Elem. – The New Rooster

Alexander, Rilla. The New Rooster. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2022. 978-1-534-49345-2. $18.99. 48 p. Grades PK-2.

When Rooster parachutes into town, he is eager to start his new job in his new country. Rooster quickly runs into trouble when no one understands his Pig Latin wake up call. Confident that he is good at his job, he tries again, crowing louder and louder at his new apartment building until the neighboring animals are annoyed. Shouting back in a variety of languages, the neighbors make it clear that they do not understand Rooster. In a last ditch attempt to begin the day, Rooster stuffs posters into apartment doors. His neighbors do not understand what the posters say. By this time it is well into the afternoon, and the sun still has not risen in the sky. Dejected, Rooster makes plans to return to his home country. First, though, he will need a good breakfast. Cooking makes Rooster happy. As he whips up a huge spread of different foods, the smells of the delicious meal waft down the hall waking Rooster’s new neighbors. One by one they join in a feast. Rooster happily shares his breakfast with his new community. Though each new friend speaks a different language, all understand that food brings people together.  

THOUGHTS: Children are often surprised to learn that animal sounds are pronounced differently in different languages. Bright and bold illustrations highlight the amusing tone of this cute picture book. A wonderful invitation to discuss immigration, community, languages, and sharing. 

Picture Book          Anne McKernan, Council Rock SD

Elem. – Not Enough Lollipops

Maynor, Megan. Not Enough Lollipops. Illustrated by Micah Player. Random House Kids, 2022. Unpaged. $17.99 978-0-593-37256-2. Grades PK-2. 

Alice wins the school raffle: a huge basket of lollipops! Suddenly, she is the center of attention, receiving many requests from wide-eyed schoolmates of varying ages. Then worry strikes: what if there are not enough lollipops? Now Alice hears much advice, like “I always saved you a seat!” “Don’t count the new kid, he’s not a real classmate,” “I scraped my knee” (with accompanying tears).  Alice is under pressure to part with her pops, and the desperation shows on the kids’ faces. When she’s had enough of the talk, she decides, “What if I don’t choose? What if I say everyone can handle a lollipop?  Everyone deserves one. Everyone counts.” Still people worry there may not be enough, but Alice counters, “what if there are?” A line forms and lollipops are distributed, one apiece. Typical personalities come through, from “I can’t wait!” to “There won’t be enough. You’ll see.” And some say thanks while others are upset to receive just one. Alice gives out numerous colors and flavors, and they all discover that there were enough lollipops! This begins some apologizing, like “I used to be the new kid…” All seem content, until a first-grader asks about the extras, and Alice faces the same problem.

THOUGHTS: This book would be a fun read-aloud, and could generate some important talk about fairness and decision-making, expectations and exceptions. Coloring lollipops and identifying flavors–and charting favorite flavors, totaling how many for all schoolmates–allows this book to touch on important skills.

Picture Book          Melissa Scott, Shenango Area SD

Elem. – Oh Look, a Cake!

McKee, J.C. Oh Look, a Cake! Clarion. 978-0-358-38030-6. Unpaged. $18.99. Grades K-2.

Sloth and Lemur find a cake. A big, beautiful cake. Three layers. Pink icing. Sprinkles. A candle on top. This calls for a party! But whom should they invite? Elephant? Tiger? Peacock? Unicorn or the ants? Each possibility is quickly struck down, inevitably leaving only Sloth and Lemur to eat the cake. But what happens when Tiger comes looking for her birthday cake, only to find an empty plate and two slightly nauseous friends? Those familiar with Jon Klassen’s “Hat” books won’t be surprised at Tiger’s solution. Astute readers may clue in early on the mystery of who owns the cake if they notice the black and orange striped candle on the top. The delightfully whimsical illustrations make this perfect for a read aloud, and small listeners will no doubt be squirming with giggly anticipation, as they wait to see what goes wrong when Sloth and Lemur don’t share their bounty. The book could be used as a segue to a discussion on sharing, or for just plain fun.

THOUGHTS: This smile-inducing book is perfect for libraries serving young patrons.

Picture Book          Nancy Nadig, Penn Manor SD

Elem. – It Fell from the Sky

Fan, Terry and Eric Fan. It Fell from the Sky. Simon & Schuster, 2021. 978-1-534-45762-1. Unpaged. $17.99. Grades K-2.

“It fell from the sky on Thursday.” And so begins this imaginative tale of a group of genteel insects who witness something fall into their garden. With its round shape and beautiful colors, the insects agree that they had never seen anything so amazing. The Dung beetle finds it too heavy to roll, and the ethereal Luna Moth believes it is a chrysalis waiting to hatch. The wise Grasshopper, with magnifying glass in hand, declares that it is “not of earthly origins.” Spider artfully builds a display for this “Wonder from the Sky” and charges admission. As the attraction grows more popular, Spider increases his rates, only to lose customers. Then the worst happens when a “five-legged creature” snatches the object. Spider realizes he has been selfish and makes amends to all when more opportunities fall into place. This creative story is truly enhanced by the illustrations. The scenery and the creatures are drawn in graphite, while only the “Wonder” is in color, thus directing the reader’s focus right to it. The author-illustrators add a whimsical touch in the insects’ attire with many wearing hats or other accessories.

THOUGHTS: The Fan Brothers have crafted a remarkable and humorous picture book that is sure to delight young readers. This text can be used to illustrate the concept of point of view and to launch a discussion about sharing. It is a must-have for all elementary collections.

Picture Book          Denise Medwick, Retired PSLA Member