Saturday, February 27, 2010

Picture Book Saturday

The past couple of weeks have been interesting. I haven't felt like blogging very much, which probably has something to do with the fact that I'm waking up each weekday morning at 4:45am and feel like doing absolutely nothing by the time I get home. Sooo, Picture Book Saturday took an unexpected hiatus, but it's least for now!

Chester's Masterpiece by Melanie Watt

If you have yet to pick up a Chester book, go out to the library and grab the first two, pronto! These hilarious books, written "with no help from Melanie Watt," feature Chester the cat, a character kids are loving.

In the latest Chester installment, Chester's Masterpiece, the author and Chester go back and forth with each other, each trying to write their masterpiece. Melanie just wants to be able to write her book, but Chester insists that he needs absolutely no help from her, resulting in a very funny ongoing disagreement.

The illustrations of Chester are adorable (he even looks slightly annoying) and the cute sticky notes from Melanie add to the fun. Kids will love Chester's antics!
Overall rating: 4 out of 5
Kids love Chester, parents love Chester! My only issue is that books like these are slightly hard to use as read alouds, just due to the sheer amount of "stuff" on each page. Not necessarily a bad thing for a family read, but a little difficult with a group.

Chester's Masterpiece
Melanie Watt
32 pages
Picture Book
Kids Can Press
March 2010
Review copy received from publisher

What Color is Caesar by Maxine Kumin and illustrator Alison Friend

I'm a huge fan of dog books, no matter the genre and Caesar is just adorable! He's now one of my favorite dog characters and I want to just smush him for being so sweet.

Caesar simply wants to know one thing: is he black with white spots? Or is he white with black spots? He goes around asking all sorts of black and white animals what they think his basic color is, but no one can give him an honest answer. In the process though, Caesar learns a lot about colors and even more about what it means to be yourself.

This is not a typical "it doesn't matter if you're different" book. It has some substance, a lot of subtle humor, adorable illustrations, and a fantastic message. It's a bit wordy, so I wouldn't count on your toddlers sitting still through the whole book, but children a bit older will love Caesar.

Overall rating: 4 out of 5
A unique spin on a pretty common theme. Loved the humor, loved the main character, and the not-so-obvious color lessons. Didn't necessarily love the length.

What Color is Caesar?
Maxine Kumin
46 pages
Picture book
February 2010
Review copy received from publisher

The Purple Kangaroo by Michael Ian Black and illustrator Peter Brown

Oh gosh, how fun this one was! This is the perfect read aloud book, with a hilarious Monkey that promise he can read your mind...

As the monkey asks if "you're thinking about..." kids will be shouting out "Nooooo!!!!" And laughing as the Monkey gets more and more detailed in his description of what we are supposedly thinking about. It's hysterical, trust me. You'll want this one on your shelves.

Overall rating: 5 out of 5
I loved it and can see children absolutely loving it as well, asking for it over and over again. Children's librarians, make sure you get a copy for your storytimes, as it makes an awesome read aloud! I can't say I'm surprised, the author/illustrator combo is a winner for sure.

The Purple Kangaroo
Michael Ian Black
32 pages
Picture Book
Simon & Schuster
December 2009
Review copy received from publisher

Looking Like Me by Walter Dean Myers and illustrator Christopher Myers

This one was a whole lot of fun, helping children to celebrate who they are, not only to themselves, but to others as well.

Jeremy is a brother, a son, a writer, an artist, and happy to be all of those things. The author encourages children to look in the mirror and announce just what they are to the world, all while giving a great big smile.

The illustrations are bold, confident, and vibrant, adding a certain joyful feeling while reading the book. I love the message and feel the activity is one we should all encourage children to do and as parents and educators we should help to celebrate just who each child is.

Overall rating: 4 out of 5
A great addition to any library shelf. Would also make a very nice gift to a toddler or young child. Great, eye-catching illustrations and an awesome message.

Looking Like Me
Walter Dean Myers
32 pages
Picture Book
Egmont USA
October 2009
Review copy received from publisher

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Karen said...

Thanks for the recs! I'll have to check out the Michael Ian Black book. He's a hoot!

Myne Whitman said...

I like the Look like me book, sounds like the right message for kids.

Shelley said...

As far as keeping toddlers' attention, using different "voices" and asking questions and making comments and jokes as you go, I find, helps them make it to the end of the book!

Kathy (mommysreading) said...

Thank you for posting about Chester's Masterpiece. I was going to see if the library had it and forgot until I saw your post. I have both Chester and Chester's Back! on hold for my little girl. Thanks for the reminder.

Jeane said...

My kid has a copy of What Color is Ceasar! only I think it's an older edition, and judging by the cover you posted, it has different illustrations. Wonderful story, she likes it very much.