Dog Book

http://blbooks.blogspot.com/2017/05/dog-book.html

Dog Book. Lorenzo Clerici. 2017. Candlewick. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: I'll call my dog: _____________. Zzz Zzz. Look at your dog sleeping...and listen to him snoring! Hey, sleepyhead, it's time to get up! Do you want to help wake him? Call out his name and then turn the page.

Premise/plot: The Dog Book is an interactive picture book for parents to share with their children one-on-one. (Earlier I reviewed The Cat Book.) The premise is simple: children interact with the book by naming the dog, waking him up, petting and tickling and scratching him, giving him commands like 'sit' and 'fetch,' etc.

My thoughts: When I received review copies of The Cat Book and The Dog Book, I thought I knew which one would be my favorite. But I was wrong. I really do love cats a bit more than dogs. But there are a lot more interactions possible with this fictional dog. And none of them involve squishing fleas or preventing him from eating a bird! The illustrations seem more playful and lively as well.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10
© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
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Squirrel in the House

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Squirrel in the House. Vivian Vande Velde. Illustrated by Steve Bjorkman. 2016. Holiday House. 80 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: The dog who lives next door to the yard where I live tells me that people call dogs "man's best friend." Well, actually, the dog doesn't so much tell me this as he yells it. Usually while he's chasing me.

Premise/plot: Squirrel in the House is narrated by a squirrel, Twitch. He would never normally think about going INSIDE but on one cold wintry day, he does just that. He goes down the chimney and into the house of Cuddles' master's house. The dog is, I believe, the first to notice--perhaps the second. Also taking note of the squirrel is a young child. But it isn't just any day, the master has a LOT of people--family presumably--over to celebrate for some reason. (The squirrel doesn't quite grasp humans.) When the dog is locked up in the basement, and the young child punished for destroying the living room, I believe, the child runs away. The squirrel notices that the boy is dressed for the inside but in the outside and worries. He follows the child, and, when the boy collapses, it's up to the squirrel to alert the family and save the day. But who will listen to a squirrel?!

My thoughts: This is a fun and quick read. Twitch is an entertaining narrator. He loves the human party--especially the pre-shelled nuts. He develops a taste for potato chips and cupcakes too. What kind of tree do they come from, he wonders!

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
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Mama Cat Has Three Kittens

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Mama Cat Has Three Kittens. Denise Fleming. 1998. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Mama Cat has three kittens, Fluffy, Skinny, and Boris. When Mama Cat washes her paws, Fluffy and Skinny wash their paws. Boris naps. When Mama Cat walks the stone wall, Fluffy and Skinny walk the stone wall. Boris naps.

Premise/plot: Mama Cat has three kittens. Fluffy and Skinny copy their mother; they excel at their kitty education--their kitten academy. Boris, well, he's BORIS. He excels in one subject: NAPPING. Perhaps with a minor in STEALING THE SHOW.

My thoughts: I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this one. I like all the cats, but, Boris has the last say! I would definitely recommend this one for parents to share with their little ones. I think cat lovers of all ages can appreciate it.

Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10


© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
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My Pet Human Takes Center Stage

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My Pet Human Takes Center Stage. Yasmine Surovec. 2017. Roaring Brook Press. 112 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: My name is Oliver. This is my pet human, Freckles. I have her well-trained. She feeds me treats. She rubs my belly. But today she's going to a new place of training. It's her first day of school.

Premise/plot: Oliver goes to school to be with Freckles. The school is pet-loving, so no big problem. In fact, there's a school club, Fur-ever Friends Club, that Freckles joins. The club is big on fund-raisers, and, this book is ALL about fund-raising. Freckles and her mom take in a foster-kitten during this time, and, Oliver is out of sorts about the attention being on another cat. Freckles idea is to TRAIN both of her cats for an act in the fund-raising show. Oliver has mixed-ideas about it. He doesn't want Freckles to be humiliated, and, he doesn't want the new kitten to do all the tricks and leave him looking stupid, and, he does like Freckles and want to please her....but is a cat trainable?

My thoughts: More happens in this second book, which, I think is a good thing. Oliver continues to be an entertaining cat. I like this series, but, I'm not sure I love it.


© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
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My Pet Human

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My Pet Human. Yasmine Surovec. 2015. 112 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: I'm a lucky cat. I live a carefree life.

Premise/plot: This (early) chapter book is narrated by a cat. At first, this cat is convinced that he does not need a pet human; that having a pet human would be a bad idea, that having one would ruin his happy-go-lucky, carefree life. But when a little girl and her mom move into 'the old abandoned house,' he gives it a go. Not planning to stay, of course not! Just seeing if he has found a food-source. But the food is good. The belly rubs are even better. Soon she starts calling him OLIVER and he responds to it as his own. His name for her? Freckles.

My thoughts: I liked this one. It's a notebook novel. I've not read many of those. But I liked this one just fine. It is all from Oliver's point of view. I wouldn't say it's a must-read for cat-loving adults, but, it's a pleasant and "safe" read for children who love animals.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
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I Don't Know What To Call My Cat

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I Don't Know What To Call My Cat. Simon Philip. Illustrated by Ella Bailey. 2017. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: I have a new cat. She turned up on my doorstep one day looking hungry. She obviously liked the dinner I gave her, because she's stayed ever since. That's fine. I like cats. There's just one problem. I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO CALL MY CAT.

Premise/plot: The little girl in this picture book has a big problem: she doesn't know what to call her cat. She tries many, many, many names, but none seem to fit. (For one thing, she has to give up the girl names when she finds out it's a boy.) One day her cat disappears, and, a new "pet" follows her home...from the zoo. She'll have problems with this new pet too, but, not about his name. His behavior, well, it might just call for the Bureau of Naughty Animals!!! By the end, all things are resolved happily.

My thoughts: If you're looking for a funny picture book to share with children, I'd definitely recommend this one. I love the pairing of text and illustrations. It's this pairing that gives it a just right feel--an understated yet very funny tone. For example, "I thought Kitty would be just right. 'Here, Kitty!'" Readers turn the page to see over three dozen cats have responded. The text simply reads: "It wasn't."

Steve was a fun addition to this one. He is VERY naughty indeed.

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

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
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The Cat Book

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The Cat Book. Silvia Borando. 2017. Candlewick. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: I'll call my cat: _________. Zzz Zzz. Who's that curled in a ball? Hey, sleepy cat, it's time to get up! Can you help wake him? Call out his name and then turn the page.

Premise/plot: The Cat Book is an interactive picture book for parents to share one-on-one with their little ones. (I say one-on-one because I imagine that it would be difficult to share with a large group of kids as a library or classroom read aloud.) How is it interactive? Children are encouraged to participate: naming the cat, calling out his name, petting him on the back, tickling him under the chin, squishing his fleas, blowing the dead fleas away, sheltering him with a hand so he doesn't get wet, drying him off with a shirt, smoothing down his fur, etc. Every page has something for little ones to do. (All the prompts are in green.)

My thoughts: I like this one. It's creative and unique. There is also a Dog Book.

Text: 3.5 out of 5
Illustrations: 3.5 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
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Picture Book Parade

http://blbooks.blogspot.com/2017/05/picture-book-parade.html

Option 1:
  • What picture books did you read this month?
  • Which squares did you fill?
  • Which squares are you having trouble with?
  • How many until you bingo?
  • Do you have suggestions for other participants?

Option 2:
  • What picture books did you read this month?
  • Which categories did you check off your list?
  • What is your goal? How close are you to meeting that goal?
  • Which categories are you having trouble with?
  • Do you have suggestions for other participants?

Option 3:
  • What picture books did you read this month?
  • Which letters have you read?
  • How many more to go until you've read the alphabet?
  • Which letters are you having trouble with? 
  • Do you have suggestions for other participants?
Books reviewed since last time:
Stack the Cats. Susie Ghahremani. 2017. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Big Sister, Little Sister. LeUyen Pham. 2005. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
Leo the Late Bloomer. Robert Kraus. Illustrated by Jose Aruego. 1971/1994. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
With Books and Bricks: How Booker T. Washington Built a School. Suzanne Slade. 2014. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
Little Miss, Big Sis. Amy Krouse Rosenthal. 2015. HarperCollins. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
Corduroy. Don Freeman. 1968. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
Pocket for Corduroy. Don Freeman. 1978. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
Minerva Louise on Christmas Eve. Janet Morgan Stoeke. 2007. 24 pages. [Source: Library]
Minerva Louise and the Colorful Eggs. Janet Morgan Stoeke. 2006. 24 pages. [Source: Library]
Minerva Louise and the Red Truck. Janet Morgan Stoeke. 2002. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
Minerva Louise at the Fair. Janet Morgan Stoeke. 2000. 24 pages. [Source: Library]
 A Friend for Minerva Louise. Janet Morgan Stoeke. 1997. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
Minerva Louise at School. Janet Morgan Stoeke. 1996. 24 pages. [Source: Library]
A Hat for Minerva Louise. Janet Morgan Stoeke. 1994. 24 pages. [Source: Library]
Minerva Louise. Janet Morgan Stoeke. 1988. 24 pages. [Source: Library]
Thunder Cake. Patricia Polacco. 1997. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
I Am Helen Keller. Brad Meltzer. Illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos. 2015. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
Steppin' Out: Jaunty Rhymes for Playful Times. Lin Oliver. Illustrated by Tomie DePaola. 2017. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
Goin' Someplace Special. Patricia McKissack. Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. 2001. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
Rhyming Dust Bunnies. Jan Thomas. 2009. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
What This Story Needs Is a Bang and a Clang. Emma J. Virjan. 2017. HarperCollins. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
Quinoto's Neighborhood/El Vecindario de Quinito. Ina Cumpiano. Illustrated by Jose Ramirez. 2005/2009. 24 pages. [Source: Library]  

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
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Stack the Cats

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Stack the Cats. Susie Ghahremani. 2017. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: One cat sleeps. Two cats play. Three cats? Stack! Four cats teeter. Five cats totter. Six cats prefer two stacks of three cats.

Premise/plot: Love cats? Love math? Looking for a more unique counting concept book? Stack the Cats is certainly unique and it's just as much math-centered as cat-centered. In all there are ten cats.

My thoughts: Did I love it as much as I wanted to love it? No. I really, really love cats. (My latest addiction is watching Kitten Academy's livestream.) It's not so much that I don't love math as math doesn't love me. (But this basic kind of math is just my speed.) I really found some of the spreads to be super-adorable. For example, "Two cats play" is illustrated by two adorable cats playing with yarn. But some of the spreads just didn't thrill me as much. It's hard for me to imagine eight cats stacked on top of each other! So did I like it more than I disliked it? Yes. I think that's fair enough to say.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
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Big Sister, Little Sister

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Big Sister, Little Sister. LeUyen Pham. 2005. 40 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: In this family, we have two sisters. She's the Big Sister. I'm the Little Sister. The Big Sister usually does things first. I'm the Little Sister. I'm always catching up.

Premise/plot: Who has it better? The Big Sister or the Little Sister?! Pham celebrates both roles really well, in my opinion. (I'm a LITTLE sister). I could see myself--and my sister--in this one.

My thoughts: I love, love, love, LOVE this one. I was very happy for the chance to read it again. I love the writing. I love the narrative. The Little Sister has such a distinct voice and vibrant personality.

The Big Sister is very neat. I'm the Little Sister. I'm not.
The Big Sister gets to stay up later and watch TV. I'm the Little Sister. I go to bed at 7:30. Sometimes.
The Big Sister isn't afraid of the dark. I'm the Little Sister. Help!
I also love, love, love the illustrations.

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



© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
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