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Kids Book Corner: Books Full of Fun and Surprise for Spring

Posted By Karen Young On April 19, 2012 @ 9:56 pm In Literary Corner,My Daily Find | No Comments

BY JO PERRY

Poor, dear, silly Spring, preparing her annual surprise!
- Wallace Stevens

April should be silly and full of surprises—just like these books:

Children 3 and up will admire Larf, Ashley Spires’s solitary, shy, vegetarian Sasquatch who risks losing his quiet, private life with Eric, his pet rabbit, when he ventures into to town to meet the only other Sasquatch in the world. What’s especially nice about this silly tale is its celebration of solitude and Larf’s unwavering acceptance of his unique (well almost) self.

The Goldfish in the Chandelier by Casie Kesterson, with vibrant illustrations by Gary Howland is a wonderful surprise for readers 7 and up.  Set in 19th century Paris, Louis’s Uncle Henri must design a grand chandelier—but he’s stumped. The chandelier must incorporate earth, fire, wind and water in its design. And it must be incredibly beautiful. Uncle and nephew lie on the floor and stare at the ceiling, hoping for inspiration.  Stories of Alexander the Great and the flight of the first hot-air balloon help the designers create a luminous design incorporating live goldfish. An afterward sorts out what is true and what is fictional in the story and ends with a photograph of the real chandelier which is part of the Getty’s collection.

10 Hungry Rabbits by Anita Lobel introduces preschoolers to colors and counting in this delicious, exuberant, sweet and beautiful book.  Ten hungry rabbits help their mother with dinner by picking vegetables in the garden: one purple cabbage, two white onions, etc. until there is a wonderful vegetable soup to nourish the family.  I liked the addition of peppercorns and blueberries to the soup—so will young readers.

Ruth Kaiser’s The Smiley Book of Colors is an outgrowth of the author’s SpontaneousSmiley.com website, invites readers 3 and up to discover happy smiles in bright and cheerful photographs of objects: a bright red, upside down purse; a piece of toast, a strawberry, yellow macaroni and cheese, an green apple, a purple zipper. The rhyming text reminds us that happiness is a choice. Surprising and silly fun for all ages.

The Cloud Spinner by Michael Catchpool with evocative illustrations by Alison Jay is a modern fairy-tale about a boy who can spin clouds into gold, white and crimson threads as “soft as a mouse’s touch and warm as roasted chestnuts.” When the selfish King demands that the boy make him a large cloak and scarf, even though he has no need for them, the consequences are more serious than he can imagine. Jay’s dreamy and beautiful paintings are a real pleasure—and full of surprises, as is this gentle tale.

Jo Perry has a Ph.D. in English, taught literature and writing, and worked as a college administrator and as a television writer and producer. She is a reviewer for BookBrowse.com and is an ongoing contributor to kidsLA Magazine for which she writes about the city, children’s books, and conducts interviews. For two years she wrote the Kids’ Book Club column for the L.A. Times’ Kids’ Reading Room page.

 

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