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In the Stacks: New picture books for kids

Posted: April 11, 2012 - 11:05pm

New picture books for the young and the young at heart!

Shadow, written and illustrated by Suzy Lee.

This wordless picture book starts on the endpage with the click of a light. A little girl appears, standing under a bare bulb in what seems to be an attic, delighting in the shadows she and the supplies are casting onto the page below them. She creates a bird with her hands, and the shadow below has a golden tinge — and flies away! A moon appears, the ladder’s shadow becomes jungle-like, and the little girl creates a shadow wolf, who leaps off into the trees. Like a magician, she continues to spin off golden shadows, until the wolf creeps out of the shadow-page and into the light. All ends well after a romp in and out of shadows, and readers are taken for a ride through the little girl’s very fertile imagination until – “Dinner’s ready!”. Be sure to keep reading till the very end.

A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea, by Michael Ian Black, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes.

Doesn’t a pig parade sound like fun? Look at all those storybook pigs in spotless, snazzy uniforms marching in unison! But — real pigs don’t act like that, and Hawkes’ illustrations make the difference abundantly, hilariously, cleverly clear with a close-up of pig snout covered in dirt, bubblegum, and flies after a snuffle down the parade route. Real pigs won’t wear snazzy uniforms or play marching music (they only know sad country tunes). Face it — a pig parade is a terrible idea (but this book is fantastic).

Fairly Fairy Tales, by Esme Raji Codell, illustrated by Eliza Chavarri.

Pictures and words are paired together rhythmically in this lightly fractured fairy tale. It’s bedtime and the unnamed toddler of the book, is offered several things in the first spread — Kiss? Yes! Water? Yes! Bedtime? NO! and the fun begins. The three little pigs appear, with sticks (yes!), straw (yes!), bricks (yes!), and solar panels (no!) … well, maybe. A turn of the page reveals a small, green-minded community, into which the three pigs’ solar panels fit nicely. Other fairy tale characters show up and continue to wreak havoc on the story lines, until readers come back to the now sleepy toddler, who has a new answer to bedtime. Fractured fairy tales are the most fun when readers and listeners already know the real stories — and be sure to take time to explore the slyly witty pictures.

Ten Birds, by Cybele Young.

This beautifully illustrated counting book shows the dilemma of ten birds faced with a river to cross. One by one, each bird devises an ingenious, near Rube-Goldbergesque way to get to the other side, until only one bird is left: poor little Needs Improvement. But he, too, gets across, and his way may be the best way of all! With quiet humor, always the correct number of birds shown, and the appropriate numeral and word always given on each page, this is a perfectly done counting book for beginning and confident counters.

The Little Red Pen, by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel.

When The Little Red Pen is faced with a whole classroom’s worth of papers to correct, she tries to enlist the help of the rest of her helpers. But they are tired of her alarmist behavior and just want to rest after a long day of use by students and teacher alike. The Little Red Pen tries hard to get all the work done, but she’s so tired that she slips… into the Pit. The others try to finish correcting the papers, but Stapler uses too many staples, Scissors just shreds things, Highlighter makes things too bright, and Eraser took out an entire sheet — even the student’s name. Finally, the gang decides to try to rescue The Little Red Pen from the Pit, but it’s going to take everybody working together (and a few more accidents) before they see The Little Red Pen again.

•••

It’s time for the annual Library Snapshot Day. This Sunday, April 15, if you’re in the library you may spot staff with cameras looking for people who want to be photographed. Hide behind your favorite book or wave your library card proudly — let us photograph you doing your thing at the library.

Also, this Sunday we’ve invited exchange students from around the world to come talk about their home countries and their experiences here in Juneau. Also meet host families and Juneau students who have gone abroad. Words from the World: 2 p.m. at the Downtown Library.

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