Saturday, February 18, 2012

Three 2012 Picture Books

George Washington's Birthday: A Mostly True Tale. Margaret McNamara. Illustrated by Barry Blitt. 2012. Random House. 40 pages.

When George Washington went to sleep Friday night, he was six years old. When he woke up on Saturday, he was seven. It's my birthday, he thought. Happy birthday to me. 

The premise of this fictional picture book starring a young George Washington is simple. It imagines one day in his childhood. It asks two questions: What was George Washington like as a young boy--say, a seven-year-old boy--and what was his home life like, how would his birthday have been remembered?

In this picture book, George Washington gets more than a little grumpy when his family seems to forget his birthday. If only there was a way for everyone to always, always remember it.

Read George Washington's Birthday
  • If you like fictional picture books based on real people (though so much of this one is fictional)
  • If you like historical picture books
  • If you are teaching George Washington in your classroom and other books are too wordy.
10 Hungry Rabbits. Counting & Color Concepts. Anita Lobel. 2012. Random House. 24 pages.

Mama Rabbit was sad. "I have nothing to put in my soup pot for dinner," she sighed. "But. Mama," whined ten little rabbits. "We are very, very, VERY HUNGRY!" "There is the garden," said Papa Rabbit. "You are sure to find good things for Mama's soup pot there." Ten little rabbits agreed, and off they hopped.

This concept book presents colors (purple, white, yellow, red, pink, orange, brown, blue, green, and black) and numbers (one through ten). The "story" in this one is that a family of rabbits is foraging in the garden looking for things to add to the family's soup pot. Each rabbit is successful, though some more successful than others. (I'm not sure I'd personally want to add blueberries to a soup, especially if the soup had cabbage.)

Read 10 Hungry Rabbits
  • If you are looking for a counting concept book to share with young ones
  • If you are looking for a color concept book to share with young ones
  • If you want to encourage a love of vegetables
  • If you like reading bunny stories
Suppose You Meet a Dinosaur: A First Book of Manners. Judy Sierra. Illustrated by Tim Bowers. 2012. Random House. 40 pages

You're shopping at the grocery store.
Surprise!
You see a dinosaur.
This doesn't happen every day.
So, what are you supposed to say?


Hello. I'm pleased to meet you.


Imagine that the dinosaur
Is standing by a bathroom door.
You have to pee! She's in your way.
Quick! What's the proper thing to say?


Excuse me.


Commotion in the produce aisle!
The dinosaur upsets a pile
Of apples, and they roll away.
If you pick them up, what will she say?


Thank you.

This book surprised me. It really, really surprised me. Why? Well, I'm not a big fan of dinosaur books. In fact, I typically avoid reading them completely because I just don't want to bother reading them, and if I read them, I feel like I should say something about them. And also because I'm not a huge fan of Judy Sierra's rhyming. At least I'm usually not. So I liked this one. I really liked it. I'm not saying I love, love, love it or anything. I'm not saying that I could gush about it for hours or anything. But. I liked the narrative format. I liked how it was all pretend: suppose this, suppose that. I liked how it was addressed straight to the reader: what would you do, what would you say, etc. I liked how sometimes readers were asked what they should say, and sometimes asked what the dinosaur should say. It was a playful concept book.

Read Suppose You Meet A Dinosaur
  • If you're a fan of dinosaur books
  • If you're looking for concept books that teach manners
  • If you're a fan of Judy Sierra
  • If you like silly, imaginative stories

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

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