Newest picture books at the public libraries

Posted: Friday, September 08, 2006

There are plenty of picture books for parents to share with their little ones at the Juneau Public Libraries. Here's a sample of some of our newest titles.

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"Silly Suzy Goose" - written and illustrated by Petr Horacek. This very silly book tells the story of Suzy Goose, who doesn't want to be just like everyone else. She tries sliding like a penguin, running like an ostrich, and roaring like a lion... until her attempt at a roar (rroarrhonk!) wakes the sleeping lion up and sends her running for her life. Just in time, she makes it back to her flock, deciding that sometimes, but only sometimes, it is just fine to be just the same. Laugh-out-loud illustrations carry the action (and make it easy to love this book despite a small, but recurring, grammatical error).

"Totem Tale" - by Deb Vanasse, illustrated by Erik Brooks. What would happen if the creatures carved on a totem pole came to life one full-moon night? Eagle might go fishing, Bear might scratch his back on a tree, Beaver might slap his tail on the water, Frog might enjoy jumping the stiffness out of his legs, and Wolf might lift her howl to the moon. But when morning comes and the animals must reassemble themselves into a pole, it is time for Raven to do what he does best. The blend of traditional Northwest-style illustrations and softer watercolors works well for this original tall tale: my only quibble is with the apparently random reorientation of the illustrations.

"Lost and Found" - written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. This quiet story of friendship will tickle your funnybone even as it tugs at your heart. When a little boy meets a forlorn penguin who starts following him around, he decides it must want to go back to the Antarctic. Together, the two share a trip by rowboat to the South Pole, where the boy leaves the now even-sadder penguin on an iceberg. But the boy realizes in time that what both he and the penguin wanted was a friend. The charmingly simple illustrations keep the focus where it belongs - on the story's sweet (but never sappy) message.

"Shelly" - by Margie Palatini, illustrated by Guy Francis. Shelly is a little duck still mostly in his shell with three big sister ducks who all want him to be like them. They strap skates on his feet, but he's not ready for that... then they try to teach him to draw - nope, not ready! He's not ready for ballet either, they decide, but when the sisters go outside to play, Shelly comes out of his shell and has a grand time by himself, diving back inside only when his sisters come home. The cartoony illustrations show the situation perfectly: Shelly isn't shy, he's stubborn, and wants to do his own things at his own pace. Tenderly humorous, this will make a great read-aloud for both bigger and littler siblings.

"Bebe goes Shopping" - by Susan Middleton Elya, illustrated by Steven Salerno. When Bebe goes shopping in the supermercado with his mama, he sits in the carrito and tries to be good, but it isn't easy - there are so many tempting things to grab. Finally, his mama finds the perfect solution in this colorful and jauntily-rhymed story of a fun (for Bebe, anyway) outing. The Spanish words sprinkled throughout the story are so well-chosen and the rhymes so regular that both meaning and pronunciation are clear from the text alone, but there is a glossary at the back. Fantastico!

"Superhero ABC" - written and illustrated by Bob McLeod. This simply super ABC book has everyone who is anyone, from always-alert Astro-man (with asthma) and Power Pup (the pet protector), all the way to the Zinger (who zooms). McLeod, a prominent comic book illustrator, keeps his style going here with skin-tight superhero costumes and lots of crime-fighting (watch out for the Volcano) and pages full of action. Sure to be a favorite of superhero fans young and old.

Come to the downtown Library tonight, Sept. 8, at 7 pm to hear the spellbinding tale of 28 men stranded in the Antarctic with no boat and 350 miles of ice to cross. Storyteller Kate Lutz brings Shackleton and his men to life in a program for adults and kids (elementary school age and older).

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