Monday, December 31, 2007

Pish Posh

If you are a fan of Thompson’s “Eloise” or Dahl’s “Matilda”, then read “Pish Posh” by Ellen Potter, the author of the “Olivia Kidney” series. “Pish Posh” follows the adventures of a snobby 11-year old girl named Clara Frankofile who lives alone in an apartment in New York City. She spends each evening in her parents’ restaurant, Pish Posh, where she watches actresses, princesses, and celebrities, and decides who is a “somebody” and who is a “nobody.” After she declares a prominent surgeon a "nobody," he tells her that she doesn't know all that goes on at Pish Posh, because there is a mystery unfolding right under her nose. In order to solve the mystery, Clara teams up with a 12-year old jewel thief and together they attempt to solve a 200-hundred-year-old secret. This is a humorous book that mixes fantasy with reality. Children will enjoy the funny, but sometimes sarcastic portrayal of a girl who not only solves a mystery, but realizes that it is okay to be just a kid. 166 pp, Grades 4-6.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Picture Books to Read Together

In Carol Hunt Senderak’s Mommy in My Pocket a young bunny would like to take her mommy along with her to school. On each page, the bunny imagines how she could spend the day with her mommy if she was small enough to sit in her pocket. In the end, the bunny realizes that although her mommy can't go to school with her, her mommy's love is enough to get her through the day. A reassuring book for young children who are anxious about going to school alone.

More books that deal with children who are anxious to go to school include, Audrey Penn’s The Kissing Hand, in which a raccoon mother teaches her young one a special way to carry her love with him all day long; Nancy Kaufmann’s Bye, Bye! is about a young pig who has trouble leaving his father to go to school; and in Sarah Weeks’ “My Somebody Special” a puppy becomes anxious as he is the last to be picked up from school, but is reassured when his “somebody special” arrives.

Did your child enjoy Eric Carle’s Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me or Frank Asch’s MoonGame? Then try Oliver Jeffers’ How to Catch a Star where a young boy attempts to catch a star. He comes up with several ways to catch a star including jumping up to grab it, climbing a tall tree, and even asking a seagull to fly up and get it for him. He finally gets his wish when he spots a (sea) star on the beach. Jeffers’ uses simple pale watercolor illustrations that portray the boy’s every attempt to reach a star.