Wednesday, January 09, 2008

review: I Took My Frog to the Libray

I took My Frog to the Library by Eric A. Kimmel. Illustrated by Blanche Sims. 1990; Puffin, 1992 (9780140509168) $5.99 pb

Bridgett has a house full of book-loving pets, but when she tries taking them to the library with her, chaos always follows: her hen lays an egg in the card catalog, her python sheds skin all over the picture books, and her giraffe rudely reads over everybody's shoulder. Even her very well behaved elephant, who stacks her books neatly on the checkout desk and listens politely at storytime, is just too big for the library. Finally the librarian has to ask Bridgett to leave her animals at home--but that's okay, because her elephant is there to read to them. Although this book is pure fun, some points about good library etiquette are effortlessly made. Busy, expressive illustrations add to the humor of the story. (4-8)

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no cigar--but then, I don't smoke

I'd like to get around to actual reviews at some point, but in the meantime, here are some (not necessarily all) of the poetry books that did not make it onto the Cybil's short list, but did find a place in my heart:

Where I Live by Eileen Spinelli. Tender, heartfelt poems that narrate the story of a girl adjusting to a new life.

Hey, You!: Poems to Skyscrapers, Mosquitoes, and Other Fun Things selected by Paul B. Janeczko. A lively tribute to all kinds of animate and inanimate objects, with an excellent design. Terrific overall reading.

Tap Dancing on the Roof by Linda Sue Park. Illustrated by Istvan Banyai. An innovative book of "sijo," a form of Korean poetry I haven't seen previously explored in children's poetry. By definition, "Sijo" always has an unexpected twist, and these poems often manage to surprise. The whimsical pictures are also a plus.

Miss Crandall's School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color by Elizabeth Alexander and Marilyn Nelson. A powerful collection of sonnets that tell a true and very moving story.

Shape Me a Rhyme by Jane Yolen. Photographs by Jason Stemple. Beautiful photographs inspired clever poems about shapes in nature. The design is lovely and the choices of shapes are sometimes delightfully surprising. Although not strong on emotional range, this is a welcome concept book.

Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars written and illustrated by Douglas Florian. In a batch of many poetry books with specific themes, this was one that really felt like it was about something, that each poem was telling me something new and interesting.

Dog Poems by Dave Crawley. illustrated by Tamara Petrosino. I was taken by surprise by how much I liked this book. The pictures are on the overly cute side and the poems sometimes are too, but the funny poems actually made me laugh, and laugh again on the second reading. I also appreciated the variety of poetic styles, themes and emotions, particularly the true affection for the subject that shines through.

(Thanks to "Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast" and "MotherReader" for this blog topic.)

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