Superhero ABC by Bob McLeod is great for geeky moms and fanboy dads, longing to introduce their children to comic book style superheroes! Each letter of the alphabet is treated to its own unique hero, and an alliterative blurb about them. For example, A is for Astro-man who “is always alert for an alien attack,” B is for Bubble Boy who “blows bubbles at bullies,” and C is for Captain Cloud who “calmly catches crooks.” My favorite by far is Power Pup who “protects pets from the pound.” The illustrations are colorful and quite detailed–in the background of Power Pup, you can see a parrot named Polly, a panting poodle, and a persian cat proclaiming “Pets are people too!” Children learning the alphabet will really like identifying the letters, especially those that spell their name!
The Perfect Nest by Catherine Friend with illustrations by John Manders is a very cute story about a very crafty cat. The cat in question, Jack, is attempting to attract the perfect bird, who will lay the perfect egg, which will make the perfect omelet, by building the perfect nest. First, a Spanish chicken arrives and lays an egg, then a French duck does the same, followed by a southern goose! Jack is ecstatic–he could have three omelets, if he can just get these bickering birds out of of the picture, which ends up taking more effort than he had planned. By the time they’re gone, the eggs have hatched, and now three little chicks are calling Jack “mom.” This is a fun read with a chance for you to practice your foreign accents!
Vultures are truly fascinating creatures. Teach your child about these interesting birds via Vulture View by April Pulley Sayre with illustrations by Steve Jenkins. Chances are you’ll learn a lot too. For instance, did you know that vultures glide on pillars of hot air called thermals? Or that their heads have very few feathers because picking from dead animal carcasses is universally messy? You may find these carrion eaters disgusting, but they serve an important role, as nature’s clean up crew! This book is especially good for boys who might think eating garbage sounds funny or cool. You could also take your child bird-watching after reading (I know our library parking lot is a perfect place to see some vultures)!
A Visitor for Bear is an endearing tale by Bonny Becker with soothing illustrations by Kady MacDonald Denton. Bear seems quite sure he does not like visitors. He even has a sign on his door saying “NO VISITORS ALLOWED” which is why he’s taken aback by a persistent mouse who continues to show up uninvited. “Vamoose!” he tells the mouse and “Be gone!” but he keeps appearing again and again. Finally Bear gives in. The mouse can stay for one cup of tea, but then he must leave. But when the mouse compliments Bear’s home, appreciates his headstands, laughs at his jokes, Bear discovers he does enjoy company after all tears his sign down.
Stranger in the Woods is subtitled “A Photographic Fantasy” and that’s exactly what it is. Created by wildlife photographers Carl R. Sams II and Jean Stoick, the book takes us into a snowy forest. “Take care!” the blue jay caws to the family of deer below, “Stranger in the woods!” All the animals are a-flutter seeking out this stranger. “I do see him!” chatters the squirrel. Who is it? The creatures all wonder. It’s an edible snowman! The animals enjoy the stranger, left for them by some thoughtful children. Besides a lovely story and beautiful pictures, the book also includes a “Recipe for a Snowman” so you too can leave a treat in the woods.
I really enjoy the “Sally goes to” series by artist Stephen Huneck. In Sally Goes to the Mountains, Sally, a black lab, and her owner are going camping. They pack up their van full of dog treats and head out. Sally is so anxious to make new friends in the mountains she falls asleep during the ride. She dreams of chasing rabbits, and climbing a tree to sing with a pretty bird! She imagines meeting an inquisitive owl (always asking “who? who?”) Maybe she’ll take a swim with the colorful fish, or find a stick (the beaver probably has one to spare). “A family of skunks is very nice,” Sally thinks, “except for one little stinker.” Soon she’s arrived, and it’s time for her mountain adventure to begin for real!