To celebrate the birthday of Dr. Seuss, who was born 105 years ago this month, we held a large celebration at our library centered around his masterpiece Horton Hears a Who, the story of a kind-hearted elephant who discovers an entire city of tiny people living on a dust speck and vows to protect them because, after all, “a person’s a person no matter how small.” It was a pleasure to share my love for Horton with the children who attended our party. Like many of Seuss’s works, Horton Hears a Who teaches us valuable lessons, in this case about tolerance for others’ cultures and beliefs. If everyone was as caring and open-minded as Horton, I believe the world would be a better place. So please read this book to your child! A young person can’t have much of a better role model than Horton the elephant.
Olivia Forms a Band is my favorite of Ian Falconer’s fabulous Olivia series. Olivia, you should know, is well endowed with the ability to wear people out, especially her mother. In this installment of the saga that is Olivia, her family is planning to attend a fireworks show. Olivia is outraged when she’s informed there will not be a band at the evening’s festivities. “I’ll be the band,” she concludes. But, her mother tells her, “the word ‘band’ means more than one person, and a band sounds like more than one person.” This sounds like a challenge to Olivia. She grabs all the items necessary for a one-pig band, and is soon clanging through the house (to her, of course, she sounds like the most marvelous marching band). You’re sure to enjoy this Olivia book as well as all of Falconer’s others. What will Olivia think of next?
Enjoy a clever take on an old nursery rhyme with Mary Had a Little Lamp, by Jack Lecher, illustrations by Bob Staake. It’s not unusual for a child to carry a blanket or a favorite toy around every where they go, or for child to be trailed by a loyal pet. But the girl in this story has formed a strong and strange attachment to an office lamp. She drags it with her to school, to the playground, even to therapy (which her bemused parents become convinced she needs). Mary takes her lamp to the movies, her cousin’s wedding, even out for chinese food, and at night when she gets tucked in, the lamp gets tucked in too. But one day Mary seems to old for the lamp. She sets it on the shelf. (Now she carries a toaster instead!)
Meet a very vocal garbage truck in I Stink! by Kate and Jim McMullan. Have you ever been awoken to the sound of a garbage truck backing up to take your trash away? Good! He loves disturbing people’s sleep! And he loves to eat disgusting trash–in fact he has a whole alphabet of yucky things to eat, from A for apple cores to Z for zipped-up ziti with zucchini! He sure does smell bad, but without him we’d live on a mountain of trash! So, take trip through New York City with this boistrous representative of the Sanitation Department in I Stink!
Slowly Slowly Slowly Said the Sloth is my favorite book by well known author/illustrator, Eric Carle. The sloth is a fascinating creature. It lives most of it’s life hanging upside down, living in trees, and sleeping for 15-19 hours a day! It’s certainly a gentle, peace loving creature, moving so slow the animal itself becomes a habitat for moss and insects. In this story all the other rain forest animals want to know why the sloth is so slow. He just hangs there! So lazy! So boring! Finally the sloth defends his lackadaisical nature–he just appreciates tranquility! This book offers a lot for a child to learn: first to stop and smell the roses, simply enjoy life around them, and take things slow, and also facts about the sloth in general, an interesting species threatened by deforestation.
In Mind Your Manners, B.B. Wolf by Judy Sierra, illustrated by J. Otto Seibold, we discover that the Big Bad Wolf has since retired to the Villain Villa Senior Center. He looks forward to checking the mail every day, but it’s always bills bills bills! But one day he receives an invitation to come the library for a tea party. He doesn’t much care for tea, but he loves cookies. His friend the crocodile informs him of proper etiquette by teaching him a catchy ditty. Mr. Wolf dresses in his best suit and is off to the library. After three cups a tea, he feels a burp coming on. Good thing he knows it’s polite to say “excuse me” when one belches (although he didn’t realize you say it after the fact, not before, and ends up announcing his faux pas to everyone)! This book is a really cute take on traditional characters that your child is sure to enjoy.