I know that I called this the Book Blitz for July, and here it is August. Oh well. Mid-August is the new July. We’ve read lots of books since the last Book Blitz, but here’s what we’re loving:
Small Saul is a pirate. He is. He’s got the diploma to prove it and everything. Other things he’s got: a keen eye for decorating, cleanliness standards (no, our cabin should not smell like feet), and an appreciation for the healing powers of a bandage and lollipop during battle. What hasn’t he got? The respect of the Rusty Squid’s captain. By Ashley Spires. Ages 4-8.
If you love rocks, or you know a child who does, then you know that rocks are so much more than rocks. They are money, bases for fairy houses, berry mashers, and paint palettes in our house. In If Rocks Could Sing: A Discovered Alphabet, readers will see rocks that not only look like objects such as birds, ghosts, and igloos, but convey feelings such as joy and laziness (that would be the couch potato). By Leslie McGuirk. Ages 3-8.
I love How Things Work in the Yard, by Lisa Campbell Ernst. I love the array of topics covered: wagons, balls, and bubbles, to name a few. I love the way the clear, concise information is paired with collage artwork. I especially love that it’s so simple that even a science-challenged adult can understand it. Ages 4-8.
What do you do when you’re used to sprinting through life and that ability is suddenly taken from you? High school junior Jessica finds out when she loses a leg in a tragic bus accident on the way to a track meet. The Running Dream, by Wendelin Van Draanen, is a great choice for runners, anyone who has dealt with setbacks, and mother-daughter book clubs. Ages 12 and up.
Lupe loved to pretend she was the host of a television cooking show when she was about four years old. It was great fun, unless I was trying to concentrate on what I was doing in the kitchen. Which was most of the time. While Cooking with Henry and Elliebelly is the right level for Rue, it’s Lupe who identifies with the young protagonist who’s trying to host a cooking show in spite of his little sister’s annoying interruptions. Will the show go on? Written by Carolyn Parkhurst, illustrated by Dan Yacarino. Ages 3-6.
Me…Jane and The Watchers: while they sound like cheesy movie titles, both are actually lovely picture book biographies about Jane Goodall, who as a young girl dreamed of moving to Africa to live among and study animals. She faced many hurdles–societal, gender, and financial, to name a few. While both books can be read as stories, they are lovely presentations of the life and work of this significant scientist. Me…Jane written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell. The Watchers written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter. Ages 3-8.
Listen up, mama slugs. The boy in How to Teach a Slug to Read is going to teach you everything you need to know about, well, how to teach your young slugs to read. You’re too busy leaving holes in my garden plants and slime on my barbecue grill to take his advice? Well, it couldn’t be simpler with activities such as labeling things that interest your young slug, giving him or her fun books instead of tomes with dubious titles such as Mushy Love Stories and Homework is Fun!, and letting your slug underline his favorite words in his own slime. Most of these tips are even applicable to humans. But not the slime part, especially if you’re using library books. Written by Susan Pearson, illustrated by David Slonum. Ages 4-7.
If Inkling, the invisible bandapat in Invisible Inking, wanted to eat my squash, I’d let him live with me. After all, Inkling loves squash. But I suppose that helping fourth grader Hank deal with the school bully is more important than eating Pho Girl’s squash, so Inkling had better stay put. Written by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Harry Bliss. Ages 7-10.
Is bedtime a struggle in your household? Clearly you’re not offering the right incentive. In Mitchell’s License, Mitchell’s dad tells young Mitchell that he can get a driver’s license and drive to bed. At the age of 3 years, 9 months, and five days. Before you call Child Protective Services, check out what Mitchell’s dad is up to. WARNING: your child will want to imitate Mitchell. So you parents better be willing to imitate Mitchell’s dad. Personally, I love how relaxed Mitchell’s mom looks during the bedtime routine. Good for her. Written by Hallie Durand, illustrated by Tony Facile. Ages 3-7.
The young protagonist in My Dad, My Hero doesn’t harbor any illusions of greatness about his dad. He knows his dad isn’t a superhero. His dad is clumsy. Superhuman strength? Nope. His mom opens the pickle jars. Dad’s also scared of bees. And let’s not talk about the toilet paper problem. But none of that matters because this boy’s dad is always going to be his baseball-playing, movie-watching, hanging out together hero. By Ethan Long. Ages 3-7.
Hooray for 6 1/2 stories of love, laughs, surprises, and scares that Amanda and her alligator share in Hooray for Amanda and Her Alligator!, by Mo Willems. There’s also one instance of alligator gnawing on human head, a shocking revelation about alligator’s past, and some panda bear-induced jealousy. Ages 4-8.
Speaking of Mo Willems, Gerald the Elephant ponders a question that I must admit has never crossed my mind: Should I Share My Ice Cream? Ages 4-8.
And for the adults, the newest offering by Pam Anderson. I know what you’re thinking. Not that Pam Anderson. Pam Anderson, award-winning and best-selling cookbook author, former executive editor for Cooks Illustrated, and Three Many Cooks food blogger. Her latest book is Perfect One-Dish Dinners: Everything You Need for Easy Get-Togethers. This cookbook’s got a great, user-friendly layout and scrumptious food photography. Anderson’s Cassoulet-Style Italian Sausages and White Beans, Jerk Chicken Chili, and Salsa Verde Chicken with Herbed Cornmeal Dumplings are going to be part of my regular fall and winter rotation. Those days will be here before we know it, especially since summer never officially made it to Seattle this year.