In the stacks: New picture books

New picture books for little listeners and their readers include stories about ducklings rescued from a storm drain (“Lucky Ducklings,” by Eva Moore), a backyard overnight that would be too scary if it weren’t for Alfie (“Alfie is not Afraid,” by Patricia Carlin) and an orphaned baby sea otter who leaves the aquarium to live in the wild again (“Seababy,” by Ellen Levine) as well as the titles below.


“Grammy Lamby and the Secret Handshake,” written and illustrated by Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise.

Every little person has some loving relative they’re a little afraid of at first, and Larry’s is his grandmother. She’s full of great ideas, like teaching Larry to sew, and taking him on a trip to Tanzania. And she loves him very much and says so with a special handshake that makes him squirm. Larry doesn’t want to go to Tanzania, he doesn’t want to learn to sew, and he doesn’t want to do the special handshake with Grammy Lamby when she comes to visit. But one visit Grammy stays extra-long: there’s been a big storm and she helps put Larry’s house back together and then the rest of the town. This time, when Grammy Lamby gets on the train to go home, Larry surprises her with a special handshake of his own. This is a lovely story that could be a conversation-starter with shy kids about that horrible feeling when someone you’re supposed to love is just too overwhelming.

“Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters,” written and illustrated by K.G. Campbell.

When Cousin Clara’s house gets eaten by a crocodile, she comes to stay with Lester’s family. Cousin Clara is a curiously speedy knitter, which is a good thing, because Lester has curiously bad luck with the sweaters she knits for him. The mustard-yellow-with-purple-pom-poms sweater mysteriously shrinks. The awful turquoise one with extra arms gets stolen by ne’er-do-wells. The flamingo pink one gets eaten by the lawn mower. But the worst one of all, a fluffy, feathery sweater with yellow-striped feet, is admired by clowns at a party. And that gives Lester a very good idea, because even if Cousin Clara is a curiously speedy knitter, there are sure a lot of clowns! Full-color dire-and-gloom sweaters await readers who dare pick this up for a chuckle.

“Pirate Princess,” by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, illustrated by Jill McElmurry.

Poor Princess Bea! Other girls might want to be a princess, but she’d much rather be a pirate. So when she comes across a pirate ship at dock one day, Bea climbs aboard and asks to be part of the crew. Captain Jack sets her to work, first at swabbing the decks, then to cooking up grub in the galley, and finally up to the crow’s nest to keep watch, but though Bea tries hard at each task, something inevitably goes terribly wrong. Set to walk the plank by Jack, she suddenly smells something familiar, something that endears her forever to her crew, something that every princess can find blindfolded: gold! Colorfully attired and be-haired pirates swarm the pages in this cheerily-rhymed story.

“Boot and Shoe,” written and illustrated by Marla Frazee.

Here’s another winner from the author who brought readers the hilarious chronicles of two boys at summer camp. This is the story of two identical dogs who were born together, adopted together, eat together, sleep together, and pee together, but spend their days on opposite sides of the house, and a squirrel who’s up to no good. The squirrel chatters at Boot, who hangs out on the back porch, and then heads around to the other side of the house to chatter at Shoe, who prefers the front porch. Then the squirrel gets down to business and pretty soon Boot is on the front porch and Shoe is on the back porch. Boot is determined to wait for Shoe; Shoe won’t move till Boot shows up. They sit through a rainstorm, turn their noses up at a lonely dinner, but are reunited by a call of nature. Young readers will cheer when the two siblings find each other at last.


There’s quite a lot happening this week at the public libraries. Friday, April 11, is the Second Friday Author Tea at 5 p.m. at the Douglas Library. Lois McMasters Bujold is this month’s author. Then on Monday, April 14, join library staff in welcoming local author Kim Heacox, who will be at the Downtown Library reading from his newest book, “John Muir and the Ice that Started a Fire” at 6:30 p.m. On Tuesday, April 15, at the Douglas Library is Movies in Spanish at 5:30 p.m. And finally, on Wednesday, April 16, at the Valley Library is Cuentacuentos Infantil (Spanish Language Storytime) at 6:30 p.m.

For more information, visit or call 586-5249.


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