Picture Books – William’s Winter Nap; Back to School Bigfoot; Groundhug Day; 100 Things I Love…

Ashman, Linda. William’s Winter Nap. Disney Hyperion, 2017. 978-148472282-4. Unpaged. $17.99. Gr. PreK-2.

On a cold winter night, a boy name William is ready to settle into his warm, cozy bed when he is awakened by a tapping on the window.  It turns out to be a chipmunk who is seeking shelter from the cold, so William makes room in his bed for the chipmunk, and the two settle in. Before long, they are awakened by a porcupine knocking at the door.  The porcupine is also looking for a warm place to spend the night, so William and the chipmunk make room for the porcupine before going back to sleep.  This trend continues until the bed fills up, at which point an extremely large animal shows up at the door.  The group must decide if they can make enough room or if they are going to turn the animal away.  Beautiful illustrations and well-paced rhymes make this an endearing choice for young readers. THOUGHTS: Although this book may not have any obvious curricular connections, it could definitely serve as an introduction to many relevant topics.  For instance, because the last line reads “I’ll see you in the warm spring light,” it could be used to introduce the concept of hibernation.  Also, it would be a great discussion starter for emphasizing the importance of hospitality and generosity towards others.  Lastly, this would be a great title to read aloud and encourage young children to make predictions based on context clues.  Will they let the last animal in?  Why or why not?  If so, how will they make room?  A very delightful and engaging selection that is definitely a solid purchase for most libraries.

Picture Book      Julie Ritter, Montoursville Area SD

 

Berger, Samantha and Martha Brockenbrough. Back to School with Bigfoot. Arthur A. Levine Books, 2017. 9780545859738. Unpaged. $16.99. Gr. PreK-2.

Berger and Brockenbrough have teamed up to create an amusing version of the back-to-school story. Told in first person by Bigfoot himself, the book tells the story of Bigfoot preparing for a new school year. He has a lot of worries, such as whether he can stand still for a class picture or find clothes that fit.  Just when he has made up his mind that he should not go back, he begins thinking about all that he might miss, like a school field trip and his friends.  Bigfoot happily returns and in his haste, he breaks through the front door.  The book design helps make this book a great read aloud, as some words are highlighted in a larger font and beg to be emphasized.  Dave Pressler’s illustrations are over the top funny and the drawing of Bigfoot’s family at the graduation ceremony is priceless. Children will ask for this book to be read again and again.  THOUGHTS:  This work is a great addition to elementary libraries for their back-to-school collections.

Picture Book         Denise Medwick, West Allegheny School District

 

Pace, Anne Marie. Groundhug Day. Disney Book Group, 2017. 9781484753569. $17.99. 32p. Gr. PreK-2.

Moose wants to plan a Valentine’s Day party with his friends. The problem is that one of his friends is Groundhog. Moose, Squirrel, Porcupine, and Rabbit are worried that if Groundhog sees his shadow on Groundhog Day he’ll go back to sleep for six more weeks and miss the big Valentine’s Day party. They all come up with a different idea on how they can stop Groundhog from seeing his shadow and spend all night arguing about it. Because they never get to enact one of their ideas, Groundhog sees his shadow and hurriedly goes back into his house. It turns out Groundhog is afraid of shadows, but with his friends’ help, he sees all the ways shadows can be fun. Unfortunately, he still won’t make it to the big party since it isn’t warm enough for him above ground yet. His friends understand as he goes back home to hibernate for another six weeks – and comes back out just in time for St. Patrick’s Day! But now Bunny is missing! THOUGHTS: This picture book is a nice Groundhog’s Day addition to your library for the illustrations alone, but the story will also be appreciated by young readers. And there’s a clever ending that involves the final picture of Bunny on the last page (he is painting Easter Eggs).

Picture Book      Bridget Fox, Central Bucks SD

 

Schwartz, Amy. 100 Things I Love to Do with You. Abrams Appleseed, 2017. 9781419722882. $16.95. 40p. Gr. PreK-1.

100 Things I Love to Do with You is literally a picture book filled with simple illustrations of one-hundred activities that young readers can do with their parents/guardians or friends.  THOUGHTS: This is a book that contains activities like make mud pies, help the sun rise, hop like bunnies. I can imagine an adult asking the child to act out some of the activities as they go through the book (although they can’t all be acted out). Some pages have only one activity listed with a big illustration and some pages have, two, three, or four activities on each page. The illustrations were average.

Picture Book    Bridget Fox, Central Bucks SD

Upper Elem/MS FIC – Dawn & the Impossible Three; Dirt; Insignificant Events…

Galligan, Gale. Dawn and the Impossible Three. Scholastic, 2017. 978-1-338-06730-9. $24.99. 160p. Gr. 3-7.

This is a full-color graphic novel that is sure to delight readers. The best friends have many obstacles throughout the book. From friendship disagreements, parents remarrying, parents dating, and babysitting parents with divorce visitation difficulties, there’s a lot of conflicts to overcome. Friendship prevails.  THOUGHTS: While the fifth book in the graphic novel series, the books do not read to be read in order. Gale Galligan is picking up with the artwork just where Raina Telgemeier left off.

Graphic Novel, Realistic Fiction    Beth McGuire, Hempfield Area School District

 

Orenstein, Denise Gosliner. Dirt. Scholastic, 2017. 978-0-545-92587-7. $16.99. 224p. Gr. 3-7.

Yonder is now in fifth grade and does not talk at school or confront the bullies. She hasn’t talked since the traumatic loss of her mother. Her father hasn’t healed from this loss and seldom leaves his room. After getting in trouble at school, Yonder tries to avoid school by playing hookey. Eventually, the truancy officer gets Yonder to go back to school. Yonder looks forward to taking care of the neighbor’s pony even if it does overeat, so long as the pony does not become horsemeat to others. After skipping school and finding the unhabitable state of the house, Yonder is removed to foster parents. When coping with the stress, Yonder’s father has a stroke. How will everything work out for Yonder and her family?  THOUGHTS: Readers that like horses or Black Beauty might also enjoy this novel. Classmates of Yonder in the novel are extremely unkind and their actions can be a point of discussion with students.

Realistic Fiction    Beth McGuire, Hempfield Area School District

 

Bowling, Dusti. Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus. Sterling Children’s Books, 2017. 978-1-45492345-9. 262 p. $14.95. Gr. 6 and up.

Wonder meets Stargirl in Dusti Bowling’s charming new novel, Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus. Meet Aven, a thirteen-year-old girl, forced to move from her home in Kansas to Arizona, where her parents are managing a slightly decrepit wild-west theme park called Stagecoach Pass. Also, Aven has no arms. While she likes to entertain people with wild stories about how she lost her arms, Aven was in fact, just born without them. While her friends back in Kansas were completely used to Aven, her new classmates in Arizona are not. Although Aven has moments of self-consciousness and embarrassment when she has to do things with her feet, for the most part, she is a supremely upbeat, hilarious kid, and, as she says over and over again, doesn’t mind when people are curious; what she does mind is when people don’t treat her like an actual human being, or treat her like an invalid. While avoiding the school cafeteria (Aven feels unprepared for everyone to watch her eat with her feet), she meets Connor and Zion, two boys who also avoid the cafeteria;  Connor, because he has Tourette’s, which manifests as barking and ticking; Zion, because he’s overweight, and doesn’t want to be stared at. In short order, the three become fast friends, and all of them get caught up in the mystery of the Cavanaughs, the owners of Stagecoach Pass who haven’t been seen in years, and end up discovering a big secret about Aven’s past. THOUGHTS:  Aven’s zeal to make Connor feel “normal” can get a little overbearing at times, and Zion takes a pretty large backseat to Aven and Connor’s friendship, but otherwise, this is a delightful, heartwarming story with a positive message. Hand this to readers who are looking for Out of my Mind and Wonder read-alikes.

Realistic Fiction      Lauren Friedman-Way, The Baldwin School