Miss Smith's Incredible Storybook by Michael Garland was wonderful! Miss Smith is a teacher with the magical ability to read stories out of books, creating a fantastic show each day during story time. When each story ends, the characters jump back into the book, returning the second grade classroom to normal, but always leaving the children enchanted. When Miss Smith is late one day, the principal takes over her job of reading to the children and is horrified to find book characters in the classroom and doesn't realize that by simply finishing the story, the characters will return to their story land, creating immense chaos in the room.
The story is humorous enough, but the illustrations are just fantastic in this book. Lots of bright colors will draw a child's eye all over the pages and the depictions of famous storybook characters are perfect. I love this book and am anxious to read the sequel. I've ordered if for our library, but the waiting period stinks!
The Story of Giraffe by Guido Pigni and Ronald Hermsen was excellent. It is the tale of a lone giraffe that wishes to board Noah's ark, but is turned away because he is not one of a pair and the animals are supposed to arrive on the ark "two by two." Giraffe sets out on a journey to find another giraffe to join him on the ark, searching high and low without any luck. Giraffe is incredibly lonely and worries that he will never find another giraffe before the flood comes.
This story was very subtle and sweetly told. The illustrations were very simplistic, but done in beautiful, soft tones that help tell this soothing story. I think this would be a perfect bedtime selection, as well as one that helps explain the story of Noah's ark to young children.
Finally we have The Unexpectedly Bad Hair Day of Barcelona Smith by Keith Graves. This is the story of Barcelona Smith, a boy with wild blue hair that has a very tame personality, never taking risks, exposing himself to germs, or having any fun! One humid day, his hair goes out of control, resulting in Barcelona Smith going out of control as well and doing all the fun and "risky" stuff he had never tried.
The story itself, as well as the illustrations are witty and charming. I loved the description of activities Barcelona felt were too risky such as smelling roses, playing on playgrounds, or having a pet. Children will find this book really funny and will get a kick out of Barcelona's wacky hair.
Hopefully some of your kids will be able to enjoy these books...or just you!