Friday, February 08, 2013

More Picture Books

In my quest to become more familiar with picture books, here are a few more I read recently.

Do Super Heroes Have Teddy Bears?
Written by Carmela LaVigna Coyle
Illustrated by Mike Gordon

Cute story!  I'm not a huge fan of this kind of drawing, but kids will probably like it.  A very inventive boy talks about what super heroes can do. Do they get dirty? (Yes!!) Do they eat their veggies? (Um...not voluntarily.)  Are they scared of the dark? (Not after their parents tuck them in.)  Most importantly, are super heroes the same thing as heroes? (Yes!) The message: be creative, have fun, help out where you can, and don't sweat the small stuff. Being a hero is fun!

Waking Dragons
Written by Jane Yolen
Paintings by Derek Anderson

A tiny knight finds a note from mom: "Don't forget to wake the dragons before school."  That entails brushing dragon fangs (because they have dragon breath. Ha!), feeding them waffles, getting them dressed, and all the other things that people (and, apparently, dragons...) do to get ready for the day.  Then the knight rides the dragon to knight school. There is a little dog helper, who adds a little something to the picture.  The story is told in a few rhyming lines per page.  The illustrations are great.  They're huge so they take up the whole two-page spread with just a small piece of the dragon, like his mouth.  This would be fun to read aloud and talk about the pictures.

Millie Fierce
By Jane Manning

Millie was a quiet, shy girl who went unnoticed by everyone around her.  One day, she decided she'd had enough.  She became fierce.  She cut in line, made a lot of noise, and made messes.  She made people mad, but they sure did notice her.  At first, that is.  After a while, she became such a nuisance that the kids said, "Just ignore her." Millie ultimately realizes that it's better to be nice and ignored than mean and ignored.  Again, I'm not a huge fan of this style of illustrations, but the story has a good lesson and Millie is fun to watch, even in her fierce phase.

The Sandman: The Story of Sanderson Mansnoozie
(The Guardians of Childhood)
By William Joyce

The man in the moon keeps children safe at night, but what about on nights when the moon is just a sliver of light? Introducing: Sanderson  Mansnoozie, otherwise known as The Sandman. This is the story of how The Sandman came to be.  It is full of complicated concepts, like space, "worlds," and dreams.  The vocabulary is fairly high too, with words like "harpoon" and "constellation."  It's a beautiful book and a great story, but could actually scare small children. There are battles between The Sandman and Pitch, the King of Nightmares. There are Dream Pirates.  At one point, The Sandman plummets toward earth (the book says he "plummeted Earthward."  Again, high vocabulary and concepts!) Recommended for middle elementary years or children who like the fantasy genre.

*Follow up: As I was putting The Sandman back on the shelf at the library, I realized that it is cataloged and labeled as juvenile fiction.  It is supposed to be shelved with the chapter books, not the picture books.  I found it with the picture books in the new book section, and it is the shape and size of a picture book with lots of pictures in it, so I can see how that mistake was made by the shelver.  This makes more sense now, since there are a lot of words on each page and the vocabulary is so high.

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