Author Archive

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

December 16, 2014

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett with illustrations by Jon Klassen

Sam and Dave are on a mission to dig a hole in search of something spectacular.  As they try to figure out the best strategy, the reader (and the knowing dog) see the big gems that the pair are missing.  When they fall asleep and free-fall through the deeper hole, they end up falling from above, back to where they were before…or is it?  With sepia-toned illustrations, spare text and the reader in the know, children will enjoy the surprise ending.

This story reminded of that child-like belief that you can dig a hole to China, and the illustrations brought to mind that classic, A Hole is to Dig by Ruth Krauss.  Enjoy!



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Color Mixing Fun!

October 14, 2014

Mix It Up by Herve Tullet is a wonderfully interactive picture book, and a fun introduction to colors and color mixing.  Directed to tap here and rub there, readers and listeners mix the colors on the pages of this book.  With its generous white space and splotches of paint color, the reader is invited to “with one finger take a little bit of the blue…and just touch the yellow.  Rub it…gently…”

And with a page turn, “see?” the reader sees the splotch of green that they’ve made!

Herve Tullet gave new meaning to an interactive picture book with Press Here, and this title follows in that same vein.

A delightfully fun reading experience that hopefully leads to some actual play with paints and colors!

Read the book, get some finger paints…and MIX IT UP!

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Chu’s First Day of School

September 11, 2014

Chu's firstChu is back in Chu’s First Day of School by Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex.  In the first book featuring the lovable panda bear, readers got a surprise when they found out about Chu’s explosive sneezes.

In this second title, Chu is nervous about going to school.  When he gets there and all the animals take turns introducing themselves and sharing something they love to do, there’s a surprise in store for his fellow classmates, as Chu can’t help but demonstrate what he loves to do.  The expressions on his classmates’ faces tell Chu everything is going to be all right.

The concerns of Chu will resonate with young children, and readers will find humor in the facial expressions throughout the book and of course, in Chu!

For more books, check out our Starting School list.

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Feathers: Not Just for Flying

August 20, 2014

There are so many great new books about birds!

I was enamored with Feathers: Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart.  This picture book nonfiction title shares some of the unique qualities of feathers.  With a scrapbook-like illustration style, each page provides a line of bold text, with smaller text to give more detailed factual information.  Illustrations show the bird and the object their feathers are compared to.  I like that the feathers are compared to objects which could lead to further discussion between reader and listener.

“Feathers can dig holes like a backhoe…or carry building supplies like a forklift.”  There are swallows who use the feathers on their lower legs to dig tunnels; and there is the lovebird who puts nest materials under her rump feathers.

I was fascinated by all the ways that birds use their feathers and I’m sure children will be, too.

The young ornithologists in your life might also enjoy these new titles:

Mama Built a Little Nest by Jennifer Ward

Have you Heard the Nesting Bird? by Rita Gray

Nest by Jorey Hurley

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The Miniature World of Marvin & James

June 13, 2014

The Miniature World of Marvin & James written by Elise Broach and illustrated by Kelly Murphy

This beginning chapter book (with really large text size and plenty of sepia-toned drawings) is quirkily charming and perfect for a reader just starting chapter books.

It features characters from the author’s novel, Masterpiece, which I have not read, so this was my first introduction to the boy James and his best-buddy beetle named Marvin. In this story, James goes away for a week so Marvin is forced to play with beetle cousin, Elaine. Their adventure inside a pencil sharpener where they frolic in pencil shavings and nearly get caught, is great fun!

This is the first in a new series.  I am looking forward to reading more.

If you think you or your child would like this book, leave a message in the comments section below for a chance to win a free, hardback copy of the book!  One winner will be chosen at random on Friday, June 20, 2014.

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New Board Books

May 15, 2014

There are so many good board books for babies!  These are the small books with the hard, cardboard pages and they are perfect for little hands.  There are a few new ones that are standouts.

Try the Creature books by Andrew Zuckerman.  I particularly liked Creature Colors.  The color appears in text with a photo image of an animal of that color.  For example, a page has the word “blue” (in blue font) and a gorgeous image of a blue parrot, so the reader can say the word and prompt the child to fill in the word for the animal…the interactivity is built right in!


New Leo Lionni board books are also appealing, with torn paper illustrations and titles such as When? and Who?


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It’s an Orange Aardvark!

April 30, 2014

aardvarkIt’s an Orange Aardvark! by Michael Hall

Carpenter ants, complete with colorful hard hats, are “wrrr-” ing away inside a stump, making a hole for a window, when one of them worries that the hole will allow an aardvark’s long tongue to poke in and eat them.

Once the hole is complete, one of them sees something orange!  Could it possibly be an orange aardvark?

Another hole reveals blue!  Is it an orange aardvark wearing blue pajamas??  With each hole and color discovered, the aardvark grows more menacing.

So is there really an aardvark, or are all those colors something more beautiful and not so scary?  Well…the answer is not so clear.

Enjoy this colorful picture book with die cut holes and clean, bold illustrations and see what you think:  Is there really an aardvark?

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April 24, 2014

Paperboy by Vince Vawter

I am listening to this book and it is making me want to hang out in my car a lot more than usual!  Lincoln Hoppe’s narration of the main character and his stuttering dialogue is so touchingly done, I wonder if I would have been quite as enthralled by the book if I read it instead of listened to it.  As the boy throws papers and goes to collect each week, he gets to know many of the people on the route.  Hoppe brings to life Mr. Spiro, who treats the boy to real conversation and challenges him to think.  He lends a southern accent to the housemaid and a drunken slur to Mrs. Worthington that makes each character come alive.

I highly recommend this audiobook version!  Here’s a description of the book to get you interested:

An 11-year-old boy living in Memphis in 1959 throws the meanest fastball in town, but talking is a whole different ball game. He can barely say a word without stuttering, not even his own name. So when he takes over his best friend’s paper route for the month of July, he knows he’ll be forced to communicate with the different customers, including a housewife who drinks too much and a retired merchant marine who seems to know just about everything. 

The paper route poses challenges, but it’s a run-in with the neighborhood junkman, a bully and thief, that stirs up real trouble and puts the boy’s life, as well as that of his family’s devoted housekeeper, in danger. [from Goodreads]

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Sensational Seuss

March 7, 2014

seuss1The Plano Libraries are celebrating Dr. Seuss all next week during Spring Break!

Join us for fun family events at all libraries…and when you visit, be sure to put in a guess for Where in Plano is Cat in the Hat?   Look for the photo of Cat in the Hat at any of the 5 libraries, guess where he’s at, and you may win a prize if you guess correctly!

Here are the spring break events:

Monday, March 10 @ Davis library, 3pm:  Make oobleck and a hat, and discuss Bartholomew and the Oobleck (Please note: registration required!)

Tuesday, March 11 @ Harrington library, 2pm: Bring a snack and a pillow and watch the movie The Lorax!

Wednesday, March 12 @ Schimelpfenig library, 2-3:30: Create a Cat in the Hat mask! (come and go event)

Thursday, March 13 @Haggard library, 2pm: Pin the (green) egg on the plate and make a Cat in the Hat hat!

Friday, March 14 @ Parr library, 3pm: Enjoy a Seuss-tastic carnival with games and activities!

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Binny for Short

February 18, 2014

Binny for Short by Hilary McKay

Belinda, better know as Binny, is a feisty 11-year old who is upset at her dad’s death, but more so at the loss of her dog.  Since Binny considers the loss of the dog to be all the fault of “horrible Aunty Violet,” Binny bursts out that she wishes Aunty Violet would die.  When the aunt does unexpectedly die, it ushers in more change in Binny’s life, and Binny doesn’t like it one bit! Her struggling family inherits Aunty Violet’s run-down house by the sea, where Binny makes a frenemy out of Gareth next door.  Her younger brother, a 6-year-old scientist in the making, loves their new home and provides much of the humor in the book, while the calming presence of her sister and mother even out Binny’s emotive self.

What is so lovely about McKay’s writing is her depiction of family life as messy, joyful, funny and so much more.  There is a sense of completeness in the story as well, when the loss of the dog becomes a surprising connection between Binny and Gareth, and the reader is aware of the true nature of the maligned Aunty Violet, long before Binny realizes it.

Binny is telling her story, just as her father used to tell her stories, bringing his influence on Binny full circle and helping to heal the wound of loss in her life.  This charming chapter book, with its spitfire main character, will appeal to readers in grades 3 and up.

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