Wednesday, Oct 26, 2016
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio


Celebrate spring with new books for children



This is one in a series of monthly reviews of books for young people written by four area teachers of children s literature. Today s are by Barbara A. St. John, a retired Bowling Green State University professor of children s literature.

Spring books are filled with brilliant colors, exciting adventures, and winsome characters. They invite readers to jump in and enjoy the journey!

A GOOD DAY. Written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes. Greenwillow. $16.99. Ages 3-6.

The little yellow bird lost his tail feather, the little white dog s leash was tangled, the little orange fox lost his mother, and the little brown squirrel dropped her nut. What a bad day! But then things turned around and the bad day became a good day. Sometimes a very small thing can make a big difference. Henkes uses watercolor stripes in orange, pink, yellow, green, blue, and lavender alternately with brown-ink stripes on the back cover, and they are repeated in other illustrations. A beautiful, gentle gift.

HERE S A LITTLE POEM. Collected by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters. Illustrated by Polly Dunbar. Candlewick. $21.99. To age 7.

An amazing collection of poems designed for the very young. From Margaret Wise Brown to Langston Hughes to Mikki Grimes and A.A. Milne, a wide variety of poems and poets are represented. Topics are familiar to young children. The illustrations are delightful cheerful, round-faced children romp through the pages. A great baby gift!

THE PERFECT NEST. Written by Catherine Friend. Illustrated by John Manders. Candlewick. $16.99. Ages 4-8.

Jack the cat decided to build the perfect nest. He hoped to attract a perfect chicken who would lay a perfect egg, which would make a perfect omelet for Jack. The chicken came, and the duck, and the goose. Three eggs! Jack was thrilled. Things don t go as Jack had planned, but the nest is perfect. Bright illustrations detail Jack s adventure. Lots of giggles.

WHOSE CHICK ARE YOU? Written and illustrated by Nancy Tafuri. Greenwillow. $16.99. To age 5.

When hen, duck, goose, and bird find an egg, they try to guess who it belongs to. The chick hatches, but only swan knows whose it is. Soft, warm watercolor illustrations will encourage little ones to identify these mothers and their babies.

GATOR. Written and illustrated by Randy Cecil. Candlewick. $15.99. Ages 4-8.

Gator loved being a carousel animal. He loved the people, the lights, and, most of all, the laughter. When the amusement park closed Gator was lonely, so he left the park in search of laughter. Gator s odyssey introduces him to many new experiences, and he returns to the carousel far wiser. Young readers will admire Gator s bravery.

DUCK AT THE DOOR. Written and illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic. Harper Collins. $16.99. Ages 4-7.

Max the duck loves spring so much he decides to stay and enjoy winter. But winter is cold and lonely, so Max knocks on a door where Irene and her many animals live. They welcome Max, and he quickly adjusts to living in a house. By spring Max has worn out his welcome, but his flock returns and he eagerly rejoins them. And Max returns to the house the next winter with friends. Problems? you guess. Hilarious illustrations.

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