I Am Henry Finch
By Alexis Deacon
Illustrated by Viviane Schwarz
Candlewick Press. $16.99
When you open this picture book you’ll discover a flock of finches that make a lot of noise no one really appreciates. That situation is suddenly altered when one of the birds named Henry decides to begin thinking for himself and not just accepting whatever the flock does.
Then, before you can say “Turn the page!” Henry decides to take on the green monster that enjoys harassing the flock. Unfortunately, rather than vanquish this adversary, Henry is eaten by the monster. Oh dear, you’ll say, that’s not good!
Fortunately, the monster never learned to chew his food so the little bird is still in one piece, although he is now inside the creature in its stomach. I’ll let you discover how Henry deals with this precarious situation and is reunited with his flock.
Needless to say, this is a rather odd story and one that younger readers may find troubling even though Henry does overcome some major obstacles the author invents. While perhaps an older child will find this story amusing, I’d be careful about using it with a three or four year old. Henry may have learned to “think for himself” in this tale but the way this realization unfolds is a bit bizarre to say the least!
Achoo! Why Pollen Matters
By Shennen Bersani
With the arrival of spring, pollen floats in the air and allergy sufferers find themselves coughing and blowing their noses at lot. Baby Bear, the central character in this book, has the same problem. The pollen he encounters sticks to his fur and makes him itchy and sneezy.
Although the cub would rather not have to deal with pollen, his friends explain to him why pollen is important and also why without pollen many animals would go hungry.
Ideal for children four or five years of age, this paperback will help parents or teachers explain why pollen is so necessary in the natural growing process of many plants. Four pages of hands on learning activities at the end of the book will help illustrate the importance of this sometimes irritating substance that can make some individuals’ lives miserable.
If you’d like to introduce your child to role pollen plays in the natural world around him or her, give this inexpensive book a try.
By Taro Miura
Candlewick Press. $8.99
For a very young child a board book is a great way to introduce the child to reading and enjoying books. The thick pages are sturdy and easy to turn while the large illustrations in bright colors are eye arresting and will hold the youngster’s attention.
In “There, There” Japanese writer/illustrator Taro Miura presents a number of animals and answers the question, “What does the animal say?”
The book takes an interesting turn, though, when the animals react to a baby crying by beginning to shed tears themselves. That’s when the child speaks the soothing words “There, there!” which brings the waterworks to an end.
A companion board book, “Bum, Bum,” is also available and showcases the posteriors of various animals.
Both these books have a limited text but that’s not a problem because for young children the illustrations introduce a youngster to various common animals. The recommended age group is up to age three when a more challenging text would then be appropriate.
Ginny Louise and the School Showdown
By Tammi Sauer
Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
With her positive attitude, warm smile and penchant for hearing only what she wants to, Ginny Louise manages to disarm the three bullies and turn them into much nicer individuals.
When she first arrives Ginny Louise is so irritating that one of the nasty crew tells her, “Yer gonna pay.” Her response is, “I’d love to stay! Thanks, new best friend!”
When other desperados voice similar sentiments and tell the hedgehog, “”You’re messing with my bad-guy force field! “ and “Yer gonna pay!” she again responds with “I’d love to play! You’re the best new friend!” Of course this is not the reply the motley crew expected or wanted.
With her exuberant personality and unexpected responses to threats, it doesn’t take Ginny Louise long to alter the classroom atmosphere and change the attitudes of the resident pesky troublemakers.
Unfortunately, reality doesn’t always work this way but this does make for a positive, humorous story and one that young readers will find amusing and enjoy reading over and over again.
Guess How Much I Love You: One More Tickle
By Sam McBratney
Illustrated by Anita Jeram
The main character, Little Nutbrown Hare, wants to know if Big Nutbrown Hare is ticklish. This means the little bunny is going to conduct an experiment to see if the adult rabbit will react to a series of tickles.
As you page through this book you can use the puppet to see how ticklish your toddler is or vice versa. Either way, the puppet will provide some amusing interaction with child and adult while making for a riotous story time.
Although this novelty book is an entertaining read, the puppet is the major selling point. The cute bunny puppet will be such a hit with everyone in the family that there may be “turf wars” over whom this toy really belongs to!
The Detective Dogs in an American Adventure
Illustrated by Monika Suska
Maverick Arts. $9.99
When the Dog Detectives (Detective Jack and Deputy Poco Loco) are enjoying a sunny day at the beach, they encounter an opossum, Miss Imogen, who has taken to the air by amassing a bunch of balloons. Unfortunately her aerial adventure is over and she has now come back to earth far from her New York home and needs help finding her way back to the Big Apple.
The Detective Dogs volunteer their assistance and bicycles for the cross-country trip that will take the trio to a variety of places from Las Vegas to the swamps of Louisiana and the White House in the nation’s capital.
An entertaining story that works in some simple information about American landmarks, you’ll want to accompany these critters on their cross-country journey that will eventually get them back to Miss Imogen’s home.