Thursday, May 31, 2012

Picture Book Roundup - May edition

So many great picture books have passed my desk lately.  Here are a few:

  • Joose, Barbara. 2012. Old Robert and the Sea-Silly Cats. Ill. by Jan Jutte. New York: Philomel.

Each night, Old Robert counts "his regular things in their regular place"

Clean socks
a clock
my ship in the slip at the dock.
One dish
one spoon
a slice of the silver moon.
Things are always the same until the night a cat asks to come in.  There was no room for a cat on Old Robert's boat,

And yet ...
        and yet ...
               Old Robert said yes ...
... and the cat came in.

This is a delightfully, quirky story about Old Robert, his boat, and how one small decision can change a life (or two, or three, or ...).  Illustrations by the Netherlands' Jan Jutte, give Old Robert and the Sea-Silly Cats a salty and silly air reminiscent of old comics (think Popeye or original Tin Tin) touched with whimsy.  Comforting, repetitive refrains make this a great read aloud. 

There is just something irresistible about Old Robert and the Sea-Silly Cats.

And there's apparently a song available, too,  "Old Roberts Jig" by the Happy Racers.

  • Elya, Susan Middleton. 2012. Fire! ¡Fuego! Brave Bomberos. Ill. by Dan Santat. New York: Bloomsbury.

My husband has had a long and wonderful career in the fire department, so I'll admit some partiality to firefighter books, even ones that feature firefighters rescuing cats from trees.  For the record, professional firefighters don't rescue cats from trees. They will, however, rescue animals from fires, and in Fire! ¡Fuego! Brave Bomberos, a house fire traps a poor kitty on an upper floor,

Climbing up la escalera,
Coaxed by food in small pedazos,
kitten jumps to outstretched brazos.
See how easy that was?  You're speaking Spanish. Even without the brightly colored double spread illustration of a firefighter on a ladder, hand extended with cat treats, you knew what it meant, and kids will too!  The story rhymes, the meter's fine, and if you need help with pronunciation, it's all in the Glossary.  All bias aside, I like it!

  • Kohuth, Jane. 2012. Duck Sock Hop. Ill. by Jane Porter. New York: Penguin. 

I've been waiting to see this one, ever since I saw it on Fuse #8's Librarian Preview.  As usual, Betsy Bird knows her stuff. 

Warm up, wiggle,
stretch your beak.
Duck Sock Hop
comes once a week.
Short, fun, and simple with colorful illustrations surrounded by white space with minimal text on each page.  Perfect for storytime, for toddlers, for reading aloud.

And another song!  This one comes with the free "Duck Sock Hop Bop," composed by Jeremy Stepansky, the author's cousin.  I'm always game for singing, so I'll give it a try.  Thankfully, children are such kind audiences.

And last but not least, a little beauty of a book,

  • Isadora, Rachel. 2012. Bea at Ballet. New York: Penguin.
Rachel Isadora's simple words are accompanied by pen and pencil sketches of an adorable mix of multicultural children.  All are highlighted by colorful clothing painted in oils. Another perfect book for very young listeners.

If you have or know a tiny ballerina, this book is a must!


  1. Fun roundup! I hadn't heard of the first two books, but they both look great. And I keep hearing about Duck Sock Hop but haven't read it yet. I'd love to get my hands on a copy someday soon :)

  2. These look great! You can't go wrong with fire fighters, dancing ducks, or cute ballerinas. It's recital season so Bea would be especially popular right now. Thank you for sharing!


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