When Louis’ Scottish uncle sends him a tadpole as a birthday present (fresh from Loch Ness), it does not turn into a frog. It does, however, turn into a wonderful (if utterly impracticable) pet.
Note: This version of the book is out of print. In 2004, a new version was issued with a revised text and all new illustrations. The changes were not an improvement. Look for the version of the book that has the “tadpole” gazing up at Louis in profile, rather than a straight-on view of them both.
Author: Steven Kellogg
Illustrator: Steven Kellogg
Tonight I thought I’d give the boys a treat by reading How I Became a Pirate. (I don’t like romanticizing pirates, so we don’t have many pirate-related books. Which may make reading about them more exciting, rather than less. Huh.) But the boys took one look at it and moaned, in unison: “We have that at school!”
So, I picked out Meshka. And they were thrilled. Go figure.
Meshka is a practiced complainer (a kvetch). Her back doesn’t simply ache, it feels as if she has “carried the Wall of Jericho itself.” Her studious son “sit[s] around the house like a bump on a kosher pickle.” And so on and so forth. But, one day, everything she complains about literally comes to pass. What is a kvetch to do?
The message here (praise the good in your life rather than bemoan the bad) isn’t subtle, but it is a good one and easily carried along by the humorous plot and lively illustrations.
Author: Carol Chapman
Illustrator: Arnold Lobel
Posted in Picture Books
Tagged Arnold Lobel, Carol Chapman, David Shannon, Diverse Books, How I Became a Pirate, I read this as a kid, Melinda Long, out of print, pirates, Tall Tale, The Tale of Meshka the Kvetch
A perfect tall tale of daring and dairy. This book may (almost literally) have everything. Among other things, there are aliens, dads, dinosaurs, flying saucers, hot air balloons, pirates, ponies, piranhas, space time paradoxes, time machines, vampires, volcanoes, and (fortunately) the milk. An effortless read aloud and an absolute hoot.
Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Skottie Young
Posted in Chapter Books
Tagged aliens, Animals, Fortunately the Milk, Machines, Neil Gaiman, pirates, science fiction, Skottie Young, space time paradoxes, Tall Tale, vampires, volcanoes
A fierce little woman’s solitary life (filled with knitting, playing the bagpipes, and fishing) is suddenly interrupted by a self-proclaimed wicked pirate with an adorable parrot and an utterly unexpected, dark, secret. A spirited standoff ensues with an surprising and very satisfying outcome.
The boys particularly love the parrot and pirate. I’m partial to that fierce little knitting woman. But we all love the very happy ending.
Author: Joy Cowley
Illustrator: Sarah Davis