Saturday, October 20, 2012

Four 2012 Picture Books

Boy + Bot. Ame Dyckman. Illustrated by Dan Yaccarino. 2012. Random House. 32 pages.

A boy was collecting pinecones in his wagon when he met a robot. "Hi!" said the boy. "Want to play?" The robot blinked. "Affirmative!" They played. They had fun. 

Boy + Bot is such a fun picture book! A boy and a robot meet each other one day and decide to play together. When the robot is accidentally turned off, the boy doesn't understand why the robot is no longer responsive. So he tries a little bit of everything to make him all better and wake him up again. When the robot's power switch is finally turned back on--again an accident--the robot doesn't understand why the boy is unresponsive, the boy is asleep in bed. Now it is the robot's turn to "fix" the boy. The robot takes him home and does his best to make him better in the way he knows how. Fortunately, the robot's inventor intervenes before the boy's batteries are changed. It is a fun, simple, playful book that I liked more and more each time I reread it.

Read Boy + Bot
  • If you enjoy imaginative, playful books
  • If you're looking for a fun read aloud 

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs. Mo Willems. 2012. HarperCollins. 40 pages.

Once upon a time, there were three Dinosaurs: Papa Dinosaur, Mama Dinosaur, and some other Dinosaur who happened to be visiting from Norway. 

Goldilocks and The Three Dinosaurs isn't my new favorite picture book or even my new favorite picture book by Mo Willems. But it is a playful retelling, a more sarcastic retelling, of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. In this retelling, the three dinosaurs see Goldilocks--or perhaps some other unsupervised girl--as prey. They are setting a trap to catch a little girl unawares. Their bait is chocolate pudding. Three giant bowls of chocolate pudding--chocolate pudding at varying temperatures, true, but irresistible to just about everyone. Goldilocks definitely is tempted by the pudding--it would be hard to resist--but she's not so foolish as to ignore each and every warning sign of danger. The result is two completely different morals at the end of this one.

It was fun to see just how many changes were made to the story. And some of the changes were just right, in my opinion. But. I didn't love it absolutely. I think the humor is better appreciated the older you are. And it may be a book that grows on you with each reading. I notice more each time I reread it. Small things mostly in the illustrations. 

Read Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs
  • If you're a fan of Mo Willems
  • If you like fairy or folk tales
  • If you like playful (sarcastic) adaptations of traditional tales
  • If you like funny books

Let's Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy. Jan Thomas. 2012. Simon & Schuster. 40 pages.  

I just LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Jan Thomas' IS EVERYONE READY FOR FUN? I really wanted to love her newest book, Let's Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy, just as much. It didn't quite happen. But. I did really enjoy it. I really do love Thomas' cows. They are just so much fun!!! The book begins with a cowboy singing a gentle lullaby to two of his cows, things are going well until....the song gets the cowboy's "EEK!" as the cowboy gets frightened over and over again. The cows do a great job in calming and reassuring the cowboy most of the time...

I thought this one was fun and playful. The cowboy's fears provided the silliness required to be a Jan Thomas book. And it's definitely not your typical bedtime book. I am not sure I'd recommend this one for bedtime, but, I do think it would make a fun anytime read aloud.

Read Let's Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy
  • If you're a fan of Jan Thomas
  • If you're looking for a book about a cowardly cowboy
  • If you like silly books with playful twists
Dragons Love Tacos. Adam Rubin. Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri. 2012. Penguin. 40 pages. 

I thought Dragons Love Tacos was very fun, very silly, a bit predictable but mostly enjoyable! A boy who loves dragons just knows that dragons love, love, love tacos, and if they love anything more than tacos, it's a taco-eating party thrown just for them. But he also knows that dragons HATE spicy salsa, and that spicy salsa hates them. The spicy heat leads to disastrous tummy troubles... If you enjoy silly books, then this one may just be for you. 

Read Dragons Love Tacos
  • If you like dragons OR like tacos
  • If you like silly books
  • If you're looking for a fun read aloud

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Jan in Edmonds 10:13 PM  


I like the way you do your reviews -- with highlighted title, author etc. And I'm looking for kid pic books for my 4 y/o granddaughter & me to read.

Keep up the good work!

Jan (in Edmonds)

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I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

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.
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