Books That Explore War Themes Books written for young readers that point out the dedications and ramifications of war can be beneficial. These tales celebrate the strength of young people in trying times and show that there's always hope, even in the most dire of situations. "…Read more. Last-Minute Springy Easter Basket Books Still need some Easter basket stuffers? These whimsical, charming books have Easter and spring (bunnies, chickens) themes and complement jellybeans and chocolate eggs. "P. Zonka Lays an Egg" by Julie Paschkis; Peachtree Publishers; 32 pages; $16.95.… …Read more. Absorbing Reads for Middle Graders These new novels for 4th- through 7th-graders feature lions, aliens, a Bronze Age adventure, a boy who sets out to save his sister's life and the environment, and a heartwarming tale of a homeless girl. "Feral Pride" by Cynthia Leitich Smith; …Read more. Pet Tales To Please These funny new books star a rambunctious bunch of pets sure to make children laugh and then want to read more. "Dogs Are People, Too" by Dave Coverly; Henry Holt; 214 pages; $12.99. "A Collection of Cartoons To Make Your Tail Wag," as it's …Read more.more articles
Poetry Books To Entertain Youngsters
April is Poetry Month. But all year long, kids can enjoy these imaginative, funny and inspiring ditties.
"Hypnotize a Tiger" by Calef Brown; Henry Holt; 138 pages; $17.99.
Author and artist Calef Brown calls himself an "enthusiologist," which is apparent in this lively book of whimsy and quirky verses. His 138 pages of oddities bring up subjects most of us never think about.
"Satellites know of our whereabouts. Within a few inches or thereabouts. Is this something anyone cares about? They'll tell us, I hope, when there's bears about," sings one poem, above a blue, white and black sketch of a boy gazing up at a satellite and a bear gazing at him.
"Interview with a Termite" is hilarity for sure; while a vulture realizes, "A normal dinner would feel so nice. Grilled asparagus and wild rice without the wretched carrion. Something vegetarian."
Organized in chapters such as "The Critterverse," "My Peeps," "Schoolishness" and "Poems of a Particular Vehicular Nature," "Hypnotize a Tiger" is downright fun.
"Expanzaramadingdong" by Jason Steinberg; illustrated by Keith Klein; Dream With Me Press; 173 pages; $19.99.
Looking like a newer Shel Silverstein tome, with a whopping 173 pages of kid-friendly poems, Jason Steinberg's collection gives insight to life's wonders. From celebrating caterpillars to growing old to the possibilities of a blank canvas, his vast compilation has something for everyone, of all ages, and is imaginative and clearly written. Keith Kline's black-and-white sketches demonstrate each poem and are also clean and child-friendly.
"Expanzaramadingdong" also teaches invaluable lessons in a fun manner — about the perils of having too much, wasting potential and not doing one's best.
A smart gift book that takes off where Silverstein left off, Steinberg's tome is classic and entertaining.
"Random Body Parts: Gross Anatomy Riddles in Verse" by Leslie Bulion; illustrated by Mike Lowery; Peachtree Publishing; 48 pages; $14.95.
With a scrapbook-like setup of quirky drawings, poetic puzzles in verse (think fresh Shakespeare) and hints for answers, Leslie Bulion's biology-based anatomical riddles will appeal to kids who like their thinking "gross" and down to earth.
Cartoonish drawings and sometimes wretchedly real lines will spark young readers' interest in poetry and human biology.
"The Maine Coon's Haiku and Other Poems for Cat Lovers" by Michael J. Rosen; illustrated by Lee White; Candlewick Press; 56 pages; $17.99.
As a new cat owner, this charming book of cat Haiku poems is more informative to me than most cat guides. Funny and memorable moments about different cat breeds, coupled with Lee White's personable illustrations, make Michael J. Rosen's picture book a beautiful must-have for cat lovers. Rosen introduces 20 popular cat breeds, including some about the Turkish Angora and the Norwegian forest cat that allude to far-off, exotic places.
With added facts at the back of the book and irresistible little poems — "Turkish Angora/whooshing down the hall: Angora, then her all-white/dust devil of hair" — "The Maine Coon's Haiku" is truly a gem.
"Otto the Owl Who Loved Poetry" by Vern Kousky; Nancy Paulson Books/Penguin; 30 pages; $16.99.
Otto loves poetry and recites John Keats, T.S. Eliot and Emily Dickinson in the forest. At first, other owls make fun of him and call him Blotto the Bard, but eventually, as Otto recites more and more, the naysayers come around. Soon, Otto recites for eager audiences, who love his poetry so much they begin to write their own.
With a valuable lesson about being accepted for who you are and about sticking to your passion, Vern Kousky's charming tale is also full of enchanting forest scenes, made even lovelier with classic poetry.
To find out more about Lee Littlewood, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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