216 N Marshall Ave
Litchfield MN 55355


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Friday, July 5, 2013

Five of a Kind: Great New Picture Books (yes, I know there are seven)

By Jan Pease

How do you organize your week?  I admire people who stick to a pattern, such as Monday, laundry, Tuesday, gardening, Wednesday, cleaning day, etc.   “It’s Monday, Mrs. Jolly Bones,” by Warren Hanson, stars an organized but crazy housekeeper who is helped by a crew of animals.   Here is how her week begins:

“It’s Monday, Mrs. Jolly Bones, there’s laundry to be done.
So gather up the dirty clothes and sort them one by one.
Wash them, dry them, iron them, and fold them nice and neat—
Then fling them out the window so they brighten up the street!”  

This book simply begs to be read aloud.  I can’t wait to use it at story time.

 Three new concept books will appeal to football fans for obvious reasons.  They are “Football A B C,” “Football Opposites,” and “Football Colors.” They were all written by Mark Weakland, and are part of the Sports Illustrated Kids Rookie Books.   Of course, “A is for Action!” 

“One Gorilla, a Counting Book” written and illustrated by Anthony Browne,  is another concept book that stirs up some interesting reviews at  The pictures are incredible, looking like formal portraits drawn of the various primates featured in the book.  Comments about the illustrations are uniformly full of praise.  However, Mr. Browne’s last message in the book is one of humans being part of the primate family.  Some parents strongly objected to this in their reviews.  One parent even went so far as to glue the last pages together to protect her children.  My suggestion is, if this concerns you, don’t check out the book.

There were so many cloudy days during our spring and early summer,  that we might be surprised, like the rabbit in “The Black Rabbit” to discover our shadow following along.   Philippa Leathers wrote and illustrated this story about a little rabbit that is afraid of his shadow, until he encounters a real wolf.  “The Black Rabbit” may be a little too scary for some tender hearts since the wolf is large and toothy, but the ending is happy and full of light.

“Uh-Oh, Baby” was written by Nancy Coffelt and illustrated by our summer reading illustrator, Scott Nash.  The baby is Rudy, who starred in “Catch that Baby!” a funny book also written and illustrated by the Coffelt/Nash team.  Rudy tries to give his mommy a present, with hilarious results. 

Shrek wasn’t always a musical comedy star.  In 1990, William Steig wrote and illustrated “Shrek!” the story that inspired the Dreamworks movies and now “Shrek! The Musical” being staged by our own community theater.  The book is very different from the movie and musical versions.  It has a very happy ending, as Steig wrote, “So they got hitched as soon as possible.  And they lived horribly ever after, scaring the socks off all who fell afoul of them.” Don’t you just love a good fairy tale?