216 N Marshall Ave

Litchfield MN 55355


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Friday, September 14, 2018

Rhetorical Questions and Happy Dances

By Jan Pease

I looked around the children’s department this morning and saw so many bright new picture books that I almost did a happy dance.  Speaking of happy, a little boy came to his first story time today.  He said, in surprising clear 2-year-old speech that he would come next time and we would be happy!  Loved it! 

One silly new book is the sixth Chicken Squad book by Doreen Cronin, “Bear Country.”  The chickens quickly solve their first case of the day, a missing hamster named Ziggy.  But more dangers loom.  A headless bear has been seen running around the neighborhood!  They haven’t had breakfast because their caretaker is missing!  Doreen Cronin asks, “Will this case be too much to bear?”

Grace Lin has just published “A Big Mooncake for Little Star,” a lovely story that explains the phases of the moon.    Her story sounds like a fable, but it’s original, and the illustrations are stunning.  Will this be the best picture book of 2018?  It is the #1 new release at

“Can a Cat do That?” is a new book by Eric Carle, who is writing and illustrating books for children who are just beginning to read.   Mr. Carle uses repetition and rhyme, as well as a few sight words, to help children decipher the mysteries of reading.  Don’t let the one-star review at put you off this book.  The reviewer completely missed the point.  She asked, “Are you too old to write more words?” 

I may have to add my own comment to this negative review, since Eric Carle seems to me to be forever young.  


Elli Woollard is a British author who is new on the picture book scene.  Her funny book, “The Dragon and the Nibblesome Knight,” tells a story of mistaken identity.  A kind young knight takes his armor off to help a large injured bird.  The bird, really a dragon, doesn’t recognize that his helper is his enemy, a knight.  All of this is told in rhyme.  Did I mention that this is a funny, funny book?

Kate DiCamillo is famous for her wonderful fiction.  Her new book, “Good Rosie,” is a dog story for   Rosie is a little dog who needs to learn how to make friends.  Dogs, like children, have to learn how to become friends. Can an anxious little dog become friends with a massive St. Bernard?
children who are just beginning to read, really a graphic novel for beginners.

“Look,” by Fiona Woodcock, is a nearly wordless book with an interesting twist.  Every word in the book has double o which can have different, confusing sounds.  A brother and sister visit the zoo, see animals like kangaroos and baboons and look at a book.

How do non-English speakers learn the sound of oo?


Finally, Adam Rex, who is both an illustrator and a writer, has published “Are You Scared, Darth Vader?”  This is an unusual picture book with a “Star Wars” connection.  What is Darth Vader afraid of?  Of course, he says, “I fear nothing.”  But is that true? 

These books, along with other rhetorical questions and answers, are waiting for you at Litchfield Library.  Get ready to do your own happy dance!