On the blog:
Well, not very much. Many books started, few books finished. Some weeks are like that.
My son and I just finished Mac Barnett and Jory John’s The Terrible Two Get Worse, the second book in their series about two pranksters. Maybe it was because I was reading it aloud to my son who was enjoying it so much, but I liked this second book a lot more than I liked the first book (which I thought was fine but not special). Miles and Niles are now fast friends and fully embarked on their pranking project, which gets unexpectedly thwarted by a new principal who has a decidedly frustrating pranking policy: if he doesn’t acknowledge the prank, it doesn’t exist. And soon enough, Yawnee Valley Science and Letters Academy is the kind of school that has no pranks at all. Miles and Niles enlist a most unusual ally to help with the ultimate prank. It’s a quick read with plenty of amusing moments.
Drum Dream Girl is just as wonderful as everyone said it is. Rafael Lopez’s illustrations are eye-poppingly gorgeous, and Margarita Engle’s writing captures the longing of the Drum Dream Girl, who knows she’s got a drum beat in her blood but who can’t play the drums because in her culture, drums are for boys. Thankfully her father changes his mind and allows her to take lessons (the one moment in the text that felt a bit rushed and unbelievable to me, given his obstinate refusal up to that point).
Ryan Higgins’s Mother Bruce is such a delight–certainly one of the funniest picture books I’ve read in awhile. So much humor in those illustrations. I plucked this one from the Hold Shelf at the library (where it was on hold for someone else!) and read it surreptitiously. I am looking forward to a more leisurely read where I can examine those illustrations more closely!
I’m going to say something I almost never say on this blog: I liked the rhyme in Josh Funk’s Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast. In fact, I think the rhyme fully worked and made the story better. And so I add Josh Funk to the (very!) short list of authors who should write rhyming picture book text (thus increasing the list to three whole authors! Everyone else, PLEASE STOP.) This is a clever story of a pancake and a piece of French toast who are determined to get that last drop of syrup. They have quite an obstacle course to overcome in what must be the most abundantly stocked fridge in the world. There is a wonderful surprise twist at the end.
Madame Eiffel: The Love Story of the Eiffel Tower is also written in rhyming text, and it simply doesn’t work. The rhymes feel both forced and predictable (“Growing fonder and always going yonder”), the lines bang and clunk to a halt rather than lilt or zip as rhyming text should. Csil’s illustrations are charming and the book is beautifully designed, so it’s worth a look for that alone. It’s an oddball little story that I would have really liked had it been written differently.