"From your parents you learn love and laughter and how to put one foot before the other. But when books are opened you discover you have wings."
- Helen Hayes with Sanford Dody, "On Reflection."
Everybody likes a good story and it's easy to determine if a child likes a book or not by being sensitive to the child's level of attention. If you think the child is disinterested, ask the child if they like the story - there are a lot of good things that develop by that one simple question. If the book is a thumbs-down, put it down and find another.
There are endless children's books to choose from; don't risk loosing your audience with books that aren't of interest. As a parent, you are the one who teaches your child love and laughter and how to walk. Be the one who also teaches a love of books and reading. Open a book every day and give your child wings.
Books to Borrow
The following book is available at many public libraries.
"The Scrambled States of America" written and illustrated by Laurie Keller, Henry Holt and Co., 36 pages
Read aloud: age 6-7 and older. Read yourself: age 8 and older.
It all started when the state of Kansas became bored with the same old program, day in and day out. Kansas wanted to see what else was out there in this great country of ours, meet new states and travel to other parts of the country. His boredom led to an idea that he shared with his friend and neighbor, Nebraska. "Let's have a party and invite all the other states! You know, one of those get-to-know-you deals. Everyone can bring a favorite dish. We could have music and dancing ...."
And that is precisely what they did. All the states had a rip-snorting good time. Their enthusiasm was followed by a unanimous decision for all states to change locations with one another and really experience living in another part of the country. Little did they know that their plan would soon end in disaster.
Author/artist Laurie Keller has woven an absolutely hilarious tale that will have readers smiling from page to page while they unconsciously bone up on their US geography.
Library: Dayton Valley Branch Library, 321 Old Dayton Valley Road
Branch Manager: Theresa Kenneston
Choices this week: "Zen Shorts" by Jon J. Muth; "The BFG" by Roald Dahl; "Maniac Magee" by Jerry Spinelli
Books to Buy
The following books are available at favorite bookstores.
"Star Jumper: Journal of a Cardboard Genius" written and illustrated by Frank Asch, Kids Can Press, 2006, 128 pages, $14.95 hardcover
Read aloud: age 7 and older. Read yourself: age 7Ð8.
Alex needs about 10 cardboard boxes to build a decent-sized spaceship, but not for fun. Alex needs the spaceship to leave Planet Earth and put a few light-years between him and his little brother, Jonathan, who drives Alex absolutely nuts. Alex has an amazing scientific mind and uses everyday household items to create his spaceship - Star Jumper. He also creates other useful tools, such as the Micro-Blaster and a Duplicator.
While Alex's Star Jumper and other inventions work, things go a bit haywire and to Alex's surprise, his little brother's invention, The Disappearing Device, helps to save the day. Maybe Jonathan isn't so evil after all.
Frank Asch crafts a hilarious and perfect tale about siblings, pesky little brothers and the bonds of family.
"Hit the Ball Duck" written and illustrated by Jez Alborough, Kane/Miller, 2006, 32 pages, $15.95 hardcover
Read aloud: age 3Ð4 and older. Read yourself: age 6Ð7.
Duck and his friends are on their way to play baseball in the park. When Duck hits the first pitch, the ball gets stuck in a tree. What should they do? Duck knows - throw the bat up and knock it down! Oh no - now the bat is stuck, too! Told in rhyme, this rollicking fun story and animated illustrations will have younger children laughing and cheering for these friends, their team work and funny surprise ending.
• Nationally syndicated, Kendal Rautzhan writes and lectures on children's literature and can be reached at email@example.com