“Mom, Dad, Our Books, and Me” (Owl Kids, April 2016) is a clever book about a young boy learning to read. The boy finds everyone reading — his parents, grandparents, his uncle. He notices that his aunt reads sheet music as she plays her cello. At the doctor’s office, he observes patients in the waiting room and the nurses reading. The lively collage artwork is original and engaging. This is a wonderful book about the pleasures of reading. The boy concludes, “Thanks to books, I find balance, I climb high, I follow new roads, and I move forward.”
In “Let Me Finish!” ( Disney-Hyperion, June 7, 2016) another young boy cannot wait to dive into his new book. But the noisy animals around him talk about the ending of the book, ruining it for him. He runs, he climbs, but he is surrounded by all sorts of animals who continue to reveal the endings before he can finish them. What a problem! The boy finally finds himself alone only to be involved in a very witty surprise ending. With simple yet humorous illustrations, “Let Me Finish” is an entertaining read.
For toddlers, “Make Way for Readers” (Simon & Schuster, July 5, 2016) takes place in a pre-school class. The youngsters gather around the teacher and “everyone listens to merry Miss Bingo the story time rhymer, the singing flamingo.” This darling rhyming read-aloud picture book (i.e., “She tells them of kittens, and mittens, and mice, Miss Muffet, her tuffet, and sugar, and spice.”) extols friendship and the delight of reading.
Nick has two cats, Verne and Stevenson, and they do everything together—swim, camp and bike. In “The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read” (Simon & Schuster, July 5, 2016), he does just that, but it’s much harder than anticipated. Only Verne is interested in reading, and only when he finds a subject he likes (fish!). Nick tries every which way to get Stevenson to read, and takes him to the library to find interesting stories. He finally discovers that “Treasure Island” appeals to both cats, and now they are happily “into” books. The amusing and uncomplicated illustrations create a delightful picture book experience.