Welcome, Readers!

The contest Save the Picture Book has ended. Telling people about funny, informative, beautiful, or generally awesome picture books continues. I also share middle grade books, book apps, and educational apps that my kids and I like.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

April's Last Review

I'm so happy with the response for April's Save the Laughing Children! (and the Picture Book.) More than 10 classrooms participated and more than 200 individuals.

Some people laugh easily; others don't. But really a sense of humor is about how you look at the world. There is some silliness out there and it's a good idea to know it when you see it! The kids who participated in April's Save the Picture Book contest obviously have that down pat. It will carry them far.

Now we come to...doo doo doo doo...the last review!

This is by 3-year-old Lily. It's for Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas, which earned a Smiley Face review. (That is our version of a starred review here at Save Everything And.)

This is a great book for inspiring young artists!

Great job, Lily. You have won two funny books, including Rhyming Dust Bunnies!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Picture Book Biographies of Powerful Women

May is Save the Girl Power! month...starting with some inspiring biographies about women in music, science, politics, and...the circus! These books are great for both boys and girls. When one teacher announced to her class that they would be saving the girl power this month, the girls cheered and the boys groaned. But I think the boys will like the biographies and some of the other books. My boys did. I'll let you know for sure when I post the kid reviews!

Here are a few short reviews:

Often underdog stories are about sports. Against all odds, talent and hardwork prevail. That happens in music, too. The moment the downtrodden Mary Lou shows the neighborhood what she's about will bring tears to your eyes. This story about jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams is by my friend Ann Ingalls and her sister Maryann. It's illustrated by Giselle Potter.

At school visits, I often talk about current projects. Right now, it's books about pro wrestlers. I show a slide of my favorite wrestler growing up, Andre the Giant, who was an actual giant. That leads me to mention Stand Straight, Ella Kate. Ella Kate Ewing was a giant from my home state (and author Kate Klise's) of Missouri. I tell kids she got teased but got the last laugh by joining the circus. That may sound funny, but in the 1800s, how many women got to tour the world, meet the president, and build an expensive custom home? See? Last laugh. The book is illustrated by Kate's sister, Sarah Klise, making this the second book mentioned here by a sister team!

People in Asia during the Middle Ages must have known that larvae became moths and butterflies. They'd already been raising silkworms for thousands of years. But where Maria Merian lived, people had no idea where "summer birds" came from. She made this incredible discovery as a girl and grew up to be a scientist, a rare career for a girl in the Middle Ages! It's by Margarita Engle and Julie Paschkis.

Theodore Roosevelt said this about his daughter: "I can be president of the United States or I can control Alice. I cannot possibly do both." Boys and girls alike will love this book about a girl with a big personality. She captured the hearts of most, but was too wild for some. In the end, she became a trusted political advisor to her father, proving that it's best to embrace your children for who they are. (Not everybody can be a church mouse, ya know?) It's by Barbara Kerley, a master of biographies. The book is beautifully and humorously illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham, a veteran illustrator but a newcomer to the picture book world. Hoping to see more from him!

What are your favorite biographies about powerful women?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Third Graders Review Funny Books

Here is our last batch of April reviews by students. Mrs. Brooks' 3rd grade class reviewed the ever-popular Scaredy Squirrel. Most of them loved it, but there was one SCATHING review. I'm glad the student was honest, but I decided not to post it. I will say this: authors, if you've every gotten a bad review (and I have) count your lucky stars it wasn't written by a third grader. They don't pull any punches, people. Whew!

Now, onto the good reviews:

By Eli, clearly a fan of the Scaredy Squirrel franchise, and who listed, as the ideal audience, everybody he knows who has a sense of humor (see explanation in red):

By Ethan, who asked for more nonfiction subject matter regarding squirrels. (As a nonfiction writer, I like comments like that!):

And his sketch:

And Caroline, who notes that the book made her feel both creeped and confident. Well, confidence is always good!

And her sketch!

Great job, Mrs. Brooks' class! The prize will be arriving this week!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Funny Books Kids Would Write

I love this! Miss Dulek's first grade class reviewed funny books for April's Save the Laughing Children! and designed book covers for their own funny books.

We'll start with some book ideas inspired by the books they read. Sequels, perhaps?:

Instead of Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten, by Audrey Vernick, ill. by Daniel Jennewein, we have is Your Buffalo Ready for First Grade by Emily F.

Actually, there is a real-life sequel to this book coming out this summer: Teach Your Buffalo to Play the Drums.

Scaredy Squirrel, by Melanie Watt, is about a scaredy squirrel. Lily's book is about a SCARY squirrel. The girl is saying, "Your sckaring me!" A squirrel that's bigger than you are? Yeah, I'd be sckared, too!

I believe this one must be based on No, David by David Shannon. Only, in this case, it's No, Jackson, by Jackson W.

Here is a new take on Rhyming Dust Bunnies, by Jan Thomas, called Ryming Frogs, by Claire:

I love Nick's review of Dinotrux, by Chris Gall, which says the story is about Dinosors that are Turks. Possible spinoff?

But this book, about trucks that are now robots, set in the future, is a great idea, too!

Now for some funny--yet action packed--book ideas:

The Evil Dr. He doesn't have time to spell it out for you.

Babby vs. Bigfoot (who is literally a big foot.)

And probably the best title...Ocktapoos.

This worksheet asked, "What would your book be about?" Wolf said, "ocan." Of course. Ocktapoos live in the ocan. But based on the picture, the book is also about tons of other awesome stuff, too, such as: ninjas, a cloud guy, a guitar, an evil smiley face, guy with a pointy hat and H shirt, lady who needs to be rescued, a kid playing kickball, and an ocktapoos (obviously.)

And, finally, Easter Eggs. If you can write a funny book about Easter Eggs, you will never go hungry in this business!

Miss Dulek and her class did an awesome job! Some of these ideas really could be books. Put them in your pocket for later, kids. The world can never have enough funny books!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Scaredy Squirrel Kid Reviews Part 3

I'm loving these Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach reviews from the 2nd grade St. Peter's classes. So much so that I'm giving each their own day. Today's reviews, by Mrs. Burton's class are especially vibrant. Oh, yeah. They broke out the markers. My scanner loves markers (and doesn't do justice to crayons, which is kind of heartbreaking:( Which is why I closed the parenthesis with a frowny face.

These are from last month's highly popular contest Save the Laughing Children! For this month's Save the Girl Power! flyer, please scroll down.

Here are reviews by Sydney:



And Margaret. I love the colors in this one. Here, Scaredy Squirrel looks brown, but in the actual artwork, he is orange, and wouldn't it be awesome if all squirrels were orange? Maybe this would happen if we left more carrots laying around?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Kid Reviews: Scaredy Squirrel Part 2

More reviews of Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach, by Ms. Grant's second grade class at St. Peter's!

By Sam:


And I love this one by Paige, in which Scaredy Squirrel plays ded:

Great job, kids!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Kid Reviews: Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach

There are lots of children's book characters that I love. Only a few become family members--the kind that you love to laugh about but also just love. Olivia is one. So is Scaredy Squirrel. I mean look at his leisure suit. He is wearing it for a birthday party to which he is only inviting himself. (Guests cause too much stress.) This cover is from Melanie Watt's newest Scaredy Squirrel book. But there are other Scaredy Squirrel books, too, including Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach, which Miss Jett's second grade class at St. Peter's reviewed for April's Save the Laughing Children! (and the Picture Book.)

Here are select reviews by Grace:




And Raymin. To me, this one looks a bit like a mummy, something Scaredy Squirrel would definitely be afraid of. In a future book, perhaps he'll travel to Egypt. (Actually, if you know Scaredy Squirrel, you know that even visiting a neighboring tree would send him over the edge. That's what we love about him.)