Monday, December 8, 2008

Toot & Puddle: Wish You Were Here

Author/Illustrator: Holly Hobbie
Year: 2005
Reading Level: 4-8
Series: Toot and Puddle

Plot Summary: Toot goes off to visit Borneo (of course) leaving Puddle with Cousin Opal for company. Toot sends a few postcards about his exotic adventures but winds up coming home soon with the Violet Virus and he turns a rather unhealthy shade of purple. It's up to Puddle and Opal to find a cure for this rare disease--and it happens to be right in their own backyard.

My Rating: A-. I'll admit that I expected more from this book after hearing so much about the series. The artwork is extremely lovely, but the story seemed a little lacking to me. Maybe I'm just picky though... Also there was a random inclusion of the Internet when Opal does research online. It seemed so very out of place in Woodcock Pocket.

Place Called Kindergarten

Author: Jessica Harper
Illustrator: G. Brian Karas
Year: 2006
Reading Level: 4-8

Plot Summary: Tommy lives on a farm and he visits the animals in the barn every morning, until one day he doesn't show up. The animals wonder where he could be all day until Tommy appears in the afternoon to tell them he's been to kindergarten. Tommy is full of new facts and stories and even sings a song for the animals.

My Rating: B+. This is a nice, gentle positive endorsement for the kindergarten experience. The illustrations are soft and soothing, and it all turns out quite rosily in the end. That said, I'm sure this same story could be told in a more interesting fashion...but I guess then it might not be so gentle and soothing?

Owen's Marshmallow Peep

Author/Illustrator: Kevin Henkes
Year: 2002
Reading Level: 3-6

Plot Summary: It's Easter and Owen has a lovely Easter basket full of goodies. One by one he gets out his favorite treats--jelly beans, a chocolate bunny--and eats them up. But when he gets to his yellow marshmallow chick, Owen just can't bring himself to eat it. Instead he plays with it all day and then puts it safely on his shelf at night.

My Rating: A-. I enjoyed this book. It was cute and had such cute little pictures. It's a good one for younger readers with lots of white space and simple, repetitive language. On the other's a book about Peeps! How random is that?

Burger Boy

Author: Alan Durant
Illustrator: Mei Matsuka
Year: 2005
Reading Level: 4-8

Plot Summary: Benny loves hamburgers. They're all he ever wants to eat and finally he eats so many he...turns into a burger boy. Naturally everybody except his Mother want to eat him so Benny goes on the run, chased by dogs and other boys alike. In the end he eats vegetables and turns back into a real boy...until he eats too many carrots.

My Rating: B+. This was another kind of strange book. I really liked the colors, and it was well written. But it was kind of strange when other boys were salivating over the idea of eating Benny and started chasing him. I don't know how I feel about semi-cannibalism in picture books.

The Terrible Underpants

Author/Illustrator: Kaz Cooke
Year: 2003
Reading Level: 4-8

Plot Summary: This kind of strange book is about a girl, Wanda-Linda, who goes to put on her underpants only to realize they're all hanging on the line to dry. Her parents tell her she needs to wear her "terrible underpants" that are faded, stained and baggy. Through the rest of the book Wanda-Linda's terrible underpants seem to be seen by everyone--including a news crew. Her final solution? Why, take them off of course!

My Rating: B. Strange book. The art is kind of wacky and not to my taste..the story didn't really interest me. My real question is: why does she still have this terrible pair of underwear and why do her parents actually support her wearing them?

Meggie Moon

Author: Elizabeth Baguley
Illustrator: Gregoire Mabire
Year: 2005
Reading Level: 4-8

Plot Summary: Digger and Tiger are best friends and they love to hang out in the junkyard, all day every day. One day someone new comes to their favorite place and, even worse, it's a girl. Meggie Moon plays differently in the junkyard--she builds things like rockets and carts. Soon all three of them play together all day every day but what happens when Meggie Moon goes away?

My Rating: A-. This was a cute little story and the illustrations are quite delightful also. My one complaint is just that the story ends rather abruptly and almost a little over the top. I know part of the book is about imagining things, but the last page seemed a little unnecessary.

Once Upon a Banana

Author: Jennifer Armstrong
Illustrator: David Small
Year: 2006
Reading Level: 4-8

Plot Summary: This wordless book follows a street performers attempt to catch his wayward monkey. As the monkey sets off, antics and accidents ensue as one person tumbles into another. In the end, however, everyone winds up happy and everyone gets a banana.

My Rating: B+. This was a fun book, and the illustrations have a lot of style. My one complaint is that sometimes the action sequences could be hard to follow.