Lots of exciting new picture books for young readers are flying off the shelves at the Juneau Public Libraries.
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"Cowlick!" by Christin Ditchfield, illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw. Here's a fanciful pourqoui tale to explain messy morning hair (and maybe even that drool on your pillow). Light rhymes tell the story of two little boys whose smooth hair proves irresistible to the cow tiptoeing around in the night. She bestows a kiss ("slurp!") on each of them before tiptoeing away again. And when Mom gets the kids out of bed, everyone is surprised! The comic pictures and the cow's endearing expressions will keep most kids from worrying about sneaky bovines in this appealingly silly story.
"Duck at the Door," written and illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic. This story begins on the title page as a lone duck stumbles through the snow, shivering, until he comes to a house. Inside, the already extensive menagerie of cats, dogs, birds, and a rabbit comes to alert: who could be knocking this late at night? Irene, their human, bravely opens the door to find Max nearly buried in snow. Rescued and warmed, Max makes himself right at home - perhaps too much so. By the time spring comes, everyone is happy to see him go back to his flock. Or are they?
"Pictures from our Vacation," by Lynne Rae Perkins. Given notebooks and instant cameras as they set off for a family vacation, a young girl and her brother document their adventures. Somehow, none of the photos end up really catching the kids' feelings. The long, boring drive. The depressing and dusty old family house. The endless rain. The mean dog guarding the shortcut to the lake. And then the rest of the family arrives: cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents - happy chaos! Photography forgotten, the kids create memories instead. The delightful drawings (maps, faux photos, and full-page illustrations of events) highlight the differences between photos and memories from a kids' eye view.
"The Bully Blockers Club," by Teresa Bateman, illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic. Lotty is excited about the new school year until she meets Grant, who teases her about the way she smells. When she tells her sister and brother about Grant, their advice is to ignore him. It doesn't work. Neither does laughing his meanness off as a joke, trying to make friends with him, or even telling the teacher. It's only when she and the other kids whom Grant bullies form the Bully Blockers Club that he stops. The afterword for adults lays out strategies for helping kids deal with bullies, but the best is the story, with energetic pictures and a happy (and not unrealistic) ending. This is one of the first anti-bullying books I've come across with a clear and realistic message told in a kid-empowering way.
"Don't Touch my Hat!" by James Rumford. Way back when the West was Wild, a sheriff named John keeps his town safe and civilized with the aid of his famous ten-gallon hat. With his hat on, Sheriff John can handle any cow rustler, bank robber or ne'er-do-well - without his hat, well, he doesn't even want to think about that! He's very careful about his hat, but one night he's put to the test when he's woken up to deal with "trouble aplenty." Only after he's squashed a saloon fight, rounded up rustlers and robbers, and brokered some much-needed peace does he discover what he's put on in his haste!
"Terrible Storm," by Carol Otis Hurst, illustrated by S.D. Schindler. What kind of person are you? The kind who loves being surrounded by noise, activity and people? Or the kind who prefers a quiet spot and a good book or project? During the ferocious three-day snowstorm of 1888, Walt and Fred find themselves stuck in exactly the wrong places. Talkative Walt gets stuck in a barn with no one to talk to but the animals while shy Fred finds himself in an inn filled with other storm-refugees. The story's words serve both, while the cleverly divided pictures show the story from each man's very different point of view. Both men agree, though: it was the worst storm ever!
Teen gaming night is from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the downtown library. Come play computer games, nosh on pizza and hang out with friends. See the Juneau Public Libraries Web site or call for more details.
As always, placing a hold on our material is easy: Call the Juneau Public Libraries at 586-5249 or by go online to www.juneau.org/library.