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In the stacks: New picture books for kids

Posted: February 7, 2013 - 12:02am

New picture books for little listeners and their big readers.

“Senorita Gordita,” written by Helen Ketteman, illustrated by Will Terry. Senorita Gordita is a round little corncake with attitude in this Tex-Mex flavored version of the Gingerbread Man. With a flip and a skip and a zip-zoom-zip she runs away from Arana, who made her, Lagarto, who offers her shade under his creosote bush, Crotolo, who invites her to visit him, plus a number of other hungry desert animals who think she looks scrumptious. It’s only when she meets Buho, who only hunts at night, that she feels safe… but should she? This has lively illustrations, a rhythmic text offering opportunities for kids to join in, and even includes a recipe for gorditas, or corn cakes.

“Firefighters to the rescue!” Written by Kersten Hamilton, illustrated by Rich Davis. Set a few decades back, when policemen directed traffic, everyone wore hats, and only men were firefighters, this dramatic, energy-filled book will set small heroic hearts aflutter. Though the firefighters at the hall are happily engaged in housekeeping chores, when they hear the fire alarm they drop everything, slide down the pole, gear up and GO! In rhyming (but somewhat arrhythmic) text, they dodge cars and head toward the fiery glow. As they’re directing water onto the flames, a smaller, personal drama crops up – a young boy can’t find his dog. No need to fear – it’s firefighters to the rescue!

“Fishing A to Z,” photographs and text by H.V. McClain. While I wish the photos had included more members of the target audience, this is still a nifty ABC book which will hold a special appeal to kids who’ve had some exposure to boats and fishing already (or are about to be inducted into the wonders of that world). Starting at “A” the beautiful photos show an angler, buoys, Chinooks, cohos, and cannonballs, and more, each with a short explanation (not always child-friendly – some experienced interpretation may be needed). The often-difficult letter “X” turns out to be easily found in Southeast Alaska (the author is from Sitka) – “xtra tuffs” win out over the standard xylophone.

“You’re somebody special, Walliwigs!” written and illustrated by Joan Rankin. Poor, featherless Walliwigs becomes an orphan when the ship his nest is on sails away without his mother. When he’s rescued from the smokestack nest, the cook decides he’s too small to make a good pineapple-parrot pie, and Sid, the cabin boy, thinks he’s too small to feed to his parrot-eating python, so he give Walliwigs to his Aunt Beth, who raises chickens. He ends up happily adopted by a chickless hen named Martha, who pronounces him perfect and loves him unconditionally. But it’s obvious to the ornithologist next door that he’s nothing like the other chickens – and he whisks Walliwigs off to study him. Walliwigs is heartbroken. Martha is heartbroken. But there’s a surprise in store for all of them!

“What can a crane pick up?” written by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, illustrated by Mike Lowery. In rhyming and rhythmic text, happy cranes of all sizes lift smiling trucks, trains, submarines and many other increasingly ridiculous items, including cuckoo clocks, men in business suits, boxes of underwear, and a Ferris wheel. Little big machine lovers will get a kick out of this one – and for more cheerful big machines at work, pair this with “The Little Dump Truck,” by Margery Cuyler. For more big machines in general, try Tony Mitten’s series Amazing Machines.

•••

Kids – do you like to draw? Learn how to make comics and put action into your drawings during a free class at the library. No experience needed, and no sign-ups, but space is limited. Doors open a half-hour before class begins. Classes will be held on Saturday, Feb. 9, from 10-12 p.m. at the Douglas Library for 2nd-4th grade kids, and from 2-5 p.m. for 5th–12th grade kids. And then on Sunday, Feb. 10, from 2-5 p.m. at the Valley library for 5th-12th grade kids.

And if you don’t feel like drawing, come to the Douglas Library at 3 p.m. for this month’s Family Movie Afternoon: “The Muppets.” All ages welcome, light snack provided.

This week’s featured Global Lens film is a black comedy from Iran, “Mourning,” in which a constantly-quarrelling couple leave their young son behind when they drive home from vacationing in the North. The Global Lens series takes place at the Downtown Library on Sundays at 3 p.m.

For more information, or to place a hold, visit www.juneau.org/library or call 586-5249.

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