Welcome to Mr. Venezi’s pet shop, where the last ‘G’ has fallen off the guinea pig’s cage. A Guinea PI? She must solve mysteries!
All Sasspants the guinea pig wants is to be left alone to read her books, but Hamisher the koala (well, actually he’s a hamster–Mr. V. is terrible at cage labeling) is desperate for her to solve the mystery of the missing sandwich!
A surly detective, an eager sidekick and a seemingly unsolveable mystery. The tension mounts! Will the heroes figure out who the sandwich thief is before Mr. V. (who blames the hamsters) gets rid of them all forever? This short, hilariously illustrated graphic novel (with a brand new sequel!) is perfect for 3rd to 4th graders, or anyone who loves absurdity and silliness. And guinea pigs.
Posted by: Sarah
Well, finally a companion piece for that wonderful girly book Too Purpley! This book would work for boys and girls and is just right to poke a little fun at those little picky eaters. Too Pickley! is all about food and all the many reasons to reject those foods that are not even worth trying, according to one little boy. They are just too wrinkly, too squishy, too fruity, too fishy! Too slimy, too slurpy, too bubbly, to burpy! —- you get the idea —- too greeny, too gooey, too pickley, TOO PEE-YOOEY! In the end, our little friend decides that he is in fact VERY hungry and finds that the foods were, much to his surprise, VERY yummy! I can’t wait to see what is next in this little series, if it is a series! This book is very clever and worth taking home to my very own picky eater.
Posted by: Mary
If you have a sweet tooth like me, you will appreciate this new book. Little Mouse comes across a delicious chocolate-chip, raspberry-cream cupcake. But he has a problem. It is much too big for him to carry home. Various animals come along, and while they are unable to help carry the cupcake, they can take a bite or two. In the end, the cupcake is just the right size for mouse’s tummy. The illustrations are delightful, and it is a good tale of sharing. You just might need to share a cupcake or two while reading this story!
Posted by: Liz
This delightful book offers a series of free form poems written from a puppy’s point of view. These poems, accompanied by sweet illustrations, are certain to melt any dog lover’s heart. Beginning on the day he is born and continuing throughout the book, the puppy “speaks” of his likes, his dislikes and, of course, the fact that he didn’t do it! The reader learns that he has no desire to have a silly dog name like Fluffy, he likes to drool, he doesn’t like thunder, he prefers people food, he likes to get muddy but doesn’t like baths and he most definitely would like to be able to sleep wherever he wants. You will probably catch yourself smiling more than once as you read your way through these heartwarming puppy poems.
Posted by: Wendy
One Halloween when my oldest daughter was in preschool or kindergarten, she wanted to be a Power Ranger, just not the pink or yellow ones (who were the girls). This is the same child who loved playing with her Thomas the Tank Engine trains, and enjoyed being Daddy’s little assistance when he was working on a project. She would have loved the book Tough Chicks, and so will any girl who is part tomboy or just has a wide variety of interests. This book reinforces the idea that it’s okay to be different and have different interests.
Penny, Polly and Molly are tough chicks from the moment they leave their shells to strut and zoom around the farm. They wrestle worms and race bugs and roll in the mud, while their mother keeps insisting to all the other barn animals that they are good chicks. The tough chicks even get into trouble with the farmer when he finds them in his tractor. They try to do things like the other chicks do, but are a bit of a failure at the things they try. When they end up saving the henhouse and the day, the farmer and all the animals finally agree with Mama Hen that they are good chicks.
Posted by: Julie
Rick Riordan is back with another series about the gods and goddesses of Olympus. This book takes place after The Last Olympian, but you don’t know when exactly after. Just to warn die hard Percy fans, we do not see Percy in this book. Instead, the book is centered around Jason, a teenager who doesn’t remember anything about his past, but somehow knows about monsters and gods. He is rescued with two other demi-gods, Piper and Leo. After arriving in Camp Half Blood and being claimed by their respective parents, they find out that they are part of the prophecy from The Last Olympian:
Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.
Jason is the leader and takes Piper and Leo on a high flying adventure (no, seriously, they have a flying mechanical dragon) to save Hera in the first part of their quest. They unlock many secrets throughout the book about Jason’s past, but many are still unanswered at the end.
What was really fascinating about this book is learning about the Roman aspects of the Greek Gods. We meet Hera posing as Juno and find out what some of the different gods and monsters are called in their Roman aspects. A fabulous beginning to another series. I look forward to finding out what happens next and I bet you will too!
Posted by: Kate
This is another story with the author’s beloved character, Mrs. Dowdel. This story is told by the son of the new preacher in town. Bob meets Mrs. Dowdel when the local bullies catch him, strip him down, truss him up and hang him in Mrs. Dowdel’s outhouse for fun. She cuts him down and gives him clothes belonging to her dead husband. He is not quite sure what to make of Mrs. Dowdel at that first meeting but during that year, she has an impact on Bob’s family in many ways.
The story is set in a small town in Ilinois in 1958 and Grandma Dowdel is a town character with good connections and an uncanny ability to solve people’s problems in ingeniously whacky ways. This is a good book for the holidays for Grandma Dowdel gives her gifts all year long and events include a ghost Indian princess suitable for Halloween and a Christmas service. The book is funny and warm and seasonal.
I would say that it is for older children. Bob’s older sister Phyllis begins to run around with a bad element in town, so aside from the town bullies who are really mean, there is also drunkenness and a pregnant bride. But the kindnesses that Grandma Dowdel extends to this family solve all sorts of problems and enrich their lives too. It’s a fun read with old-fashioned small town charm. Recommended for children in 6th through 8th grade.
Posted by: Fran
Have you ever tried to take a picture of your dog, or even worse, your cat? For someone with my talents—and I use the word loosely—it can be an exercise in frustration. I have long wondered how nature and/or animal photographers maintain their sanity.
After reading Orangutans are Ticklish by Grubman, I learned that there’s a lot more involved than an unwilling pet. There are cages and assistants with huge biceps not to mention the great pair of track shoes for when a session with the lion goes really south in a hurry.
However, the most amazing thing I learned from this eye-opening book is that all this, at least in Steve Grubman’s case, happens right here in our own backyard. Here I thought that Mr. Grubman was traveling to Africa to shoot hippos, Australia to get the kangaroos and who knows where to photograph an aardvark. All his work was done in a studio in Chicago!
And what work it is. The photos are clear and the animals are in interesting “poses.” There’s enough factual information on each subject for the beginnings of a school report and there’s a really cool “insider” note about each of the animals—the hippo ate 300 pounds of hay during the shoot– at the bottom of the double page spreads. Even the cover is original and engaging.
Orangutans Are Ticklish makes me want to throw caution to the wind, grab a handful of dog treats and start shooting up a storm. If you see a large curly haired dog running down your street, just get out of the way. I’ll be clutching my camera and running somewhere close behind.
Posted by: Eileen
If you have a child under the age of 5, it’s likely you know the Knuffle Bunny picture books about a girl and her stuffed bunny. In the original Knuffle Bunny, baby Trixie loses her bunny and when it’s found, she utters her first words—“Knuffle Bunny”, of course. In Knuffle Bunny Too, preschooler Trixie makes enemies and then best friends with a classmate who also has a Knuffle Bunny (and who pronounces it wrong; the K is NOT silent!). In this third and last installment, school-aged Trixie and Knuffle Bunny fly to Holland for vacation and poor Knuffle Bunny is left on the plane! Trixie is quickly forced to cope without her lovey and over time, and with the help support of her family, she does. She dreams of all the adventures that Knuffle Bunny is having without her and how many children he must be meeting. (For reference, the photographs that Willems includes of Holland and other places are sure to get your child’s travel bug up.)
When (through a rather contrived convenience but hey, it’s a children’s book) Trixie and her beloved Bunny are reunited, Trixie makes a decision to give away Knuffle Bunny to a baby who seems to need it more than she does. Just a warning—very young children may be saddened by the thought of giving away a much-loved toy—so the book is not for everyone. But Willems ends the trilogy on what I feel is a high note—Trixie is mature enough to want Knuffle Bunny to be where he is needed the most (kind of like the ending of Toy Story 3, if I didn’t just completely spoil that for you).
The book ends with Mo Willems’s tribute to the real-life Trixie, now aged 9, where the author imagines the life his daughter is going to have. And who knows, maybe one day Trixie will have her own little girl who has a wonderful and faithful friend like Knuffle Bunny.
Posted by: Cindy