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Little Victories by Jason Gay

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Little Victories by Jason Gay

"Perfect rules for imperfect living" is the subtitle of Jason's Gay's book. Gay is a columnist for the Wall Street Journal and he has penned a quick read for anyone who needs a little pick me up while going through their daily slog. "Music for weddings and babies and the rest of it" is one good chapter I can recommend. What the heck, I recommend all of the chapters. They encompass such life affirming things as marriage, gym memberships and being cool. I picked it up to peruse it again prior to writing this brief review and couldn't put it down because I find it so entertaining. It's a great combination of silly and serious.

Number of Pages: 
209

An Extraordinary Egg by Leo Lionni

An Extraordinary Egg by Leo Lionni

Jessica the frog finds a magnificent rock one day only to be informed by know-it-all Marilyn that it is, in fact, an egg...a chicken egg! And so when it hatches, Jessica becomes friends with the chicken, and they proceed to go on many adventures together. Eventually, the chicken finds its mother and parts ways with the frogs, but you wouldn't believe what the mother called her baby...an alligator! Can you believe that?

An Extraordinary Egg is a sweet, funny classic and a joy to read out loud. If you can manage to read it with a straight face and act like the alligator really is a chicken, children will go crazy every time you refer to "the chicken" throughout the story. Leo Lionni is one of my favortie children's book author/artists, and his distinctive paper collage style is alive and well here. Maybe you can try your own at home!

Number of Pages: 
32

The Hiccupotamus by Aaron Zenz

The Hiccupotamus by Aaron Zenz

The Hiccupotamus is about a hippo with the hiccups and all the trouble those hiccups create. It's a bit of a tongue-twister to read out loud, and many of the words are not really words, but molded ridiculously to fit the rhyme. It embraces this silliness, which makes it fun to read and listen to. The illustrations are bright, and the animals come in a full rainbow of colors.

Number of Pages: 
32

I'm Trying to Love Spiders by Bethany Barton

I'm Trying to Love Spiders by Bethany Barton

What do you want to do when you see a spider? Cuddle it? Pet it? Smash it to pieces? Spiders may look scary, and sometimes you may hear scary stories about them, but did you know that spiders are really neat animals? Even when spiders are venomous, so few can even bite humans and fewer will harm you. This is a fun book on a sometimes-scary topic. It's full of splotches and bugs (and burritos and Wanted signs...) and interesting facts that will make you consider trying to love spiders.

Number of Pages: 
40

Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett; ill. by Kevin Cornell

Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett; ill. by Kevin Cornell

Count the Monkeys is my all-time favorite read-aloud for a preschool audience. You can rely on Mac Barnett books for their zany plots and getting the reader in on an inside joke. In this book, you end up counting everything--cobras, bee swarms, lumberjacks, polka-dotted rhinoceroses with bagpipes and bad breath--EXCEPT monkeys. And if you plan it just right, you can drive your readers wild with the Easter egg when you get to the end papers. This is a book that asks for audience participation, which is easy to do in response to the bold, goofy illustrations. Highly recommended!

Number of Pages: 
32

Rudy's Windy Christmas by Helen Baugh; ill. by Ben Mantle

Rudy's Windy Christmas by Helen Baugh; ill. by Ben Mantle

It's Christmas Eve, and before Santa goes out for his big night, Mrs. Claus serves up a nice helping of sprouts. Santa passes them directly to Rudolph, waiting outside the window, and the smelliest ride ever ensues. Rudy's Windy Christmas is quite possibly the funniest picture book I've read in quite a while. It is sure to delight any child or adult who enjoys gross-out humor. I love that the humor is good-natured, and the euphemisms for passing gas--the word "fart" is never used--are creative and hilarious. To boot, the rhyme scheme is very satisfying, so this makes an excellent read-aloud. This is a great addition to your holiday reading!

Number of Pages: 
32

You Must Bring a Hat by Simon Philip and Kate Hindley

You Must Bring a Hat by Simon Philip and Kate Hindley

A little boy receives an invitation to a party, but with specific instructions to bring a hat. He can bring any extra guests he wants, as long as he brings a hat. Unfortunately, he doesn't have a hat! The only hat he can find is being worn by a monkey, so he has no choice but to bring the monkey along to the party. But when he arrives, the rules keep getting crazier and crazier.

This book is very silly. Kids will love all the animals in their strange outfits, and all the outlandish rules that are set out in order to attend the party. I love the little details of the illustrations and the hints they give to the end of the story.

Number of Pages: 
32

Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw, Ill. by Margot Apple

Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw, Ill. by Margot Apple

Sheep in a Jeep is another one of my family's favorites. Shaw's sheep crew has a jeep, and it's just too much fun. Unfortunately, the jeep has some mechanical issues and the sheep need some help along the way. The whole story is filled with rhymes and short sentences, which make it fun to read and easy to memorize. The illustrations are fairly simple with bright colors and bold contrasts, so it's easy to see what's happening. The sheep have a very emotional ride, and their faces show their feelings the entire time.

Shaw has a few more books in her sheep series, each playing with rhyme and alliteration. They're all fun, but the most basic Sheep in a Jeep will always be my favorite.

Number of Pages: 
26

Ragweed's Farm Dog Handbook by Anne Vittur Kennedy

Ragweed's Farm Dog Handbook by Anne Vittur Kennedy

Ragweed strives to be the best farm dog he can possibly be, and still get as many biscuits as he possibly can. Good news! Ragweed is willing to teach you all his tricks. He knows you will get a lot of advice from your farmer, and he knows there are a lot of jobs around the farm you might be tempted by. Ragweed knows there are many perks, but warns you not to get distracted from YOUR job.

Ragweed's Farm Dog Handbook is great. It's one of my new favorites. The drawings are silly, exaggerated and cartoony, but make it easy to see how every animal is feeling. Ragweed is as enthusiastic as any puppy would be on a farm. This book has everything you could possibly want -- mud-rolling, sheep-chasing and dog vomit. You'll be a great farm dog in no time!

Number of Pages: 
32

Buddy and the Bunnies In: Don't Play with Your Food! by Bob Shea

Buddy and the Bunnies In: Don't Play with Your Food! by Bob Shea

Buddy the Monster is stomping through the forest when he finds some delicious looking bunnies. He's all ready to eat the bunnies when he finds out that they're making cupcakes! He knows he'll eat them later, but first, he might as well enjoy playing with them. The clever bunnies continue to distract Buddy all the way through the day. Will Buddy be able to eat them after spending the whole day together?

The illustrations of Don't Play With Your Food are simplistic, but the bright colors and contrast make it easier to focus only on the story at hand. The silly story and dialogue are great fun to read aloud.

Number of Pages: 
30