Tove Jansson's Moomin World an each character has some strange habits/preferences and something funny to share. Sniff loves gems, Hemul collects stamps, Monkey counts pearls and every time get a different result etc.
The book is funny, filled with peculiar characters, it is certainly memorable. Jansson's imagination reminded me of some of Roald Dahl's "wildly crazy" books that kids adore.Recommended to kids who are bored and to adults with ADHD.

Ksenia Roeder

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

THE SNOWMAN by Raymond Briggs

I just "read" THE SNOWMAN by Raymond Briggs.  What a wonderfully "written" piece of children's literature.  The tiniest tot can enjoy every page of this story about a boy and his snowman.  It's a book that can be "read" out-loud or silently as you go through the beautiful illustrations that tell the whole story without one word!  I took a class at Clackamas Community College called Readings for Writers.  This book was not included but I think it should have been.  It would have been a great writing exercise and interesting to compare each author's expression of the same images.  

Bonnie R.  

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The boy in striped pajamas/ John Boyne

The story is a historical fiction placed in Auschwitz during WWII. Two main characters are innocent 9 year old boys trying to deal with horrors of the war. Main character, Bruno, who is a son of commandant, goes off on adventures and discovers a boy of exact same age  living behind the fence of the labor camp. They soon start an awkward friendship meeting every afternoon at the fence. The horrors of WII bring an end to their innocence.
The book is well-written and well-told. When reading this book it feels like it has been narrated by a 9 year old.
My father, Paul served during the occupation of Germany. We knew he saw the horrors of war but he never spoke of them. A line spoken by Bruno's mother in the book reminded me of my father:

" War is not a fit subject for a conversation"

Bryan R

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Sunday, November 6, 2011


I just finished WHEN WE WERE VERY YOUNG written by A. A. Milne with decorations by Ernest H Shepard.  Forty-four poems coming from the voices of Milne's son, "Christopher Robin (at approximately age three) or some other boy or girl, or Nurse, or Hoo - one of those curious children who look four on Monday and eight on Tuesday, and are really twenty-eight on Saturday, and you never know whether it is the day when he can pronounce his "r's".   It,s difficult to pick favorites from this collection, but I loved Nursery ChairsDaffodowndillPolitenessTeddy Bear and Vespers.  The 38th poem in the book, "Teddy Bear", that originally appeared in Punch magazine in February, 1924, was the first appearance of the famous character Winnie-the-Pooh, first named "Mr. Edward Bear".  It spoke to me about body image.

Bonnie R.

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Friday, November 4, 2011

Curious George/ H.A. Rey

You've heard of the old proverb, "Curiosity killed the cat" used to warn of the dangers of unnecessary investigation or experimentation.  Well, CURIOUS GEORGE was not a cat but H. A. Rey has been true to the proverb as this curious little monkey gets into all kinds of scrapes including being captured and taken away from his home in Africa, going overboard at sea and being shut up in a prison.   There is a less frequently-seen rejoinder to "curiosity killed the cat" -  "satisfaction brought it back".  And so it is with George.  He ends up in a very happy place.

Bonnie R

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

The tale of Despereaux/ by Kate DiCamillo

I would say that it is like a story of a knight and a princess but the knight is a little 2 ounce mouse with big ears. The mouse Despereaux was born with his eyes open and big ears. Hit mother thought he would die young but he didn't. He was unique because he read the books instead of eating the pages in them. And he could also hear things other mice could'n hear. He fell in love with human princess and rescued her in the dungeon full of rats.
I would recommend this book to the kids that like to read thick books that take some time to read them.

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Isaiah R

Old possum's book of practical cats/ by T.S. Eliot

I hope i am still sane after reading this cat-lady's book. I have put it down 5 or so times, each time hoping that i'll wake up from this maddening experience. I can imagine that is how the author looks like:

The writing is either for the art/English/philosophy degree student or for a nerdy kid with a thick dictionary under the pillow. Please kids, remain funny and love life! Do not read this book unless you have decided to skip marriage and live at your mom's garage with your 6 cats.

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Ksenia R.

My father's dragon/ by Ruth Stiles Gannett

It is a story told through the narrator who is the son of an adventurer. His father goes on an adventure to rescue an enslaved dragon. On his way encounters many creatures and has to use his wits to keep himself from being eaten. I enjoyed reading it but  but i doubt reading it the second time. The humor was a bit flat. I think a little girl would like it more than a little boy.

Bryan R.

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Elmer/ by David Mckee

It is the book about an elephant named Elmer who is funny and cheers up other elephants.
But he is ashamed to be of different colors so he finds a bush full of berries that are the color of a normal elephant. And he changes his colors to be grey like other elephants. The he rejoins his group and when he finds out that they are serious about him, he gives them a scare of BOOO! Then rain came over and washed off all the berry juice off him, thus making an elephant parade.
On a scale of to 10 i would give this book a 9!

Isaiah R

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The true story of the three little pigs/ by Jon Scieszka

I can relate to Alexander Wolf. I too, enjoy eating cute little animals and do not appreciate the snide looks of my vegan and vegetarian friends. I found the wolf's side of a story easy to believe. I will start to petition to free Alexander Wolf from jail. He should be at home cooking a cake for his Granny.

Bryan R

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The cat in the hat / by Dr. Seuss

This is got to be one of my favorites. As a foreigner, i had not read it before, so i am only starting to discover Dr. Seuss!(and Popeye, the sailor man). The book is playful, silly, rhyming, surprising- all the ingredients to become a classic for kids! There are the next characters in this work: the mischievous cat in the hat; a killjoy fish, 2 kids left alone when their moma is at work( where is dad?) and peculiar playful creatures named THING 1 and Thing 2(see the picture) So they all are having fun, playing, making mess. Mom will come home soon, who will clean the mess ??

I loved the story! After the " Green eggs and ham" this is my second favorite!
Ksenia R
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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Leonardo the terrible monster/ by Mo Willems

Leonardo was a terrible monster because..... he could not scare anyone. He was not scary, although he tried hard. He chose a perfect boy to scary one day: a nerd-boy; but even a nerdy boy was not scared of him. And them Leonardo decided to become a BIG FRIEND instead. Great modern book for children!

Ksenia R

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dear zoo/ Rod Campbell

Adorable bookie! It is about founding a perfect pet....The character of a book writes the letter to the zoo asking for a pet, and every time they send him something surprisingly unfitting. In the end a puppy arrives- a perfect cute pet from the zoo!It has been around for a long time but still is a hit among toddlers and even preschoolers!

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Ksenia R


Once again I read a children's book with my friend at the nursing home.   THE SHRINKING OF TREEHORN by Flornce Parry Heide and illustrated by Edward Gorey was first published in 1971. Neither of us had ever heard of it. The main character in the book is Treehorn, a young boy with 56 favorite television programs and a large collection of things he has ordered with cereal box tops who begins shrinking.   Who would name their son Treehorn?  But then, as you are introduced to his parents you understand.  Perhaps that explains why his issues are basically ingnored by everyone in his world. What doesn't kill you will make you bigger.

Bonnie R
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Don't let the pigeon drive the bus/ Mo Willems

It is an adorable book where the pigeon really wants to drive the bus while the conductor is out on some business. Before leaving the driver cautions YOU( or the reader) ABSOLUTELY UNDER NOT ANY CIRCUMSTANCES NOT TO LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS. And just as he leaves, the pigeon starts nagging you about the necessity to drive the bus around.... He coaxes and coaxes... Be strong! The driver will be back soon.....
 Check out for Willems' other books, they all have gorgeous illustrations and unconventional plots. Delight for a child!

Ksenia R.
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Rosie's walk

It is a delightful bright book about a hensel who is just walking. She is  pursued by a fox, and there are small creatures along the way who try to warn the hen about the danger. No murder happens in the end and the fox is chased out by the bees. I am amazed of how many hand-drawn bees there are! ( see picture below)  Perfect book to read to toddlers: few words, beautifully illustrated, there are many adorable details.

Ksenia R

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