I'm going to post a few quick April reviews, as the kid reviewers have already done an excellent job on these. I can't compete. (I don't even have crayons.)
First up: Animal House, by Candace Ryan, ill. by Nathan Hale (Walker, 2010)
Have you ever thought, "What if my couch was a cowch? What if my walls were whales? What if my hamper was a hamster?" I haven't, either. But, thankfully, Candace Ryan has. And now, kids who read her imaginative and funny book will, too.
Missing his homework, Jeremy claims that his "vulchair" ate it. His teacher, Mrs. Nuddles, says that she'll pay Jeremy a home visit. If she doesn't like what she sees, he won't be able to go on the field trip. Meaning, his story had better be true. It is, but she may wish it wasn't. Some of the animals that make up Jeremy's home, such as the refrigergator, are scary!
This book works for all ages, as the word play is both sophisticated and concrete. (Wow. That sentence even made me roll my eyes. I really need some crayons.) For teachers, this would be a great book to introduce word play. I give it an Ape Lus.
Another picture book by Ryan, Ribbit Rabbit, came out this Spring.
Shiver Me Letters: a Pirate ABC, by June Sobel, ill. by Henry Cole, (Sandpiper, 2009.)
You might think "R" is the only letter a pirate needs. ("Rrrr, matey!") Not quite! According to their captain, these pirates need more letters to make them tough. They set sail to find the rest of the alphabet. They find them all, except Z, until...well you'll see. This rhyming book is a fun way to learn the alphabet, and I love the idea of "R" being the pirates' starting point. The kid reviewers liked that, too!
B is for Bulldozer: a Construction Alphabet is another fun alphabet book by June Sobel.
Rhyming Dust Bunnies, by Jan Thomas, (Beach Lane, 2009.) (Drawing by St. Agnes student Elizabeth.)
Three dust bunnies, Ed, Ned, and Ted, rhyme with each other all the time, but Bob doesn't. What is his deal?
In the kid reviews, a question on the worksheet was: "What is funny about this book?" A common answer among the older kids was, "Bob is just so random." I think that's a good answer to a tough question.
What makes something funny? Sometimes, you just can't tell. Have you ever asked, "Why is everything that person says funny?" Then other times, you think something should be funny, but it isn't. In Rhyming Dust Bunnies, everything is funny, but what is funniest for me is that, first, Bob is named Bob, which is a funny name for a dust bunny. Second, the other dust bunnies keep calling him Bob: "No, Bob, that doesn't rhyme." Calling someone Bob over and over makes them sound so grown up. So dust bunnies are having an adult conversation about rhyming. Which is hilarious.
No spoilers, here. You'll have to see for yourself what Bob's problem is. The sequel is Here Comes the Big, Mean Dust Bunny, which is also very funny.