Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Picture Book Reviews

Joey and the Giant Box

When Joey decides to keep the giant box in which the new dishwasher arrives, he comes up with a very special use for it — and does a mitzvah along the way.

Nothing beats a big empty box! 

We couldn't settle on a single pirate flag design
One of my all-time-favorite books is Christina Katerina and the Box,, by Patricia Lee Gauch. Not a Box by Antoinette Portis is another recent favorite. Joey is the first I have seen, though, to think of using the box to help other people.

Parts of the text are forced, as the author tries to both impart the lesson of helping others and insert some Jewish terms, with the result that they sound more foreign than familiar. This easy read could be a good way to introduce a canned food drive to a classroom, however - or to motivate your kids to finally let you get that big box out of the living room!

Goodnight Already!

Meet Bear. He's exhausted. All he wants is to go to sleep. Meet Duck, Bear's persistent next-door neighbor. All he wants is to hang out . . . with Bear.

Or, this could read: "Meet Ami. She's exhausted. All she wants is to go to sleep. Meet Shane, Ami's energetic one-year-old..."

Feel free to insert your own toddler's name, mommies! We all feel for you, Mr. Bear. Every time you are almost asleep, here comes Shane Sheridan Logan Christopher Duck, with increasingly implausible reasons for why he needs to wake you up. And when he finally falls asleep...

Very cute, in text and in illustrations (doesn't Bear look familiar EXHAUSTED there?), sure to tickle both kids and adults!

**My review copy came with a little...sign-on-a-stick thing, but I see no indication that it comes with every copy. Included on the back, though, are some general tips for calm bedtimes (nothing you can't find by googling), and a list of things to find in the book: pink bunny, light switch, popcorn, flour bag, wooden spoon, band-aid, and telephone.

Birthday Rules

When it comes to birthdays, no one knows how to party like Percy! Just follow his simple rules—like #2 "Happy times call for happy measures" and #9 "Be careful what you wish for"—to make the most of your celebration. Even when the cake has been consumed and the presents put away, Percy still has a trick up his sleeve to make a birthday extra special! 

Murfin's illustrations are enjoyable, but the rhythm of the text is off frequently enough to be jarring. I wouldn't select it as a read-aloud, but a child with an upcoming birthday may enjoy it. Be aware, however, that the celebrations are very one-cultural, and a child may be just as likely to ask why they don't do something Percy does, or why he doesn't do something they are used to (where is the pinata??!!) It is also focused quite heavily on gifts ("anything is good that comes wrapped up in a bow...There's no time like the present for a present!") and other material pleasures. A supplemental addition to a collection.

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