Tag Archives: Book Reviews

Mouse Was Mad by Linda Urban

7 Aug

Mouse is mad.  Hopping mad, in fact.  But, according to rabbit, his hopping is ridiculous.  Rabbit shows him how to hop properly, and when mouse tries again, he lands in a mud puddle.  This makes him even madder.  STOMPING mad, in fact.  But bear has an opinion about mouse’s stomping ability.  One by one, the animals criticize mouse’s actions, making him more and more mad, until mouse finds a way to be mad that no one can top.  Of course, the admiration he receives from the other animals cures his bad mood.  This delightful book would be fun to follow up by talking about feelings, and what we do when we feel mad (and when it’s okay to stomp or scream), or sad, or happy.  Children can feel frustrated if they don’t yet have the words to express how they feel, so giving them that vocabulary, especially in a safe, loving situation like a one-on-one reading session, can really help ease their frustration.

Urban, Linda.  Mouse Was Mad.  Illus. by Henry Cole.  New York, Harcourt Children’s Books, 2009.  ISBN: 9780152053376

Boo Hoo Bird by Jeremy Tankard

5 Aug

Bird and Raccoon are playing catch when, suddenly, “BONK!” A throw goes awry and Bird is hit in the head.  He wails in pain and unhappiness as, one after one, his friends try to find a way to make him feel better: a hug?  A cookie?  A band-aid?  Nothing works, causing Bird’s friends to burst into tears as well.   Surprisingly, that’s just what makes Bird realize he’s fine, really.  Reading this book aloud provides the reader with a great opportunity to really ham it up; pretending to moan and wail.  The kids will love it (trust me, they cracked up when I did it), and the more fun we have with books, the more motivated our kids are to become readers.

Tankard, Jeremy.  Boo Hoo Bird.  New York: Scholastic Press, 2009.  ISBN: 9780545065702

Higher! Higher! by Leslie Patricelli

26 Jun

A little girl is pushed on a swing and on each page has one request: “Higher! Higher!”  She swings so high that she sees the rooftops of buildings, a climber on a mountain summit, and even a rocketship!  At the height of her swing she encounters a friendly alien, whom she greets with a “High Five!”.  This would be a great book to share one-on-one with a young child, building language skills by talking about what the girl can see on each page.  Print awareness might also be increased by pointing out and having the child “read” the word “Higher” as it appears on most pages. 

Patricelli, Leslie.  Higher!  Higher!  Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick, 2009.  ISBN: 9780763632410

The Doghouse. Dun dun DUN!!!

27 May

Jan Thomas is my new favorite picture book author.  She (?) wrote the Rhyming Dust Bunnies book I reviewed earlier, plus What Will Fat Cat Sit On and others.  My new favorite, though, is The Doghouse. In the simple (but highly effective) story, Duck, Pig, Cow and Mouse are playing ball when Cow accidentally kicks the ball into THE DOGHOUSE.  Who will be the brave soul who goes in to get it out?  None of the animals looks thrilled at the prospect, but Mouse convinces Cow that he must go first: “Cow is big!  Cow is brave! Cow is strong!” (Cow’s response? A rather not-so-big-and-brave “Moo!”).  One by one the animals go in, but they DO NOT COME OUT!  What happened?

When I read this to preschoolers, I added a “Dun dun DUN!” after reading the title (in a suitably dark and scary voice).  After a few more of these drama-heighteners, the kids picked up on it and started adding their own “Dun dun DUN!”s.  LOTS of fun.

Reinforcing print awareness skills are words emphasized in big letters and colors (which, after repeated readings, kids will be able to identify on sight), and kids will have fun predicting what will happen.  I can’t wait to see what Jan Thomas comes up with next — surely another simple, but VERY creative, crowd-pleaser.

Thomas, Jan.  The Doghouse. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, 2008.  ISBN: 9780152065331

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