Those of you familiar with the tale of the Little Red Hen (“not I,” said the person stuck under a large piece of furniture), will love Susan Steven Crummel and Janet Steven’s retelling in their book The Little Red Pen. Faced with a mountain of ungraded papers, the little red pen tries, rather unsuccessfully, to enlist the help of her fellow office supplies – each with their own clever excuses. The eraser’s head is shrinking. The stapler’s back is hurting. The highlighter is bright, but not inclined to help. So, the poor little red pen must tackle the term papers all on her own. That is, until her sheer exhaustion causes her to lose her balance and teeter on the brim of the wastepaper basket – facing a fate worse than one can imagine. Who will help the little red pen get out of this mess? Children will delight in the humor and fabulous illustrations of Janet Stevens and adults will love the fact that office supplies have never provided this level of entertainment. Except, of course, for that one time with the hole punch.
The story of Ferdinand, the pacifist, flower-smelling bull, has long-captured the hearts and imaginations of readers worldwide. First published in 1936 by Munro Leaf, Ferdinand tells the tale of the titular hero, a kind, daydreamy sort of bull who would much prefer spending his days among the flowers of the hillside than snorting and roughhousing with the rest of the herd. And while the other bulls aspire to meet their fate in the bullrings of Spain, sweet Ferdinand opts for a gentler existence with his thoughts and his flowers. That is, until, a bee makes its way into Ferdinand’s repose and causes the otherwise peaceful bull to become agitated and wild. It is in the state of typical bull behavior that Ferdinand is seen by the bullring officials and is mistakenly taken in to the ring for a fight. Ferdinand’s true colors come back in the ring, however, and this adorable bull finds solace in the flowers in the senoritas’ hair. This book is one of those classic tales that never really leaves you. I first read it as a child and I still find myself thinking of the reluctant toro and the lessons it taught me and continues to teach children today.
Bonnie Burton may have just cemented her place in the Zeigler Hall of Fame for her latest contribution to all things Wookie, The Star Wars Craft Book. Are you kidding me? Just when I thought we couldn’t possible devote any more time to General Grievous, Count Dooku and Jabba the Hutt, here comes an entire book of crafty items you and your children can make as an homage to your love of Lucas. Chewbacca Sock Puppets to cuddle! Ewok Fleece Hats to keep your ears warm! Wookiee Bird Houses for your backyard! And, my personal favorite, Hanukkah “Droidels” for the holiday season! Even if your kids aren’t exactly the most crafty kids on the block, the sheer humor behind each and every one of these crafts will keep you laughing all the way to Michael’s craft store. Not only is this book perfect for any child with a penchant for Plo Koon, but it’s the most fabulous gift ever for those hidden adult Star Wars fans who just might come out of the woodwork for the prospect of an R2-D2 crocheted beanie.
Growing up, there was this little boy named Mitchell who always got into loads of mischief. Mitchell removed all the wallpaper from his room. Mitchell was found scaling the roof. And, on one occasion, Mitchell’s mother looked out the window and saw Mitchell riding the back of the garbage truck as it drove by. So, for me, the name Mitchell has always been synonymous with adventure and just the slightest amount of naughtiness. Imagine my delight at finding Hallie Durand and Tony Fucile’s amazing romp of a book, Mitchell’s License. In it, a similarly rambunctious child named Mitchell gets his license to drive at the ripe old age of three years, nine months and five days old. Enter Mitchell’s amazing dad who is more than happy to serve as imaginary vehicle for Mitchell’s inaugural drive to bed. After sufficiently checking all apparati on the dad-mobile, Mitchell takes off and we take off right with him. Durand and Fucile have served up an imaginative, funny, quirky book that will captivate children and parents alike. And for all those parents who have ever served as their child’s car, bus, trolley or mighty steed, you’ll recognize the amazing lengths we’ll go to to please our beloved children. As for my Mitchell? I’ve heard he’s now an Air Force instructor. Which just goes to show you that a ride on a garbage truck can actually take you pretty far…