Tuesday, September 27, 2016

INTRODUCING TEDDY: A Gentle Story About Gender and Friendship by Jessica Walton. Illus. by Dougal MacPherson.  New York:  Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2016. 32p.  ISBN 978-168119-2109 hc. $16.99     PreSchool - Gr. 2    E PIC

Walton takes a gentle approach to trans-gender issues that may surface in childhood.  One day, Thomas the Teddy Bear became withdrawn and didn't want to play with his friend, Errol.  When questioned about his lack of enthusiasm, Thomas said, "If I tell you, you might not be my friend anymore." Thomas then declares his desire to become Tilly rather than Thomas, which doesn't matter to his friend Errol, nor does it matter to their mutual friend Ava.  This is a wonderful story about friendship and acceptance.  The illustrator, Dougal MacPherson, crafts an androgenous teddy bear with a bow tie to make Thomas look like a boy, and moves the tie into Tilly's hair to transform him into a girl.  Parents and teachers will find this book helpful in dealing with transitions such as these in the family or classroom.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

THE COW WHO CLIMBED A TREE by Gemma Merino.  New York: Albert Whitman & Company, 2016. 32p.  ISBN 9780807512982 hc.$16.99      Gr. K-3      E PIC

Tina was a curious cow who didn't like to do the normal things her sisters did.  She had big ideas which were declared (by the sisters) to be "IMPOSSIBLE! RIDICULOUS! NONSENSE!"  Of course, her sisters didn't believe her stories of climbing trees in the woods or meeting a dragon who lived there. One morning, when Tina was missing from breakfast, her sisters went to the woods to search for her. Imagine their surprise to find Tina and many other friends climbing the trees and parachuting back to the ground.  Readers will be encouraged to step outside the realm of "normal" activities when they see how much fun the cows have.  Besides the message to try new things, readers will be treated to imaginative watercolor art that features dabs of color, making colorful clumps of leaves for each tree.  Artistic readers may want to try this technique themselves.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

PLEASE SAY PLEASE by Kyle T. Webster.  New York: Scholastic Press, 2016. 32p. ISBN 978-0545-844857 hc.$17.99    PreS-Gr.2   E PIC

An old topic with a new twist makes this book fun for young readers and the adults who spend time with them.  Written in rhyme with a predictable pattern of conversation, the author takes readers through the playground, a restaurant, and into a pet store to model the transition from  "I want..." to "May I please..."  The text is enhanced by illustrations consisting of muted backgrounds that contrast with the two main characters who are outlined in pen and look like they walked out of a comic book page from the 1950's.  The illustrations are remarkable!  There's a humorous twist at the end of the story, but the ultimate purpose is to emphasize how important it is to display good manners.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

WHAT IS A CHILD? by Beatrice Alemagna.  New York: Abrams, 2016. 32p.  First published in 2008 in Milan, Italy. ISBN 9781849764124 hc.$19.95   Gr.1-3   E PIC

Alemagna takes a philosophical look at children, their expectations from life, and how they are viewed by adults.  The very large pages with very large rhythmic text allow for easy reading (or reading in front of a group). The opposite page features the very large, almost life-sized head of a child with unbalanced facial features clothed in bold patterns.  Your eye is drawn to he unusual ratio of body parts and everyday objects.  At the same time, those figures exude personality and illustrate the story so well.  The picture book format is aimed at children, but adults will also enjoy the pensive nature of the story.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI