Fans of Mo Willems tongue-in-cheek humor will not be disappointed with his first attempt at a fairy tale send-up. Goldilocks and the Three Bears is fractured beyond belief by Willems as the bears are replaced by three dinosaurs, Mama, Papa and “some other dinosaur visiting from Norway.” The dinosaurs cook chocolate pudding and leave it out at varying temperatures to lure an unsuspecting “succulent child” which works like a charm on Goldilocks. She doesn’t care about the temperature of the food since chocolate pudding is good at any temperature. Zany chaos ensues as Goldilocks realizes that she has, in fact, fallen into a trap set by dinosaurs. She realizes this mostly because the dinosaurs are peering at her through the window of the house and gloating with the anticipation of eating a little girl. Goldilocks escapes through the back door as the dinosaurs rush through the front, and reminds the readers of the very important moral “if you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave.”
Certainly a story for a child who is familiar with the classic Goldilocks and the Three Bears this might be even more enjoyable to readers of Mo Willems work, as readers can search for his other characters which sneak into the scenes of this story, including the very famous Pigeon.
Posted by: Kelly
Traction Man is here again!
The star of Mini Grey’s previous books, Traction Man , and Traction Man Meets Turbo Dog, returns in an adventure that will take him to the beach–but not in the way that you might expect! While everyone else is having a quick dip in the water before lunch, Traction Man is kidnapped by Granny’s dog, and neither his faithful Scrubbing Brush nor his mighty panoply of equipment can prevent it! What will he do??
The granite-jawed Traction Man (obviously a toy, but so much more!) and noble, anthropomorphized Scrubbing Brush’s trip back to safety involves another dog, frighteningly-accessorized dollies, raspberry-ripple ice cream, and a large quantity of seaweed.
As in all previous outings, Mini Grey’s hilarious illustrations and comic-style text boxes pack an astonishing amount of detail onto each page, while never distracting from the story. While a summer story, this book would be perfect for those going on a winter vacation to warmer climes, or just for someone who wants a little bit of warmth injected into their November.
Posted by: Sarah
After reading this book, I had to chuckle to think about my own (of course, very limited) time spent in the corner being punished. In Time Out for Monsters!, the little boy has been sent to the corner most certainly to think about what he has done wrong. Instead he starts deciding what he would do to “spruce up” the corner where he spends so much time. He thinks it could definitely use some color and a window, oh, and some flowers, and what about a dinosaur or two or three. Of course the corner needs a monster and a monster truck and what about a fire truck! (You can see where this is going.) How about a dump truck full of ice cream or maybe a dragon? When all of these wonderful ideas end up as pictures colored on the living room wall, you just know there will lots more opportunities to “think” and decorate in the corner. Very clever and fun!
Posted by: Mary
It’s September, so everyone is back in school–and surrounded by a whole student body full of germs! The weather is getting colder, and it seems like there are sniffles and coughs everywhere. We’re all taught to wash our hands constantly, but somehow everyone always gets sick anyway.
What do we need in a situation like this? A funny book about a flu pandemic, that’s what. (Yes, really).
Finn Reeder is annoyed that his teacher, Ms. Westing, is out of school with the flu, especially since she left instructions that the class is supposed to start keeping a journal “with a full page for every single day.” Finn writes dutifully (if not cheerfully) away, and finds that he is unwitting keeping a log of a massive flu pandemic that lays his school, town, and the entire country low.
With his father burning the mail and forcing the family to wear hazmat suits, half the school out sick, and his English class proctored by a mysterious figure in a gas mask, will Finn manage to make it through the month without dying of . . . dodgeball? (Guess which teacher is NOT sick). Check out this hilarious notebook-style semi-graphic novel to find out.
Posted by: Sarah
This is not a new book but it is a cute summer read. Piggie gets her first ever party invitation and she asks Elephant to go with her. He is delighted and tells her that he knows about parties. He advises her that it might be a fancy party and that they should dress up for it. They do! But then he says that it might be a pool party. So they wear their pool accessories also. But wait, it might be a costume party too! Does Elephant know parties like he says he does? Look for this book in the Easy Fiction section under the author. It is a lot of fun. And if you like it, there are more Elephant and Piggie books.
Posted by: Fran
Kevin Spencer is the most romantic 14-year- old guy you will ever meet – or so he would like to have us believe. He has a crush on Tina Zabinski who, in Kevin’s eyes, is the most beautiful girl in the world. He just knows he would make a perfect boyfriend. He realizes that he must swing into immediate action when the new boy in school, Cash, starts showing attention to Tina.
Since romance is based on chemistry, Kevin decides that he must gather information on love and romance by creating a variety of experiments. Some of his experiments are successful and others not so much. He feels that his experiments have him on the right tract to understanding girls and thus becoming the best of the best when it comes to being a boyfriend.
The problem is Kevin tries too hard. His experiments don’t really help him figure how girls think. Nor do they give him the nerve to ask Tina out. Is this romance doomed before it even begins? I suggest you read this clever and funny book to find out.
Other books about Kevin Spencer are Flat Broke and Liar, Liar.
Posted by: Wendy
Madeline is in fifth grade and she lives with her parents on the island of Hornby in Canada. Her parents support the family by making sand-dollar art. Madeline is really the adult in the house. She takes care of everything–including her parents–and works as a waitress to make ends meet. When her parents are kidnapped by foxes, Madeline starts out to discover where they are and rescue them but her detective Uncle falls into a coma (something he has been looking forward to) and Madeline doesn’t know where to turn. Then she meets Mr. and Mrs. Rabbit who have decided that their newest passion is to be detectives and they take her case pro bono (that means for free).
This is one laugh after another. The story abounds with funny characters and silly situations. It also has many black and white fun illustrations. (I loved the illustration of Mr. Bunny’s disco shoes and also The Marmot in disguise) I loved Mr. and Mrs. Bunny who are enthralled with Madeline so much so that they build her her own bunny hutch beside their house and hope that she will leave her silly parents and come live with them. They are an adorable couple. They love one another very much but they argue a lot and they make sure that they get even when the other does something mean. I liked that about them. So visit a world where animals have cars, social clubs, email and Italian restaurants and speak several languages. Mr. and Mrs. Rabbit have warm generous heart, too. Recommended for Grades 3-6.
Posted by: Fran
What if your favorite cereal company had more in mind than just making sure you got a tasty breakfast?
Scott (short for, well, you don’t want to know what), who gets migraines and sometimes sees things, sees a rabbit-headed man on the way to school, and finds a leprechaun in a public bathroom. Emily and Enzo (twins who look so little alike that it’s suspicious), who have an incredibly tall, big-footed housekeeper, think that their foster father is acting weird. What do the kids have in common? Their parents work for the Goodco Cereal Factory, a company with ties to nearly everything in town. Is there maybe something a little funny about Goodco? Is there REALLY “a little bit of magic in every box”?
Rex’s new fantasy is hilarious (a delight in a genre that is too often filled with portentious prophecies, grim weather and unsmiling heroes) and engaging. In spite of its (appropriately) epic length, the story moves quickly, and no reader will be tempted to put the book down. The characters, both the realistic and fantastical, are wonderfully drawn, and the back-story incorporates traditional myths and legends in a refreshingly original way.
While Scott, Emily and Enzo’s adventures are not over at the end of the book–a sequel! Hooray!–the volume is wrapped up in a very satisfying manner. In spite of that, I still can’t wait for the next book.
Posted by: Sarah
Amanda, a sweet little girl, and Alligator, a sweet little stuffed animal, are best friends. Alligator always has a hard time waiting for Amanda when she is not home. These friends like to share surprises with each other such as books and tickles and a great big “boo”. One day Alligator discovers he has a price tag with a cost of only 7 cents and he is disappointed to know he was in the sale bin because no one seemed to want him. Amanda quickly reassures him, “No one wanted to buy you because they knew you were meant to be my best friend.”
After a day at the zoo, Amanda brings home a new surprise – a fluffy stuffed panda. Alligator does not like this surprise. Panda quickly learns that quite a bit of time is spent waiting around for Amanda. Panda does not like all this waiting. Hmm, two bored stuffed animals discover that a new friendship can be the most delightful surprise of all!
Posted by: Wendy
If you were a naked mole rat why would you ever want to get dressed? I mean, based on the name of your species you should prefer to be naked shouldn’t you? Well, not all naked mole rats are alike and Wilbur really enjoys wearing clothes. He likes to dress fancy or funny or sometimes even in a cool outfit. All the other naked mole rats think he is a bit strange and when they sarcastically suggest that he open a clothing store, he thinks it’s a great idea! But the other naked mole rats aren’t happy with Wilbur because as they say “NAKED MOLE RATS DON”T WEAR CLOTHES!”
Wilbur’s buddies decide that he needs to visit the very oldest and wisest naked mole rat, Grand-pah, who will certainly set him straight on his choice to get dressed. They explain to Grand-pah how Wilbur enjoys wearing clothes in spite of the fact that he is a naked mole rat. When Grand-pah asks Wilbur “why” he likes to wear clothes, Wilbur responds “why not?”
Sometimes life is as simple as that. . .”why not?”
This is another delightful book by Mo Willems and I highly recommend it.
(And for those of you in the Chicago area, the Lifeline Theatre will be performing an adaptation of the book next spring: check it out!)
Posted by: Wendy