Thursday, April 28, 2011
I Like Dinosaurs, but...Dinotrux are Even Better
Do you ever wonder what happens at the zoo before it opens? Well, for starters a fox lets all the animals out of their cages/aquariums. You can see what happens next in Lori Degman's fun counting book, 1 Zany Zoo, ill. by Colin Jack (Simon & Schuster, 2010.)
I was reading this to my two younger boys when my older son looked up from his Michael Connelly mystery (hopefully this taste for grownup books is a phase) and said, "Is that Dr. Seuss?" No, but Degman--and some other contemporary authors--use Seuss's rhyme scheme, which is always fun. Probably also very hard to do.
Another fun fact about this book: it won the 2008 Cheerios Spoonful of Stories Contest. The contest is open to unpublished authors, and part of the prize is having your book published by Simon & Schuster. Lori's book was distributed in 2.2 million boxes of cereal. For more information about the contest, see www.spoonfulsofstoriescontest.com.
Lori seems like just the kind of person who would win a major contest sponsored by a beloved cereal. Meaning, she seems like a neat person. I think neat people have neat things happen to them. More likely, they make neat things happen through talent and hard work. You can read about Lori, who also speaks sign language and teaches hearing impaired students, at www.loridegman.com.
I thought the art was reminiscent of cartoons my kids watch, so I looked up Colin Jack. In fact, he has done art work for several shows on Cartoon Network. This is probably a well known fact and I shouldn't be so proud of my detective work. Still, I must share that tidbit with my kids later today.
Dinotrux by Chris Gall is a big hit in our house. The premise is that trucks have evolved. In prehistoric times, they were like dinosaurs--big, mean, and messy. Now, they're helpful! The big news is that Dinotrux was just optioned by Dreamworks Animation. You can read about it at www.chrisgall.com. (I realize that this is less of a review and more of a news flash, but it's nice to shake things up sometimes.) Speaking of shaking things:
Chicken Butt's Back, by Erica S. Perl, ill. by Henry Cole (Abrams, 2011) is the sequel to Chicken Butt. A boy in the grocery store can't help but turn anything followed by "but" into something "butt." Chicken butt, cat butt, bear butt, etc. I love a good play on words, but...Get it? Now we have a Play on Words Butt. What I like best about the book is the look under there joke. Under where? Underwear. That never ceases to be funny.
Now, growing up, "butt" was considered a bad word in my house. We had to say "bottom." I think that's a mostly old-fashioned rule, though. I allow my own children to say "butt" within the confines of our home. They'll probably let their children yell it in public. That's the way things seem to go. Anyway, kids will get a kick out of a book that speaks their language. You can never go wrong with chicken butt--or dinosaur butt--humor!