Thursday, November 10, 2016

GLAMOROUS GARBAGE by Barbara Johansen Newman

Lexile     AD370          Pages     40          Ages     5 - 8
AR Quiz No. 177653 EN Fiction
IL: LG - BL: 2.8 - AR Pts: 0.5
  AR Quiz Types: RP

Bobbie's Aunt Tessie and her "best cousin" Joanie are coming over to visit. Bobbie wants to surprise Joanie so she runs to hide in her room telling her mom to send Joanie up. When Joanie gets to the room, Bobbie jumps out yelling, "Surprise!" But the surprise ends up being on Bobbie - she bumps her head on her bookshelf, which crashes to the floor. Bobbie's Mom and Aunt Tess come running to see if anyone is hurt. Mom makes a decision - Bobbie has too much stuff and she has two weeks to do something about it. If Bobbie doesn't take care of it, Mom will!

Faced with an ultimatum, Bobbie makes a plan. It's her "Garden Party Room" plan. She shows it to Mom and is told that, sorry, but she can't buy new things for the room. But she can still clean it up.

Bobbie starts out with right idea - she gathers things from the trash, the local freecycle, and yard sales with the thought of cleaning them up and using them to organize her things. But she doesn't carry through and now she has more stuff than ever. She realizes she needs help and goes to her mom.

Together, Mom and Bobbie go through things one-by-one, sorting them into piles - keep, fix-up, and get rid of it stuff. Once the sorting is finished they get to work. They clean, paint, organize and rearrange. When all is done, Bobbie has a room she loves and she's learned valuable lessons about keeping only what's really important to you and about re-purposing things.

Glamorous Garbage is a great book to introduce children to a reduce and re-purpose lifestyle. It shows children that being kind to the environment isn't only something you do out in nature - it starts at home.

Happy Reading!
Miss Laurie

Glamorous Garbage can be checked out at any Lake County Public Library, or click here and with your library card number and PIN you can place a hold for easy pickup at your favorite branch.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

DRAGON WAS TERRIBLE by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli

Lexile     AD370          Pages     40          Ages     5 - 7
AR Quiz No. 184169 EN Fiction 
IL: LG - BL: 2.7 - AR Pts: 0.5
  AR Quiz Types: RP

Dragon is terrible. I mean, SUPER terrible. "How terrible is he?" you ask. Well, I'll tell you! He does things like stomp on flowers. He spits on cupcakes! He takes candy from baby unicorns! He toilet-papers the castle! He scribbles in books!! (Oh, the horror!) 

Finally, the king has had enough. "Enough!" he says. He posts a notice to all the brave knights offering a reward to "whoever shall tame the terrible dragon. It shall be a gift. A nice gift. The knights try, but fail.

The same offer is made to the townsfolk, who also fail. And with each failure, Dragon's naughtiness escalates.

A young boy in the village has also had enough. He also has an idea. He writes a story. Then, he lays a trail of marshmallows to lure the dragon to the tree where he is reading the story. "And then the brave dragon swooped in to save the princess . . ." he reads.

"Whaaaat??" Dragon tries to act all nonchalant like he isn't listening. He shuffles cards, he walks away (but not too far away!), and when a crowd starts to gather under the tree he sneaks in (can a big, fire-breathing dragon really sneak?) and climbs the tree to hear the story without being seen. The only problem is, he's too big for the tree and the branch breaks, dumping him, roaring, into the crowd. The crowd gasps in horror but the boy just calmly asks, "Would you like to hear the end of the story?" And to everyone's surprise, Dragon smiles and sits down nicely with the children to hear the rest of the story.

This is probably the funniest children's book I've read in awhile! While all-in-all Dragon's destructive behavior and acting out isn't acceptable, it's presented in a way that gets that point across but will still have children rolling with laughter. Greg Pizzoli's illustrations are perfect, from the facial expressions, to the tp'd castle, to the Dragon-drawn graffiti (KING IS A BABY.) : )

I like that Dragon is tamed without meanness or violence. It shows children that solutions can be had using peaceful approaches.

You can't go wrong adding Kelly DiPucchio's Dragon Was Terrible to your permanent collection.

Happy Reading, 

Miss Laurie

 Dragon Was Terrible can be checked out at any Lake County Public Library, or click  here and with your library card number and PIN you can place a hold for easy pickup at your favorite branch.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

ENEMY PIE by Derek Munson, illustrated by Tara Calahan King

Lexile     AD 330          Pages     40          Ages     5 - 8
AR Quiz No. 45222 EN Fiction

 IL: LG - BL: 3.2 - AR Pts: 0.5
  AR Quiz Types: RP, VP

With a new tree house, a sister at camp for three weeks, and being on the best baseball team in town, it should have been a perfect summer for the boy (He is never given a name in the story.)

Then . . . .

Jeremy Ross moves in.

He does not like Jeremy Ross. And it's not just because Jeremy moved in next door to his best friend, Stanley (although that was part of it.) Jeremy laughed at him when he struck him out in baseball. He had a party and invited Stanley, but not the boy. He's never needed an enemy list before, but now he does and Jeremy Ross is number one on the list, hanging on the wall of the tree house. Actually, he's the only one on the list. :)

Luckily, his Dad knows just how to get rid of enemies. He has a recipe for Enemy Pie. He says the recipe is so secret he couldn't tell anyone what was in it. The boy brings his dad several different gross things but Dad doesn't need them. He does, however, need the boy's help.

The boy's job is to play with Jeremy Ross all day, not letting him know he's being set up. Be nice to him. It's a hard job, but Dad knows he can do it.

So the boy goes to Jeremy's house and asks if he can come out to play. They ride bikes, play on Jeremy's trampoline and throw water balloons at neighbor girls. Jeremy's mom makes lunch and then they go to the boy's house and play basketball, throw a boomerang and play in the tree house (after the boy runs up and whips the enemy list off the wall.) Jeremy isn't being a very good enemy!

Dad makes dinner and then serves up dessert - Enemy Pie! The boy didn't want Jeremy to eat it! In a panic he yells, "Jeremy, don't eat it! It's bad pie! I think it's poisonous or something!" 

Jeremy is confused. He asks if it's so bad, why has Dad already eaten half of his piece? The boy looks, and sure enough, Dad is eating his pie right up! He tries a small taste. Enemy Pie was delicious!

In the end, the boy still doesn't know what is in Enemy Pie, but he doesn't need to know because he's lost his best enemy.

Enemy Pie lets children know that just because they don't know someone doesn't mean that they are an enemy. If you get to know someone, you might just be surprised by how much you like them. The colored pencil and pastel illustrations are colorful and fun.

Put Enemy Pie on your reading list today, you won't be sorry.

Happy Reading,
Miss Laurie

Enemy Pie can be checked out at any Lake County Public Library, or click  here and with your library card number and PIN you can place a hold for easy pickup at your favorite branch.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Lexile     Not Rated          Pages     40          Ages     5 - 8
AR Quiz No. 175565 EN Fiction
 IL: LG - BL: 3.1 - AR Pts: 0.5
  AR Quiz Types: RP

Rose is different. Rose is messy. Rose isn't good at the things Mrs. Benson gives stars for on the blackboard. She isn't very good at math, and when she reads out loud, it isn't loud enough. Her desk is a mess. Rose wants a star on the blackboard but she just knows it will never happen, and that makes her sad.

One day an artist comes to Mrs. Benson's class to talk about his art. Rose is so excited! She LOVES to draw and paint! Daydreaming about Mr. Sullivan's visit, Rose trips while carrying the class snack and makes a big mess. Sigh . . . . . "I won't be getting that star anytime soon," she thinks.

At the end of the day, Mrs. Benson is checking desks for neatness. Rose knows her desk is a mess. She has butterflies in her stomach and as the teacher gets closer to her last desk in the last row, it turns into a full-fledged tummy ache. (I feel sorry for Rose. I was not the neatest child and I don't think ANY child should have to experience a tummy ache just for a messy desk.) Luckily for Rose, the bell rings before Mrs. Benson gets to her desk. (At this point, I'm REALLY disliking Mrs. Benson as she says, "Close call, huh, Rosey? I'll look at yours tomorrow." I mean, let's let Rose stress out all night!)

Rose gets to school early the next morning so she can clean her desk. In the afternoon, the children make thank-you cards for Mr. Sullivan. Rose gets out all of her art supplies and makes a great big card with paintings on both sides. She also makes a big mess. But to her surprise, Mrs. Benson just laughs. And then the other kids laugh, and so does Rose. And Mrs. Benson tells her she is a true artist, just like Mr. Sullivan! Rose is so proud!

At the end of the day, Mrs. Benson puts Rose's name on the blackboard and calls her up to put a star by her name. Rose FINALLY got her star!

I guess the best lesson kids can take away from this book is to not be too serious about some things, and to be able to laugh at yourself. Toward the end when the teacher and the class are laughing at the mess Rose made while creating her masterpiece, she could very well have taken it personally and felt even worse about herself but she didn't. I think I would make sure to discuss this with your child.  I guess the best way to put it is that it teaches children perspective - how serious something is in relation to the whole.

Used right, I Will Never Get a Star... can be a valuable addition to your reading list.

Happy Reading!
Miss Laurie

I Will Never Get a Star... can be checked out at any Lake County Public Library, or click  here and with your library card number and PIN you can place a hold for easy pickup at your favorite branch.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

UNDERPANTS DANCE by Marlena Zapf, illustrated by Lynne Avril

Lexile     Not Rated          Pages     40          Ages     3 - 5
AR Quiz No. 166693 EN Fiction
 IL: LG - BL: 3.1 - AR Pts: 0.5
  AR Quiz Types: RP

Lily McBloom has a brand new pair of underpants. They are beautiful! They are lacy! They are fancy! They are pink! Oh joy! They are so beautiful, they make Lily want to dance so she makes up a special Underpants Dance.

She kicks up her feet, picks up her dress and twirls around and then whips her dress off over her head. Lily's sister, Marigold, is embarrassed.  "Stop that," she snaps. "It's not nice."  Lily disagrees and does a fancy Leaping-Down-the-Steps Underpants Dance just as Marigold's bus comes around the corner. Marigold is no longer embarrassed, she is absolutely mortified! She tells Lily, "All my friends will laugh at you," which Lily thinks is just fine because she likes to make people laugh! She gives the bus a great big, Underpants Curtsy. Lily's mom makes her promise to never do a Leaping-Down-the-Steps Underpants Dance ever again.

But that's okay because no one ever said she couldn't do a Top-of-the-Slide Underpants Dance! Until she did it and then the teacher said she couldn't. 

But that was OKAY! Because she could just wait until she got home and do a . . . .


Again, Marigold is embarrassed. She tells Lily she can't show off her underpants to the neighbors, to which Lily replies that their neighbor Mrs. Lacey, who is hanging her laundry on the line, is at that very moment showing off her underpants to the whole neighborhood! Marigold says that laundry doesn't count. And when Lily asks, she is told that neither does advertising, or ballet, or the art at the museum. 

Lily's parents decide that maybe Lily should, instead of dresses, be wearing pants. But Lily won't be defeated . . . . .

Read Underpants Dance today and find out how Lily solves her new dilemma. 

I love this book! Lily is so creative and resourceful!  And what kid doesn't find underpants hilarious? :) Your little ones will love the funny illustrations and Lily's inventive solutions.

Happy Reading!
Miss Laurie

 Underpants Dance can be checked out at any Lake County Public Library, or click  here and with your library card number and PIN you can place a hold for easy pickup at your favorite branch.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

GO TO SCHOOL LITTLE MONSTER by Helen Ketteman, illustrated by Bonnie Leick

Lexile     AD220          Pages     32          Ages     3 - 5
No AR information at this time

It's Little Monster's first day at The Horace Arachnid Academy and he's not so sure he wants to be there. His teacher, Mr. Drool, understands perfectly and assures Little Monster that, "Though I'm big and I drool, I'm a fairly nice guy."  He seats Little Monster next to another student, Fang. Fang looks rather intimidating too but Mr. Drool promises him that although Fang's teeth are quite big, he doesn't think he'll bite. As the day progresses, with Mr. Drool's guidance Little Monster's confidence grows as he learns to deal with all of the scary new things that school brings. And in the end, he's found a new best friend in Fang and can't wait to return the next day.

From art class to recess to a forgotten lunch, Helen Ketteman's rhyming verse will gently guide children through some of the things that worry them as the first day of school approaches. Along with the charming watercolors of Bonnie Leick, Little Monster will reassure children and maybe even have them looking forward to their first day of school!

Happy Reading!

Miss Laurie

Go to School Little Monster can be checked out at any Lake County Public Library, or click  here and with your library card number and PIN you can place a hold for easy pickup at your favorite branch.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


Lexile     AD400          Pages     32          Ages     5 - 7
AR Quiz No. 159163 EN Fiction 
 IL: LG - BL: 1.9 - AR Pts: 0.5
  AR Quiz Types: RP 

Goat thinks he's pretty hot stuff. He rides his bike to school (which is pretty cool!), he can (almost) make great marshmallow treats, and he can drop some AWESOME dance moves in the big talent show. Then Unicorn moves in. Instead of riding a bike, he can fly. And he can make it RAIN CUPCAKES!!  And that's in addition to his fancy prancing which makes Goat's dance moves look like stumbling around. How do you compete with that?

Goat is jealous. Goat is angry. Goat makes fun of Unicorn. He sits down to drown his sorrows in some goat cheese pizza.  

Well, guess who shows up. Unicorn, of course! A goat can't even be jealous in peace!

Unicorn smells the pizza and asks if he can try some. Wow! Unicorn LOVES goat cheese pizza! He is so JEALOUS of goat, because being a unicorn, he has a sensitive stomach and all he can eat is glitter and rainbows. As a matter of fact, Unicorn is jealous of other things Goat has - his cool, cloven hooves, and having TWO horns instead of just one.


Then Goat has an idea . . . .

"We'd be an unstoppable team!"

They could stop bank robbers and other bad guys, or . . . . . they could just be good friends.

Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great is a great story that shows children that everyone has something about themselves they wish was different, and that teaming up with others makes the whole stronger.

The silly prose and the colorful illustrations make Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great a fun addition to your child's library.

Happy Reading!
Miss Laurie

 Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great can be checked out at any Lake County Public Library, or click  here and with your library card number and PIN you can place a hold for easy pickup at your favorite branch.