Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Too-Scary Story by Bethanie Deeney Murguia

image source Amazon.com
The Too-Scary Story by Bethanie Deeney Murguia (2017)

by AHK

When I used to ask my dad to tell me a story he'd say, "Once upon a time, the end." and then enjoy listening to us shriek at him to "tell it right." Papa in this story does a much more thorough job, though with a similar amount of editorializing from Walter and Grace. Grace wants a scary story, Walter not so much. Papa does a great job of introducing a scary element, which the illustrations echo with dark ominous colors, and then bringing back from scary into comforting--pleasing Walter and annoying Grace. This will be a delight to read in storytime--it reminds me of the fun of reading, "Snip Snap What's That" by Bergman, which hovers juuuust on the edge of too-scary.  For readers with a dramatic flair this is an excellent choice for storytime.

Themes/topics: night, scary, being scared, storytelling, bedtime, stories, owls

Sample text from two-and-a-half spreads:

Beyond the fireflies, deep in the bushes, crept all kinds of.../

"I can hear them all breathing." whispers Grace. 
"Too scary!" says Walter /

Don't worry. Those creatures were just settling into bed for the night.  
"Sleep tight." Walter whispers. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Forever Garden by Laurel Snyder & Samantha Cotterill

image source: Amazon.com

The Forever Garden by Laurel Snyder & Samantha Cotterill (2017)

by AHK

Laurel loves her next-door neighbor Honey, who is an avid gardener. Honey teaches Laurel about the joys of fresh-grown food, and the love of growing and tending plants and animals. One day there's a "For Sale" sign outside Honey's house--Honey needs to move in order to take care of a sick parent. Laurel tries to warn Honey about potential dangers of her new home, but Honey correctly interprets these warnings as Laurel's way of saying, "don't go" and "I'll miss you." Laurel wonders why Honey bothers planting strawberries, since they won't be ready until after she's gone, and Honey tells her that the garden belongs to everyone, really. Just as she ate grapes planted by someone else, the strawberries will be enjoyed by the next owners of the home. Together, they plant a tree in Honey's yard, and say goodbye. Eventually a new family moves in and Laurel teaches them about the garden. This one is probably too long for toddlers, but would work for preschool storytime or a special-event type storytime or farmer's market outreach.

Themes/Topics: Gardens, friendship, moving, moving away, nature, food, vegetables

Sample text from the wordiest spread:

We walk to the porch for a cool glass of water. "When will the berries be ready?" I ask.
"Next summer," says Honey. 

"But then...you won't be here to eat them." Honey takes off her gloves. 
"Nope," she says. "But someone will."
"That's not fair," I say. "It's your garden."
"This garden isn't really mine,' says Honey. "It belongs to everyone."
"But you did all the work," I say. 
Honey shakes her head. "I didn't plant the grapes. I only ate them."
"Then who did?"
Honey shrugs. "No way to know. But that's just fine. The new folks will enjoy these strawberries, the way I enjoyed the grapes. And if they add something, the garden will keep going...maybe forever." 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

My Good Morning! by Kim Crockett Corson & Jelena Brezovec

image source: Amazon.com

My Good Morning! by Kim Crockett Corson & Jelena Brezovec (2017)

by AHK

A feisty preschooler narrates her version of a typical morning, in which she is independent and successful with all of her tasks. Mom and dad might tell a different version of events, but this isn't their story. Youngsters and anyone with a three year old will relate! Ultimately, the lively little girl's good morning sets her up to say goodbye to Daddy at daycare without tears or fuss, because she knows her good day will continue. A sweetly simple rhyming story that will fit perfectly into your storytime rotation.

Themes/Topics: daycare, first day of school, separation anxiety, toddler, behavior, independence

Sample text from first spread:

I wake up nice and early. 
I had a good sleep. 
Mommy and Daddy did not hear a peep. 
It's a new day and I'm ready to go!
But Mommy and Daddy are very slow.  

Thursday, October 5, 2017

If Sharks Disappeared by Lily Williams

image source: Amazon.com
If Sharks Disappeared by Lily Williams (2017)

by AHK

Oof, this lovely book presents a pretty bleak future if we don't take care of our world. Using straightforward easy-to-understand yet scientific language, the narrator illustrates what would happen if we lost an apex predator like sharks and how that would impact all life on earth, including humans. The young girl on the cover appears throughout the book, often with her family, providing an emotional stand-in for readers as they process the facts presented. Fortunately, the book ends on a hopeful and positive note--for now. This is a great choice for classrooms and STEM programs.

Themes/topics: sharks, oceans, STEM, predators, ecosystems

Sample text from two spreads: 

Sharks are apex predators, which means they are at the top of the food chain in their ecosystem, the ocean. Losing an apex predator species can cause devastating effects in an environment. 

Today, roughly between one-fourth and one-third of shark species are vulnerable to extinction because of overfishing. What could happen if this continues and sharks disappear altogether? If sharks disappeared...

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Twindergarten by Nikki Ehrlich illustrated by Zoey Abbott

image source: Amazon.com

Twindergarten by Nikki Ehrlich illustrated by Zoey Abbott (2017)

by AHK

Twins Zoe and Dax go together like peanut butter and jelly. But for kindergarten they get assigned to separate classrooms. Before the big day, Zoe feels excited and takes the lead comforting Dax as he worries. However, when they arrive at school their roles reverse and suddenly it's Zoe who is not so sure about this whole kindergarten thing. They each make a new friend, but Zoe continues to miss Dax. They are reunited for recess, and Dax slips Zoe a special note which reminds her that no matter what, they have each other, which allows Zoe to settle in and enjoy her own experience. This is a good lesson on separation anxiety as well as a good introduction to the kinds of things kids do in kindergarten. Add it to your first-day rotation!

Themes/Topics: twins, separation anxiety, first day of school, kindergarten, worry, friendship

Sample text from the wordiest spread: 

On the night before school, the twins had the jitters. The just-about-to-start-school jitters. Tomorrow, they'd be in different classrooms. And they ABSOLUTELY couldn't imagine what that would feel like. The twins took out the pins and name tags their teachers had sent them. Zoe would be with the Awesome Alligators. Dax would be with the Cool Cats. But what they ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY wanted was to be together.