These rollicking picture books feature animals who get mixed up in some outrageous situations. High jinks and humor ensue in five slapstick stories for young readers. Reading has never been more uproarious!
Sterling, Best Dog Ever by Aidan Cassie is a heartwarming parable about a lonely pooch’s search for his place in the world. Sterling is living in a box in an alley when he gets a crazy idea. He sneaks into the Butlery Cutlery Company’s warehouse, takes a ride down the silverware assembly line, gets packed up in a box of brand new forks and is soon delivered to the Gilbert family’s front door. As a skinny critter with a silvery coat, Sterling blends right in with the utensils at first glance, but the Gilberts quickly realize that he’s different. Their daughter befriends him, and Sterling is determined to please her and keep up the ruse. Instead—with the help of his new friend—he learns the importance of being himself. Cassie brings Sterling’s changeable nature to vivid life through vibrant, playful illustrations. This is a sweet story that addresses important ideas about self-esteem and individuality.
TOO MANY MISSING PETS
The confused little girl in Mark Iacolina’s Did You Eat the Parakeet? is convinced her cat has made a meal of her pet bird, but readers know from the get-go that this isn’t the case. It’s a silly scenario that’s sure to elicit lots of laughs during storytime. The girl takes her cat to task: “Did you eat the parakeet? He was right there on his tiny seat! He was such a small and scrawny bird. To eat him would be absurd!” The frustrated feline soon sets the girl straight, and all is well—until her pet mouse goes missing! Iacolina’s rhyming text is irresistible, and his stick-figure illustrations, embellished with patches of color and pattern, are wonderfully expressive. There’s lots to love about this story of pet ownership gone awry.
Jim Averbeck’s touching Trevor features a solitary canary who longs for someone to sing with. Perched in his “safe, boring cage,” Trevor is feeling dejected until he spies a lemon hanging on a branch outside the window. Mistaking it for a bird, he leaves his cage and flies to the tree with a seed as a gift. Although the lemon remains strangely silent, Trevor builds a nest where they can live together. When the lemon disappears during a storm, Trevor is alone again, but not for a long. The kernel he brought as a gift has sprouted into a sunflower, and its seeds attract a feathered flock who welcome him as one of their own. Amy Hevron’s lovely acrylic-on-wood illustrations have eye-catching texture. Filled with hope, this gentle book shows that friendship can materialize at the perfect moment.
AN UNEXPECTED GUEST
Deborah Underwood’s madcap Walrus in the Bathtub is filled with splish-splash fun. Mom, Dad and the kids are excited about their new house. It has a large yard and a big bathtub that—surprise!—is already occupied by an enormous walrus. He’s having a leisurely soak as the family arrives on move-in day, accidentally creating some “bathtub tidal waves.” Between the walrus’ pool parties (er, bathtub parties)—complete with friendly seagulls and a blasting boombox—and his unendurable singing, the family’s nerves begin to fray. Despite the efforts of a plumber, a firefighter and a wildlife rescuer, the walrus won’t budge from the tub, which means the family might have to move out, but perhaps the troublesome walrus is just a little misunderstood. Matt Hunt’s bright, vivid illustrations are chock-full of details, including lots of floating soap bubbles. Bath time will never be the same once the kiddos get a look at this book.
LOST AT SEA
Leo is a wee infant when he goes flying overboard—and away from his frantic parents—during a boat trip. Following the accident, he’s cared for by friendly sea lions. In A Home for Leo, Vin Vogel tells the delightful story of the boy’s life by the ocean. Leo has fun with his new family—they teach him to swim and catch fish—although he doesn’t quite fit in with them. After he’s unexpectedly reunited with his parents, Leo is one happy lad, but he misses his animal pals. Can he find a way to bring his two lives together? Vogel’s energetic, cartoonish illustrations add to the appeal of Leo’s adventures. This out-of-the-ordinary story has a heartwarming ending, as Leo and his parents find the perfect home—by the sea, of course.