Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Busy Day

My colleague, who is the manager at our big branch, has asked me to jump in and tell some stories at an event she's having on the 28th. I'll definitely be telling my "A Sense for a Sense" story, and I will read Click Clack Moo, complete with my prop, but I'd like to mix it up a bit with new things, or, at least, things that are new to me. It's been some time since I did a good picture book/folk tale run through, so I'm looking forward to this. Here is some of my research.

Actual Size, by Steve Jenkins. I think I met this guy at ALA-Chicago. He was promoting his new book, which features zoo animals. Or, at least, I met someone promoting this book, and he took credit when I said how cool it was.

This book is totally cool. If you stood outside my office just now, you would have heard me go "whoa!" and "ugh!" a few times. It's pretty short, though, and I don't think I'll be using it for my story time. I'm not really comfortable with a lot of back and forth with the kids, which seems necessary for this book, and since I don't even know this group at all, I'll stick to a more traditional format.

I do have to say how I love the illustrations. They are Carle-esque, complete with hand-made paper. Excellent.

Seven Blind Mice, by Ed Young. This is going into my Maybe stack: it reads well out loud, and the illustrations are interesting but simple. The blackness of the backgrounds really makes the colors stand out. The elephant is made with the hand-made paper, which adds texture, but the rest of the illustrations are smooth and watercolors.
The moral at the end is a little silly, and probably won't be retained by the audience, but it doesn't detract from the rest of the book.

Thump, Quack, Moo: A Whacky Adventure, by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin. I didn't know there were more than one of these, but there's a whole bunch! This particular one is actually pretty silly. It's takes the animal sentience, which was funny, unexpected, and well-presented in the first book, to bit of a silly level. Kids will probably like it, but I'll stick with the original, which sounds better aloud, as its chorus comes more often.

Click, Clack, Splish, Splash: A Counting Adventure, by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin. I'll be using this one. It isn't in the spirit of the original, but it's cute in its own way. It sounds good out loud.

Giggle, Giggle, Quack, by Doreen Cronin; illustrated by Betsy Lewin. This is truly in the spirit of Click, Clack, Moo! I love it! I'll read them in order, even.

Dooby Dooby Moo, by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin. Once again, not in the spirit of the original, but it stands on its own and doesn't require familiarity with the others in the group. I will try it aloud on my husband and see if I can get the sounds right. He protests when I try to read picture books to him, but I only inflict the music-themed ones on him, and of course he always loves them.

The Three Brothers: A German Folktale, by Carolyn Croll. This is a little older (1991, I think), and it has a much older style, both in the telling and the art. The art is good, and it's a fine story, but I feel it's more for a one-on-one reading with a child who needs the message it contains. It's not very interesting, either artistically or textually, so probably won't hold the interest of a young audience.

Bounce, by Doreen Cronin; illustrated by Scott Menchin. Now I think she's milking her fame. Really? Is this necessary?

Wiggle, by Doreen Cronin; illustrated by Scott Menchin. See above; I feel vindicated: the circ on these is nothing to write home about: a combined total of 3 times last year and absolutely zero this year. There is merit in books that invite audience participation in a Shake, shake, shake your sillies out kind of thing, but these do an awfully poor job of it. They sound stilted and awkward. The author should stay with the marginally older audience of her more renowned books.

Duck for President, by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin. I didn't like this one, and I can see no merit in reading it aloud to a group of kids-- it's not that sort of interesting. That said, it retells a be-happy-where-you-are kind of story and it's not bad. It's not at all like the originals, and for that I'm frustrated with it and the author, for cashing in on her and the characters' fame. But it's fine, I suppose, and probably would work just fine in a small group or one-on-one reading. It's not funny enough or interesting enough or marvelous enough for me to put myself up there with it, though.

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