Monday, July 31, 2006


WHO IS MELVIN BUBBLE? by Nick Bruel (Roaring Brook)

Who is Melvin Bubble? Well, it depends on who you ask. His dad might say he's a chip off the ol' block, and his mom might notice he's possibly the messiest boy in the world. His dog might say wood woof arf woof woof bark. A three-eyed monster might say he is dear, sweet, tender and delicious. The meanest man in the world might say he has a silly name. How about a talking rock? Santa Claus? His best friend Jimmy? A zebra? This hilarious book well-matched with cartoonish, coloful illustrations is a belly-shaker as well as an invaluable tool for teaching kids about point of view. By the end, you'll have your own idea about who is Melvin Bubble. And if anyone asks you "who is Nick Bruel?" you'll be able to say: my new favorite author for reluctant readers...and writers! (7 and up)

And if you're not tired out by laughing and want another round with this author, check out BAD KITTY (Roaring Brook). Oh dear, did Mommy forget to buy food for the kitty? No worries, there should be plenty of things in the cupboard for kitty to eat. Asparagus, perhaps? Fennel? Rhubarb? An alphabet of food that sends kitty gagging on hairballs also sends him into an alphabet of bad behavior involving curtains, neckties and a vet's arm. Don't worry, a trip to the store for more suitable cuisine, worthy of Wacky Packages noteriety and a child's taste (lizard lasagne or turtle turnovers, anyone?) should send kitty into a redemptive fervor. That's four, count 'em, four hilarious alphabets in one book. Zany, never dull, and full of a suprising amount of fresh vocabulary and a chance for letter recognition, this book is a hoot for lively, irreverent preschoolers and their older siblings. It reads like catnip for fans of all things feline, but cat-haters can enjoy it, too, as kitty's true nature is revealed. (4 and up)

Also of interest:
Since I know some of you teachers out there are already getting itchy and jotting down notes for great new lessons come fall, another great book to use for teaching point of view is TALKIN' ABOUT BESSIE: THE STORY OF AVIATOR ELIZABETH COLEMAN by Nikki Grimes, with beautiful watercolor illustrations by E.B. Lewis (Scholastic). Twenty fictionalized eulogies from a diverse collection of people touched by the world's first licensed female African-American pilot creates a resonating portrait. This inspiring and creative teaching tool for point of view can also be a fresh format for kids to report on famous people in history. (7 and up)

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

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