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January 18, 2009 Edition

What Happens on Wednesdays, by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Lauren Castillo


From the time our narrator gets up to the time she goes to bed, little things make her Wednesdays different from the other days of the week. Wednesdays are not kissing days, says the little girl, but they are days that there are bubbles in the water table at school. Wednesdays are for buying morning bagels and orange juice with Daddy for a breakfast picnic at the park before school. And after school, Wednesdays mean a trip to the swimming pool and the library after a nap in the grown-up bed with Mommy. I love the way this book creates a neighborhood full of details important to the preschooler (she walks down the block where once she saw an umbrella caught in a tree, and past the daycare she used to go to when she was little), and the images of the girl and her parents are sweet and expressive. Perfect for reading aloud to your preschooler and maybe even creating story-maps of your own neighborhood and days.

Turtle’s Penguin Day, written and illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev


Little Turtle’s father reads him a book about penguins that enchants Little Turtle. That night, he dreams he’s a penguin, diving off ice floes and into the water. In the morning, Little Turtle decides he wants to BE a penguin and with the help of his red slippers and his grandfather’s old black jacket, he turns himself into one. His classmates think his costume is great and decide they want to be penguins, too, so they all have a penguin day, sliding on their bellies down the slide, passing balls to each other using their feet, and dancing a waddling penguin dance. But that night, after Little Turtle eats a dinner of fish-shaped crackers and brushes his penguin beak, Father Turtle reads him a book about a monkey who lives in a jungle… Playful illustrations, coupled with the penguin facts in the back, will inspire young readers to penguin days of their own.

A Visitor for Bear,” by Bonny Becker, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton


Delightfully dramatic illustrations show the progress of one small, grey, bright-eyed mouse who attempts to befriend a large bear with a “NO VISITORS” sign on his door. With each of the mouse’s Houdini-like appearances, Bear’s temper heats up until he finally burns himself out against Mouse’s polite persistence. Becker’s language is wonderful: Mouse is precise and courteous and says things like “I do like a bit of cheese,” while the more melodramatic Bear rumbles “Vamoose!”, roars “Begone!” and, finally blubbers, “I am undone!” Beautiful for reading aloud to a group or sharing with a single small listener, this is a real winner.

Danny’s First Snow, written and illustrated by Leonid Gore


When Danny the rabbit wakes up one morning, everything outside is white – Mommy says what he sees is snow. But what is snow? When Danny goes out, dressed in his warmest scarf and towing his sled, he discovers that snow can be lots of things. He plays leapfrog with a snow-chick, hedgehog, and lamb, but doesn’t make it over a snow-donkey, who disappears. When Danny looks for the donkey, he sees wolves instead, and runs away. Finally he finds a large sleepy elephant who kindly lets Danny sled down her trunk until Mommy calls him in. Kids may need an initial prompt to see what Danny sees in the snow, but after that, the hunt will be on, both in the book and outside.

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