It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/05/15

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? was initiated by Sheila at Book Journey, and adapted by Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts with a children’s/YA focus – perfect for a children’s librarian like me. This weekly roundup is a great way to discover new blogs and bloggers, share recommended (or not so recommended….) titles, and add to your ever-growing to-read list.

imwayr

So many books, so little time! I’m very lucky in that so many amazing children’s books cross my desk every day. I’m trying to shorten my list down to a manageable length, let’s see how well I do…..

Title: Buster the Very Shy Dog
Author/Illustrator: Lisze Bechtold
Publisher: First Green Light Readers Edition
Publication Date: 2015
Genre/Format: Fiction/Early Reader
Publisher’s Summary: Buster, a very shy dog, does not get along with the other pets in Roger’s house, especially bold and popular Phoebe, but soon Buster discovers his own special talent.

My Two Cents: The two short stories in this collection are sure to bring smiles to the faces of shy or self-conscious children, particularly those who think they have more popular or talented siblings or friends. Buster the shy dog wishes he could be outgoing and talented like the other dog in his family, but he eventually realizes that being quiet, shy, and a good listener can be just as important.

Title: Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret
Author/Illustrator: Bob Shea
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: 2015
Genre/Format: Fiction/Early Reader
Publisher’s Summary: Ballet Cat and Sparkles the Pony are trying to decide what to play today. Nothing that Sparkles suggests–making crafts, playing checkers, and selling lemonade–goes well with the leaping, spinning, and twirling that Ballet Cat likes to do. When Sparkles’s leaps, spins, and twirls seem halfhearted, Ballet Cat asks him what’s wrong. Sparkles doesn’t want to say. He has a secret that Ballet Cat won’t want to hear. What Sparkles doesn’t know is that Ballet Cat has a secret of her own, a totally secret secret. Once their secrets are shared, will their friendship end, or be stronger than ever?

My Two Cents: This silly reader is perfect for fans of Mo Willem’s Elephant and Piggie series, and a great option for independent or paired reading. Kids can take turns reading the parts of Ballet Cat and Sparkles the Pony, who face a major challenge in their friendship when Sparkles confesses that he’s tired of playing ballet. There’s nothing earth-shatteringly unique about The Totally Secret Secret, but it’s a nice, fun offering for kids who’ve exhausted the library’s Elephant and Piggie selection and are looking for something similar to read.

Title: George
Author/Illustrator: Alex Gino
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: 2015
Genre/Format: Fiction/Novel
Publisher’s Summary: When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl. George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part– because she’s a boy. With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte– but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

My Two Cents: Sometimes a book touches you so strongly that you don’t even know how to begin talking about it. More than anything, reading George made angry. Angry that we live in a world in which children have to hide their true identities and live false lives because they’re terrified of how other people will react to them. I just wanted to climb into the pages of the book and hug George and her family, and tell them that they weren’t alone, and that there were people out there who would support them and love them and fight for them. I can only wish that every child finds a best friend like Kelly, who embraces George as she is, and encourages her to be herself. I can only hope that every child has a school principle like George has  and a family who is doing the very best they can for their child. I could write about George for pages and pages, but I’ll just say that this isn’t just a socially important book, it’s also a very good book, and one which takes a potentially unfamiliar topic such as transgenderism, and gives it a very real, very human face. Highly, highly recommended.

PJ Story time….zzzzz….

It’s PJ story time night tonight at a new-to-me branch, so I’m expecting the unexpected. I’ve delivered a few PJ story times before, so I’m going to follow a tried-and-true formula and get ready to think on my feet and adapt when necessary. Wish me luck!

A PJ story time is essentially a bedtime-themed family story time that’s offered in the evenings. One of the exciting (read: potentially disastrous) features of an PJ story time is its all-ages nature – you never know if you’ll be sitting in front of a room full of crawling babies or vocal preschoolers. For an on-call librarian, the challenge is even greater, as you don’t often have the luxury of knowing the regulars at your branch.

While we’re on the subject of PJ story times, here are a few bedtime-themed picture books that might just rock at your next jam session (ha ha…)

Dinosaur Vs. Bedtime

Dinosaur VS. Bedtime

Bob Shea

Simplicity at its best. Get ready to roar as a confident little dinosaur defeats all who dare challenge him (including a pile of leaves), before facing off against his greatest challenge yet – bedtime!

Everyone Sleeps

Everyone Sleeps

Marcellus Hall

A little dog who can’t sleep wanders his neighborhood, wondering if he is the only one still awake. Beautifully illustrated, this is a gentle bedtime story with an endearing little hero.

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site

Goodnight, goodnight, construction site

Sherri Duskey Rinker

And now for something a little bit different – a bedtime book about heavy duty industrial machinery! This is a slightly longer story, but the rhyming text is fun, the illustrations are lovely (even construction machines bring their teddy bears to bed!), and the quirky subject matter is likely to intrigue young listeners.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?

Jane Yolen

How does a dinosaur say goodnight? Perhaps not the way you might think! Repetitive, rhyming text, lush, detailed illustrations, and the added joy of dinosaurs make for an engaging twist on the traditional bedtime story.

Llama, Llama Red Pajama

Llama llama red pajama

Anna Dewdney

Drama, suspense, hilarious illustrations and a repetitive, rhyming story combine in this storytime favourite about a melodramatic baby llama’s bedtime antics.