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Posts from August 2009

Dogs Don't Brush Their Teeth! Diane deGroat and Shelley Rotner

Book: Dogs Don't Brush Their Teeth!
Author: Diane deGroat and Shelley Rotner
Pages: 32
Age Range: 3 to 5 

Dogs Don't BrushI'm not generally a fan of "concept books", with gimmicks and without plots. So I was a bit skeptical when Dogs Don't Brush Their Teeth! showed up on my doorstep. But I have to say that this book is adorable. I think that preschoolers will really like it. 

Dogs Don't Brush Their Teeth! is a photo picture book about dogs, where photos of dogs have been digitally manipulated and augmented with sketched elements and backgrounds. Each page shows something that dogs normally do (fetching balls, swimming, etc.) and something related that dogs don't do (playing tennis, kayaking, etc). Most of the pages have fold out flaps, with the "DOGS DON'T" hidden behind the flap, and sharing part of the original picture.

Some of the spreads, especially the "DOGS DON'T" pictures, are hilarious. There's this one in the center of the book with two dogs holding a jumprope, while a third jumps -- you can't look at it without giggling. Another shows a dog gardening, complete with sun-hat and spade. It's clear that the spade was added digitally, but they somehow got a photo of this dog standing on his hind legs, for all the world like he's a person.

The dogs are very cute, even when going about their normal dog-like activities. A spread at the end of the book has a picture of each dog, labeled with the dog's name and breed. The letter that came with the book says that the dogs belong to friends and family members of the authors, and assures the reader that "no dogs were harmed in the making of this book and all dogs received multiple treats during each photo shoot."

If you know a preschooler who loves dogs, or just one who has a keen sense of the ridiculous, give Dogs Don't Brush Their Teeth! a try. I think that it's going to be a hit. It should be available for purchase today.

Publisher: Orchard Books
Publication Date: August 1, 2009
Source of Book: Advance review copy from the publisher
Author Interviews: Just One More Book! shares a video interview with Diane deGroat about the creation of this book.

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.


Growing Bookworms Newsletter: August 4

Jpg_book007Today I will be sending out the new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on children's books and raising readers. There are currently 860 subscribers. 

Newsletter Update: In this issue, I have three full book reviews, as well as brief reviews of four other picture books. I also have two posts with Kidlitosphere news, two children's literacy round-ups (one here and one at The Reading Tub), and two announcements about books previously reviewed that are now available. Not included in the newsletter, I have two posts at Booklights: one with brief reviews of three fairy tale/fable retellings and the other with literacy news from the Kidlitosphere. I also published the list of books that I read in July (with links to reviews), but have not included that in the newsletter.

Reading Update: In the past two weeks, I read:

  • Barbara Dee: Solving Zoe. Margaret K. McElderry. Completed July 27, 2009. My review.
  • Max Turner: Night Runner. St. Martin's Press. Completed July 22, 2009. Review forthcoming.
  • Jill S. Alexander: The Sweetheart of Prosper County. Feiwel and Friends. Completed July 31, 2009. Review forthcoming.
  • Charlaine Harris: Living Dead in Dallas (Sookie Stackhouse #3). Ace. Completed July 25, 2009, on MP3. Adult mystery, not reviewed (but I'm now listening to the next book in the series, so you may draw your own conclusions).
  • Craig Johnson: Another Man's Moccasins (Walt Longmire #4). Penguin Viking. Completed July 27, 2009. Another adult mystery, not reviewed (but I read 3 books in the series within two weeks, so you may draw your own conclusions about that, too).

How about you? What have you been reading and enjoying? Thanks for reading, and for growing bookworms!


August 3rd Children's Literacy Round-Up, KidLit Carnival, and Fairy-Tale Retellings

Terry_readingtubfinal_1 This week’s children’s literacy and reading news round-up, brought to you by Jen Robinson’s Book Page and Scrub-a-Dub-Tub, a Reading Tub blog, is now available at the Reading Tub. This week Terry Doherty and I have collected plenty of content for you about literacy & reading-related events; raising readers; literacy and reading programs and research; 21st century literacies; grants, sponsorships & donations; and other new resources.

Posts this week include a Country Musicians Rock and Read event, a host of summer reading efforts and suggestions, and the chance to order gorgeous Literacy Launchpad t-shirts (Early. Often. Always. Read to your child). Plus lots more, of course!

Terry mentioned this, but it bears linking here, too. Melissa Wiley has the new Carnival of Children's Literature (with highlights from June and July) now available at Here in the Bonny Glen. Do stop by - it's a wonderful celebration of children's books and reading.

Booklights I also have a new post up today at Booklights. Taking a page from Pam's Thursday Three posts, I share 3 very different fairy tale/fable retellings.

Wishing you all a lovely week. Can you believe that it's August already?


The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau: Dan Yaccarino

Nonfictionmonday Book: The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau
Author: Dan Yaccarino
Pages: 40
Age Range: 6-9 

Jacques CousteauThe Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau, written and illustrated by Dan Yaccarino, is an excellent example of a nonfiction picture book. It's filled with interesting facts and eye-catching illustrations. Even people who know about Jacques Cousteau, the father of undersea exploration, will likely learn new tidbits. He turned to the ocean because he was sickly as a child, and a doctor thought it would help him get stronger. He and a friend created the Aqua-Lung. "He produced fifty books, two encyclopedias, and dozens of documentary films." He built labs to see if people could live underwater. It's all fascinating. The book also includes quotes from Jacques Cousteau, lovingly placed inside bubbles on each page. An appendix at the end fills in additional details, and includes selected sources for further study.   

All of that makes The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau quality nonfiction. But the gouache and airbrush illustrations are what make the book hard to resist. Yaccarino's vaguely abstract paintings are perfect for conveying life under the sea. He uses lots of deep colors, and repeated geometric patterns, like a sea-formed kaleidoscope. Cousteau himself is drawn in a stylized manner,tall and thin, and literally immersed in his fascination with the sea.

The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau would be an excellent choice for bedtime reading the night before a trip to the shore. Like Cousteau's work, the book is "a glimpse of the amazing universe under the waves." Recommended in particular for library purchase.

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 24, 2009
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
Other Blog Reviews: readertotz, MotherReader, Just One More Book!

Diane Chen has today's Nonfiction Monday round-up at Practically Paradise.

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.


Books Read in July

This is a list of all of the books that I read in July, broken up into Middle Grade Books, Young Adult Books, and Adult Fiction. I was taking a bit of a reviewing break for much of the month (after burning out by reviewing too many titles in rapid succession), so I read a higher ratio of adult titles than usual (mostly mysteries). I don't generally review those, but I have included a few brief comments. I also (once I recovered a bit from the burnout) caught up a bit on reviews of previously read picture books, and have several reviews scheduled to post over the next couple of weeks.

Middle Grade Books

  1. Rebecca Stead: First Light. Wendy Lamb Books. Completed July 3, 2009. My review.
  2. Barbara Dee: Solving Zoe. Margaret K. McElderry. Completed July 27, 2009. My review.

Young Adult Books

  1. Maggie Stiefvater: Shiver. Scholastic. Completed July 1, 2009. My review.
  2. E. Lockhart: The Boy Book: A Study of Habits and Behaviors, Plus Techniques for Taming Them. Delacorte Books for Young Readers. Completed July 4, 2009. My review.
  3. E. Lockhart: The Treasure Map of Boys: Noel, Jackson, Finn, Hutch, Gideon--and me, Ruby Oliver. Delacorte Books for Young Readers. Completed July 4, 2009. My review.
  4. Charlie Higson: Double or Die (The Young James Bond, Book 3). Hyperion Books. Completed July 17, 2009. Enjoyed, but didn't review it. Third book in a fun series aimed at teen boys. And fun for adult Bond fans, too.
  5. Pam Bachorz: Candor. Egmont. Completed July 19, 2009. Review forthcoming, closer to publication.
  6. Max Turner: Night Runner. St. Martin's Press. Completed July 22, 2009. Review forthcoming, closer to publication.
  7. Jill S. Alexander: The Sweetheart of Prosper County. Feiwel and Friends. Completed July 31, 2009. Review forthcoming.

Adult Fiction

  1. Janet Evanovich: Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum novels). St. Martins Press. Completed July 7, 2009, on MP3. I love listening to these books, I really do. This one is no exception. So funny!
  2. Laura Lippman: Life Sentences. William Morrow. Completed July 7, 2009. I thought that Lippman had some brilliant insights, and interesting characters, but overall I found the book a little disappointing. I was frustrated by a significant plot point left dangling, and found the parts of the plot that were resolved a bit anti-climactic. Although this book centers around a child who disappeared, it's much more quiet, literary fiction than mystery, and apparently not quite my thing.
  3. John Hart: The Last Child. Minotaur Books. Completed July 9, 2009. Quite compelling. I read this in two sittings, and spent time thinking about it afterwards. Excellent standalone thriller/mystery about a 13-year-old boy looking in dark places for his missing twin sister.
  4. Craig Johnson: Death Without Company (Walt Longmire #2. Penguin. Completed July 13, 2009.
  5. Craig Johnson: Kindness Goes Unpunished (Walt Longmire #3). Penguin. Completed July 21, 2009.
  6. Charlaine Harris: Living Dead in Dallas (Sookie Stackhouse #3). Ace. Completed July 25, 2009, on MP3. I can't put my finger on why I like listening to these so much - I think it might be the voice - but they are perfect to listen to while driving around running errands, doing household chores, etc.
  7. Craig Johnson: Another Man's Moccasins (Walt Longmire #4). Penguin Viking. Completed July 27, 2009. I enjoyed all three Walt Longmire books (obvious, given that I read all three in 2 weeks). An excellent series about a Wyoming sheriff, filled with characters who feel real, and an ironic humor.

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.