(Cybils 2012) Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown

I read a number of Cybils nominees again this week, but today I bring you just one. It is unlike any other picture book I’ve read this year!

In a bizarre twist of storytelling, Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown (Simon and Schuster 2012) is a ridiculous story about carrots who trick a bunny in to not eating them. Jasper Rabbit loves to eat the carrots at Crackenhopper Field, but when he starts feeling himself being followed by the creepy carrots, he finds a solution that will keep them there! A perfect spooky-ish story, it’s also ridiculously funny. Raisin loved reading it with me, and walked around for days talking about “creepy carrots” everywhere he pretended to see them. The pictures are mostly monotone, except for those splashes of orange that represent the carrots. A delightful story for kids.

Happy Thanksgiving for my USA friends! I hope your turkeys, pumpkins, and carrots don’t start creeping around after you!

The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper

James Fenimore Cooper created an American heritage in his historical fiction novels of the American frontier. For that reason alone I would be glad to say I’ve finally read one of his works. The Last of the Mohicans (first published in 1826) is a romanticized story of the dying days of the Native American culture. Taking place during the French and Indian Wars (also called the Seven Years’ War), The Last of the Mohicans places a few Americans in the midst of a forest full of blood-thirsty Indians. Only with the help of the all-American hero, Natty Bumpo called Hawkeye, do the Americans have any chance of making it through the wilds of America alive.Continue Reading

(Raisin Reads) Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo

Raisin Reads is a column with thoughts on children’s literature straight from the mind of a kid!

About the author: Raisin is five years old. He likes to read, and he wants to be a construction worker when he grows up.

I like Mercy Watson to the Rescue because when the fire department comes, Mr. and Mrs. Watson think Mercy called the fire department! But she did not! Eugenia Lincoln called the fire department instead!

Mercy is a pig. In Eugenia’s opinion, pigs belong on a farm. Mercy does not live on a farm. She lives in a house. Eugenia does not like Mercy because of that. At the end, Eugenia still does not like Mercy. But Mr. and Mrs. Watson like Mercy. They think she is a porcine wonder because they think she called the fire department.

My favorite part is the very end of the book. I think other people would like the book too.

Mom’s thoughts: Raisin read this book by himself, then he listened to it and read it at the same time. I am a big fan of audiobooks, and for a beginning reader, listening and reading together helped him recognize words, learn correct pronunciation (he had not encountered phrases like “porcine wonder” before), and better grasp the big picture of the story. The Mercy Watson series is a perfect follow up to shorter early readers like Mr. Putter and Tabby and Henry and Mudge. Mercy Watson’s story is longer (it has twelve chapters) but the sentences are well geared toward a young child beginning to read. There are a few sentences on each page, and the type is large. As in the early chapter books I mentioned, most two-page spreads have a color illustration. In Mercy Watson, these are illustrated by Chris Van Dusen, and there are also a few full two-page illustrations in the book. This makes it very accessible for the early reader too. There is something about color illustrations and large text that say “Come read me, I’m not that hard!” Besides all that, the story is fun!

What other chapter books for early readers are like this? We’re looking for large text and color illustrations, and yet less than 100 pages and plenty of easily accessible amusing story!

Raisin narrated the above review to me. Do you have any comments for him? I’ll pass along any messages.

Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson (Simon and Schuster, 2003) is a fantastic portrait of a complex man. I have always loved Ben Franklin (ever since I read Ben and Me by Robert Lawlor as a child). Reading Isaacson’s biography helped me to see why I liked it him so much: he was, in general, a likeable man.

Continue Reading