Although this edition of the first book in the popular “Bad Kitty” series is not useful for libraries, it will make a nice gift. Basically, this is the same as the original edition with the exception of a fold-out poster bound into the book as the last page. The fold-out will likely tear with library circulation so it is best to stick with the original version.
Bad Kitty is still a popular and fun picture book containing four different alphabet passages – one listing ‘healthy’ food, one with verbs describing the cat’s ‘bad’ behaviors, and one with food the cat will like (including penguin pizza and quail quiche), and finally a list of verbs depicting positive behaviors (“Hugged the little mouse.”).
The all-black cat with yellow eyes and a T-shaped red nose is an engaging character. Bruel has expanded the series from picture books to include easy readers and illustrated chapter books as well. Stick with the original and skip this anniversary edition.
During storytimes about dance and dancers, including special event dance party storytimes, Giraffes Can’t Dance is one of my favorite read-alouds. This anniversary edition is the same as the original, making it a great choice to purchase as a replacement copy for worn-out originals. Plus, libraries may want multiple copies to meet demand after you read it at storytime.
The color cartoon illustrations and rhyming text celebrate Gerald, a clumsy giraffe who would like to learn to dance. The subtle message on self-esteem and self-expression, and the humor make this much more than bibliotherapy. The African jungle setting and community of animals that dance together is a nice touch.
Storytime dance parties are growing in popularity. They are a special event, held every few months, to encourage movement and music along with one or two read-alouds. Many libraries have found that storytime dance parties are a great way to motivate new attendees to their regular storytimes, and to reinforce emergent literary skills of singing, talking, and playing. These encourage parents to join with their toddlers in a fun activity that promotes physical exercise, along with music and singing, which are all positive developmental experiences.
Each spread in this “look and find” book depicts a scene in town, including a farmers’ market, fire station, toy store, pet store, and library. On the left side of each illustration is a brief rhyme about the location, and a list of various items to find in the scene. All of the items, including monkey George, are relatively easy to find (much easier than Waldo!).
The full color artwork is pleasing and looks remarkably like the work of Curious George’s original illustrator. Fans of the original books will accept this as part of the series, although there is no plot in this particular book.
First and second grade readers are likely to find the rhymes fairly easy to read (RL 2.4) and will be able to pick out the “hidden” items easily. Unfortunately, the paper over boards binding is not very secure; this may start to fall apart after just a few check-outs.
Pilkey, Dav. Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space (and the Subsequent Assault of the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds). Scholastic, 1999/2015. 155p. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-545-69470-4.
In this update of the third book in Pilkey’s groundbreaking “Captain Underpants” series, the abundant illustrations are now in full color. When it was originally published, this transitional chapter book had ink illustrations and considerable whitespace, making an inviting book for 2nd and 3rd graders moving from easy readers to chapter books. The color version is equally attractive.
The hilarious story involves three alien invaders disguising themselves as cafeteria workers, to take over the Earth. They begin by turning school kids into zombies, starting at Jerome Horowitz Elementary. Unfortunately for the aliens, that school is run by George and Harold, two kids who have figured out how to turn their principal Mr. Krupp into superhero Captain Underpants.
As in other books in the series, short comic books created by Harold and George are part of the narrative. There is also the customary Flip-O-Rama section, which works like an animated flip book to show the action sequences. These books are so much fun that the most reluctant reader will pick these up.
Does the book need color? Probably not – these are so much fun that readers can “see” the action in color in their minds. But if you need replacement copies, these are certainly a good choice and may even attract new readers.
Libraries may also want to have extra copies on hand when the movie adaptation of “Captain Underpants,” starring Ed Helms in the title role, debuts in 2016.
The “Boneville” series by Jeff Smith was one of the first to convince libraries to carry graphic novels for young people (tweens and teens) because these delightful tales include literary allusions to Tolkien’s The Hobbit and other works.
In this tribute edition, the first book in Smith’s series, the traditional panel artwork with dialogue balloons is revised to include full color illustrations (the original was black and white). The original Out of Boneville collected the first six comic books in a graphic novel edition. This new version contains extras, including artwork from various graphic novel creators such as Dav Pilkey, Jeffrey Brown, and Raina Telgemeier.
For those unfamiliar with “Boneville,” the series features blobby bipeds that resembles Walt Kelly’s “Pogo,” a popular comic strip character from the 1940’s-1960’s. In Boneville, three cousins are lost in the desert and run into various characters and adventures.
Libraries will find this tribute edition a fine choice for replacement copies of the original, at an affordable price and with interesting extras.
Penny Peck, SJSU iSchool