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New local picture books include 'The Luck of the Loch Ness Monster'

Posted: Friday, May 09, 2008

Here are just a few of the new picture books for young listeners and readers on the shelves at the Juneau Public Libraries.

"The Luck of the Loch Ness Monster," by A.W. Flaherty, illustrated by Scott Magoon. When young Katerina-Elizabeth is sent on a ship by herself to visit her grandmother in Scotland, her parents plan her days for her, including a hearty oatmeal breakfast every morning. Blech. Katerina-Elizabeth would much rather have a cinnamon roll and throws her oatmeal out the porthole, where a tiny worm eats it and starts to grow. Day by day, following the ship and eating Katerina-Elizabeth's overboard breakfast, the worm grows bigger until it and the ship travel up the river Ness into the loch. And there it lives to this day, eating Scottish children's oatmeal and amazing visitors and locals alike with rare appearances. Sepia-toned illustrations set the time period and clear, uncluttered pages keep the focus on the tongue-in-cheek story, its young heroine and cheerful monster.

"Martina the Beautiful Cockroach," retold by Carmen Agra Deedy, illustrated by Michael Austin. When Martina turns 21 days old and is ready to marry, she receives a lovely shawl, a beautiful comb, and some puzzling advice. What could coffee have to do with marriage? But she follows her grandmother's advice and spills coffee on her handsome first suitor's shoes - and doesn't like the way he talks to her when he's angry. The Coffee Test shows her second suitor to be even less suited to her, the third downright scary, but the fourth to be sweet and honest when he shows his true colors in this retelling of a clever Cuban folktale. Glowing illustrations and unusual perspectives form a lovely accompaniment to this witty, punny story.

"My Dog Lyle," written and illustrated by Jennifer P. Goldfinger. In a delightful ode to beloved dogs everywhere, a young girl introduces her dog, Lyle, who is not at all the ordinary dog he seems at first. The floppy eared black and white dog has been her companion since she was a baby and he was her snuggly bed. Adjectives accumulate: Lyle is snuggly, smart, stinky pink and most importantly, he's the girl's best friend. Lyle leaps off the pages in howling, bouncing, smooshed-nose color, ready to be adored by all who read his book.

"You'll be Sorry," written and illustrated by Josh Schneider. Samantha's parents warn her not to hit her little brother or she'll be sorry, but one day she can't resist any longer. Schneider keeps the moment of violence offstage, focusing on the consequences of the mischievous mouse's action which causes her baby brother to cry so much that the family has to put their galoshes on. It's not until the house floods, Samantha's soccer game is cancelled, and the family has nothing but soggy crackers for dinner that she begins to feel sorry and finally apologizes to her brother in this ridiculously funny tale.

"The OK Book," by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld. This delightful book's main character is the word "OK" (imagine the O as a head with the K as arms and legs), and OK is having a lot of fun trying things out. OK roasts marshmallows, fishes (catching some seaweed and a boot), and plays baseball, and even though OK isn't great at any of these things, that's OK. Gently didactic, this may help remind kids who tend towards perfectionism that there are lots of times that what's important is having fun.

"Baby. Baby." photos by Vicky Ceelen. This board book of photos will mesmerize the very young who love to look at other babies, and will tease a chuckle out of their adults, too. Opposing pages pair human babies with a visually similar animal: for instance, a froggily-sleeping baby is paired with a bright green tree frog and a yawning, tongue-out baby is opposite a yawning, tongue-out lion cub. Ceelan matches some unexpected animals to her babies, including a caterpillar, giraffe, and tortoise. How? Take a look.

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Toddler and Story Times will not be held until June. Look for Youth Services staff in school instead. They'll be telling stories and singing songs to get kids in the mood for the Summer Reading program, which kicks off June 1.

For information about any Juneau Public Libraries programs or to place a hold on any material, visit www.juneau.org/library or call 586-5249.



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