The Black Book of Colors by Menena Cottin and Rosana Faria is a fascinating story published partly in braille. A boy named Thomas describes the world around him in terms of what he feels, smells, hears, and tastes. People who are sighted tend to take visions of simple things like fruit or rain for granted, but with this book one can imagine what it’s like to be blind. The pages of black drawings on black paper can serve as a gateway to discussing tolerance for people with disabilities with your child.
A giant squid is the center of attention in I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry. Look at him! He’s so big! And he’s not ashamed of announcing it to anyone who’ll listen. Is he bigger than an octopus? He sure is! How about a shark? Definitely (but don’t let the shark hear you say that)! Is he bigger than all the sea turtles? You betcha! How about this fish, and that fish, or that fish, and this fish? Yep, he’s bigger than them too. He’s the biggest thing in the ocean, or so he thinks, until he’s swallowed by a whale decidedly larger than him. You might think this would soil his ego, but you’d be wrong. He’s perfectly content to be… the biggest thing in the whale!
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!