Monthly Archives: November 2011

Doctor De Soto- By William Steig


Doctor De Soto, a favorite book from my childhood, tells the story of a mouse dentist who works with his wife to outsmart a fox. Doctor De Soto is a well respected dentist who treats animals of all sizes. Doctor De Soto typically stays away from animals who are dangerous to mice, however one day when a fox comes to Doctor De Soto’s office crying and begging for help, Doctor De Soto decided to take a risk and take the wolf on as a patient. While Doctor De Soto was working in the wolf’s mouth to help fix his toothache, the wolf realized how delicious the mouse would taste. That night, the De Sotos figured out a plan as to how they would keep the fox from eating them the next day when he comes back for his appointment. The clever De Sotos used a special formula in the fox’s mouth that would keep him from

opening his mouth for a day. Therefore, the fox would not be able to eat the De Sotos.

William Steig not only wrote this fantastic children’s book, but he illustrated it as well. The illustrations are simple yet clever and really help to bring the story alive. The illustrations have a cartoon-like quality to them, which would definitely appeal to children of all ages.

This is a great book to have in the classroom and to have at home. Doctor De Soto is a great read aloud book because it would interest tosuch a wide range of children and it is also a great book to read to children at home.

Click here for some classroom activities that could be used after reading Doctor De Soto

A new edition of a book from the past: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Pop-up book!


Roald Dahl’s infamous story Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has been reinvented once again! Quentin Blake’spop-up, pull-tab, and lift-the-flap book makes reading this well-loved story an interactive and visually stimulating experience. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has been a classic for generations because of its unique dynamic between an incredibly creative story line and the common underdog concept. Charlie Bucket is a little boy who comes from nothing, but wins the opportunity of a lifetime to see Willy Wonka’s amazing chocolate factory. With his winning golden ticket in hand, Charlie and his Grandpa Joe go to the factory with four other children and their parents to have the most bizarre yet exciting adventure of their lives.

Quentin Blake has illustrated the majority of Roald Dahl’s stories, and I often associate Blake’s distinct style with Dahl’s books that I remember reading as a child. This pop-up book is no different as many of the characters and scenes look almost exactly as they did in the original book. There is a lot of text on each page, but the organization of the text along with the interactive pull-out/lift-the-flap components on every page make it a fun, enjoyable read.

Blake does a fantastic job of making the classic story come to life in this picture book. The reader has the opportunity to step inside the story and explore Willy Wonka’s factory for his/herself.

If you would like to see some of the pop-up spreads, click this link below!,,9780141328874,00.html

The Story of May


Most children seem to have that one story that they want to read over and over again before bed. For me, this was the gorgeously illustrated book, The Story of May by Mordicai Gerstein.The young month, May, lives with her mother, April, who teaches her how to be a proper spring month.

“May skipped into the morning. She sprinkled periwinkles at the edge of the woods. She spun round and round, tossing dandelions, bluets and violets everywhere. She welcomed the warblers and listened to their gossip of foreign places.”

May becomes so caught up in the wonders of being a spring month that she wanders too far from home. Luckily, her aunt June is there waiting to welcome her. June tells May of her father, December, and so begins May’s journey through the year to meet the man that is her father. On her adventure, May meets her relatives each personifying his or her own month. Her uncle July is a large sun burnt man with a watermelon, while October wears a cloak of colorful leaves and carves pumpkins.

In addition to the cute story and beautiful illustrations, The Story of May also serves an educational purpose. In addition to teaching children the months of the year, The Story of May subtly teaches children about each month. Instead of explicitly stating that it snows in January and is windy in March, May’s uncle January skis and her cousin March is a kite.

This is book that I loved as a child and hope others enjoy it as much as I did.


The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka & Lane Smith


A personal favorite from my childhood, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith, is a silly and entertaining book that children of all ages will enjoy! This picture book is a compilation of classic stories that many children love and have heard multiple times . What makes this book so different and fun are the variations that are taken in the retelling of the story. Instead of reading about The Boy Who Cried Wolf, children get to read about The Boy Who Cried “Cow Patty.” Other variations include Chicken Licken (Chicken Little), The Really Ugly Duckling (The Ugly Duckling), and The Princess and the Bowling Ball (The Princess and the Pea).

From the very first pages of the book…
To the back cover…
The book provides comedic value unlike many other children’s books.
Each story lines follow its own unique transformation that is sure to both surprise and entertain children. The story of The Really Ugly Duckling begins the same as most other versions in which there was one duckling who was much uglier than all of his brothers and sisters, however, “he knew that one day he would probably grow up to be a swan and be bigger and look better than anything in the pond.”
Each story has fantastic illustrations that perfectly match the oddities found in the text. The images span the entire book and provide wonderful variations among each story, contrasting light versus dark, using collage-like images, and unrealistic portrayals of characters, especially the Stinky Cheese Man. The main story of the book. The Stinky Cheese Man, is a variation on The Gingerbread Man,
“Run run run as fast as you can. You can’t catch me. I’m the Stinky Cheese Man!
The little old lady and the little old man sniffed the air. ‘I’m not really very hungry,’ said the little old man. ‘I’m not really all that lonely,’ said the little old lady. So they didn’t chase the Stinky Cheese Man.”
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales is not about morals. It’s not about lessons. And it is surely not about making a point. Unlike the classic versions of these stories, this book is purely about good, sarcastic, fun; and that is exactly what is provides for all of its readers.
-Alex Rogers

Marvelous Picture Books: Old Cricket by Lisa Wheeler

 “Old Cricket woke up feeling cranky.
And crotchety.
And cantankerous.

What can a day like this have in store for him? Not fixing the roof! To escape his task, Old Cricket comes up with a plan. “I woke with a creak in my knee, dear wife.” he says. So, his wife sends him along to see Doc Hopper.

Once he is free, he runs into his cousin , Katydid, who is busy picking berries for the winter. Will Old Cricket help Katydid? Not with a creak in his knee and a crick in his neck! And Old Cricket continues on his way.

He soon comes across his neighbors, the ants, who are harvesting corn kernels. Will Old Cricket help his neighbors? Not with a creak in his knee, a crick in his neck, and a crack in his back! And so Old Cricket walks on to find a comfortable spot for a nap. But who should he run into next but Old Crow? Will Old Cricket make it home without becoming lunch? He just might. After all,

“You don’t get to be an old cricket by being a dumb bug.”

With its charming story and large, eye-catching illustrations by Ponder Goembel, this picture book is truly a delight for young readers.


Pete’s A Pizza by William Steig


In this fun story by William Steig, Pete is disappointed that the rain has washed out his activities for the day. To help cheer Pete up, his family decides to play a game where they make Pete into a pizza. Pete’s dad uses

“Some oil generously applied. (It’s really water.)”

and “Then some tomatoes (They’re really checkers).” to make a perfect pizza out of Pete.

This story allows children to use their imagination and have an interactive experience with both the book and the person reading it to them. Children will love to play a similar game on a rainy day or make up their own food to be made into. This book is guaranteed to make any child giggle just like Pete. The interactive nature of the story is also highly enjoyable for children with disabilities. Because they can get involved in the story, they are more likely to comprehend it.

The illustrations are very fun. They are detailed but not overly done, so younger children will enjoy their whimsical nature. There is lots of white space surrounding the drawings to focus the eye on the image. The text itself is presented in a way that resembles a recipe. It is clearly printed and easy to locate on the pages keeping the book organized and in the style of a cookbook.

This wonderful,whimsical story and the fun title will certainly have readers coming back for seconds (and maybe thirds or forths!)

To purchase this book click here.

Happy Friday and Happy Reading!


Amelia Bedelia


This classic childhood book follows a maid, Amelia Bedelia, on her first day of work. When she arrives her bosses, Mr. & Mrs. Rogers, go out leaving her a list of tasks to complete. Before getting started on her jobs, she bakes a lemon meringue pie as a surprise for the Rogers’ return. The list asked Amelia Bedelia to:


Change the towels in the green bathroom

Dust the furniture

Draw the drapes when the sun comes in

Put the lights out when you finish in the living room

Measure two cups of rice

The meat market will deliver a steak and a chicken.

Please trim the fat before you put the steak in the icebox.

And please dress the Chicken

Amelia Bedelia performs all the tasks as she understood them to be stated. She pulled out a measuring tape and measures two cups of rice.

“-it measured four and half inches.”

She dresses the chicken in cloth and placed it in a box all pretty. As Mrs. Rogers opens her mouth to fire Amelia Bedelia, the lemon meringue pies saves her job.

This fun tale demonstrates the double meaning of simple tasks and a funny tale of how a maid was confused.It is a great book for a child to understand how sometimes it is alright to be confused and an all around enjoying for them to read with a parent or on their own.

This original Amelia Bedeliawas first published in 1963 by Peggy Parish and illustrated by Fritz Siebel. Now there are around 30 books in this series. When Peggy Parish passed away in 1988 her nephew Herman Parish continued the series again in 1995. Later HarperCollins has transformed these books into an I Can Read series, which notifies children of differing level books that are appropriate for their reading level. Click here to see more of its kind.