It was "kiddie book" week in my mailbox last week. Monday and Tuesday brought me these treasures to review:
From Tundra Books:
Here are five first books for fledgling readers that offer the enjoyment of a good story along with the thrill of accomplishment that comes from independent reading. Written in short, easy phrases with carefully selected vocabulary and plentiful illustrations, each book helps youngsters achieve success as they have fun. The series follows three friends, 2 boys and a girl, who love to share stories. In each book, one is reminded of a well-known story: Little Red Riding Hood in It’s Not About the Hunter!, Beauty and the Beast in It’s Not About the Rose!, Snow White in It’s Not About the Apple!, Cinderella in It’s Not About the Pumpkin!, and Hansel and Gretel in It’s Not About the Crumbs! As one friend starts, the others are reminded of versions they know so each volume has three stories within one framework. The stories come from around the world, and Veronika Martenova Charles provides a note at the end of each book to describe the origins.
Teens who get pregnant and raise their babies are often in the news. But what about those children who are growing up with parents scarcely half a generation older than themselves?
In this wise and funny first novel by Carole Lazar, Lucy is a sensible, perhaps even rigid, thirteen year old who is convinced that Grandma, God, and the Catholic Church are on her side. She tries hard to make her twenty-eight-year-old mother see the error of her ways. It's not that her mother is wild - in their household even a fancy coffee causes a scene - but she has had to put off her own teenage years and she's chaffing at the restraints on her life. Lucy is faced with the loss of her family, her home, her school, and even her best friend. As she struggles to preserve what she can from her past life, she finds that while Grandma, God, and her church are still there for her, there are problems she has to solve for herself.
In the second of Tundra's Great Idea series, biographies for children who are just starting to read, Monica Kulling presents the life of an extraordinary man.
There were few opportunities for the son of slaves, but Elijah McCoy's dreams led him to study mechanical engineering in Scotland. He learned everything there was to know about engines - how to design them and how to build them. But when he returned to the United States to look for work at the Michigan Central Railroad, the only job Elijah could get was shoveling coal into a train's firebox.
Undaunted, he went on to invent a means of oiling the engine while the train was running, changing the face of travel around the world.
With playful text and lively illustrations, All Aboard! Elijah McCoy's Steam Engine may be the first biography a child discovers, and it will whet the appetite for many more.
Based on the Celtic folktale of Tamlynne, The Nightwood tells the story of the young daughter of the Earl of March, who is enticed into the nearby wood by the haunting strains of Elfin music. Inside the mysterious forest, Elaine meets Tamlynne, an enchanted young knight in the court of the Elfin Queen. Elaine and Tamlynne fall in love, but in order for Tamlynne to escape the elves, Elaine must pay a terrible price. In the end, mortal love proves stronger than the power of the Elfin Queen and the two lovers are set free. Beautifully illustrated by Robin Muller, this edition of The Nightwood is sure to enchant fairytale lovers of all ages.
From Candlewick Press:
Meet Bink and Gollie, two precocious little girls — one tiny, one tall, and both utterly irrepressible. Setting out from their super-deluxe tree house and powered by plenty of peanut butter (for Bink) and pancakes (for Gollie), they share three comical adventures involving painfully bright socks, an impromptu trek to the Andes, and a most unlikely marvelous companion. No matter where their roller skates take them, at the end of the day they will always be the very best of friends. Full of quick-witted repartee, this brainchild of Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo and award-winning author Alison McGhee is a hilarious ode to exuberance and camaraderie, imagination and adventure, brought to life through the delightfully kinetic images of Tony Fucile.
It is just before Christmas when an organ grinder and monkey appear on the street outside Frances’s apartment. When it’s quiet she can hear their music, and when she looks out her window at midnight, she sees them sleeping outside. Finally the day of the Christmas pageant arrives, but when it’s Frances’s turn to speak, all she can think about is the organ grinder’s sad eyes — until a door opens just in time, and she finds the perfect words to share. With this luminous tale, Kate DiCamillo pairs with Bagram Ibatoulline to offer a timeless holiday gift.