Saturday, April 26, 2008

Friday, April 25, 2008

Ladybug Girl

Lulu zips into the kitchen and proudly announces, "I'm Ladybug Girl!" She's all decked out in ladybug rain boots, a red tutu and leotard, ladybug wings, and some red antennae. After her mother tells her that she has to figure out her own fun today, and her brother leaves to play baseball with his friends, Lulu is a bit upset. She stands in the center of the chaos of her room with nothing to do.

Lulu starts to wander the house. She counts some letters on the spines of the books in the living room. She measures her avocado plant. And then her hound Bingo gives her the look that lets her know it's time to go outside.

Lulu and Bingo are soon saving ants, braving shark infested puddles, building walls, and balancing along toppled trees. Lulu doesn't even let a chance run in with her big brother ruin her fun.

Ladybug Girl, by David Soman and Jacky Davis is simply magical. From the movement in the illustrations to the authenticity of Lulu's day, this book is pitch perfect. My 5 year old saw herself over and over again in the story (from the avocado measuring to the wandering in the yard), and sat silently staring at the pictures. With just enough story, readers get a glimpse into a day in the life of a girl on her own. The endpapers show Lulu in a series of different outfits, and I can imagine some stories coming along about deep sea divers and witches!


Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street

*Sigh* How long have I been waiting for this?

The Penderwicks are back! It's a couple of months since their summer vacation upstate, and the girls and their dad are back on Gardam Street. We flash back to the time that Mrs. Penderwick was still alive, and gave her sister a blue envelope. Rosalind was the only one to hear what was in that envelope, and she conveniently forgot all about it. Everything comes flooding back after Aunt Claire presents said envelope to Mr. Penderwick on a visit. The girls knew that something was up because Aunt Claire comes with gifts...and a plan for a blind date for her brother.

Who is ready for Mr. Penderwick to start dating again, even if it is the late Mrs. Penderwick's idea? Certainly not Rosalind. And certainly not Mr. Penderwick. Enter an emergency MOPS meeting, resulting in the save Daddy plan.

Ensuing are disasterous dates, swapped homework, Aztec plays, the demise of Mick Hart, and a little Tommy love!

I am an unabashed fan of The Penderwicks, and I am delighted with the second installment. The relative innocence of the plot is refreshing, and the storytelling is such a pleasure to experience. Each girl is a personality, and the additions of the characters of Iantha and Ben are welcome. I simply cannot wait to read these books to my daughters.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Stormy's Hat

How happy am I to find a picture book that melds perfectly with a curriculum piece?! Woot, indeed.

Stormy is a hardworking railroad man. But he has one problem. He cannot find a hat to suit his needs. The derby that he has been wearing, goes flying off his head every time that he leans out the window! So Stormy decides to ask his friends for some suggestions. After all, there are hats for policemen, sailors and coat miners...why not for railroad men?

First on the list comes the suggestion from cowboy Tex. A cowboy hat is what Stormy needs! The bonnet strings will keep it from flying off. But Stetson's are tall, wide and white. These all cause problems for poor Stormy.

Next comes the suggestion from Nate the pressman. He thinks a folded newspaper hat is exactly what Stormy needs. But, a paper hat and sparks? You can imagine the results.

On to fireman Mike's suggestion of his fire hat. This seems like the perfect solution. Too heavy to blow off, easy to clean, fireproof! All of these attributes equal hot and heavy, which ends up with Stormy with a headache.

Between all of the suggestions, Stormy's wife Ida has been trying without success to get a word in edgewise. She is, after all, a seamstress who has some great ideas about how to get Stormy the hat he needs. Will Stormy finally listen.

This true story of the invention of the railroad worker hat by Stormy and Ida Kromer. With reference to American tall tales, and a little feminism thrown for good measure, Stormy's Hat is a delightful read aloud with a little something for everyone!