Friday, December 28, 2007

Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Ask a room full of four-year-olds, “Who likes cookies?” and you will invariably find yourself greeted unanimously by cookie-lovers. Rosenthal uses this universal language of food to demonstrate some big concepts in Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons.

“TRUSTWORTHY means, if you ask me to hold your cookie until you come back, when you come back, I will still be holding your cookie.”

“GREEDY means taking all the cookies for myself. Hee Hee Hee. Yum Yum Yum.”

“LOYAL means that even though the new person has a much bigger cookie, I’m sticking by you and your little cookies because you’re my very best friend.”

Jane Dyer’s precious pastel watercolors of children and animals enjoying baked goods impart a timeless feel to Rosenthal’s book of virtues. Share Cookies over a plate of real cookies for an especially tasty treat.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt

Many frightening things keep Scaredy Squirrel at home in his nut tree- tarantulas, poison ivy, green Martians, killer bees, germs, and sharks, to name a few. Sometimes the same old view and the same old nuts get boring, but life in the nut tree is safe and under control. Scaredy Squirrel is prepared with an emergency kit and an exit plan if he should ever have to embark beyond the tree. But Scaredy Squirrel is not prepared when a killer bee appears IN the tree. Mouth opened wide with terror at the smiling bee floating before him, he panics and knocks his emergency kit right out of the tree. It isn’t long before this timid squirrel finds himself outside of the tree as well. Melanie Watt’s simple watercolor illustrations poke gentle fun at a life lived too cautiously. Youngsters who live life on the edge may learn some lessons in safety and careful planning, while the more fastidious may be inspired by Scaredy Squirrel’s realization that it’s sometimes okay to “jump into the unknown.”


17 Things i'm not allowed to do anymore by Jenny Offill

Savvy listeners of all ages will fall in love with Offill’s gloriously naughty narrator. Ever creative, she is undeterred by each new taboo she encounters.

“I had an idea to show Joey Whipple my underpants. I am not allowed to show Joey Whipple my underpants anymore. I had an idea to set Joey Whipple’s shoe on fire using the sun and a magnifying glass. I am not allowed to set Joey Whipple on fire anymore.”

At the end of a busy day of trouble-making, she finally receives approval:

“I had an idea to say the opposite of what I mean to trick everyone. ‘I’m sorry.’ I am allowed to say the opposite of what I mean forevermore.”

While parents may wince at the narrator’s triumph, Carpenter’s sophisticated collage illustrations will appease adult sensibilities. Tots and even teens will appreciate the amusing images of stapled hair, spilled glue, and Delaware-crossing beavers. Mom’s expression as the young narrator attempts to place an order for a different, less vomit-inducing, dinner is a stand-out. Check out 17 Things I’m not allowed to do anymore for that conversation about behavior or just to share a good laugh.