Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Five 2009 picture books

Oh, What a Beautiful Day! A Counting Book. Jeanne Modesitt. Illustrated by Robin Spowart. 2009. Boyds Mill Press. 32 pages.

Oh, what a beautiful day! One pig is prancing. Two ducks are dancing. Three chicks are cheeping. 

I really love this one! It is charming; it is lovely. A cozy, gentle counting-to-ten book starring a young girl who's enjoying life. I love her "And I'm a part of it all." The illustrations are soft, sweet, and oh-so-perfect for this kind of book. 

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations:  4 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

Not Last Night But The Night Before. Colin McNaugton. Illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark. 2009. Candlewick. 32 pages.

Not last night but the night before, three black cats came knocking at the door. I came downstairs to let them in; They knocked me down like a bowling pin. Not last night but the night before, the man in the moon came knocking at the door. He rushed right in; he didn't stop. He spun me round like a spinning top. 

Not Last Night But the Night Before is quirky. It is imaginative; it celebrates plenty of nursery tales (Little Miss Muffet, Little Bo Peep, Three Blind Mice, Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, etc) throughout the text. The illustrations reveal even more of the story. (The company makes an even bigger mess perhaps than the Cat in the Hat.) It's rhythmic. It's a bit crazy. You'll either love it or hate it, I suppose!

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

Grumpy Grandpa. Heather Henson. Illustrated by Ross Macdonald. 2009. Simon & Schuster. 40 pages.

I have one grandpa. He is always grumpy. I call him Grumpy Grandpa even though I'm not supposed to. Mom gets mad, but it's true. Grumpy Grandpa is always grumpy. And he's scary, too.

The little boy narrating Grumpy Grandpa is a little scared of his grandpa. He's come with his family to stay for two whole weeks. He can't imagine why anyone would come to spend time with someone who is just grumpy no matter what. But during this visit, the little boy learns a little more about his grandfather. And the two do become friends. 

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

Llama Llama Misses Mama. Anna Dewdney. 2009. Penguin. 40 pages. 

Llama Llama, warm in bed. 
Wakey, wakey, sleepyhead!
Llama school begins today!
Time to learn and time to play!

It is Llama Llama's first day of school. And will there be llama drama? Yes. But not as much as you might expect considering some of his tantrums in previous books. 

This one is part of a series. Other titles include Llama Llama Red Pajama, Llama Llama Time to Share, Llama Llama Mad at Mama, Llama Llama Home With Mama, Llama Llama Holiday Drama, Llama Llama Nighty-Night, Llama Llama Wakey-Wake, Llama Llama Zippity-Zoom, Llama Llama Hoppity-Hop.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

Who Wants to Be A Poodle I don't. Lauren Child. 2009. Candlewick. 40 pages. 

In a sumptuous apartment in a fashionable city lived the elegantly rich and divinely glamorous Mademoiselle Verity Brulee. Along with Verity Brulee, with her very own personal bedroom, lived Trixie Twinkle Toes Trot-a-Lot Delight or Trixie Toes for short or Trixie Twinkle Belle or Trixie Belle Baby, depending on Verity's mood.

 Trixie, our heroine, does NOT like her name. She wants to be an ordinary dog. She does not want to wear clothes or be styled or groomed all the time. She wants to be like all the other dogs. She wants to be free to step in puddles, among other things. But how will she ever convince her owner? This picture book is all about being misunderstood and finding your voice anyhow.

I thought the design of the book kept it from being reader friendly. It is hard on the eyes to have black text on dark backgrounds--like brown or dark gray. And perhaps it's fun or cute to have the text wrap around in circles and such, but I found it annoying.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 2 out of 5
Total: 5 out of 10

© 2013 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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