Sunday, March 10, 2013

Picture books mini-reviews 27

Lemonade in Winter: A Book About Two Kids Counting Money
by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by G. Brian Karas
Schwartz & Wade
September 2012

 The title says it all! This is one of the most charming books about learning to count and managing money that I've seen in a while. Plenty of funny, repeating rhymes makes this an appealing read-aloud "Lemon lemon Lime, lemon Limeade!/ Lemon lemon Lime, lemon Limeade! /All that it will cost ya? Fifty cents a cup! /All that it will cost ya? Fifty cents a cup!"

I love Karas' illustrations and I like the pleasantly suburban multi-racial neighborhood.

I borrowed this book from the library.

by Ari Berk, illustrated Loren Long
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
September 2012

 This picture book invites one-on-one reading, with a text-heavy story about a baby bat and sumptuously dark illustrations best suited for examining at close range. How do bats see in the dark? Through echolocation, of course! Mama Bat explains what senses are by saying, "Sense is the song you sing out into the world, and the song the world sings back to you." The illustrations are mostly dark, but not somber, and they paint a picture of a quiet night and the intrepid bat who explores it. This would be a good pick for Halloween or for any child who'd like a good dose of storytelling along with their science. The world hasn't seen a bat this loveable since Stellaluna, make no mistake.

I borrowed this book from the library.

Abe Lincoln's Dream
by Lane Smith
Roaring Brook Press
October 2012

This story was a lot more fanciful than I had thought it would be. Lincoln's ghost makes corny jokes, but retains his somber mien as he and an African-American schoolgirl float over the country, and talk a bit about progress since Lincoln's time. Molly Leach lends her skill as a book designer, as this book contains the superbly peppy fonts that Smith's books are known for. Abe Lincoln's Dream is sure to be popular on President's Day, or during any presidential election year.

I borrowed this book from the library.

Odder and Otter
by James Howe, illustrated by Chris Raschka
October 2012

Why haven't I mentioned this book sooner? I just loved this odd, quirky, funny little book. Otter finds himself falling in love with a fish, much to his own chagrin and the stern disapproval of his fellow otters. "They're right. It is impossible. You cannot love your food source," thinks Otter when, despite his best efforts, he finds himself smitten with Myrtle the fish.  Raschka's loose watercolor and crayon illustrations add a child-like charm which belies the hipster-like irony of Otter's situation. Luckily, there's a happy ending, as Otter and Myrtle manage to make things work. This story is in the vein of Chris Raschka's Arlene the Sardine and other weird, not-quite-for-kids, but entertaining all the same, picture books.

I borrowed this book from the library.

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