Thursday, June 29, 2006


OLIVIA FORMS A BAND by Ian Falconer (Atheneum)
Okay, I generally prefer to let you know about books that you might not know about otherwise, and heaven knows this latest book by Ian Falconer is bound to be face-out at every superstore. But if you don't know Olivia, you must, and if you do know Olivia, you'll want to know that the latest is out.

In this installment of the porcine princess, she pouts because her family is not in tune with the obvious necessity of a marching band at a picnic, so she improvises her own one-pig-show using clankers and honkers from around the house. The story arc is incidental, kind of like spending a mellow day with Olivia's family (or as mellow as a day can be with Olivia starring in it), though there are some strikingly funny moments , such as when Olivia decides to try on her mother's lipstick. I have to admit, a lot of this book's appeal was the breathtaking family firework spread that actually will illicit a gutteral groan of admiration. Combine with Jennifer Armstrong's WAN HU IS IN THE STARS (HarperCollins), good ol' Eric Carle's VERY LONELY FIREFLY (Philomel), some illegal fireworks from just across the Indiana border (pardon, local joke), and you've got yourself one pyrotechnical storytime for the Glorious Fourth! Wooooo-hooooo! (4 and up)

Also of interest:
Let's get the rock stars out of the way:
LILLY'S BIG DAY by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow)
Lilly would be the perfect flower girl at her teacher Mr. Slinger's wedding, but he has the audacity to give this choice role to his niece. Perhaps there is still some expertise that Lilly can lend to the occasion? This title is an even smoother read-aloud than the classic LILLY'S PURPLE PLASTIC PURSE, and continues to have a finger on the pulse of little mice...and little girls. A must-give gift for junior participants in any summer wedding. You can also make use of loose petals by hosting a storytime where every kid gets to be a flower girl or ring-bearer. (5 and up)

Links are provided for informational use. Don't forget to support your local bookseller.

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