Book Bites: June 2014


crayonThe Crayon: A Colorful Tale of Friendship by Simon Rickerty

Red and Blue have new red and blue crayons. What fun! Until… oops! It’s broken! Now what will happen to Red and Blue and their friendship when Red’s crayon breaks and Blue walks away with Purple?  You must read on to see what true friendship looks like. For friends of all ages.


misterbudMr Bud Wears The Cone by Carter Goodrich

Our dog friends Mr. Bud and Zorro are back! Mr. Bud has a hot spot on his side and has to wear “The Cone” when his owner goes out. This messes up the schedule to Zorro’s annoyance, but he soon turns this to his advantage, eating all the dog treats that Mr. Bud can’t reach and teasing him unmercifully. But all is well at the end, and even the youngest readers will recognize the loving, sometimes adversarial, relationship that friends and siblings share. So cute!


Veggies-with-WedgiesVeggies With Wedgies by Todd Doodler

Kids love to talk about underwear. Farmer John has washed his underwear and hung it all on the line to dry… and the vegetables are intrigued. Just what is underwear and don’t they need some, too? There’s nothing funnier than underwear… except maybe veggies with wedgies!




differentAll Different Now by Angela Johnson

The little girl of the story wakes each morning to the smell of honeysuckle before she and her family head out to the cotton fields of Texas. One day, word spreads that they are now and forever free and everything is changed. This gorgeous retelling of Juneteenth, combined with E.B. Lewis’ illustrations, is a moving tale that will fit beautifully in classrooms and family rooms.


putterMr Putter and Tabby Drop The Ball by Cynthia Rylant

Mr. Putter and his cat, Tabby, love to take naps. What they need is exercise. Luckily, Mrs. Teaberry and her dog, Zeke, know of a baseball team they can join. It’s not long before Mr. Putter is ready to play ball, but will his creaky knees cooperate? This is an excellent beginner series—the stories are humorous and heartwarming. The illustrations shine in full color.



GrudgeKeeper1The Grudge Keeper by Mara Rockliff

Picture books are not just for the preschool set. Many have complex words and themes that a young child would not understand. This fable tells the story of Bonnyripple, where no one holds grudges except for old Cornelius who is the town grudgekeeper. When he is buried under too many grudges, the townspeople have to figure out how to save him and deal with their anger. It’s a timeless story that should be shared.




Silver-donkey-131udrjSilver Donkey by Sonia Hartnett

In the woods near their home in World War I France, two little girls find a blind soldier desperate to return to his gravely ill brother in England. Captivated by the soldier’s story and the four parables he tells inspired by the silver donkey good-luck charm given him by his brother, Marcelle and Coco keep the lieutenant secret, caring for him and feeding him as they plan his departure. Beautifully told and hauntingly lyrical, this is a gem of a book.



FortunatelytheMilkFortunately The Milk by Neil Gaiman

When an absent-minded father realizes that there is no milk for his children’s breakfast—and more importantly, no milk for his tea—he sets out to the store. Eventually, after what seems like ages and ages to the kids, he returns with the milk and an unbelievable explanation for why it took so long, an explanation that includes aliens, pirates, wumpires, dinosaur galactic police, time-travel, prophecies… and illustrations! Surely there is not an ounce of truth in Dad’s story… or is there? A great read aloud, and wonderful for reluctant readers.


castleThe Castle Behind Thorns by Merrie Haskell

Sand, the son of a blacksmith, wakes up in the fireplace of the Sundered Castle, a castle surrounded by impenetrable thorns, a castle the villagers have long since forgotten about, a castle in which every bit and piece has been rent into pieces and around which nothing grows… except the thorny hedge that prevents escape. Frightened and alone, Sand sets to putting the castle to rights when Princess Perrotte—who died twenty years ago—appears. Together they must unlock the secrets of the castle’s curse.





PopularPopular by Maya van Wagenen

Eighth grader Maya has always been a social outcast and has always wanted to be a writer.  When she and her mom unearth Betty Cornell’s Teen-Age Popularity Guide from her dad’s collection of vintage stuff, Maya’s mother challenges her to follow the advice for her eighth grade year as part of a writing project. We follow along as Maya follows Betty’s advice from 1951 and offers new tips of her own—such as, “Don’t barf in class!” At the end of the experiment, Maya examines what it means to “be popular,” describes the changes stemming from taking up her mother’s challenge, and offers hope for everyone in middle school. A fun memoir for girls.


aliceThe Truth About Alice by Jen Mathieu

Everyone knows that Alice slept with two guys at a party. That she had sex for math answers. That she had an abortion. After all, it’s all written on the bathroom walls, so it must be true, right? As the story, told in five voices, unfolds, we learn about the accusers as well as Alice and learn that nothing is as it seems. Bullying is a topic of great interest these days, so a discussion about this fabulous debut by local author Jen Mathieu is in order.



farfarawayFar, Far Away by Tom McNeal

Now out in paperback, the ghost of Jacob Grimm—of the Brothers Grimm—has not passed on to the other side; instead, he wanders the space between this world and the next, searching for the regret he must rectify. As Jacob wanders, he learns there is a young boy who can hear those like Jacob, who “sleeps in an attic full of fairy tales” and that there is also someone who would bring him harm. Jacob eventually finds young Jeremy Johnson, whose mother deserted him and whose father is incapacitated with grief, and becomes his companion and protector. But is Jacob Grimm’s protection enough against the evil that exists in the fairytale-like village of Never Better where children disappear, never to return?


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