Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister


The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister is one of those classic children’s books where you hear the name and say, “Oh! I love that book!”

 In case you forgot the plot, here’s an overview:

The story is about a beautiful Rainbow Fish. His dazzling, silver scales glittering in the water are the envy of all the sea. He is the most beautiful fish in the ocean.

However, the Rainbow Fish’s beauty has gotten to his head and when a small blue fish asks to have a single scale, the Rainbow Fish patronizes the fish for asking such a ridiclious question. Word of the Rainbow Fish’s rudeness spreads to the rest of the sea and soon, no one will play with him; even though he is the most beautiful fish in the water, now “he is the loneliest fish in the entire ocean.”

When he is swimming around the ocean all by himself, the Rainbow Fish comes across a mysterious octopus. The octopus tells his that the only way he will ever be happy again is to share his scales with all the other fishes.

The Rainbow Fish finally shares one scale, his smallest scale, with the Little Blue Fish…seeing the Little Blue Fish happily playing with the glittering scale, the Rainbow Fish is overcome with joy.

“The Rainbow Fish shared his scales left and right. And the more he gave away, the more delighted he became. When the water around him filled with glimmering scales, he at last felt at home among the other fish.”

He shares all of his scales until he only has one glittering scale left; though he is no longer the most beautiful fish in the ocean, he is now the happiest fish in all of the sea.

This is such a great story! It had beautiful illustrations and a lovely story- perfect to share with any little readers!

Keep on Reading!


Man Gave Names to All The Animals by Bob Dylan!


If you read the title and were wondering if this author was named after the legendary singer you would be incorrect. That is because the author IS the legendary singer Bob Dylan… sort of. There is a note to the reader on the first page of the book from the illustrator describing how he was influenced by Bob Dylan’s song “Man Gave Names to All the Animals” and drew a marvelous picture book from it.

The actual words in the story are quite repetitive and very simple, as on every other page a chorus of sorts is stated:
“Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, in the beginning,
Man gave names to all the animals,
In the beginning, long time ago.”

Between these choruses there are cute descriptions of animals and how they got their names from humans. While the writing may not be revolutionary, since it was originally a song it flows well and is fun.

The real treats in this picture book come from the incredible illustrations. Rather than just showing the animals that Bob Dylan is describing, illustrator Tim Arnosky, crafts beautiful landscapes with tons of animals all around. It is easy to overlook certain animals because there are just so many. In all, there are over 170 animals depicted in the book.

However Arnosky’s attention to detail really stands out and his use of acrylic paint really brings the animals to life. The illustrations are fascinating, elegant, and original and are really what make this children’s book special. I think all of you would greatly enjoy it and it even comes with a copy of the original Bob Dylan recording of the song. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Dan Prager

Bonus: Link to Jason Mraz’s cover of Bob Dylan’s “Man Gave Names to All the Animals:”

Me…Jane by Patrick McDonnell


Me…Jane, written by “Mutts” comic strip artist Patrick McDonnell, is a wonderful story whose main character is based upon chimpanzee expert and anthropologist Jane Goodall.

This beautifully drawn picture book follows the adventures of Jane and her toy chimpanzee Jubilee, who she takes everywhere she goes.

Jane loves playing outside, especially if it’s with Jubilee.

Jane has many adventures and solves mysteries with Jubilee.

Jane dreams of a day when she can live among the animals in the wilderness.

Me…Jane is a wonderful, Tarzan-like story that will make any child’s dream of a time when he or she can live in the wild with animals more vivid and possible.

The pictures are simply drawn with very attractive colors that will attract children of all ages.

Not only is it a fun story for children, but as it is based on a real person, it will get children interested in non-fiction as well.



The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs


Everybody knows the story of the three little pigs, right? You know – the tale with the big bad wolf

huffing and

puffing and

blowing down

the houses of those three poor, defenseless pigs?


                                               This is Mr. Alexander T. Wolf.

He claims to be the supposed THE big bad wolf from the fairytale, but the BIG and BAD part is completely false! Instead it’s your classic wrong-place, wrong-time situation…

No one, he says, knows the true story because no one has ever heard his side of the story.

What if the big bad wolf thing was all wrong?

What if the real story was all about cheeseburgers and a cup of sugar?

In this new spin on an old classic, readers can have a blast turning what they know on its head and imagining new endings for a beloved tale by hearing the story of the three little pigs from the point of view of an innocent wolf.

With eye-catching illustrations and witty dialogue, The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Sciezka and illustrated by Lane Smith has the potential to become a quirky classic and a great addition to any book collection!

Happy Reading!

Laney Stout

V is for Volunteer


V is for Volunteer: A Tennessee Alphabet

Written by Michael Shoulders
Illustrated by Bruce Langton

This book is part of a great series of state alphabet books. The picture book goes through each letter of the alphabet and names something special about Tennessee. Children of all ages will enjoy this book. For younger students, practicing the alphabet is a great exercise and the pictures are fun to see. For older students, the information about the state of Tennessee is a great resource. Examples include:

B is for Beale Street

E is for Elvis

N is for Nashville

Each page comes with an informative description of the person, place, or subject being labeled.
Other books in the series include:
M is for Magnolia

S is for Sunshine

All of the books in this state alphabet series have beautiful illustrations and are fun to read! They are very educational and would be great to use in any classroom for State reports or Social Studies lessons.
Happy Reading!

The Gospel Cinderella


The Gospel Cinderella
Written by: Joyce Carol Thomas
Illustrated by: David Diaz
ISBN: 0-06-025387

The Gospel Cinderella is a wonderful twist on the classic fairy tale we all know and love. While this book demonstrates many similarities to the original version of Cinderella, this story also includes some interesting differences!

This Cinderella story begins with Queen Mother Rhythm, the leader of the Great Gospel Choir. Her daughter is taken away down the river by a hurricane and then found by the evil Crooked Foster Mother. Crooked Foster Mother takes the child in and names her Cinderella, forcing her to do chores and take care of her evil stepsisters. Cinderella never complains though, rather she uses her beautiful voice to sing her troubles away.

Soon, the people learn that Queen Mother Rhythm has decided to hold auditions for a new singer to take over for her as director of the Great Gospel Choir. Cinderella longs to try out, but is instead forced to make dresses for her evil stepsisters to try out. On a whim, Cinderella decides to attend the auditions and WOWS everyone, including the Prince of Music. Fear of being recognized by her evil stepsisters quickly overtakes Cinderella, and she runs away. The Prince of Music sends out a search party to find the mystery singer, and Cinderella is eventually re-united with Queen Mother Rhythm and the Prince of Rhythm.

Children will enjoy this story because it is familiar to a story they most likely already know, but still provides a unique twist to the Disney version most children know. This book also has wonderful pictures that are full of color and details, providing an added visual affect to the already wonderful story. The story also has text that is written in a non-traditional way, specifically when the characters are singing. The text moves around in swirls and curves in different directions, which makes for an interesting reading experience!

Children of all ages will enjoy this updated, cultural variation on a classic fairy tale!

Happy Reading! 🙂


Goodnight, iPad!


Goodnight iPad: a Parody for the Next Generation

By: Ann Droyd

ISBN: 978-0399158568

Once upon a time, there was a house with EVERY gadget you could ever want! It had “3 little Nooks with 10,000 books”, a computer game that LAUNCHES a bird over the MOON, and even an LCD HD TV with WiFi capabilities!

With all the “BiNgS, BONGS, and bEEpS” grandma will NEVER get any sleep! So she decides that it’s time for all of it to go out the window!!!!!

Goodnight iPad is a FuN children’s book that parodies the original classic, Goodnight Moon. In Goodnight Moon, we say goodnight to the stars and the moon, but in this book we say goodnight to our iPads, facebook accounts, twitters, texts, Angry Birds, and even Eminem.

Parents and children alike will be able to have a good laugh and be able to relate to the concept of the struggle of saying goodnight to our electronics that we all love so much. This book is a refreshingly fun look at our society and our attachment to our technology. Goodnight iPad can also be a great book for little ones that aren’t ready to get off of their gaming system in time for bed.

I hope you have a fun time putting down the iPad and turning off the TV in exchange for this lovely book.

Happy Reading!!!


P.S. Don’t just take my word for it, listen to what others have to say!

“This book, which is made of paper, is a reminder for the child in all of us to power down at the end of the day. This hilarious parody not only pokes loving fun at the bygone quiet of the original classic, but also at our modern plugged-in lives. It will make you laugh, and it will also help you put yourself and your machines to sleep. Don’t worry, though. Your gadgets will be waiting for you, fully charged, in the morning.” – Penguin Publishing

(Full summary can be found at:,,9780399158568,00.html)