Friday, May 11, 2012

Picture Books mini-reviews, part 2

Is Everyone Ready for Fun?
by Jan Thomas
Beach Lane Books
September 2011

I love Jan Thomas! This book is funny and fun - great for reading with groups, so kids can jump and wiggle along with those wacky out-of-control cows who are jumping on chicken's sofa. Repeating lines, "Is everyone ready? Is everyone ready for FUN?" add to the manic appeal. Colorful, easy to see digital art. A sure-fire winner at storytime.

I borrowed this book from the library.

Randy Riley's Really Big Hit
by Chris Van Dusen
Candlewick Press
February 2012

Written in a rhyme-y, rollicking style, nerdy kid Randy loves science and astronomy, but is a flop on the baseball field. One night, he notices an asteroid heading straight for Earth and works on a secret project out back - a giant robot, who uses a chimney stack as a baseball bat to knock the fireball clean out of sight. Colorful gauche illustrations employ a strong mid-century retro aesthetic, in a surburban neighborhood of tract homes. Lots of boy appeal in this one!

I borrowed this book from the library.

When Grandmama Sings
by Margaree King Mitchell
Amistad Press
January 2012

Grandmama, a contemporary of Ella Fitzgerald, travels through the racist, segregated South on a musical tour with her band. While the characters are fictional, the feel is very realistic. The band undergoes many hardships: being forced to eat outside in their cars after paying good money at a diner, frequently being pulled over by intimidating highway patrols, sometimes being cheated out of their pay after playing a gig. Grandmama's grit and determination and love for her granddaughter see them through.

I borrowed this book from the library.

Ellen's Broom
by Kelly Starling Lyons
Putnam Juvenile
January 2012

I was really charmed by this antebellum story telling about the complex history of "jumping the broom" at African-American weddings. Ellen's parents are eager to put the past behind them when they are finally able to legally wed at a courthouse after slavery has ended. Ellen reclaims and transforms the tradition into something positive, by decorating the family broom with flowers. The book is illustrated with beautiful full-color linoleum woodcuts.

I borrowed this book from the library.


  1. Oh these look wonderful! My 8yr old would love some of these and I keep all of our Picture Books which I prefer in hard cover, but now my kids want them on our kindle.

  2. These all look great, but especially Randy Riley. Love the 50s feel, as well as combining sports and science.



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