We continue this series of book reviews submitted by members of the (CL/R SIG). This second installation includes more loveable books for children in grades K-3. Buzzeo, T. (2010). No T.Rex in the library. Illus. by S. Yoshikawa. New York: Simon & Schuster.
When Tess misbehaves in the library, her mommy puts her in a ten-minute time out. During this time, Tess accidently opens a book, and T. Rex jumps out. Other books begin to open, and characters come alive. Knights in gleaming armor lay siege to the dinosaur. Fish and aquarium treasures spill from other books. T. Rex is able to cannonball through all of them. Next, a swashbuckling pirate surfaces, but T.Rex escapes. A posse of cowboys and cattle stampede from the pages of another book. T. Rex piles up mounds of books to build an escape. He even begins ripping and eating books until Tess places him back into his own book for a ten-minute time out. This hilarious picture book will remind young readers that reading uses our imaginations and that books take us to different places to meet unusual characters. Primary teachers and librarians might use this picture book to teach the importance of taking care of books and being respectful in the library.
- Deanna Day
Hills, Tad. (2010). How Rocket learned to read. New York: Schwartz & Wade. Unpaginated, $17.99, ISBN:978-0-375-85899-4.
A literate little yellow bird places on a tree a sign announcing the start of a new class. Rocket, a young puppy who loves to gnaw on sticks, chase leaves, and listen to birds sing, happens to take his nap below the bird’s tree. The bird is delighted to greet its first student. Since Rocket has no interest in learning to read, he moves to a different tree. Like any savvy teacher, the bird knows how to hook Rocket and begins reading a story about dog seeking its lost bone. The author describes the story’s appeal vividly: “To Rocket the story was as delicious as the earthy smells of fall” (u.p.). Engaged in the story and motivated to read, Rocket is now ready to learn the letter names and sounds and to spell out the words he knew. Like many of us, he has also learned the joy of listening to good stories—sometimes again and again.
- Terrell A. Young
Houston, G. (2011). Miss Dorothy and her bookmobile. New York: Harper Collins.
Building on her own experiences growing up in Appalachia, Houston offers the true story of Dorothy Thomas, who combined her predilection for books and people into a job as a librarian. Although Miss Dorothy dreamed of working in “a fine brick library” (u.p.), she ended up in rural North Carolina where there was no library. The community rallied to buy a bookmobile that Miss Dorothy determinedly piloted across the countryside, bringing books and her love of reading “into every school yard, … every farm, post office, grocery store, churchyard, and parking lot” (u.p.). Susan Lambs’ illustrations are lush and lively, with a gentle glow that suggests hope and promise. Houston’s characterization of both people and places deftly challenges pervasive stereotypes about the people of rural Appalachia. By showing Dorothy’s interactions with two young readers and following up with letters they wrote to her as adults, Houston shows clearly the profound effect that Miss Dorothy had on their lives. Through Miss Dorothy, Houston heralds the mystery of life’s twists and turns, and the transformative power of loving books and loving people.
- Sue C. Parsons
Numeroff, L., & Evans, N. (2010). The jellybeans: and the big book bonanza. Illus. by L. Munsinger. New York: Abrams.
A group of girls call themselves the jellybeans because they are all different yet go well together. While Emily loves to dance, Nicole loves to play soccer. Bitsy loves to paint, and Anna loves to read. After their teacher announces that the class is going to have a book bonanza, Anna takes her friends to the library to help them find a book. Each girl exclaims that they would rather be dancing, playing soccer or painting than reading a book. Anna reminds her friends that like jellybeans with their various flavors, there are many types of books. The librarian helps each girl find the perfect book focusing on their unique interests. Emily finds a book on ballet, Nicole chooses one on soccer, and Bitsy checks out one about famous painters. A reminder to teachers about the importance of finding the right book for each reader, this picture book could be used as part of a mini lesson on matching the right book for every child.
- Deanna Day
Click here to read the first article in this book review series. Click here for more information about the CL/R SIG.