Adventures with dinosaurs, turtles await young audiences

Posted: Sunday, June 13, 2004

Picture books for young readers to kick off the summer!

"Little Scraggly Hair: a Dog on Noah's Ark," by Lynn Cullen, illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers: Get past the cutesy cover - this is a quirky and heartwarming version of a classic porquoi tale. Set in Appalachia, it tells the tale of how humans and dogs became friends (and why dogs have cold, wet noses). Warm and homey with endearing illustrations.

"My Family Plays Music," by Judy Cox, illustrated by Elbrite Brown: The young percussionist featured here has a family who loves music of all kinds, including country-western, classical, jazz, rock, big band, marching band, bluegrass, and polka! She plays a different percussion instrument with each of her family members and gives readers a glimpse of just how many percussion instruments and musical styles there are. Intricate cut paper illustrations grace this slight but energetic story. Read this to young music lovers along with "Zin! Zin! A Violin!" and "The Philharmonic Gets Dressed."

"Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs," by Ian Whybrow, illustrated by Adrian Reynolds: When Harry and Gran find a box of dinosaurs in the attic, Harry knows just what they need: a good wash, a bucket to call home, and, after a little research at the library, names. And after that, they go everywhere with Harry, until one day, they don't come home with him! How will Harry prove to the Lost-and-Found man that the dinosaurs are his? Pure magic!

"How I became a Pirate," by Melinda Long, illustrated by David Shannon: Jeremy Jacob, absorbed in building a sandcastle, looks up to see a pirate ship landing on the beach in front of him. The pirates (all with green teeth) admire his digging skills and whisk him away to help them bury their treasure (promising to have him back in time for soccer practice). He learns to speak pirate and sing sea chanteys, and in return, teaches the pirates how to play soccer (until the ball gets eaten by a shark), and in the end, finds the best spot for buried treasure of all!

"The Day the Babies Crawled Away," by Peggy Rathmann: It's not often that a toddler gets to be a true hero, but here is the story, told by the toddler's mother, of one who was! One beautiful day at the fair while all the moms and dads were busy, five babies crawled off to see what they could see. And running after them, calling "Hey, stop!" was the toddler in a firefighter's hat who ended up saving the day. The lilting text makes this a delightful read-aloud and the silhouette illustrations invite close examination. (Attentive kids might even find Officer Buckle and Gloria!)

"The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-to-be," by Mini Grey According to the Princess Test, a real princess ought to be able to feel something Large, Round, and Uncomfortable when there's a pea under her mattress. But when the Prince, who needs to get married so his mother doesn't stop his allowance, tries testing the princesses he knows, not one can feel a thing! Until, that is, the pea gets involved... Wonderful pea-themed illustrations!

"Tracks in the Snow," by Wong Herbert Yee: One snowy morning a little girl looks outside her window and sees footprints in the snow. Eager to find out where they go and whose they are, she gets dressed and follows them past a tree, through the gate, around a pond, to a surprise at the end. This is perhaps an unseasonal choice, but this quiet story told in gentle rhyme is too nice to pass up!

"Albert's Impossible Toothache," by Barbara Williams, illustrated by Doug Cushman: Albert is a turtle with a toothache that hurts so much he won't get out of bed. His father says "Turtles don't have teeth - how can you have a toothache?!" His mother tries to coax him out of bed with treats. It isn't until his grandmother finds out where his toothache is that Albert gets out of bed, feeling nearly as good as new.

"The Calabash Cat and his Amazing Journey," by James Rumford: This delightful story of a cat who wants to know the size of the world is illustrated in the style of Chadian calabash (gourd) engravers. When Calabash Cat takes a walk to where the end of the road meets the desert, he thinks to himself that perhaps this is the end of the world. But he is wrong, as a camel, horse, tiger, whale, and, finally, eagle are happy to show him!

The kids' Summer Reading program is in full swing! Check our calendar for Toddler and Story Times, and don't forget to sign up for the Summer Reading Game to win prizes and books!

If you'd like to place a hold on any of these titles, call the Juneau Public Library at 586-5249. If you have internet access, your library card, and a PIN, you may place your own holds by going to our website ( and looking at our catalog. Placing holds on items featured in In the Stacks is now even easier! The new columns are hyperlinked to the catalog: simply look up the column, click on the title you want, and you will be ready to place a hold.

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