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Children's Book Reviews

Book reviews by elementary school teachers Kate Glinsmann and Jennifer Sykes.

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Children’s Librarian: Quick Picks for Picture Books
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I’m excited to introduce you to our guest blogger, Jo, the local librarian that recommended the books I’ve been reviewing the past few months. Jo is a lifelong resident of our small town in rural Iowa. She has a husband of 40 years, three grown children and five grandchildren. Jo recently celebrated her 25th year with our local public library in her role as children’s librarian, and she loves it. Jo says that her love for books began under the “thinking tree” in Northern Iowa where she grew up. We welcome Jo to BabyNames.com this week. -Kate Glinsmann

Duck on a Bike by David Shannon. This book has entertained our library patrons for many years. The book was published in 2002, and I’ve had to reorder it more than once, as the well-read pages become worn out. The book has a permanent place in our collection, along with many other classic David Shannon books. It is perfect to use as part of our summer story walk. In the book, the duck learns to ride a bike and then passes his courage along to the other animals as he rides around the farm. It is a great book to read aloud, with vivid illustrations. The story ends with the duck contemplating his next challenge: a red tractor.

The wait for the sequel has been well worth it. Duck on a Tractor is every bit as funny as the original. Using the same animals from the first book, each one jumps on to get a ride on the tractor with Duck. Duck drives the tractor into town during lunchtime, where many people are gathered at the window of Lily’s Diner witnessing this unbelievable sight.  The illustrations are as funny as Duck on a Bike, especially with the addition of people whose exaggerated expressions add to the fun. The story ends with no one being sure of what they really saw that afternoon.

A great read aloud book that has a permanent place on our shelves.

I am adding A Perfectly Messed-Up Story by Patrick McDonnell to my list of favorite books. Louie has a happy story to tell, and all is well until he discovers a blob of jelly has landed on the page of the book he is holding. And where there’s  jelly, there has to be peanut butter. PLOP! The chunky kind!

The messes continue throughout the story, and Louie becomes more anxious with each one. The last big mess causes Louie to give up on his story. Who wants to read a messy old book that will end up in a garage sale?

After of few pages of moaning and groaning about the mess, Louie realizes his audience is still reading, and it is a pretty good story regardless of the mess on each page. Louie finds his inner strength, and he takes the reader to The End, only for us to find one final mess that made this librarian laugh aloud.

The photographic illustrations of each mess can be easily identified, and they add to the fun of a group reading. A great book to read out loud, with messy predictions for kids.