Tuesday, August 25, 2015

THREE BEARS IN A BOAT by David Soman. New York: Dial Books, 2014. 40p. ISBN 978-0803739932 hc. $17.99   Gr. PreK-1   E PIC

Nothing like the well-known three bears, Theo, Dash, and Charlie are cubs who have broken their mother’s blue seashell and promptly set out on a quest to replace it.  They meet interesting boaters along the way, and resist tempting side trips in order to stay focused on their mission; but they’re unsuccessful in the hunt for the blue seashell. With their moods deflated and large storm clouds moving in, they begin to squabble.  Realizing they must work together in the face of danger, they complete their journey and return safely home where Mama Bear waits for an explanation of their absence.  The three bears, in a true test of their character, confess to their misbehavior and the reason they left home without permission.  If the story isn’t heartwarming enough, the watercolor illustrations are a treat for your eyes.  Kindergarten and first grade readers will get a chuckle from the illustration where the bears swim underwater investigating every possible, yet unlikely, place for a seashell.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI
LOULA AND MISTER THE MONSTER by Anne Villeneuve. Tonawanda, NY: Kids Can Press, 2015. 32p. SIBN978-177138-3264 hc. $16.95  Gr. K-3   E PIC

Loula loved her very large dog, Mister, and the feeling was mutual.  They did everything together, usually leaving a mess in their wake.  A big dog can leave a big mess.  One day Loula heard her mother talk about getting rid of "that monster" and went in search of a solution.  A few adventures later, Loula returned home, only to find that the "monster" was something else entirely, and that her mother also loved Mister.  Velleneuve's watercolor illustrations with ink pen accents reminded me of those in Ludwig Bemelman's beautiful series of "Madeline" books.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

THE FARMER AND THE CLOWN by Marla Frazee. Beach Lane Books, 2014. 32p. ISBN 978-1442497443 hc. $16.99   Gr. K-3   E PIC

If a picture is worth a thousand words, THE FARMER AND THE CLOWN by Marla Frazee is worth a fortune.  In this wordless book, a hard working farmer watches a young clown fall from a circus train passing by his field and hurries over to help.  The two unlikely companions form a friendship and, when the train returns to collect its clown, the new friends trade hats as a way to remember each other.  Illustrations project the clown's color and energy into the farmer's colorless life.  Frazee effectively uses body language and facial expression to convey emotions, capturing the farmer’s transformation from a sober sort of man to someone who has regained his sense of joy.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI