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Purrfect Picture Books

September is Happy Cat Month. Celebrate with these purrfect reads!

skippyjohn Skippyjon Jones is the star of several wild picture books full of adventure. This adorable Siamese cat thinks he’s a chihuahua. You’ll love reading about all his imaginary adventures in ‘old Mexico’ and other exotic locations.

 

the night world The Night World, by Mordicai Gerstein, is a new book featuring a cat named Sylvie. Sylvie invites her boy outside in the strange world of night so they can see something amazing. You’ll love the pictures in this one and marvel at how the darkness of night is portrayed by this talented artist.
hello kitty If you love Hello Kitty the library has plenty of books for you to enjoy. Hello Kitty and her friends have mysteries to solve, parties to throw, and places to visit.
pete the cat buttons Really, everything about Pete the Cat is groovy, not just his buttons. Some of Pete’s adventures, created by James Dean, work great for read-alouds where everyone joins in at the repeating parts. Other Pete the Cat stories are written just for new readers to practice their skills, and laugh some too!
 hero cat Hero Cat, by Eileen Spinelli, is such a sweet story about a mama cat who saves her kittens. Kids love this book because the mama cat is so brave and smart. I have known adults who cried at the happy ending.

These are just a few picture books for cat lovers, there are lots of chapter books and non-fiction books too.
What’s your favorite cat book?

 

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Four Favorites

One of the things that I love most about being a librarian is that I get to take a sneak peak at books before they hit the library shelves. There’s a brief window of time between us getting the book and putting it out on the shelves for everyone to enjoy, and during that time I try to read — or at least browse — the new picture books.

Here are four picture books that will be hitting a shelf near you very soon:

Boy Who Loved the MoonThe Boy Who Loved the Moon by Rino Alaimo.

This book features a cute story about a young boy who wants to give the moon a gift. But what gift could you possibly give a moon? He tries a rose, a pearl, and a diamond, but the moon rejects them all. Finally, the boy comes up with a gift that no one has tried before. I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say that while the story is very sweet, it’s the illustrations that completely steal the show. All pictures, with one notable exception, are done in varying shade of orange/gold on a black background, and the effect is perfect for this fantastical story!

One Word from SophiaOne Word from Sophia by Jim Averbeck and Yasmeen Ismail.

Most children wish for a pet to call their own. Some want a dog. Others prefer cats. And of course there are plenty who want a pony. Not Sophia; she wants…a giraffe. She knows that convincing her family to get such an unusual animal will take some work, so she drafts up elaborate arguments, equipped with charts and graphs. But all it takes to get her giraffe is one simple word: please. While there’s a part of me that’s worried that children reading this story will ask for a giraffe of their own (and, let’s be honest, saying “please” just won’t work in real life for this particular animal), I still love this story’s moral of being polite. I also REALLY love the vocabulary. This book features words such as “effusive” and “loquacious,” and it even offers a glossary in the back. Very cool!

My Rules for Being a Pretty PrincessMy Rules for Being a Pretty Princess by Heath McKenzie

Who doesn’t love a good princess book? This book debunks the myth that princesses must always be poised and perfect. Throughout the book, a rambunctious girl is instructed on how to be a perfect princess. But she decides that those rules just aren’t for her; therefore, she drafts up some new rules. These rules include attending delicious tea parties, dancing however you want, and not waiting for the prince to save you. I would hand this book to any princess fanatic who might want a change from the typical princess stories.

Snow White and the 77 DwarfsSnow White and the 77 Dwarfs by Davide Cali

I admit that I really, really love fractured fairy tales, and this one is amazing! It starts off as the original tale did with Snow White running away from her wicked step-mother. However, instead of finding 7 dwarfs, she finds 77 dwarfs! That’s a lot of dwarfs to take care of, and it isn’t long before Snow White is exhausted from all the work. Again, I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say that it’s sure to make you chuckle! While I love the spin this story takes, I also really, really love the colorful illustrations. This book really catches your eye, and I can see children examining the humorous pictures and naming all 77 dwarfs.

 

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…But I’m going to have to wait because they’re not published yet.

Summer Reading is right around the corner! Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited to tackle some of the books on my intimidating TBR (to be read) list. Some of those books have been on my list for years, others are more recent, and still others…aren’t published yet. Here’s a look at just a few of the books that are coming out this summer:

Lost in the SunLost in the Sun by Lisa Graff

Look at that cover! I know we’re not supposed to judge books by their covers, but if that one doesn’t catch your eye, then I don’t know what will! Stunning covers aside, Lisa Graff is a well-known and talented author for middle grade fiction. Lost in the Sun tells the story of Trent, a boy who hopes to escape a traumatic event and start fresh in middle school. Unfortunately, as many of us know, it’s near impossible to make a fresh start in middle school. This book has gotten 3 starred reviews so far, and many reviewers are applauding Graff for her ability to cover a lot of emotional ground while still maintaining some humor in the story. This book will be out at the end of May, but you can put a hold on it now!

Circus MirandusCircus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley

Another book that you can put on hold right now is Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley. The circus theme has been enjoying some popularity in middle grade fiction these past couple of years. Circus Galacticus by Deva Fagan came out in 2011, and The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel came out in 2014. And now Circus Mirandus is joining the queue. Circus Mirandus is about a boy who sets out to find a magical circus that may hold the key to saving his dying grandfather. If this sounds like something you would enjoy, then the circus will be coming to an Allen County Public Library near you on June 2nd!

FloatFloat by Daniel Miyares

Moving on from middle grade, let’s start talking picture books! Float by Daniel Miyares is about a boy, his small paper boat, and his large imagination. This is a wordless picture book that perfectly depicts a gray, rainy day and a little boy’s optimism. The endpapers even contain instructions for making a paper boat of your own for some extra fun! This book is sure to get some buzz around Caldecott season, so keep your eyes peeled for it to hit our shelves in early June.

The Night WorldThe Night World by Mordicai Gerstein

Another picture book that focuses on a color scheme of black, white, and gray is The Night World by Mordicai Gerstein. This is also another book that has a cover that is completely eye-catching. There are many picture books that focus on the night, but I don’t think there are many that do so in such an enthralling way. I can’t wait for this picture book to hit our shelves (around June 16th) so that I can spend what’s sure to be a long time pouring over the fabulous pictures.

 

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Books for the truck lover in your family.

machines goodnight big rig
my big trucks roll trucks
bulldozers garbage dump truck

 

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Today we got a new book by Jon Agee. His books are always great and this one is no exception.

stanley

To me, a good picture book tells part of the story with the pictures and part of the story with the words. In this case, the two stories don’t completely fit together. The title “It’s Only Stanley” is the phrase that Mr. Wimbledon keeps repeating after checking on strange nighttime sounds. Yep, Stanley is the cause, but you and I can see something major is going on in each scene. Dad’s not concerned but we as the readers are!

So there’s the mystery of what Stanley is up to and then there’s the rhyming text. Many of my favorite read-alouds rhyme. They’re fun to read, and fun to listen to. Books that rhyme also let kids practice the early literacy skill of playing with the sounds in words. Like on the page that says “It was even later still, when Willie smelled a funky smell that made him kind of ill.” Pre-readers see and hear that ‘still’ and ‘ill’ sound alike and look alike. As they continue on their reading journey they’ll be quicker to understand how to read and spell words like ‘fill’ and ‘grill’.

One last thing that makes a picture book great are the details in the pictures. I noticed new things each time I looked through the book. I could tell you what those things were but that would spoil your fun!

Get a copy for yourself and enjoy!

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New Picture Books

olive in aqualicious
once upon a cloud wolfie stone angel
dinosaur counting hoot

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Celebrity Authors

Every now and then when I’m reading review journals, an author’s name pops out at me. Sometimes it’s because the author is well know, such as James Patterson. Other times it’s because the author is well known — but not necessarily for writing. Earlier today, I was reading a review journal and saw an advertisement for a book called Nightmares.  Yet it wasn’t the title or the cover art that caught my eye.  It was the author, Jason Segel.

‘Jason Segel?’ I thought.  ‘From How I Met Your Mother?’

A few months ago, I had the same experience when I read a review for The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak.  Turns out there are a lot of celebrities who like to moonlight as children’s authors.  Some write on their own, while others co-write (or have ghost writers).  Here’s just a small selection of children’s books that are written by celebrities:

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