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April 1, 2010 Edition

Birds on a Wire, by J. Patrick Lewis and Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Gary Lippincott

What do you see around you every day? Can you and your friends write a poem about it? Lewis and Janeczko took turns writing this book in the form of a poem called a renga, or series of linked poems written by two people. This whole book is a long, picturesque renga about a day in a small town, from an early-morning dog out for a walk to a florist getting ready for the day, to a group of first-graders walking back to school after a field trip. Lippincott’s soft pictures link the verses even more tightly and give readers a glimpse of the view in the writers’ eyes. This lovely book can be read purely for enjoyment or as a springboard for writing your own poems, renga or otherwise.

Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms, by Julia Rawlinson, illustrations by Tiphanie Beeke

Fletcher the young fox is more than ready for spring to arrive and he’s sure it has by the way the air smells and the butterflies are playing in the breeze. But – what’s this? Along with the butterflies, the breeze is carrying big snowy flakes! Fletcher hurries to tell all his friends, worried that the birds, just back from the warm south, the porcupine, newly awakened from his bed of leaves, and the squirrels, who’ve eaten the last of their winter stores, will be endangered by this late spring snow. When the rabbits suggest one last snowball fight before hunkering back down for a little more winter, the animals happily discover that Fletcher was wrong. Colorful, impressionistic watercolors brighten this light story up and create sweet and memorable characters.

Molly and her Dad, by Jan Ormerod, illustrated by Carol Thompson.

Molly loves wearing bright colors and telling wonderful stories, especially about her dad whom she hasn’t seen since she was a baby and who lives “a whole plane ride away.” Now he’s come to stay with Molly for a whole week to take care of her while her mom’s away – and he’s BIG! And COLORFUL! And LOUD! When he calls her his Mollymaloola, Molly feels shy and says “My name is Molly” and doesn’t know what to call him. He visits her class and tells funny stories, sad stories, and scary stories and everyone says Molly is just like him. And she is, especially after she adds a face-paint moustache to herself! By the end of the week, the two have had a wonderful time together and she calls him Daddywaddydaloolah. (But she still reminds him that her name is Molly…) With matching flyaway hair and big grins, this happy father-daughter duo will charm your socks off.

Tillie Lays an Egg, by Terry Golson with photos by Ben Fink

Just in time for next week’s Preschool Family Night, here comes Tillie, a chicken who doesn’t want to wait her turn to lay her daily egg. Instead, she heads outside the chicken coop to look for juicy worms, laying her egg wherever it’s convenient in this seek-and-find book. On Monday her six chicken friends lay their eggs in the nesting boxes, but Tillie’s egg ends up in the garden (can you spot it?). By Wednesday, she’s ventured into the farmhouse kitchen and discovered how tasty corn flakes are (but where is her egg?). After a week of adventures inside the farmhouse, Tillie finally lays an egg in the nesting box, but only because it’s raining. It’s clear that Golson loves her chickens and they show their abundant personalities in Fink’s clear photos. In addition to spotting the egg, it’s fun to see all the chicken-themed items that show up in each artfully arranged tableau.

Be Gentle with the Dog, Dear! written and illustrated by Matthew Baek

Baby Elisa loves her family’s dog, Tag. She loves to hug him and pull his tail and roll around on top of him, and even though her parents show her over and over how to be gentle, she just can’t manage it. Poor Tag is very patient with Elisa because he loves Elisa, too (especially when she’s asleep!), but inside, he’s miserable. And then one day, Elisa takes Tag’s very favorite toy and finally learns what it means to be gentle. Big cartoony pictures show Tag’s gamut of expressions even in the face of Elisa’s persistent good-hearted exuberance. Perfect for reinforcing talks with young ones about how to treat pets.

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