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?
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!
You may have already heard about And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. It was the most challenged book of 2008. If you’re at all curious to see what the fuss was about, I highly recommend you check it out, because beneath all the controversy this is a story for children about an unconventional family of penguins. Roy and Silo were two real male penguins at the Central Park Zoo who played surrogate fathers to an egg, helping to bring little Tango into the world, and you can still visit them all today in New York City! Heartwarming illustrations provided by Henry Cole.
Rough Weather Ahead for Walter the Farting Dog is the third in a bestselling series by authors William Kotzwinkle, Glenn Murray, and Elizabeth Gundy, and illustrator Audrey Colman about the titular gassy canine. In this installment, Professor Kompressor claims to have a secret formula to stop Walter’s flatulence. Father and Mother think it’s working perfectly, but the farts are just building up inside, turning Walter into a blimp! One night he floats away from home! He floats to the edge of town, before he finds a way to get down, saving some frozen butterflies in the process. Finally his owners accept him for the wonder dog that he is!
The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish is by frequent collaborators author Neil Gaiman (well-known for his fantasy work for adults) and illustrator Dave McKean. The trouble begins when our narrator offers to swap everything in his room for his friend Nathan’s two goldfish. But Nathan’s not interested, so he offers up his dad (against the advice of his little sister). It seems like a fair trade, but Mom is not pleased, so the boy goes to swap the fish back. Unfortunately Nathan has swapped Dad to Vashti for an electric guitar. And Vashti swapped him to Blinky for a cool gorilla mask. And so on. To what lengths must our narrator go to get his dad back? Find out in this funny book.
This book brings tears to my eyes every time I read it (I’m a very emotional librarian). Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope is an inspiring biography of our country’s 44th president by Coretta Scott King Award winning author Nikki Grimes and illustrator Bryan Collier. A young boy named David asks his mother who that man on TV is andwhy people are shouting his name. She tells him the story of a boy with inter-racial parents who grew up in Hawaii. He pursued higher education, and longed to change the world. That boy was Barack Obama and he grew up to be our president asking, “Can we make America better? Can we work together, as one?” Yes. We can.