Captain Monty Takes the Plunge, Jennifer Mook-Sang, Kids Can Press, 2017.
In this fun children’s book, Monty the Malodorous has a well-kept secret. He cannot swim.
To hide his secret, Monty declares that “Real pirates don’t bathe! Yar-har-har!”
But the not taking a bath thing catches up with him. Monthy falls in love with Meg the mermaid. It is Meg who tells him, “You’re a real nice pirate, Monty, but you smell like stinky boots.” Monty begins to consider rethinking his avoidance of contact with water.
Rev. Jesse Lyman Hurlbut (1843-1930) was a clergyman of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Born in New York City, Hurlbut pastored churches in New Jersey including in Newark, Montclair, Paterson, Plainfield, Hoboken, Morristown, Orange, and Bloomfield.
Hurlbut was a contributor to the Sunday school and tract work of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He served as secretary of the Epworth League from 1889-1892. He also served as a District Superintendent of the Newark District.
Hurlbut was a prolific writer. His Story of the Bible was written to help children become familiar with the stories of the Bible. These retelling of Old and New Testament stories were written for children ages six and older.
A Stick Until . . . , Constance Anderson, Star Bright Books, 2017.
The story starts off quite simply with a stick. From here, we see the many different ways a stick can be used by various animals. A stick is a fly swatter. It is a gift and a toy.
A stick is a stick until it is not.
This clever children’s book shows children that something as simple as a stick can be used in creative and innovative ways. The colorful illustrations are a great addition. Plus they provide a discussion starter for the parent and child or teacher and student.
Katherine Schwarzenegger, the eldest daughter of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, uses her own experience in pet adoption in her children’s book Maverick and Me.
Maverick is a puppy who is left alone under a freeway underpass on a rainy day. A woman finds him and takes care of him until a pet adoption event. Enter a girl named Scarlett and her mom. They come to the pet supply store to get a gift for a friend’s cat. Scarlett falls in love with Maverick. Eventually, mom agrees to adopt the pup.
Schwarzenegger, an ASPCA Ambassador, has a simple and clear goal – to draw attention to “all the other dogs just like Maverick that needed homes too.”
Shelter, Céline Claire, Qin Leng (illustrator) Kids Can Press, 2017.
Claire’s picture book is a parable for children. In the story, a storm is coming. All the animals seek shelter in their homes. Little Fox is the only character that wonders about the animals who may be stuck in the storm.
A bear parent and child are stuck in the storm. They go from home to home looking for shelter. Each family turns them away. “Try the neighbor”, they all say.
Including Little Fox’s family. Unable to accept the outcome, Little Fox runs after the bears to give them a lantern to guide their search for shelter.
As fate would have it, the snow from the storm weighs down on the foxes den, and the family barely makes it out before their den collapses. The Fox family is able to find their way to where the bears have built an igloo. The foxes knock and ask for shelter for the night. Unlike their response to the bears, the bears welcome the family in.
Who Counts? 100 Sheep, 10 Coins, and 2 Sons, Amy-Jill Levine & Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, Westminster John Knox Press, 2017.
The Elephant Keeper: Caring for Orphaned Elephants in Zambia, Margriet Ruurs, Pedro Covo (illustrator), Kids Can Press, 2017.
Margriet Ruurs and Pedro Covo give a fresh look at some of the planet’s largest land mammals – the elephant.
A True Story
Ruurs brings to the pages the real-life story of a Zambian boy Aaron who discovers an infant elephant in the Lion’s Lodge swimming pool. Thanks to Aaron’s attentiveness and efforts, the young elephant is rescued and taken to a local elephant orphanage.
Aaron is able to make a connection with the elephant that others are not. Grieving the death of his father Aaron can relate to the orphaned elephant. The boy finds himself growing up sooner than other boys in his village. The elephant has likely lost its mother to poachers. The elephant and the boy have to figure how to do life differently.
Middle Bear, Susanna Isern, Kids Can Press, 2017.
Middle Bear is the second of three brothers. When the brothers go out into the forest to do various errands, Middle Bear is either too big or too small to be of any help. His older and younger brother both seem to be the right size. But Middle Bear seems to always be in the middle.
He seems to go unnoticed. And he longs to be different, to be as special as his brothers.
Susanna Isern’s little book is perfect for children to may seem that there is no place for them. And it is great for helping children experience some empathy for the child who reads alone or who cries because of his or her sadness.
No Room for Baby!, Émile Jadoul, Kids Can Press, 2017.
Leon is a toddler penguin who is not too sure about having a new baby brother. As long as the infant Marcel is in his crib, Leon is okay with him. But once the baby cries, and mom and dad’s attention are taken away, Leon begins describing all the ways in which there is no room for a baby.
The Penguin family lives in a spacious igloo with all the trappings of a human home that would be familiar to a toddler. This familiarity along with the cartoon style illustrations, make it appealing to the listening toddler.
Despite Leon’s hesitantly about Marcel living in his home, Leon does find one place that is big enough for the baby. Leon’s arms are just the right side.
Love You Always, written by Eileen Spinelli with illustrations by Gillian Flint, is the latest gift book for new babies or for Christmas. The verses are gentle and the repetition is soothing. The book aims to communicate to the child that he or she is loved – always – but a host of family members. Mostly by Mama and Daddy.
But other family members are included. Grandma, Grandpa, Auntie, and Uncle. Counsin and family friend even get a shout out. At first, this inclusion of extended family members is great. It is often rare to see Auntie and Uncle included in a children’s book. While the book seems to include a lot of the family tree, there is no inclusion of siblings or step-parents.