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In the stacks: new picture books for kids

Posted: November 17, 2011 - 1:02am

New picture books for young readers and listeners are on the shelves at the Juneau Public Libraries.

Edwin Speaks Up, written by April Stevens, illustrated by Sophie Blackall.

Baby Edwin’s birthday is right around the corner and mom piles all five kids in the car to go grocery shopping. But before they get going, she’s got to find her car keys. And once they’re at the store, she needs her pocketbook. Goofy pictures give clues to alert readers as Mom leaves one thing after another behind. The older kids are so busy arguing and helping that they don’t notice that one very important item on the list has been left behind – but Edwin does. Too bad he isn’t old enough to talk, isn’t it?

If Rocks Could Sing, written and photographed by Leslie McGuirk.

This alphabet book will inspire your walks forevermore. For over a decade, McGuirk combed beaches for rocks that look like letters, and collected many other interestingly-shaped rocks while waiting for “K” to show up. Now, “K” is here and she’s showcased her collection in this delightful book which will have readers disbelieving what they’re seeing. Besides the letters, keep an eye out for fish, boots, and even a slice of toast… you’ll be amazed at what’s out there!

Rivka’s First Thanksgiving, written by Elsa Okon Rael, illustrated by Maryann Kovalski.

Rivka is the American-born daughter of Polish immigrants who have yet to celebrate Thanksgiving. Her Jewish community’s leader, Rabbi Yoshe Preminger, believes that Thanksgiving isn’t meant for Jews, but Rivka has learned in school that it’s a holiday for all Americans. Bravely, she stands up in front of the rabbi and his assembly to explain why the families like hers, who have escaped Poland’s pogroms, should feel free to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. And to her surprise, he agrees. Based on Rael’s memories of her first Thanksgiving, this may require some explanation for little listeners, but presents just enough detail that the concept of pograms, for instance, won’t be too upsetting. Cheery illustrations show the warmth and comraderie of the community and Rivka’s supportive family.

Snowbots, written by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by David Barneda.

Waking up one morning, the robots of Clackentown discover their town blanketed by snow! School closes for a snow day and after a hearty breakfast of cereal and gasoline, the robot kids run out to play on sleds, build snow forts for an epic snowball fight, and make snowbot angels. Each robot is unique – 2nd grader Chip, with his chainsaw arm, is especially good at creating snow sculptures, and later finds himself the hero of the little kids’ team when he switches it out for a snowball gun. And when they’ve played themselves out, their parents bring them home to warm up and recharge with hot cocoa, axle grease, and a hot oil bath. Told in bouncy rhyme, this will make a great read-aloud to cozy up to after a day spent playing.

Perfect Snow, written and illustrated by Barbara Reid.

Okay, now this is a Juneau-style snow book! Two boys wake up to discover that it has snowed overnight — not enough to close school, but that’s okay — recess will be great, says Jim. And he’s right. He decides to build a snow fort on the playground, while, across the playground, Scott gets to work on the best snowman ever. But the snowman isn’t quite the best, so Scott builds another, then another… And everyone wants snow, so Jim’s fort gets raided. When the two boys join forces, they draw all the other children, too, and soon the playground is full of snowmen and deeply satisfied kids… just in time for – rain! And in the morning – perfect slush!

Basketball Belles, written by Sue Macy, illustrated by Matt Collins.

Narrated by Agnes Morley, who played guard on Stanford’s women’s basketball team in 1896, this is the story of the first women’s basketball game. Sent to Stanford by her mother, who hoped to make her more “ladylike,” Agnes joined other like-minded women in learning the rules of the new game that was taking men’s colleges by storm. Clad in bloomers and long-sleeves, the women toss the ball from player to player (no dribbling in those days), playing hard to an audience of women (men aren’t allowed to attend). Finally, time runs out and Stanford has won! No real tension in the story, but there is plenty to be amazed by. Collins’ illustrations are historically accurate – put yourself in the players’ places and imagine playing with a heavy, stuffed, leather ball, wearing bloomers or a skirt, and having to stay in your marked area of the court to play. Macy has included an author’s note, a fascinating timeline, a bibliography of other women’s basketball history books for kids, and two women’s basketball museums to visit.

For information about upcoming programs, or to place a hold l, visit www.juneau.org/library or call 586-5249.

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