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New at the library: Picture books for kids

Posted: April 6, 2011 - 6:52pm

New picture books for little readers and big are on the “new” shelves at all the public libraries.

“Diary of a BABY Wombat,” by Jackie French, illustrated by Bruce Whatley.

Baby wombat takes up where mom left off (“Diary of a Wombat”) and details his day for young readers. But while the text is sparse, the pictures add the details: baby wombat writes about sleeping till late morning and then waking up, the smooth lines of Whatley’s pen show mom and baby going from side-by-side snoozing to cozy baby-on-top snuggling and finally to mom being smothered by her wriggly young one’s torso on her face. When baby wombat makes a new friend (a baby human), mom gets a reprieve of sorts, until both babies crowd into the wombat den for a nap. The hunt is on for a new hole to sleep in and baby wombat searches enthusiastically, but without luck. Mom saves the day (for a while, anyway) when she and baby dig a special kind of hole – a tunnel – into a very special kind of den that’s big enough for all of them.

“Betsy Red Hoodie,” by Gail Carson Levine, illustrated by Scott Nash.

Betsy’s old enough to take cupcakes to her grandmother all by herself! But she isn’t really alone –her whole herd of sheep (clad in hiking gear) and the second shepherd, Zimmo, are going along for the outing, and boy, are they trouble. Zimmo’s a wolf, and everyone knows that wolves aren’t good for grandmas. Betsy’s suspicions are aroused when it starts raining and Zimmo zips off. And when Betsy finally tugs each and every sheep up the muddy trail all by herself, she finds all of Grandma’s lights off and fears the worst. But there’s a big happy birthday surprise waiting for her! Plenty of puns, a dashingly-dressed wolf, and well-outfitted sheep enliven this silly spoof of an old tale.

“Bunny Days,” written and illustrated by Tao Nyeu.

As Mr. and Mrs. Goat go about their daily chores, they unwittingly wreak havoc on the lives of the six bunnies who live on the farm in these three very short stories. First, the bunnies get splashed with mud by Mr. Goat as they soak up a little sun and Bear comes to the rescue, using the washing machine set on the delicate cycle. Next, Mrs. Goat accidentally vacuums the bunnies up, clogging the vacuum with bunnies, and Bear comes to the rescue again, removing bunnies from the vacuum bag, dust from the bunnies, and finally, putting everything back together again. In the third story, Mr. Goat is trimming the hedge as the bunnies play hide and seek, resulting in a few bunnies without tails and tails without bunnies, which Bear quickly and gently fixes. And in the end, after a little rest and some cake and tea, everyone is healthy, happy and whole once again. The gentle and funny spring-colored art makes the light stories shine.

“Aggie the Brave,” by Lori Ries, illustrated by Frank W. Dormer.

Ben knows just what to tell his dog, Aggie, when she has to go to the vet: Be brave, Aggie! But when Ben finds out that Aggie is going to spend the night at the vet’s office, it’s Ben who needs to be brave. He and Aggie haven’t ever spent the night apart before and it’s lonely without her. Worse, when she comes home the next day, she doesn’t run around and play and Ben can tell she’s embarrassed about her silly-looking lamp-head that will keep her from chewing on her stitches. Both Ben and Aggie are happy when, two weeks later, her stitches come out, the lamp-head comes off, and the two friends can run and play just like before. This is more than a book about pets and vets: it’s a delightful story in its own right.

•••

April is National Poetry Month. Kick it off right by visiting the downtown library on Friday, April 8, at 7 p.m. to welcome local poet Jenifer Rae Vernon. Also, take a moment or two and create a poem of your own to put up on one of the poetrees at the downtown and valley libraries. Downtown, roll Haikubes to give you a kick-start: in the valley, ponder some prompts for inspiration.

And, kids – bring your families along on Sunday, April 10 at 3 p.m. for snacks and the monthly Family Movie. For information about upcoming programs, visit www.juneau.org/library or call 586-5249.

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