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$11.86 $10.18 list($16.95)
1. Where the Wild Things Are
$10.87 $10.19 list($15.99)
2. Harold and the Purple Crayon 50th
$8.97 $7.75 list($14.95)
3. The Lorax
$14.27 $3.75 list($20.99)
4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
$10.87 $2.33 list($15.99)
5. Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse
$23.10 $17.49 list($35.00)
6. The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh
$11.55 $5.85 list($16.99)
7. Math Curse
$11.55 $9.59 list($16.99)
8. Blueberries for Sal
$11.86 $9.99 list($16.95)
9. Three Tales of My Father's Dragon
$12.89 $5.25 list($18.95)
10. The Rainbow Fish
$10.88 $8.95 list($16.00)
11. Insectlopedia: Poems and Paintings
$13.57 $13.35 list($19.95)
12. One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical
$10.85 $3.00 list($15.95)
13. The Story of Babar (Babar Books
$11.53 $11.10 list($16.95)
14. The Scrambled States of America
$12.23 $5.76 list($17.99)
15. Squids Will Be Squids: Fresh Morals,
$11.56 $5.95 list($17.00)
16. Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!
$11.55 $10.24 list($16.99)
17. Pink and Say
$12.23 $10.98 list($17.99)
18. Falling Up 10th Anniversary Edition
$18.00 $15.00 list($30.00)
19. A Hatful of Seuss: Five Favorite
$10.88 $6.99 list($16.00)
20. Verdi

1. Where the Wild Things Are
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.86
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060254920
Catlog: Book (1988-11-09)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Sales Rank: 65
Average Customer Review: 4.78 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In the forty years since Max first cried "Let the wild rumpus start," Maurice Sendak's classic picture book has become one of the most highly acclaimed and best-loved children's books of all time. Now, in celebration of this special anniversary, introduce a new generation to Max's imaginative journey to where the wild things are.

Winner, 1964 Caldecott Medal
Notable Children's Books of 1940–1970 (ALA)
1981 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for Illustration
1963, 1982 Fanfare Honor List (The Horn Book)
Best Illustrated Children's Books of 1963, 1982 (NYT)
A Reading Rainbow Selection
1964 Lewis Carroll Shelf Award
Children's Books of 1981 (Library of Congress)
1981 Children's Books (NY Public Library)
100 Books for Reading and Sharing 1988 (NY Public Library)
... Read more

Reviews (195)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Children's Book, in Many Ways
Max puts on a wolf costume and feels mischievous. He breaks some rules and is sent to bed without supper. From there, his imagination takes over, a jungle grows in his bedroom, and he goes on a magical journey of (self-)discovery. The world he explores is populated by colorful, scary, and somewhat silly monsters who all get tamed by Max.

This book is beautifully illustrated, the story flows rapidly and flawlessly, and the language is simultaneously simple and loaded with meaning. While it is unlikely to happen, watch out for your children trying to write like Sendak, with his trademark run-on sentences.

This is the first book I remember reading by myself. It holds a special place in my heart.

Wow! I think that any child can sympathize with Max as he just wants to do what he wants to do, and then gets in trouble for breaking the rules. We also can understand how his frustration and anger cannot be sustained in the face of parental clarity, consistency, and calm strength. He works through his anger during his "journey" through the "jungle" and tames himself as he tames the monsters. Along the way, he discovers how lonely he is and how much he dislikes disapproval. The ending is simple, happy, and realistic.

This is a great book to read with your children, and then turn over to them to read on their own. It opens the door to discuss many simple but crucial issues of childhood. Please buy this book and use it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wild About Wild
Maurice Sendak is one of those great children's book creators who could write and draw. He helped me dream as a young boy, and I should pay him credit for helping me imagine things today.

When I was little, I'd stare at the page long after my mother finished reading it to me. Sendak seemed to have found my creative pulse, as he drew me in to wonder about his world of pretend monsters. The monsters are not quite so terrible, and could be considered friendly.

Max and I are both boys, and it must ordinary for we boys to get in a terrific amount of trouble in the process of playing. I related to Max. He sounded like a real boy. I was never quite sure what a rumpus was, but I knew it sounded like a lot of fun.

The pictures are cool. There is a rich, full-of-flavor tension in the art. The expressions and poses of the characters come across as genuine.

Don't be fooled by the amazing pictures. You'll enjoy the carefully laid story just as much, and your child can close his eyes and imagine his own version.

A wonderful book. A classic. If you've got kids, or if you read to your family's or neighbor's kids, this is one book which will be dog-eared from numerous reads.

I fully recommend "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak.

Anthony Trendl

1-0 out of 5 stars not as good as new books
I am almost 7 and my teachre said we have to say why we like a lot of books or do not like a lot of books this summer on amazon and then print out them and give them to our new teacher next year So I am starting with this book.

My dad reelly likes this book because he said it was good when he was a kid. I dont like it. The pictures are boring and the story is not long. My dad reads this to me a lot and I like the books that are newer. New books have pictures that are pretty and the storys are funner and longer. This book has pictures that look old. I wish my dad would read this to himself and let me read something diferent. Nichole

5-0 out of 5 stars the book I loved best as a child.
My love affair with Maurice Sendak's "Where The Wild Things Are" goes back further than I think I can remember. I fell hard for the vibrant prose and unbelievable illustrations. It is a beautiful book throughout and it has absolutely withstood the test of time.

I am twenty-four years old now. I love this book as much as I did the first time I read it. This book speaks to places in the heart and the mind that you sort of forget about as you age. It's a magical book, it never fails to transform me.

Long live King Max....and all of his beautiful monsters.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book!!
I took a children's literature class a few years ago in college and I am now expecting my first child and I remembered this book and have recently purchased it. It's absolutely wonderful!! ... Read more


2. Harold and the Purple Crayon 50th Anniversary Edition
list price: $15.99
our price: $10.87
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060229357
Catlog: Book (1955-08-10)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Sales Rank: 1208
Average Customer Review: 4.84 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

"One night, after thinking it over for some time, Harold decided to go for a walk in the moonlight." So begins this gentle story that shows just how far your imagination can take you.Armed only with an oversized purple crayon, young Harold draws himself a landscape full of beauty and excitement. But this is no hare-brained, impulsive flight of fantasy. Cherubic, round-headed Harold conducts his adventure with the utmost prudence, letting his imagination run free, but keeping his wits about him all the while. He takes the necessary purple-crayon precautions: drawing landmarks to ensure he won't get lost; sketching a boat when he finds himself in deep water; and creating a purple pie picnic when he feels the first pangs of hunger.

Crockett Johnson's understated tribute to the imagination was first published in 1955, and has been inspiring readers of all ages ever since. Harold's quiet but magical journey reminds us of the marvels the mind can create, and also gives us the wondrous sense that anything is possible. (Ages 4 to 8) ... Read more

Reviews (73)

5-0 out of 5 stars Power and a Purple Crayon
*Harold and the Purple Crayon* mesmerized me as a child. My 5 year old adores it, and my ten year old can't hide his continuing enthusiasm. With his purple Crayon, sensible Harold creates the moon so that he can see where he's going. He accidentally creates the sea (his drawing hand shakes, thus making waves appear) but soon negates this potential danger by drawing a boat and, finally, land. When hungry, Harold draws a delicious picnic with purple food. Harold copes.

The central idea is that a child, no matter how small, can exert control over the world, and when that child makes mistakes -- drawing a choppy sea, for instance -- those mistakes can be remedied. This book gives a child power. Grown-ups don't count; Harold makes what he needs without help. Under the influence of this book, at the ripe age of 11, I created a club called "The Purple X", in which, using purple markers to send letters, I set out to right all wrongs. Harold goes one better; he makes light and land. And the book makes children who feel empowered to tackle the problems of a big, scary world.

5-0 out of 5 stars Harold harold bow-berald, banna fanna foe-ferald...
There's something about Crockett Johnson (real name David Johnson Leisk) that is instantly recognizable. Like Matt Groening of "The Simpsons" fame, Johnson had a particular style of drawing that was both simple and infinitely adaptable. Though he drew the comic strip "Barnabus" and the incredibly simple, "The Carrot Seed", it is "Harold and the Purple Crayon" that won Johnson the fame he has today. The story has been ripped off a million times in a million different ways, but we can all credit this original as the first of the first. All hail that spunky Harold and his oh-so purple crayon.

When we first meet Harold he and his magical purple crayon are already well acquainted. No picture in this book appears that Harold does not draw himself (aside from Harold himself). Our intrepid hero sets off on a series of small adventures that are both intentionally and unintentionally caused by his crayon. Drawing everything from the moon (which makes a point to appear on every single page that Harold finds himself on) to dragons to flying balloons to a policeman, Harold has a gay old time.

Wanna hear a petty complaint? A petty, insignificant, hardly-worth-listening-to complaint? Okay, here goes..... it bothers me that Harold's crayon never gets smaller. By logical extension it should, shouldn't it? Of course, by logical extension I should remember that this is, after all, a MAGIC purple crayon. Maybe magic crayons don't get smaller. Obviously I don't know the rules that govern crayons particularly well. If I did I wouldn't be having these problems. In any case, that's my only objection to this book. It is, I know from personal experience, a heavily adored and respected story. People will carry copies of this book with them all their lives. There is something about Harold and his tiny adventures that speaks to the hearts of millions. If you've never had the pleasure of reading a Crockett Johnson book, this is the place to start. If you have read this book, read it again. It's just that good.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best bedtime books ever!
My 3.5 year old son adores this book and I do too. We read it nearly every night. Harold is an imaginative little boy who draws a world of his own. My son is always talking right along with the book about all the wonderful things he is going to draw. I think every child should have this book. I can't wait 'till my son can read it for himself!

5-0 out of 5 stars Story of a Little Boy with a Huge Imagination
This classic little book is a lovely reflection on childhood imagination and the joys of creativity.

Tiny wide-eyed Harold, in his one piece jammies and purple crayon in hand, wanders through the night using the dark canvas of sky to draw whatever fanciful dreamscapes his curious young mind can conjure.

No dummy is our Harold. He is an inventive little fellow who devises his own path, invents his own moon to light his way, makes a boat when he finds himself enveloped in a purple sea, creates pies when he is hungry, and so on until he is tired. Thanks to cleverly leaving behind special images as pointers to guide his way, he makes it back home in one piece and with lots of exciting stories to tell.

This is such a delightful book for children and one of the reasons is that it can be used interactively. Read the story with your kids then give them some crayons and a huge sheet of paper and let them loose to design and explore their own magical worlds.

5-0 out of 5 stars Harold et la differance
Under an everpresent crescent moon, Harold's signifying crayon implies the metacritique immanent in all eschatologies: Outcoding the text beneath him, he at once embraces and negates the subject's death in a meeting of poststructural praxis/(post-)modern framing with narrotological desire. Harold, purple crayon firmly in hand, rises from the smoking ruins of continental thought; but having been "written", will our protagonist find fortitude to "write" his way out of the aporias inherent in a de-centered, post-historical dasein?

There is hope....The trace, in erasure of its present presence, loops back from Harold to Johnson, engendering ample clues for resistance to our clinical gaze...But the specter of psychoanalytic eschatology haunts his every gesture. Every slippage is deferred, in its deferral, of Harold's problematized Lacan, leaving no indivisible remainder, defying the fatal strategies of his feints (forgetting Baudrillard) to attempt that final erasure of Derrida's (cottage) industry through a (re)sound(ing) metanarratalogical poetic. Outdistancing at every step all Derridean slippage, Harold's gestures in the dark problematize the infinite substitution and free play within a field of signifiers (themselves privileged signifieds of the wall/not-wall of the enclosing space/page), resisting inevitably all attempts at reconstituting envelopes of perfomative (de-)coding. With startling metaphysical elan, Harold slips the bounds of our logocentric world to inscribe traces of an essentialist foundation light-years beyond the binary opposition (re)inscribed by la differance: beyond Freud, with (in) Freud, with(out) Freud, to be about Freud, forgetting Freud.

All in all, this "Harold" represents a remarkably vigorous (re)covery of Saussurean categories.

This is no boy scribbling terse graffitos to a lost master narratology; this is the newly minted currency of our retinal field. ... Read more


3. The Lorax
by Dr. Seuss, Theodor Seuss Geisel
list price: $14.95
our price: $8.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0394823370
Catlog: Book (1971-08-12)
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Sales Rank: 730
Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

When Dr. Seuss gets serious, you know it must be important. Published in 1971, and perhaps inspired by the "save our planet" mindset of the 1960s, The Lorax is an ecological warning that still rings true today amidst the dangers of clear-cutting, pollution, and disregard for the earth's environment. In The Lorax, we find what we've come to expect from the illustrious doctor: brilliantly whimsical rhymes, delightfully original creatures, and weirdly undulating illustrations. But here there is also something more--a powerful message that Seuss implores both adults and children to heed.

The now remorseful Once-ler--our faceless, bodiless narrator--tells the story himself. Long ago this enterprising villain chances upon a place filled with wondrous Truffula Trees, Swomee-Swans, Brown Bar-ba- loots, and Humming-Fishes. Bewitched by the beauty of the Truffula Tree tufts, he greedily chops them down to produce and mass-market Thneeds. ("It's a shirt. It's a sock. It's a glove. It's a hat.") As the trees swiftly disappear and the denizens leave for greener pastures, the fuzzy yellow Lorax (who speaks for the trees "for the trees have no tongues") repeatedly warns the Once-ler, but his words of wisdom are for naught. Finally the Lorax extricates himself from the scorched earth (by the seat of his own furry pants), leaving only a rock engraved "UNLESS." Thus, with his own colorful version of a compelling morality play, Dr. Seuss teaches readers not to fool with Mother Nature. But as you might expect from Seuss, all hope is not lost--the Once-ler has saved a single Truffula Tree seed! Our fate now rests in the hands of a caring child, who becomes our last chance for a clean, green future. (Ages 4 to 8) ... Read more

Reviews (58)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Lorax - Still Powerful After 30 Years
Children used to Dr. Seuss' lighthearted, whimsical stories filled with wacky names and places will undoubtedly perceive a vast difference with "The Lorax". It still contains the wacky names, places, and rhymes, so characteristic of Seuss, but with one blatant overtone. This story goes all out to show the devestating consequences of human greed, and what can happen to the environment when humans misuse and take advantage of nature and natural resources.

The story begins when a boy comes to the home of a peculair creature called Once-ler. The boy wants to know about something called the Lorax; "what it was", and "why it was there". After paying the Once-ler a small fee, he narrates the story for the boy. The pictures incorperated into the story are also poignant; for, as we see in the beginning, the small town in which the Once-ler lives is very grey and barren.

However, as the Once-ler begins his story, the pictures become brighter, more cheerful, and colorful, as we see how the town once looked, long, long ago. There were animals, birds, green grass ... and trees!

The Once-ler says, "I came to this glorious place. And I first saw the trees. The Truffula trees". Transfixed by these trees, the Once-ler cuts one down to make a "Thneed". Now, a Thneed is supposed to be a useful thing, which people can find many uses for. Shortly after the first tree is cut down, the Lorax appears. He explains that he talks on behalf of the trees, because the trees cannot talk for themselves. "They have no tongues".

The Lorax is very upset at what the Once-ler has done. But the Once-ler ignores him, and continues to cut down the trees to make Thneeds, until all the trees have been cut down. This action, of cutting down the trees, building a factory to make the thneeds, and releasing waste residue into the water is greatly illustrated in the pictures, showing the cause and effect of polluting the environment.

Eventually the pictures return to the grey, morbid colors we see in the beginning. The Lorax has had to make all the birds, animals and fish leave the town before they die of hunger and starvation, and before they choke to death on all the smog generated by the Once-ler's factory.

As we can clearly see in "The Lorax", Dr. Seuss is making a very defined political statement about how humans have manipulated and destroyed our natural surroundings for their own personal greed. "The Lorax" was written in 1971, in the hayday of environmental activism, and one year after the first Earth Day.

Still, Dr. Suess does not make this story into a gloomy one. He gives us hope. The Once-ler tosses down a seed to the boy; the one last remaining Truffula seed. With this one seed, Dr. Seuss tells us the possiblities are endless, and hope is not lost.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Serious Message in Classic Suess Style
I grew up on Dr. Suess books(I even learned to read with one), and I think he is one of the greatest children's authors ever. His hypnotic phrasing and wonderful illustrations are enough to delight children and adults as well (my brothers and I still enjoy looking through our old Suess favorites). In my senior year of high school, I had the opportunity to go with two other classmates to a local elementary school on a weekly basis to teach basic lessons on honesty, friendship, etc. When we taught our lesson on the environment, I brought "The Lorax" to read to the class. To my surprise, when I asked who in the class had read the story, only three out of the 28 students had. Many looked skeptical, thinking it was a little kid's book, but once I started reading, the entire class was mesmerized. After I was finished with the story, we had the most lively question-and-answer session that we had ever had-the story really hit home with the kids and brought our planet'! s ecological crisis into terms that they could understand. Afterward, many of the children asked where they could get a copy of "The Lorax". Thank you to Dr. Suess for a masterpiece of children's literature!

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspiring for a lifetime
When I was in elementary school in the mid-1970s, probably around the age of 7 or 8, all the students in the school were assembled and shown the film of the Lorax. The film was very similar to the film of The Grinch that was made at about the same time and is now a video classic - - wonderful animation and great word-for-word narrative reading of the text. I had been unaware of the book before that. I remember very clearly being very moved and inspired by the tale, and I can trace part of my development as an environmentalist to it. I now work in environmental outreach/education, and every once in a while I get out the book of The Lorax and get re-inspired, especially by the line "UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." I still find the book very relevant to today. It's not extremist in any way. Even its depiction of the Once-ler is not as an evil man, but someone very recognizable. He doesn't mean harm, but "Business is business, and business must grow." Sound familiar? He doesn't recognize the damage he's causing, or understand just how painful and permanent it will be, until too late. This book reminds all of us to not take our beautiful world for granted, but to take responsibility for it.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best Seuss books there is!
This story about being a steward for our world and environment is a job for parents and kids alike. My two year old has is memorized (as I do) but we never tire of reading it.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Lorax
My children love this book. By the time my son was two, I had read it to him so many times that he had memorized it! He, as well as my daughter, just love this story. ... Read more


4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
by Eric Carle
list price: $20.99
our price: $14.27
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0399208534
Catlog: Book (1983-04-01)
Publisher: Philomel Books
Sales Rank: 5786
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (146)

5-0 out of 5 stars A fun, witty, classic tale.
We have this book in a small and large size together with anEric Carle videotape that has the story. A young caterpillar is bornand begins to eat his way through the world and through many foods that you child will be able to identify. These foods are eaten on each of the seven days of the week, an added bonus, as your child begins to learn that Sunday is a different day that Monday. The caterpillar gets very fat. He builds a cocoon and then emerges a large beautiful butterfly. My 3 year old does not tire of this story. He learns about nature, food and the days of the week in one absolutely stunningly illustrated book. You can't get much better than this for young children. If you have young children, or if you are looking for a gift for a 4 year old and younger child, this book is highly, highly recommended. Enjoy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect spring reading!
This is one of my all-time favorite children's books. One sunny day, a caterpillar pops out of an egg. He is very hungry and begins searching for food. Now, many of Eric Carle's books have gimmicks--the tactile web in THE VERY BUSY SPIDER and the chirping in THE VERY QUIET CRICKET, for example. The gimmick in this book is that the caterpillar eats holes through all the food, holes that are actually punched into the pages of the book. It's a good gimmick, actually. Also, many of Carle's books teach conventions--telling time in THE VERY GROUCHY LADYBUG and animal sounds in THE VERY BUSY SPIDER, for example. This one teaches the days of the week. On Monday, the caterpillar eats this, on Tuesday he eats that, and so forth. Very cute. Eventually, he becomes a fat caterpillar. He then spins himself a cocoon, where he rests for two weeks. And when he emerges...well, you can guess the results. It's a wonderful story. Best of all, the text is very simple as are the illustrations, so the book will appeal to toddlers as well as the pre-K and kindergarten crowd. In fact, it may appeal more to toddlers, because the story is so very simple. I know I read it as a kindergartener. I loved the holes but found the story rather boring. I read it to my two-year-old this spring, however, and he went nuts over it. The days of the week were lost on him, but he was fascinated by the caterpillar turning into a butterfly--he had no idea! Can't tell you how many times we read it. We also re-enacted it, crawling on the floor and eating, spinning ourselves into cocoons, and popping out with fluttery wings. In fact, he was so taken with the caterpillar-to-butterfly phenomenon that I ordered some caterpillars (I used "Insect Lore"--they are on-line--but I'm sure there are lots of other places to get them). We read THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR at each stage of their development and then right before we released them as butterflies. It was the highlight of our spring.

2-0 out of 5 stars Never understood the charm; still don't
This is not one of my all-time favorite books. It strikes me as tedious, boring, and silly. I would never have bought it for my one-year-old.

Unfortunately for me, a friend gave it to him for his birthday. Fortunately for him, though, Jack loves it. I rarely get out of it without at least three repetitions.

The pictures are kind of pretty, in a modern art sort of way.

A good book to give as a gift to someone else's child -- that way, you won't have to read it endlessly.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Classic!
I loved this book as a child, and it is now one of my daughters favorite books. This is a MUST HAVE for all children.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perennial favorite
While on occasion I can persuade the youngster to read Michael Holt's "Rise & Fall of the American Whig Party" with me, she seems to prefer the caterpillar. Who am I to argue? I would have been disappointed if someone hadn't given us this book when she was born, and it remains one of my guilty pleasures, I suppose. We got an extremely cute onesie to go along with the book as well. ... Read more


5. Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse
list price: $15.99
our price: $10.87
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0688128971
Catlog: Book (1996-08-19)
Publisher: Greenwillow
Sales Rank: 992
Average Customer Review: 4.81 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

The irrepressible mouse heroine of Chester's Way and Julius, the Baby of the World returns for another true-to-life and very funny episode. Lilly loves everything about school, especially her teacher, Mr. Slinger--until he takes away her musical purse because she can't stop playing with it in class. Lilly decides to get revenge with a nasty drawing of "Big Fat Mean Mr. Stealing Teacher!" but when she finds the kind note he put in her purse, she's filled with remorse and has to find a way to make things right again. Children will sympathize with Lilly's impulsive mistake and laugh uproariously at the witty and expressive pictures of the very human mice. In a starred review, Publisher's Weekly called this book "sympathetic and wise." (Ages 4 to 8) ... Read more

Reviews (36)

5-0 out of 5 stars HOORAY FOR LILLY!!!
This is a book that adults will appreciate as much as children. Pay close attention to all that's happening in the illustrations. You can't help but love Lilly, she means well but like any of us she finds herself in trouble. Mr. Slinger, Lilly's teacher is a hero. This is a must read for all kids. Makes a great gift, look for a purple plastic purse and movie star sunglasses to go a long with it! After reading this book you'll find yourself looking for and falling in love with all of Kevin Henkes' books! Wow! That is all I can say. Wow!

5-0 out of 5 stars Aesop would be proud, multi-level morals and fun
Kevin Henkes spins a wonderful tale that appeals to many age groups with the fun story of Lilly and her new purse. Lilly loves her teacher and school, but her normally attentive nature is put to the test when she brings her new purse and accessories to class one day. Woven with lessons about the importance of patience, listening, and responsibility, the story is accompanied by colorful and simple illustrations depicting the young mouse Lilly and other characters in ordinary classroom situations every child can relate to. Your children will love reading this with you; you'll have to read every delightful caption. Something in the story will make adults laugh every time they read it too. Very well rounded and enjoyable work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fashionista rodentia
It is my understanding that "Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse" is the book that really launched Kevin Henkes from mere picture book drudgery to children's book stardom. Though he'd been churning out stories that spoke to kids and their qualms ("Owen", "Chrysanthemum", etc.) Lilly grabbed the world's spotlight and focused it squarely on her cute little shoulders. Though she'd already appeared in two previous Henkesian creations ("Chester's Way" and "Julius, the Baby of the World"), this was Lilly's first foray as a protagonist with her name in the title. As such, the book has been turned into a stage play, been read by millions of small children, and gives spunky kids someone they can identify with and look up to. In short, she's a pip.

Lilly is mightily pleased with her life at the moment. She loves school and she adores her teacher Mr. Slinger. Mr. Slinger (undoubtedly a relation of Miss Twinkle from "Chrysanthemum") is the coolest prof in the world. He wears crazy colored ties, refers to his students as "rodents", provides yummy tasty snacks, and has a penchant for patterned shirts. Lilly is determined to someday be a teacher all thanks to Mr. Slinger. Unfortunately, Lilly's Slinger-love takes a downturn when she brings her new purple plastic purse to class. Noisily displaying it at an inappropriate time, Slinger confiscates the item until the end of the day. In anger, Lilly draws a mean portrait of her teacher and hides it in his book bag. But when the young girl opens her returned purse outside of school, she finds a note reading, "Today was a difficult day. Tomorrow will be better", and some yummy snacks are included. Suddenly wracked with guilt, Lilly decides to make up with her teacher and by the end the two have reconciled joyfully.

Now I was lucky enough to see the Minneapolis Children Theater's production of this particular book (combined with some of Lilly's other adventures to pad it out). And though I'm not a weepy gal by nature, I found myself tearing up during the reading of Mr. Slinger's note to Lilly (i.e. "Tomorrow will be better") as well as when I read the picture book. I don't tear up during children's stage productions and I CERTAINLY don't tear up when reading picture books. Yet here I was, all of 26 years of age, and bawling over the succinct sweetness of Slinger's comforting note. How many books have done this for you recently? How many picture books?

The tale is filled to the brim with the Henkes touches a person expects from his work (be sure to notice the Krazy Kat reference in Lilly's dining room). As per usual there is the comfortable family containing loving parents. And best of all, that wonderful way Henkes has of bringing a happy child to life on the page. No adult reading this book would want to be anyone BUT Mr. Slinger and no child reading it wouldn't want to know him. As for Lilly, she walks the fine line between precocious and precious. And wins. If you're a Henkes fan you won't want to miss this delightful star-making turn. If you're not a Henkes fan, do what you can to cure yourself of this ailment and then immediately read and enjoy this book. It's worth the effort.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Book Cracks me Up!
I babysit all of the time so I am always looking for great books to read to the kids. This book I read to myself. It is so funny and I love how Lilly is so ostentatious with her purse. She is exactly like I was at that age and I love the message of not impulsively taking revenge on someone before simmering down. I recommend this book to everyone and I promise you will love it! I even named my Hamster after Lilly.

3-0 out of 5 stars Great lesson in restraint, but hard to read...
I found this book to be very difficult to read aloud again and again. When I taught Kindergarten and preschool before that, I read this book to large and small groups of children and found it tedious and too wordy. For example, why have a line like "Lilly even wanted her own set of deluxe picture encyclopedias." Perhaps some of you may love the dozens of new vocabulary words, but I would rather not have to explain for the umpteenth time what "deluxe," or "diva" means, when the story already has many other new words that are more developmentally appropriate for this target group of readers (i.e., unique, jaunty, considerate, uncooperative...). Anyway, perhaps it is just me being picky, but I didn't care for this story much as a read a-loud. There are many books that I find much more worthwhile. If you have a child who could use a lesson about self-restraint, however, this book may be better than nothing. ... Read more


6. The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh
by A. A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard, A.A. Milne
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0525457232
Catlog: Book (1996-10-01)
Publisher: Dutton Children's Books
Sales Rank: 12465
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

When Christopher Robin asks Pooh what he likes doing best in the world, Pooh says, after much thought, "What I like best in the whole world is Me and Piglet going to see You, and You saying 'What about a little something?' and Me saying, 'Well, I shouldn't mind a little something, should you, Piglet,' and it being a hummy sort of day outside, and birds singing."

Happy readers for over 70 years couldn't agree more. Pooh's status as a "Bear of Very Little Brain" belies his profoundly eternal wisdom in the ways of the world. To many, Winnie-the-Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, and the others are as familiar and important as their own family members. A.A. Milne's classics, Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner, are brought together in this beautiful edition, complete and unabridged, with recolored illustrations by Milne's creative counterpart, Ernest H. Shepard. Join Pooh and the gang as they meet a Heffalump, help get Pooh unstuck from Rabbit's doorway, (re)build a house for Eeyore, and try to unbounce Tigger. A childhood is simply not complete without full participation in all of Pooh's adventures. (All ages) --Emilie Coulter ... Read more

Reviews (50)

5-0 out of 5 stars The original is still the best
For all those who think that Winnie the Pooh is a Disney creation, this book will be a revelation and a delight. The ubiquitous and lovable Disney mass-market version of A.A. Milne's characters cannot compare with the simple wisdom of this children's classic. The writing and humor is far more sophisticated and subtle than the slapstick cartoon version cooked up for mass consumption.

The book also contains an interesting and informative forward and introduction that explains the origin of Winnie the Pooh, that Christopher Robin was really Milne's son and other fascinating facts about Milne's life.

Most importantly, it holds the original stories of Pooh and friends, and the original illustrations by Earnest H. Shepard. These illustrations provide a look at how Pooh first appeared 70 years ago.

The recommended age for this book is four and up, but we have been reading these stories to our son (who is also thoroughly immersed in the Disney version) since he was about two and a half and he loves them. I'm sure he didn't comprehend what was going on in the stories at first, but as time went on, he increasingly continued to understand. He still loves bringing us the book.

This book is a treasure. Anyone who has a child who loves Pooh owes it to him or her to hear the original version. It is fun for adults as well. It is the quintessential addition to any Pooh collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars A bear of very little brains . . .
A. A. Milne would be proud of the interpretation of his story and characters that will always live in the forest of imagination. Ernest H. Shepard's artwork makes this adventure is a visual delight. The characters represent archetypes to which children can identify and relate. As long as there are children and parents to read to them, Winnie the Pooh will remain a favorite storybook classic.

* Pooh teaches a positive attitude; he will always get the honey, and get out of predicaments through his friends. His wisdom is simple and easy for children to understand and agree upon.
* Eyore is forlorn, pessimistic, and surprised by the good things that come his way. He never expects to be part of the crowd, but always is included. The emotion is easy to relate to from our own adolescence, and helps adults remember the trials of childhood.
* Tigger and his bouncy tail take us into the air in a never-ending enthusiasm for the joy in life. In addition, he shows the potential of getting into trouble because he does not think about the results.
* Rabbit, practical Rabbit, who is also a sourpuss, shows that we can always miss the joy in life, but if we join with others then good things happen.
* Kanga and baby Roo show the importance of love and protection for parent and child.
* Owl is the wise old teacher who always asks "Who?" in the quest for knowledge, and shows the value of learning.
* Christopher Robin represents the adult, the one who solves problems, and is a constant force even when not present. He is the focus, the thinker, and he shows the value of considering thought before words and actions. Since he is a child, children can see they too have control, make decisions, and find answers.

My daughter loves her long worn out book with the torn red cover, and although this book is its replacement, the original stays in the family.

Five stars and great thanks to Walt Disney Studios who keeps the Winnie the Pooh light burning.

Victoria Tarrani

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding collector's book.
I got this for my wife (A Pooh fan if there ever was one) when she was six months pregnant with our son. She absolutely loved the classic illustrations, and reading through the book once myself the writing is quite good. I've been reading from this book to my now two-year old son about once or twice a week (I work nights =/) when I am able to when he is in bed ready to go to sleep, and we both enjoy the quiet bonding time while I read to him. He doesn't quite understand everything, but enjoys the rather bad attempts by me to give each character a different sound/voice/accent, but of course he can't tell it's bad. ;)

We keep this book out of his reach in a very special area, and plan to give it to him when he has his own child as a family heirloom. The book itself is beautiful, wonderfully crafted and illustrated, clearly worth saving for future generations. If you like Pooh and company at all, get it, you won't be dissapointed!

5-0 out of 5 stars Good to see the classics live on
There is no way Disney's b*stardisation of A A Milnes characters is anything even close to the original. These stories and poems are works of art and it bothers me that they are so degraded by association with an unorignal cartoon very much pitched at the commercial realm and the lowest common denominator. But the originals live on. Do yourself and your children a favour. Buy this book. Introduce them to good literature and stories of timeless (and ageless) appeal. Turn off the TV and read to them. Then, when they go to bed, read them for yourself.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very British!
I gave The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh to my older daughter for her 10th birthday. She reads portions of it to her younger siblings. This is one of her favorite, most cherished books.

Don't be deceived into thinking that Pooh is just for toddlers and pre-schoolers. The humor is very intelligent, and the characters are just plain wonderful. It is written in a very British style, which I think makes it a great introduction to English literature for children.

This is a true masterpiece, and would make a good gift for anyone who truly loves good literature, no matter what their age. ... Read more


7. Math Curse
by Jon Scieszka, Lane Smith
list price: $16.99
our price: $11.55
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0670861944
Catlog: Book (1995-10-01)
Publisher: Viking Books
Sales Rank: 1257
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Did you ever wake up to one of those days where everything is a problem?You have 10 things to do, but only 30 minutes till thebus leaves.Is there enough time?You have 3 shirts and 2 pairs ofpants -- can you make 1 good outfit?Don't worry -- it's just the Math Curse striking! An amusing book about dealing with numbers in everyday life. ... Read more

Reviews (35)

5-0 out of 5 stars A fun view of math anxiety and math ideas in everyday life.
I teach math to adults, and I use this book in my classes when I discuss math anxiety. I also use it to illustrate some major math ideas, such as base numbers (important in computers and video games), the Fibonacci series (important in natural science and a good illustration of how math developed in the abstract can often later be found to have practical application), logic, and combinations. The book is chock full of math concepts, all presented in the context of everyday circumstances, which makes it a very valuable tool in making the argument to my students for their need to study math. It is also a very, very entertaining book, and all of my students can relate to the girl's frustration and anxiety. My 9 year old son reads this book at least once a week (for the last year, now!), and still laughs when he reads it. It is wonderfully illustrated and well written, a true gem. I recommend it for children and adults alike, and especially for math teachers of all ages.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book, but Amazon.com has reading level listed wrong!
I have a computer science degree, so have taken a LOT of math, and enjoyed most of it. My two children, ages 9 and 11, have mixed feelings about math. All three of us enjoyed Math Curse immensely. The reviewer who said it would alienate children is dead wrong; and the one who complained about repetition must be missing a lot of the book. There's new surprises on every page. Even the price on the jacket is funny! One problem: Amazon.com recommends this book for ages 4-8. That should be corrected to grades 4-8. It's definitely not for the 'Goodnight Moon' set. I'm about to ignore the age/grade recommendations, anyway, and buy a copy for my math-loving teenage nephew. I'm betting he'll get a big kick out of its irreverence and math in-jokes.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not all Curses Are Bad!
I absolutley loved this book. The illustrations along with the story line brings about a wonderfull method to get children (of all ages)thinking about math. Whether they like it or not, math is a part of their daily lives. This book makes math fun and gets kids thinking about how perhaps they will experience a "math curse" one day.

5-0 out of 5 stars Math Curse Review
Math Curse was a big hit when I read it to a 4Th grade class I was observing. The pictures are vivid and grabbed their attention. It contains a lot of usefull information on everyday life, like how much time you have to get dressed, to eat, and how everything can be looked at like a math problem.I would definatly recommend Math Curse to children and adults of all ages.

5-0 out of 5 stars Math Curse or Math Fun for All
This book is entertaining for all ages. It combines charts, riddles, terms, and more in an amusing tale of mathematical chaos that helps children to realize even math can be fun. Although the book looks skinny, it is actually filled with little lesson plans that are great for elementary classrooms. Not only is the story cleverly written, but the illustrations are fantastic as well. I assure you that whether you are young or just young at heart, you'll enjoy falling under this math curse. ... Read more


8. Blueberries for Sal
by Robert McCloskey
list price: $16.99
our price: $11.55
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0670175919
Catlog: Book (1948-09-01)
Publisher: Viking Press
Sales Rank: 3008
Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (39)

5-0 out of 5 stars Review of Blueberries for Sal
This is the story of a little girl that goes blueberry picking with her mother. She is helping her pick blueberries but she is more concerned with eating them then she is with keeping them so her mother can make things with them. At the same time a mother bear was picking blueberries with her cub too stock up for the winter. The cub was doing the same thing as Sal and eating the blueberries faster then he was picking them. The cub and Sal did not follow their mothers. They just wondering off eating there merry way around the mountain. Eventually Sal and the cub end up all mixed up and with the wrong mothers and they set out to get with the right ones again.
I love this book. It is a great tale and it is so much fun to read over and over again. The pictures are great and so realistic. I think this really is a good book for children to read and I think it is one that they would really enjoy reading too. This is definitely a book that I want for my class collection and I think the author did a really good job at making this book fun and full of adventure.

5-0 out of 5 stars An adorable classic adventure story
It's a classic case of mistaken identity when, while on a hunt for blueberries, two very different mommies and two very different children get separated and all mixed up. Or are they really that different? With McCloskey's incredible eye for natural detail from a child's point of view, this story tells a hilarious tale about a human mother and child (the eponymous Sal) who go blueberry hunting and run into their bear counterparts, who are storing up food for hibernation. Not only are the sound effects hilarious (my son loves to chant the KERPLINK! KERPLANK! KERPLUNK! part along with me) the story also teaches a lot about comparing and contrasting characteristics in the natural world, and the striking and original blue-and-white illustrations make this book unique. Your preschooler is sure to delight in it, and your first grader is still going to love it and be able to draw more sophisticated comparisons and conclusions from the story. Sure to be a bedtime favorite for many years - it has been in my househould!

4-0 out of 5 stars The Beauty of Simplicity
Both the story and blue-ink illustrations are simple but charming. There's nothing mythopoetic here, but there is something magical about just being out in the wide-open country picking berries (we're going to pick wild blackberries today!). An excellent short bedtime story of the "light reading" variety.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Much Loved Classic
For our family, each summer we read "Blueberries for Sal" together. Then we drop the blueberries that we've bought (sadly not picked) into a tin bucket to listen to the kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk, and end with making blueberry jam to put aside for winter.

It's something my older children remember with delight, and something my youngest is newly excited about. The illustrations are beautiful, especially of Sal and Sal's Mother in the kitchen.

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic
This is a story that you were probably read as a child. It is one of those wonderful stories, so rarely written in this day of commercial tie-in books like Bob the Builder and such, that both the child and the parent can enjoy together and even both get a good chuckle out of.

If you are looking for a fun children's book with great illustrations, this is for you. ... Read more


9. Three Tales of My Father's Dragon
by RUTH STILES GANNETT
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.86
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679889116
Catlog: Book (1997-11-25)
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Sales Rank: 1581
Average Customer Review: 4.88 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

My Father's Dragon--a favorite of young readers since the 1940s and a Newbery honor book--captures the nonsensical logic of childhood in an amusingly deadpan fashion. The story begins when Elmer Elevator (the narrator's father as a boy) runs away with an old alley cat to rescue a flying baby dragon being exploited on a faraway island. With the help of two dozen pink lollipops, rubber bands, chewing gum, and a fine-toothed comb, Elmer disarms the fiercest of beasts on Wild Island. The quirky, comical adventure ends with a heroic denouement: the freeing of the dragon. Abundant black-and-white lithographs by Ruth Chrisman Gannett (the author's stepmother) add an evocative, lighthearted mood to an already enchanting story. Author Ruth Stiles Gannett's stand-alone sequel, Elmer and the Dragon, and her third volume, The Dragons of Blueland both received starred reviews in School Library Journal and are as fresh and original as her first. (Ages 4 to 8) ... Read more

Reviews (25)

5-0 out of 5 stars A favorite read aloud book!
These three adventurous tales by Ruth Gannett kept my 5 year old son spellbound night after night--he continually begged me to read "just one more chapter!" and we are almost finished with our second time reading it. The trilogy begins with the main character, Elmer Elevator, venturing away from home to save a baby dragon from being abused by the animals of Wild Island. What follows are a series of Elmer's and the baby dragon's exciting adventures. This is a great read aloud book for ages 5-9!

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding read-aloud book, very clever story
Much like Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm, the My Father's Dragon trilogy is a fun read, and has a mixture of absurdity and humor that appeals on multiple levels. It's an easy read to a toddler, with several pictures throughout, and journey maps on the inner covers.

Since the chapters are short, you can do two or three a night without losing continuity. At the same time, the story has enough depth and cleverness that the parent can remain engaged. Thus, it's a catalyst for bonding.

One of the things that makes it special is the main character. Elmer Elevator, on the advice of a stray cat, starts out on a noble odyssey to free a baby dragon from its animal tormentors. In his preparation, Elmer packs dozens of seemingly useless items, including a magnifying glass, brush, sandwiches, and lollipops. While he travels across Wild Island, all these items become essential, and you wonder if the story was being told by MacGyver :-)

We've read the trilogy to completion five times and it's still a hit with everyone.

5-0 out of 5 stars Delightful Surprise
I was browsing the list of audiocassettes and happened across "Three Tales of My Father's Dragon." I read the other reviews and decided to buy it for my son (who is 4). We absolutely fell in love with all three stories! We listen to it ALL the time! We leave one cassette in the house to listen to at night and one in the car. We have had the tapes for two months and have not tired of listening to them. My son just laughs and loves all the aspects of these stories. The acting of all the characters is so vibrant and you quickly realize that each character has his own distinct personality and voice! I would HIGHLY reccomend these stories! They are fantastic!

5-0 out of 5 stars My Fathers Dragon
My Fathers dragon written by R.S.G, may be the best book ever! Elmer is a boy who lives in Evergreen city. One day he meets a cat who tells him about a Dragon .The was trapped on Wild Island and Elmer goes to save him, On the way he tricks a lot of animals. One of them was when he gives lollipops to crocodiles to make a bridge. Does he save the dragon? Read this book to find out!

I love this book and recommend it to anyone who likes to imagine, loves excitement, adventure and danger! It's celebrating 50 years in print, I think it is perfect the way it is! With this book you can experience the magic!

5-0 out of 5 stars Dragons and Adventure - What Kid Wouldn't Love it?
This volume is the complete set of tales about Elmer and his friend the dragon, including the fun illustrations. The complete set includes "My Father's Dragon," "Elmer and the Dragon," and "The Dragons of Blueland."

These stories are perfect first chapter books for kids. The vocabulary is simple and the chapters are short. I'd forgotten just how short until I started rereading them. Yet the stories are packed full of adventure. Elmer is especially resourceful, and I still get a kick out of how he takes the simplest things and makes them work in whatever situation he finds himself.

Whether kids read these stories themselves or listen to them being read, they're sure to become favorites. And adults will enjoy the clever story lines as well. ... Read more


10. The Rainbow Fish
by Marcus Pfister, J. Alison James
list price: $18.95
our price: $12.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1558580093
Catlog: Book (1992-10-01)
Publisher: Nord-Sud Verlag
Sales Rank: 4723
Average Customer Review: 2.94 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

If you read this very popular book just before bed, and the light is still on in the hallway, you can make the rainbow scales glitter on the page, and realize why the Rainbow Fish was so proud of his beautiful decoration. Sometimes, though, being too proud of outside beauty can blind a fish, or a child (or even, heaven forbid, a parent) to the beauty people hold inside. That's the lesson of this simple tale, imported from Switzerland. It's a useful one for future sneaker and designer clothing shoppers, for rainbow fish--and for quieter, plainer minnows, too. ... Read more

Reviews (116)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Book About Sharing
Although some would argue that this book teaches people to buy friends, I do not see it in this light. The book simply encourages children to give of themselves to others. As the rainbow fish shares his scales, he feels good about giving a part of himself to make others happy. I don't see how giving oneself to others qualifies as buying friends. My three-year-old son absolutely LOVES this book. He memorized the whole storyline in about a week. He loves to tell me the story as we flip the pages. The illustrations are colorful and exciting for a three-year-old. I would recommend this book as the basis for a discussion on sharing, not on buying friends, but sharing of yourself. This oldfashioned concept is threatened in our ME world.

1-0 out of 5 stars Bad message for children.
My cousins, who live in a socialist European country, recently visited us in the U.S., and gave this book to my children as a gift. I love my cousins but think this is a horrible book. The message is clear: if you are better than anyone else, or rise above your peers in any way, no one will like you, and you will be lonely and miserable, as well as the target of envy and sometimes hatred. However, if you bring yourself down to their level, or pay them off, you will be most popular! The book reflects the mentality of the socialist, and demonstrates altruism at its worst. Everyone must be the same, and no one can excel at anything or in any way. The rainbow fish teaches children that it is good to strip yourself raw for the benefit of others, who were never your true friends to begin with, but only wanted something from you and based their acceptance of you on what you could provide for them. You know, kind of like that bad friend in school who loves you when you're down and out, but can't stand it when you lose weight and are looking good or happy or successful. Once the rainbow fish has taken off and given away all its beautiful scales, it is no longer the prettiest fish. The other fish, who each got a scale, are not elevated, but rather, they're all dragged down to the lowest common denominator. One scale each. Not enough to make anyone prettier than anyone else -- no one can really shine. It's not about sharing and love, but more like emotional bribery. I give this book one star, only because I have to, and the illustrations are pretty. Steer clear.

2-0 out of 5 stars Under the sea
A great children's author (who, for the sake of her privacy, shall remain nameless) once commented that "The Rainbow Fish", was the third in the triumvirate of picture book mediocrity. The first two being, of course, "Love You Forever" and "The Giving Tree". I don't feel like explaining why this statement is not only brilliant but sublime, so instead I'm going to review this seemingly innocent little picture book. Here we have a very dull book with a very poor message. In my humble opinion, it hardly deserves much notice.

Originally a Swiss picture book (who knew?), "Rainbow Fish" tells the tale of a little sparkly fellow below the sea. The Rainbow Fish glitters and glides in the ocean's depths, ignoring the calls of the other fish to come out and play. One day a little fish asks for one of his shiny scales. The Rainbow Fish is not exactly polite in his refusal, but for some reason this is the comment that causes all the other fish to make him a social pariah. The Rainbow Fish is a little upset by this and asks the advice of a wise old octopus. Unfortunately the octopus is of the opinion that Rainbow Fish should give away the very things that make him special. His shiny scales. Once he has given a scale to all the other fishes he'll look exactly like everyone else and be happy. He does and then is. The end.

I suppose if you looked at this book from a religious context it might make a little more sense. But even then the moral would still run along the lines of give-up-your-worldly-possessions-and-everybody-will-like-you. Hm. What makes this book so offensive to some readers is the simple fact that it's is preaching a kind of same = good mentality. Tis better to meld with the crowd than to hold onto that which makes you an individual and unique, it sayeth. Then there are the illustrations to contend with. In an interesting marketing technique, the shiny scales Rainbow Fish sports are small hologram-ish cut-outs that line his body. Little kids will, presumably, see the shiny things on the cover of the book and immediately grab it. But how stand the rest of the illustrations? Certainly the colors in this tale are luminous and lovely. Pfister has developed a lovely watercolor technique wherein the blended shades of the scenes work perfectly within the context of the story. Unfortunately, the actual illustrations themselves are fairly hum drum. Don't expect the breathtaking loveliness of Eric Carle's "Mister Seahorse" or even the originality of a similar seaside tale, Irene Haas's, "The Maggie B.". Characters here never change expression (except that once in a while their little fishy mouths curl either up or down as appropriate). As a gimmick, the shiny scales work well. Just don't pay much attention to anything else in this tale.

The best advice I can give regarding "The Rainbow Fish" is to recommend Leo Lionni's classic picture book, "Swimmy". Like The Rainbow Fish, Swimmy's a little guppy who's different from everyone else. But rather than, oh say, changing his scale color to blend in, Swimmy uses his unique position in society to help those around him while remaining true to himself. A powerful statement that "The Rainbow Fish" sorely lacks. I'm not saying this is the worst picture book ever written, mind you. Just a mediocre one. With all the wonderful picture books out there, why not grab the best and leave the rest? Or, if we're going to take the advice of the Rainbow Fish to heart, do what everyone else is doing and strive for mediocrity. Hey, it worked for him!

1-0 out of 5 stars Celebration of Appeasement and Mediocrity
We own this book only because my wife ordered it from a book club. Had we looked at the book, we never would have bought it. My two-year old has not seen it, nor will he. He has enough good books. And this book is bad. The book is so bad, destructive, immoral, and wrong that I have trouble figuring out where to start. Well, let's start with the "moral(s)" of the book, which can be summed up as follows: (1) being special is evil, and worthy of hatred; (2) if you do not give your possessions away to others on their demand and pursuant to their coercion, you will be rightfully hated; (3) you will be happy only if you are mediocre; (4) you need to bribe people to be your friends. And the message here is not about sharing. Notice, the Rainbow Fish does not "share" his scales (sharing would imply that his friends were going to give the scales back when they are done.) No, the Rainbow Fish is compelled (by emotional coercion) to give away that which makes him special. What part of this story is supposed to be edifying? It is garbage.

1-0 out of 5 stars Pretty pictures, emotionally damaging story
I was relieved to see so many other bad reviews of this book, because I had thought I was crazy. I knew this was a very popular book (posters, puppets, etc.) so I bought it and was shocked at how bad the story was. When the Rainbow Fish chooses not to give his beautiful shining scales to another fish, all of the fish swim away and leave him "all alone". Thanks to a wise octopus, he discovers the only way to win friends and be the "happiest fish in the sea" is to give away his scales. I'm a teacher and a parent, and this is just a really bad lesson to be giving to a child, especially one under three years old who has little experience interacting with other people and forms ideas and expectations about the world based on books, tv, familial messages, etc. It is just beyond bad if your child is already sensitive and non-aggressive.

I changed the words to this book, but my daughter is almost three now and can pick out certain words (that she knows I'm not reading!) and asked me to read the "real" story. I explained that I wasn't crazy about the story, and promptly disposed of the book. I did not even consider donating it to the library or selling it to a used bookstore, because I don't want to be part of perpetuating this story! It is that bad.

Please do your children and society a favor and skip this book. Unless "give other kids all of your special, favorite things or else they'll all hate you and you'll be lonely and sad forever" is a moral lesson you want to teach your children, you'd be better off choosing one of the gazillion excellent children's books out there. Try anything by Richard Scarry, Byron Barton, Sandra Boynton, Eric Hill, Eric Carle, Dr. Seuss, etc. etc. etc................ ... Read more


11. Insectlopedia: Poems and Paintings
by Douglas Florian
list price: $16.00
our price: $10.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0152013067
Catlog: Book (1998-03-01)
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Sales Rank: 17871
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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A perfect springtime accompaniment to actual bugs, Insectlopedia swarms, buzzes, and slithers with poetry and paint. Douglas Florian, creator of the award-winning Beast Feast, On the Wing, and In the Swim, has succeeded again, this time with a delightful infestation of 21 spider and insect poems and paintings, awash in watercolor and collage on primed brown paper bags.

Well-loved for his clever wordplay (complete with endearingly shameless visual and verbal puns), Florian manages to seamlessly blend science with pure whimsy. Take "The Praying Mantis," for example: "Upon a twig/I sit and pray/For something big/To wend my way;/A caterpillar,/Moth,/or bee--/I swallow them/Religiously." His rhythmic chant "The Weevils" begins, "We are weevils./We are evil./We've aggrieved/Since time primeval." Add a few inchworms, moths, and whirligig beetles, and you have the blisteringly funny, stingingly clever Insectlopedia, the perfect book for emerging entomologists and budding poets alike. (All ages) ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great fun, even for kids who aren't "insect lovers"
This is a book of poems about insects. The poems are great; their content is funny and rhythmic. Through the poems we learn about the various insects. Some have very creative text formatting such as the inchworm; the text is shaped like a humped-up inchworm. The illustrations are very creative collages that are unique compared to most other children's books.

I began reading this when my first son was 2 years old and he loved the poems then and he loves them now. Neither of my children are otherwise very interested in reading about insects but this book captures their interest and they laugh hysterically at some of these poems. After reading these they have found some of the more unusual insects such as the walking stick outdoors and called it to my attention. We've owned the book for 3 years, every once in a while my now-5 year old will find it and get excitedly proclaim "we haven't read this in a long time" and begs me to read it again (and again and again).

Some of the insects featured are the inchworm, tick, walking stick, praying mantis, monarch butterfly, daddy long legs spider and army ants.

The poems are so much fun I don't mind reading the entire book two or three times in a row. A fun book to read to young children. This is good reading for just plain fun or to introduce poetry or to enhance learning about insects and nature.

5-0 out of 5 stars It's great! (Ethan 5) It's Wonderful (Alissa 6)
We just love reading Insectlopedia! My 6 year old daughter andmy 5 year old son both think it is a great read. Ethan & Alissalike the poem about the Whirligig Beetles the best.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book Filled with Info!
I read this book while sitting in the Dr.'s office this week. It was not only fun to read, but educational as well. At 27 I learned some interesting things about insects! And the illustrations are outstanding, especially for adults who can look further into the artwork.

5-0 out of 5 stars enchanting poems not only for children
Florian created a wonderful book of poems that captured the youthful joy and echantment of the insect world. Each poem is unique and the accompanying illustrations are whimsical and fun. Both parents and children will love this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A pure delight!
As a children's author myself, I look at a LOT of picture books each year. INSECTLOPEDIA was one I simply had to have. The poems and art are equally witty, and it seems to me the perfect gift book, to be enjoyed and appreciated by children (and adults) of all ages. Every time I show it to someone, we find something new to delight us in the art work. A wonderful book! ... Read more


12. One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale
by Demi
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 059093998X
Catlog: Book (1997-04-01)
Publisher: Scholastic
Sales Rank: 8138
Average Customer Review: 4.85 out of 5 stars
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Exotic, beautiful, and instructive, this "mathematical folktale" by author-illustrator Demi emerged from her love of India. The narrative and the evocative illustrations combine to create a real sense of the culture and atmosphere of this romantic land.

It's the story of Rani, a clever girl who outsmarts a very selfish raja and saves her village. When offered a reward for a good deed, she asks only for one grain of rice, doubled each day for 30 days. Remember your math? That's lots of rice: enough to feed a village for a good long time--and to teach a greedy raja a lesson. ... Read more

Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Math, Eloquent Ethics
Demi sweeps us away with this story of a little girl whose quick thinking and knowlege of mathematics teaches a raja a lesson and saves her village.

This story touches on many levels, the first of which is the visual. A few of its glossy pages, each the quality of a fine color print, unfold to over two feet in length for the purpose of illustrating a mathematic principle that could never be explained as well only in words, no matter how many. It also serves up a well-told tale, set in India, that holds a child to the last. Finally, it offers lessons in generosity, keeping one's word, providing for the future, and helping the poor. "A Grain of Rice" is truly original, however, in the way that it brings all of these elements, particularly the mathematic and the humanitarian, together in one arrestingly beautiful book.

This would make a touching gift to anyone who enjoys Indian art and design or mathematics, regardless of age. It is also a perfect gift for a child as it is both aesthetically pleasing and educational--what parent could want more in a children's book?

5-0 out of 5 stars My daughter loves this book!
We checked this book out from the library 3 years ago when she was five. That year it was at the top of her Christmas wish list. Now three years later it is still one her favorite books. This book has a positive moral about greed and courage. It features a smart, courageous and generous female character who uses math to out whit a greedy raja. It also shows children that sharing and kindness are rewards in themselves. Plus the math lesson is fun and educational. What more could a parent ask for? We could ask for fantastic Indian art illustrations which the book is filled with. So this book does have it all. A positive moral, a brave heroine, an educational math lesson and wonderful vibrant illustrations.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Story!
Just wondering if anyone can give us all information on when this book will be available again. It is one of the best storys with the most beautiful pictures for young and old alike. It is a classic that will always be on top of my list!

4-0 out of 5 stars A lovely book. But why is everybody WHITE?
This book has many strong points. It features a strong and clever female heroine. It makes mathematics fun. The sumptuous illustratations imitate the style of Classical Indian miniatures. But I have a major reservation: all the characters appear Caucasian, with very white skin and very rosy cheeks, even though the book is set in India, and the characters wear Indian clothing. We bought this book for our daughter, whom we adopted from India. I wish that she could see in this book a brave and resourceful heroine who is BROWN like her.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great book for young kids!
When I was little, this was one of my favorite books. I loved the way the one grain of rice would turn into over ten billion! Every kid from 1st-4th grade will love this! Its fun to read and a great math lesson! Hope you enjoy this sweet book! ... Read more


13. The Story of Babar (Babar Books (Random House))
by JEAN DE BRUNHOFF
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0394805755
Catlog: Book (1937-09-12)
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Sales Rank: 3446
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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The Story of Babar--the early adventures of the enduring, endearing elephant--was written in 1931 by French writer Jean de Brunhoff (1899-1937). Since then, it has been translated into at least 12 languages. It's amazing how much can happen to one little elephant in the course of one little book: Babar loses his mother to a hunter, wanders into the city, gets a new wardrobe, becomes the hit of high society, marries his cousin Céleste (totally acceptable in contemporary Elephantine society), and is crowned King of the Elephants.

The Story of Babar is essentially the tale of a country boy who comes to the city and, while there, comes of age. In the end, he returns home to share his knowledge and experiences with family and friends. The beautiful, delightfully detailed illustrations--de Brunhoff was a painter by trade--never fail to amuse. (Although none of the characters seem to notice, the sight of Babar in a suit leaning against the mantel while he regales his audience with tales of the jungle is plainly hilarious.) All of the Babar books are notable for their ability to tell larger stories with simplicity and style, and The Story of Babar is no exception. Potentially troubling moments--the death of Babar's mother, for example--are handled with taste, emphasizing Babar's unique gift for uncovering a silver lining in the most persistent of clouds. (Ages 4 to 8, though the cursive writing makes it best for reading aloud.) ... Read more

Reviews (25)

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting Classic
I had a beach Babar book as a child, so I bought this to share with my daughter. It is kind of bizarre, so keep in mind that it was written in the 1930's. First, Babar's mother is killed, as was the fate of most classic animal stories. Then, he decides to become more like men, HOW ODD! He wears clothes and walks on his back legs. Any time any of the elephants in this book wear clothes, they gain the instant ability to walk on their hind legs. When he returns to the elephants, he is crowned king, which is unlikely since elephants are matriarchal (they are led by females and grown males are banned from the group except during mating times). Then he marries his cousin, and they live happily ever after. In the spirit of Curious George, who was kidnapped from his home and forced to conform to human ways, this is a charming but very out-dated tale.

5-0 out of 5 stars A childhood's classic.
Some children's books can be read over and over again, and Jean De Brunhoff's book about Babar, the little elephant is among them.
The copy we have in our house were purchasted in 1988 and has survived 4 kids. Out Marta is the forth one, and at age 6 she still loves to cuddle up with a smile on her face listening to the story of Babar. The very sad part for a six year old is the beginning where Babar's mother dies and Babar runs away. But Babar is lucky and meets an old lady who takes care of him. And the joy is always big in the end when Babar meets his childhood friends and cousins again in the end of the books. And even becomes a king and marries his cousin Celeste.
The book was written in 1939, but is still well worth reading for any child, and should be part of every lucky child's book collection. It will still be read again and again here in Norway, though the pages in the copy we have almost fall apart now (they can always be glued together again though)

Britt Arnhild Lindland

5-0 out of 5 stars If I were king of the foreeeeest
Thank God for the French speakers of the world. Were it not for them, Babar might not have ever been created and we would have to live in a wretched Babar-less world. As it is, however, we are blessed to have this delightful story at our fingertips at any time. The story of Babar was originally published in 1933, and it has stood the test of time with dignity and flair.

The story of Babar is simple. After his mother is shot by a cruel hunter, the little elephant runs away to a metropolitan city. Once there, he is taken under the wing of a kindly older lady. Babar then proceeds to become the greatest dandy of children's literature today. Here is the section I love the most:

"Babar then buys himself: A shirt with a collar and tie, a suit of a becoming shade of green, then a handsome derby hat, and also shoes with spats".

Contrary to popular thought, an elephant in spats is the most dignified thing in the world. With these purchases Babar has transformed himself from rural rube to the original metrosexual. He becomes cultured, learning the rudimentary aspects of human civilization while regaling party guests with his tales of the forest (note his pin-striped pants and casual dinner jacket). Eventually Babar is lured back to his jungle home and is swiftly crowned King of the elephants.

The 1933 setting in which Babar acclimatizes himself has grown more charming over the years. And most remarkably? Most older picture books contain at least one racial stereotype somewhere in the midst of a picture. Not so our darling "Babar". I feel safe in saying that you might search through any future adventure of the winsome elephant and not stumble across a single picture or piece of writing that causes you a twenty-first century gasp of disgust. This isn't to say that there aren't some rather peculiar dated aspects to the book. I read this book as a child and had a vivid visceral memory return to me when I saw the sickly state of the former King of the elephants who passed away after eating a bad mushroom. That is a grotesquerie unknown to the kiddies today. But all in all, "Babar" is without fault. Certainly he's the essence of capitalism. One might believe the elephants crown him king as much for his pretty red convertible as for his brains. But Babar is still a unique and moving tale that will continue to entertain the masses of children for years and years to come.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Classic
From the beautiful illustrations, to the charming characters, everything about Babar reminds you of a time when we took the intelligence of our children seriously. The first thing anyone who grew-up on more modern fare will notice is the delightful and literate prose. The reason children could speak latin by 5th grade 80 years ago, was that they weren't condescended-to; and Babar doesn't either. You won't get the modern "barney-speak" here, this generation had more confidence in your children, believe me. Although the prose may be too difficult for the average 5 or 6 yr-old to read on their own, they will have no difficulty at all in understanding it perfectly when read to them. Now my 5 yr-old daughter knows what a "perambulator" is, you won't get that from the Wiggles. As far as the complaints in regard to "scariness", all I can say is, if this is scary because Babar's mother is killed by a hunter, then you'd better take Bambi, The Lion King and close to all of the fairy tales off of the reading list as well. The subject is handled compassionately and tastefully. Of course I want to sheild my child from horrific content, but if we refuse to gently ease them in to life's realities, such as the loss of loved-ones, then their entertainment turns from safe into vacuous pretty quickly. I won't even waste bandwidth on the silly, leftist nonsense regarding imperialism. There is no political content here, subtle or otherwise. If you really want the kind of western culture "self-flagellation" that these aging hippies seem to thrive on, try Disney's Pocahontas, or a Cartoon version of The Life of Che Guevara. Assume the best of your kids and try the Babar series, particularly the older ones.

1-0 out of 5 stars imperialist propaganda for the kiddies
I don't know why this book is a classic. Foreigners come to Babar's home and kill his mother. He goes to the land of the foreigners to learn to be just like them because the are so swell and all. He then takes their ways back home with him. marries his cousin and gets everyone to wear clothes like the foreigners. This is a nightmare, not a children's book. ... Read more


14. The Scrambled States of America
by Laurie Keller
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0805058028
Catlog: Book (1998-10-15)
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Sales Rank: 2229
Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
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One day, Kansas wakes up grumpy. The other 49 states are stretching, yawning, and pouring maple syrup onto each other's pancakes, but irritable Kansas announces to his kindly neighbor Nebraska that life is dull and changes must be made: "All day long we just sit here in the middle of the country. We never GO anywhere. We never DO anything, and we NEVER meet any NEW states!" Nebraska, sick of hearing North Dakota and South Dakota bicker all the time, agrees to help organize a party for all the states. It's a hit! Late into the evening, Idaho and Virginia get up onto the stage and suggest that all the states change places.What a state of affairs. Minnesota, who switches places with Florida, gets a sunburn. Kansas, having traded places with Hawaii, gets lonely and sings some soggy blues so sad that a shark sheds a mournful tear offshore. Nevada and Mississippi fall in love. Despite the initial excitement, the new arrangement just doesn't feel right. The states manage to swim, fly, bike, and hitchhike their way home, and everyone goes to bed in the right place--even Kansas is happy to be home after such an adventure. This wacky, thoroughly engaging tale of mixed-up geography is a good bet for some awards.Perhaps best of all, the large format and riot of detail allow for plenty of amusing asides. Books that claim to "make geography fun" usually have to be taken with a dose of skepticism: so often, the teaching is there and the entertainment isn't. This delightfully quirky and original book shows how it should be done. (Ages 4 and older) --Richard Farr ... Read more

Reviews (29)

5-0 out of 5 stars Colorful illus. & fun story cleverly mask geography lesson!
It isn't often you come across a children's book that's unique in it's story, fun in it's presentation, and a delight to read. Laurie Keller accomplishes this with "The Scrambled States of America". The unique idea of each state having it's own personality and voicing it's opinions on his place in the country, is both comical and creative. This book brings together colorful illustrations and a geography lesson, which will have children learning the names & shapes of the states after reading the book for just the first time! I highly recommend this book as a source of knowledge, imagination, & fun.

Joi M. Lasnick

5-0 out of 5 stars An educational laugh-fest!
I don't know who loved this book more--me or my 3 year old son!
It's definately a fun way to learn a little about the states, and introduce youngsters to the USA. This was one book he wanted to read again, and again, and again & I was happy to read it each time. It's silly & fun for kids & adults!

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Funny and Educational Book
The Scrambled States of America is a great book because it's both
funny and educational. It helped me learn the names of the fifty
states. My little brother who can't read yet, can identify all
of the states because of this book. We also enjoy the card game...

4-0 out of 5 stars The Scrambled States of America
The Scrambled States of America
By Laurie Keller
Reviewed by Jason P. (age 8)

"There's no place like home". That's what all 50 states learned in this hilarious, slightly romantic tale.

It all starts when Kansas (who was very angry) decides to invite all the states to a "states party" to meet new states.
At the party, Nevada and Mississippi fell in love. Later, Virginia and Idaho suggested that all the states switched places. All the states agreed to this, so they all changed places through the day.
Will our fair country stay like this? Find out in The Scrambled States of America!

I liked this book because (like I told you) it was hilarious! I really liked the part when all the states went home.

I recommend this book to kids who: 1) like fiction, 2) can read picture books.

Read this book to find out the funniest U.S. story ever!

5-0 out of 5 stars FUN BOOK
Fun pictures, fun words, fun everything! if you like the "scrambled states of america" then you'll like "open wide tooth school inside" witch is by the same author
FUN FUN FUN!!!!!!!!!! ... Read more


15. Squids Will Be Squids: Fresh Morals, Beastly Fables
by Jon Scieszka, Lane Smith, Molly Leach
list price: $17.99
our price: $12.23
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 067088135X
Catlog: Book (1998-09-01)
Publisher: Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers
Sales Rank: 19445
Average Customer Review: 4.24 out of 5 stars
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Every once in a while a book crosses our desks that makes us sit quietly delighted--except for a few squeaks of unmitigated joy--and this oversized, energized, stylized, highly prized book of fables is one of them. Jon Scieszka has a simple philosophy of the fable: "If you can't say something nice about someone, change the guy's name to Donkey or Squid." After all, the alleged Aesop did it. Squids Will Be Squids offers lessons such as "Everyone knows frogs can't skateboard, but it's kind of sad that they believe everything they see on TV." Sure, it's goofy, but it's also saying to kids, "Don't believe everything you see on TV." In "Duckbilled Platypus vs. Beefsnakstick," the bragging platypus and his beefy buddy teach us "Just because you have a lot of stuff, don't think you're so special." Of course, there is nothing heavy-handed here--morals such as "He who smelt it, dealt it" and "Elephants never forget, except sometimes" satirically prance amid the more heartfelt snippets of sagacity.

Scieszka and illustrator Lane Smith are unparalleled in their eccentricity and unrelenting in their boyish, twisted-yet-innocent zeal. In co-creations from The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales to The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs to Math Curse, Scieszka's wacko sense of humor and Smith's quirky,always gorgeous artwork thrillingly congeal in Molly Leach's creative, exuberant design. We see many picture books that are better suited for adults than kids, but this fine specimen is truly meant for goofballs of all ages. (Click to seea samplespread. Illustration © 1998 Lane Smith, reproduced with permission of Viking, a division of Penguin Putnam.) (All ages) --Karin Snelson ... Read more

Reviews (25)

5-0 out of 5 stars Kids love this book....
I'm writing this on behalf of my granddaughters ages 6, 8, 10, and 12. I'm no expert on children's books, but rather read what parents, grandparents, and teachers report about the various books, and try to make purchases based on this information. I especially like the feedback from Amazon.com readers and wanted to pay back all the kind advice I've read.

My grandaughters report they love this book. When the Amazon.com box containing "Squids Will Be Squids..." arrived, I am told the girls squabbled over whose book it would be (I like to let them choose from oldest to youngest). My 10-year old grand-daughter Amelia has a wry sense of humor, and she especially appreciated the 'Fresh Morals' and recommends them.

5-0 out of 5 stars Crosses all age bounderies
We have had this book for over a year and purchased it afterbeing lucky enough to hear a reading of it by the author before it wasreleased. I have six children ranging in age from 4 to 16 and each one of us loves this book for different reasons. I love it becuase it is one of a very few childrens' books which is really funny in a smart way. My four year old loves it for the stories and the great and intriguing illustrations, and my nine year old boy loves it for the nine year old boy appeal it obviously has. Everyone else loves it for their own reasons but it is read over and over again and our four year old can ALWAYS capture a family member to read it to her which is not always the case with other books.

5-0 out of 5 stars Can't say something nice about someone? Make them a squid
Those of us who remember Jon Sciezka and Lane Smith as the author and illustrator of "The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs!" will know exactly what they are getting into when they pick up "Squids Will Be Squids: Fresh Morals, Beastly Fables." The thesis here is that even before Aesop a legion of storytellers have told stories about annoying, weird, pain-in-the-neck people, turned them into animals, added a moral, and thereby changed rude gossip and bad jokes into fables. The idea here is present a collection of fables that Aesop might be telling if he was alive today. The moral, according to Sciezka and Smith, is that "If you can't say something nice about someone, change the guy's name to Donkey or Squid."

What young readers will find in these inventive fables are not lessons about necessity being the mother of invention or look before you leap, but more practical concerns for the modern world such as do not believe everything you see on TV, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and just because you have a lot of stuff do not think you are so special. Some of the fables you need to think about to get to the real point, such as the moral "Don't play with matches," which is really about something even worse than matches (i.e., people you are warned to stay away from). Throughout the book you will find a constant onslaught of wicked humor (the grasshopper's history assignment is priceless) and even if it over the heads of many young readers, they will understand the jokes down the road when they return to this book. After all, the morals of fables are supposed to be timeless, even if they were just made up for this 1998 book.

Most of the stories are told about animals, from frogs and squids to elephants and slugs, but there are also stories involving things like a tongue and a BeefSnakStik (complete with registered trademark). Smith's illustrations are creative and his wife, Molly Leach, provides the exotic design for the book, which will provide appropriate visual stimuli to go with all the morals. The end result is that "Squids Will Be Squids" tells contemporary fables in a contemporary way, and if you have a complaint about the use "squids" as the plural for "squid," then remember to read the fine print of this tongue-in-cheek volume (okay, in the fable about the hand, foot and tongue the tongue is obvious out of the cheek, but that is a different point entirely). Young readers will no doubt be inspired to come up with their own fables, and this book even includes solid advice on how to do that as well.

5-0 out of 5 stars Silly, wacky fun!
Jon Scieszka has shifted from parodying Mother Goose to poking fun at Aesop and his fables. After an introduction to Aesop, Scieszka explains that this book contains fables that Aesop might have written "if he were alive today and sitting in the back of class daydreaming and goofing around instead of paying attention and correcting his homework like he was supposed to."

Lane Smith's illustrations add to the absurdity of the fables with wonderfully distorted facial expressions that turn animals and inanimate objects into oddly shaped humans. The characters in these fables are not the familiar hare, fox, lion, and mouse. Instead we meet new characters like elephant, ant, skunk, grasshopper, frog and of course, squid. The morals range from the obvious (Don't ever listen to a talking bug; Don't play with matches) to the familiar (He who smelt it dealt it; It takes one to know one) to the hilarious (You should always tell the truth, but if your mom is out having the hair taken off her lip, you might want to forget a few of the details). Not all of the fables work as well as they could, but there is enough humor in the rest of the fables to delight both children and adults.

I found this book hilariously funny. It's one of my personal favorites.

3-0 out of 5 stars It Is What It Is
In children's literature, the main character usually is the cover subject and title such as "Charlotte's Web," "Froggy Plays Soccer," and even "Harry Potter," because the targeted audience is assumed not to be sophisticated enough to interpret indirect meanings.

Then there is the trio of Jon, Lane and Molly, who, like Maurice Sendak, love to thumb their noses at convention. "Squids Will Be Squids," (a play on "it is what it is," perhaps?) is not about the ocean life of squids - it is a collection of wacky stories with morals. Apparently young readers were sophisticated enough to figure that out using the cover art and cheeky tone as their guide.

The five and nine-year old I read this book with laughed with abandon even if they didn't always get the inside jokes behind the stories or the morals. Bathroom humor like "He who smelt it dealt it," was a big hit as was "It takes one to know one." I wasn't crazy about this work but I did love the title, and its exhuberant, devil-may-care attitude and the numerous double entendres. The layout and design are extraordinary. There's plenty in here to entertain little and big readers.

This is not a read alone book, though. The power in this work comes in sharing the experience. Otherwise I think it will fall flat. The moral to this review of "Squids will be Squids: Fresh Morals Beastly Fables" is "Never judge a book by its cover." ... Read more


16. Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!
by JACK PRELUTSKY
list price: $17.00
our price: $11.56
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679890084
Catlog: Book (1998-04-08)
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Sales Rank: 23637
Average Customer Review: 4.61 out of 5 stars
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With the release of Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! readers young and old are afforded a dazzling glimpse into the genius of Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel. The book is based on 14 rough drawings and verses Geisel's secretary gave to the author's editor, Janet Schulman, after his death in 1991. In these scribbled sketches and scratched-out lines, we witness the Seussian process in building a story. When brainstorming the name of what resulted in the Diffendoofer School, he jots down several possible names--"William Wilkins Woofer Junior," "Woodrow Watkins Woofer," "Zoofendorf Elementary," "J. Ebeneezer Bomberg Jr."--all of a slightly different cadence and rhythm, which he tests like a composer writing a new concerto.

A small collection of Geisel's rough sketches would be plenty to thrill even the Grinchiest of readers, but there's much more to this marvelous book. Renowned children's poet Jack Prelutsky and award-winning illustrator Lane Smith were called to action by Schulman to pull these sketches into a complete story that would make Dr. Seuss fruffulous with glee. Prelutsky's delicious verse is uncannily Seussian, and it is inexplicably sensational when exploring the Diffendoofer School to discover good old Horton, a platter of green eggs and ham, and a few Whos from Who-ville scattered across the surreal and fascinating landscape of Smith's artwork. Lane and Prelutsky have gone above and beyond the call of duty, maintaining the characters and themes Geisel was just beginning to develop, but enhancing them with their own delightful stylistic stamps.

Above all, this incredible book is an ode to unorthodox, unusually creative teachers, and the innovative thinking they encourage in young minds. (Miss Twining, for example, teaches "how to tell chrysanthemums from miniature poodles.") It is a noble theme, and one that Geisel surely had in mind when he concocted these preliminary sketches. Both new Dr. Seuss aficionados and those who remember The Cat in the Hat's 1957 debut will cherish this book for its message, artwork, and poetry, and most of all, as a tribute to the man who inspired thousands of readers. (Age 3 and older) ... Read more

Reviews (33)

5-0 out of 5 stars If Number 2 pencils make you cringe . . .
I loved Dr. Seuss as a kid, but I have to admit, I don't always like reading him aloud now that I'm a parent. Don't tell my kids, but I know how Green Eggs and Ham ended up behind the sofa. Mom and Dad hid it there after they'd been forced to read about boxes and foxes and sockses too many times in a row one night. This new book, based on notes and sketches found among Dr. Seuss's papers after his death, might escape the fate of Sam-I-am, at least in our house. There are some definite funny moments. Discussing the cafeteria workers, the narrator says, "They make us hot dogs, beans, and fries, / Plus things we do not recognize." Although the food may resemble that found in some educational institutions, the philosophy does not. Instead of teaching the students the traditional canon and rote memorization, the teachers at Diffendoofer teach an eclectic mix. Extolling the virtues of his teacher, Miss Bonkers, the narrator says: She even teaches frogs to dance. And pigs to put on underpants. One day she taught a duck to sing -- Miss Bonkers teaches EVERYTHING! Of all the teachers in our school, I like Miss Bonkers best. Our teachers are all different, But she's different-er than the rest. Most of all, the teachers teach their students how to think. This works great, until the day of the dreaded standardized test. If the students at Diffendoofer School don't pass with flying colors, they'll be forced to go to Flobbertown, where everyone does everything the same. Amazingly enough, the test covers all the things the Diffendoofer teachers have been teaching -- and for those questions on material they haven't covered yet, the students use their thinking skills to come up with the right answers. Lane Smith's illustrations pay tribute to Dr. Seuss. Several characters from Seuss books walk the halls of Diffendoofer School, along with Smith's more angular characters. The library is stocked with Seuss books. At the end of the book, there's the story of how this book came to be. After reading the original verses and studying the original sketches, I re-read the story and marveled at how Prelutsky and Smith took a small amount of material and fashioned Hooray for Diffendoofer Day.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!!!
Hooray!!! The genius of Dr. Suess is teamed with that of Jack Prelutsky and Lane Smith to produce an outstanding book full of rhymes -- and reason. Diffendoofer School is a santuary for individuality. Why take spelling tests, when yelling contests are so much more fun? Everyone in the school has a unique talent they contribute - like Miss Bonkers, who teaches frogs to dance; and pigs to put on underpants! The students and Diffendoofer love its zany outlook, until a test threatens to send them to Flobbertown, where everyone's the same. But Miss Bonkers has faith in her pupils and chirps:

"We've taught you that the earth is round, that red and white make pink. But most importantly of all: We've taught you how to think..."

And when the test comes, it is filled with things they do know. And for the questions they didn't know, somehow they answered them, proving what Miss Bonkers said. This book is a great gift, and proves that a little fun can't hurt! Three cheers for Diffendoofer Day!!!

HIP HIP HOORAY!!!

3-0 out of 5 stars Great Story; Not Very Seuss-like Art
The concept of this book is from Dr. Seuss- he drew sketches and some verses before he died. The details of the story is from another writer who does a wonderful job. I believe the author did a terrific job keeping Dr. Seuss's touch on the book and really made it a wonderful story. But I dislike the art. I think the art makes the book one that I don't want to have. The art is done by Lane Smith, the same guy who did work on 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' and he drew this book and the characters for that movie the same way. Some of the character drawings in the book, especially one of a clown that appears on one page, are rather scary-looking. I believe the artist strayed completely away from Dr. Seuss's concept for the book. In Seuss's sketches that he did before he died, he drew the main character, Ms. Bonkers as a sweet old, gray-haired teacher. He also drew a sketch of another lead character, the school's principal. Lane Smith drew Ms. Bonkers as a young, blonde teacher who I imagine, is supposed to be rather attractive. He draws the principal in the book somewhat scary. In Dr. Seuss's sketches for the concept of the book, Dr. Seuss drew and versed that the principal liked to watch Ms. Bonkers jump on a trampoline, which was cute and funny when you see a gray-haired woman in a long, bulky, old-lady dress down to her ankles jumping upside down in mid-air with the old principal watching humorously in the far background, as Dr. Seuss drew in his concept sketch. It is not so cute, and somewhat perverted I think, when Lane Smith draws a young Ms. Bonkers jumping up in the air in a not-so-long dress, with the scary-looking principal standing underneath, looking upwards. We own just about every Dr. Seuss book that he made. We got this one from the library to see if wanted to buy it... we don't. I think the publisher did a great job picking the author. But I belive the publisher really messed up when they chose Lane Smith as the artist and allowed him to draw like something from a 'Nightmare' and yet still think they can put Dr. Seuss's name on the book in order to sell it. Of course, that is just my opinion.

5-0 out of 5 stars Student Teacher
I absolutely love this book! My Language Arts teacher in my Credential Program, in Chula Vista, read us this book before we had to take a huge test. I was so inspired I bought my own copy. It is a wonderful book for all teachers to have. Read it to your students before those standardized tests! Trust me... they will love it!!

4-0 out of 5 stars Hooray For Diffendoofer Day! by
This book is amazing! It has a personality of its own. It would be so awesome if my school was like that. My teachers would be teaching frogs to dance, ducks to sing, and how to tell the difference between chrysanthemums and miniature poodles! Who would want to leave a school where you can yell in the library? Even the fact that the school is called Diffendoofer makes me want to learn there.
The children love the unique things about the school but the principal threatens that if the students don't do well on the test they will have to go to Flobbertown where everything is the same.
The teacher is confident that they will do well. She tells them, "I'm certain you'll succeed. We've taught you that the earth is round, that red and white make pink, and something else that matters more we've taught you how to think."
I think this book is for everyone; parents will enjoy it as well as children! ... Read more


17. Pink and Say
by Patricia Polacco
list price: $16.99
our price: $11.55
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0399226710
Catlog: Book (1994-09-01)
Publisher: Philomel Books
Sales Rank: 40222
Average Customer Review: 4.68 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (28)

5-0 out of 5 stars I love this fine book so much I read it to my grandparents .
I liked the idea of this book. The main idea of the book was to tell the story of two young boys , one white and one black who were complete strangers and how they became great friends during the American Civil War. The white boy's name was Sheldon Russell Curtis or Say and the black boy's name was Pinkus Aylee or Pink. Say was wounded and left for dead on a field, Pink had been separated from his company and found Say. Pink dragged Say to his mother's houser or Moe Moe Bay's house were she took care of them. She became attached to Say and cried when the boys packed to go back to the war. Right before they left marauders came and shot Moe Moe Bay, you'll have to read the book to hear the sad end.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pinkus Aylee, I've said his name and will always remember
This is the first Polacco book that I ever read; I was instantly mesmerized. PINK and SAY is one of the six Patricia Polacco books I gave to my daughter for her birthday. She is a new second grade teacher and I wanted her to have books that have worked for me, a seasoned educator. This is another touching story written in memory of Pinkus Aylee, a former slave. During the Civil War, this young boy saved the life of Sheldon Russell Curtis (Say) who was Polacco's great, great grandfather. Although this book had a tragic ending, the story is a poignant tribute to an interracial friendship that has been kept alive through the generations of Polacco's family. I have used this book as a great multi-cultural lesson.
Polacco's family pays tribute to Pinkus Aylee by repeating his name. Through this lovely book, generations will now be able to hold his memory in their hearts.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful for young and old alike!
The first time I read this book, I cried. What a wonderfully heartwrenching and personal account of a topic (the Civil War) that most elementary- and middle-grades students only read about in dry textbooks. While younger students may not fully understand or appreciate the story and/or its underlying themes of racism and war, the basic idea of friendship will resonate with all readers.

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Fabulous
Polacco, P. (1994). Pink and Say. New York: Philomel Books.
Synopsis: This is a heart-wrenching story that brings the horror of war to life. Patricia Polacco's father told her the story when she was a young girl. Pink and Say are young men fighting in the Civil War in Georgia. Pink an African-American Union soldier happens upon Say a Caucasian soldier who has been wounded. Rather than leave Say, Pink carries him back to his home where he and his mother, Moe Moe Bay, nurse Say back to health. Marauders eventually kill Pink's mother. After this, the boys are captured by the Confederate Army. Pink meets a horrible fate while Say lives on to tell their story.

Evaluation: What makes this story so appealing is that it is based on a true story. The author does an amazing job of showing how friendship can cross color lines. She deals with such character traits as compassion and selflessness. This book would move the most emotionless person to tears. Even though this is a picture book, it is most appropriate for students 5th grade and older. The subject matter may be a bit much for younger children. This would be a wonderful book to use in a Social Studies unit on the Civil War. This book is appropriate for both boys and girls because of its universal theme of friendship. This is truly a remarkable tale for someone of any age.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pink and Say, a great Book
This is a very good book. ... Read more


18. Falling Up 10th Anniversary Edition
list price: $17.99
our price: $12.23
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060248025
Catlog: Book (1996-05-30)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Sales Rank: 1027
Average Customer Review: 4.84 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Millie McDeevit screamed a scream
So loud it made her eyebrows steam.
She screamed so loud
Her jawbone broke,
Her tongue caught fire,
Her nostrils smoked...

Poor Screamin' Millie is just one of the unforgettable characters in this wondrous new book of poems and drawings by the creator of Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic. Here you will also meet Allison Beals and her twenty-five eels; Danny O'Dare, the dancin' bear; the Human Balloon; and Headphone Harold.

So come, wander through the Nose Garden, ride the Little Hoarse, eat in the Strange Restaurant, and let the magic of Shel Silverstein open your eyes and tickle your mind.

1996 Children's Books (NY Public Library)
Editor's Chice 1996 (Booklist)
1997 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers (ALA)
1997 Books for the Teen Age (NY Public Library)
Children's Choices for 1997 (IRA/CBC)
... Read more

Reviews (49)

5-0 out of 5 stars Shel Silverstein Rocks!
Shel Silvertein's book Falling Up was the second of his books I ever recieved. (The first was The Giving Tree.) I loved it so much that I read it cover to cover in less than a day! His book has inspired me to write silly poems of my own. I look at his works for reference when I write school asignments because they give me great ideas. I now have all of his poem books and would reconmend each and every one (Where the Sidewalk Ends, and A Light in the Attic). His works should be spread across the nation to young and old alike. Read his poems and thank me later!

5-0 out of 5 stars Shel Silverstein's Falling Up will not let you down!
Falling Up is the third collection of poems and drawings offered to us by the multi-talented Silverstien. This book will appeal to the child and inner-child alike. Regarding age, this book like: "Where the Sidewalk Ends" and "A Light in the Attic", knows no boundries. In addition to being a poet, Shel Silverstien is an accomplished cartoonist, playwrite and lyricist. Mr. Silverstein played a big part in the early career of Dr. Hook, writing such hits as "The Freaker's Ball", "Cover of the Rolling Stone" and many others. The popular country classic "One's on the Way" by Loretta Lynn was penned by Shel Silverstein. The Irish Rover's signature song "The Unicorn" was also written by Silverstein and can be found in "Where the Sidewalk Ends".
If the author is Shel Silverstein, you can't miss, as the copy within is sure to be a hit!

4-0 out of 5 stars Falling Up
I read Falling up by Shel Silverstine. It has over 125 poems.All of them are fun interesting and humoreous. Most poems have drawings and rhyme. The poems are perfect for kids of all ages
My persoal favorite poem is called "the Monkey". I like it for two resons. The first is it tels a story. Seacond is it has great Illustrations. The last is it replaces words with numbers as in "He'd neverr climbed be 4". that poem is on page 40.
this is a great book filled with poems and storys for children. I rcomend this book to all people interested in poems and funny thimgs.

5-0 out of 5 stars the best
since I was a little girl,I always wanted my mother to read me this book. It was full of deleight and surprises, I enjoyed it alot.when she finished 1 poem, I would always ask her to read another after another.Truly, this is a book that everyone should read and have.I have the entire collection of Shel Silverstein books.He has a very special talent in writing, I have always admired him.His books are one of a kind.

5-0 out of 5 stars Falling Up
Falling up by Shel Sylverstien is one of the all time greatest poem books. This is a great book for someone who just wants to relax and enjoy reading something silly not serious. It is good to laugh and even better to laugh at what you are reading because at the same time you are working your brain as well as exercising your sense of humor. Mr. Sylverstien uses the most interesting words to express himself in his poems. It amazes me at how he can pull all of these funny things out of his head. There are so many great poems in this one book so that I could not possibly tell you about just one. Some of the poems are so outrageously funny and the few serious ones are still a little humorous which is what makes the poems so good. Shel wrights many poems and has published many books. It surprises me that all of these different ideas and feelings can come from one man. From a tattooed suit to a pet snowball, from a pencil made wrong to a world where things are completely opposite, even the stories that are about life lessons are still really good. Some books by Shel Sylverstien are Where The Sidewalk Ends, A Light In The Attic, and The Giving Tree. Those stories are just as good as Falling Up. The author Shel Sylverstien, the book, Falling up. It is an enjoyable read that can be found at most bookstores, libraries, and online. ... Read more


19. A Hatful of Seuss: Five Favorite Dr. Seuss Stories
by DR SEUSS
list price: $30.00
our price: $18.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679883886
Catlog: Book (1997-01-13)
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Sales Rank: 4871
Average Customer Review: 4.88 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

This collection of five complete, illustrated Dr. Seuss classics is a "hatful," but you'd have to have a Cat-in-the-Hat-sized chapeau to contain all the treasures in this hefty book. Within its pages you'll find Theodor Seuss Geisel's exuberant creations Bartholomew and the Oobleck (1949), If I Ran the Zoo (1950), Horton Hears a Who! (1954), The Sneetches and Other Stories (1961), and Dr.Seuss's Sleep Book (1962). In Bartholomew and the Oobleck, a non-rhyming Seuss story, prepare for an eyeful of green goo. In If I Ran the Zoo, young Gerald McGrew decides he would make a few changes if he ran the zoo--including the acquisition of more unusual beasts (such as an Elephant-Cat) from places "quite out-of-the-way." In addition to the potentially unsettling concept of traversing continents in search of wild beasts to trap and cage, there are a couple of dated references that parents may want to preview before reading to kids. For example, McGrew proclaims, "I'll hunt in the mountains of Zomba-ma-Tant/With helpers who all wear their eyes at a slant,/And capture a fine fluffy bird called the Bustard/Who only eats custard with sauce made of mustard."

As for the rest of this delightful collection, Horton Hears a Who! is a tale that teaches us "a person's a person, no matter how small." And of course, you may remember the Star-Belly Sneetches, the "snooty old smarties" who pranced antagonistically in front of the Plain-Belly Sneetches, or Mrs. McCave who had 23 sons and named them all Dave. Finally, Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book is about the snortiest snorers, the curious sleepwalking Crandalls, World-Champion Sleep-Talkers, and other somnambulant types--a perfect bedtime finale to a book that could keep youngsters entertained all night. (All ages) ... Read more

Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good story selection, questionable book quality
There is little to add to the chorus of praise for the works of Dr. Seuss. The content is unimpeachable and the choices of his works for inclusion here are a good random mix.

That said, the book itself has a flaw common to books of this type. It is not durable enough for extended use by children. Because it contains multiple stories, it will see more use than a single storied book. Books of this size and length need the strongest bindings and reinforcing possible. A "Curious George" compendium that we own that is made similarly to the Seuss book fell apart after a few readthroughs, and only the adults handled it. The spine of the Seuss book is weakening after only a year of ownership. Manufacturers need to offer us better quality.

I also must say it is disappointing that no complete collection of Suess's material exists. His entire works would be quite large, but it is still odd that no one has seen fit to put everything he wrote for children in a multi-volume set. The best we have at this time is the five selection book here.

5-0 out of 5 stars Who doesn't love Dr. Seuss?
It's fun for kids and for you! Everyone will be entertained for hours.

5-0 out of 5 stars Like a window into a perfect world...
There was always something about Dr. Seuss. I read a lot of books when I was a kid, and before that my parents read them to me, but there was always something about Seuss's work that even a little kid can recognize as genius. I could read them over and over again, even when I got to an age where Seuss was "baby-stuff." Maybe it was the pictures and maybe it was the musical nature of the words, but more likely it was the fact that Seuss's stuff is as close to putting pure imagination on paper as your ever likely to see.

There are lot's of imitators these days, but they're not Seuss. No one could draw a Sneetch, Grinch or Who like Seuss could. Heck, nobody knew what a Sneetch was until Seuss showed us. His creatures and creations were so real at times, yet so completely unlike anything we had ever seen before how could we not be amazed. Like Gerald McGrew from "If I Ran the Zoo" Seuss offered us a menagerie of creatures so wondrous and amazing that they could actually make our own world seem dim in comparison.

While it's hard to have a "best of" compilation when speaking of Seuss, Random House has done it's best to compile five classics into a tome equal to Bullfinch's Mythology, Aesop's Fables or Grimm's Fairy Tales (the book I ordered along with this one). Each of these stories teaches us something without coming off as pretentious or preachy. In fact, the moral's are sometimes so subtle as to be invisible, but they're there.

Now that I have a daughter of my own I try to read to her every night. This book fascinates us both and when she reaches out to try and touch one of the characters on the page, I know exactly how she feels. What kind of father would I be if I denied her the world of Seuss? It would be like stealing the color yellow or putting her imagination in handcuffs. Plus, it gives me an excuse to read all those cool stories all over again. Seuss is just cool.

5-0 out of 5 stars great and economical
In this day and age when children's books are getting prohibitively expensive, this book is a great deal.

While I knew the stories as a kid, I got to re-live them with my daughter with this book. She loves to read and re-read them with me, and she asks questions about the stories and the values that are in them. This is first rate stuff, the kind of thing that sticks in a child's mind for their entire life with their quirky detail, humor, and vivid stories you can identify with.

So often, it is of individuals who find the courage to defy the authorities and mainstream opinion to do what they think is right.

Warmly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Sneetches
As a former grade school teacher, I wanted to take a moment to say that "The Sneetches" is the finest story in the annals of Children's Literature. It is another example of the Good Dr.'s "Einstein" capacities to teach about the insidiousness of bigotry in a manner which captivates both young and old alike. Anyone interested in promoting the commonalities which bind all of us together, will be delighted to have this story as a permanent piece of magic within his or her library. ... Read more


20. Verdi
by Janell Cannon
list price: $16.00
our price: $10.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0152010289
Catlog: Book (1997-04-01)
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Sales Rank: 3007
Average Customer Review: 4.72 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Verdi is a proud python, flourishing in the flower of his youth. He loves to swiftly slither around the forest, brandishing his bright yellow skin, and can't fathom why anyone would want to be sleepy and green like the adult snakes he knows. Verdi insists, as so many youngsters do, "I will never be lazy, boring or green!" Despite his resolve to stay young, one day he notices a patch of green spreading down the length of his body. Verdi does everything he can think of to erase this first sign of the inevitable tide of age. But in his frenzy of youthful, Icarus-like bravado, he nearly kills himself. Finally, Verdi learns that even though he can't stop the aging process, green skin won't keep him from being a fun-loving, young-at-heart, figure-eight-forming snake.

Janell Cannon's illustrations are exquisite. As in her award-winning Stellaluna, not only are the animal drawings painstakingly accurate, they are also awash with movement and beauty. The countless shades of greeny-yellow and yellowy-green have the effect of a cool eye compress for the reader--calming, inviting, and enticing readers to reach into the lush environment of the pages. Verdi's lesson is never didactic, always compelling, and pleasantly surprising. (Ages 4 and older) ... Read more

Reviews (32)

5-0 out of 5 stars artistically mesmerizing and fun for all ages
i work in the public library system here in st. louis, mo, and i almost never get a chance to put "verdi" on the shelve. why? because it's ALWAYS checked out! both parents and children love this coming of age story about a young snake who, like everyone else in life, is afraid of becoming "old" and "boring". once he realizes that with age comes wisdom, he's much happier as an older, greener snake than a younger, more yellow snake. i read this book whenever i get a chance, and because of the kids at the library, that's not very often!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great!
Once a week I volunteer to read books with children at the local library. "Verdi" by Janell Cannon is one of the most popular choices (Ms. Cannon's "Stellaluna" is also highly popular). It seems that children of all ages enjoy this book about a little yellow snake who doesn't want to grow up and become a boring green adult.

As other reviewers have mentioned, this is a great coming of age story. We always discuss the books after reading them and after reading "Verdi," the kids always say something like "even adults were young once" or that "you can still have fun when you're a grown up."

I also must comment on the illustrations, as they are exquisite - so colorful and detailed. Everyone just loves looking through this book again and again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Exceptional!
Janell Cannon is the queen of children's books. Her stories are heart warming and illustrations are beyond compare. I have purchased this book numerous times for gifts (along with the stunning "Stellaluna") and it has always been well received. Kids just love how colorful and exquisite Ms. Cannon's books are!

In "Verdi" we have a young python who doesn't want to grow up. He vows to always be free spirited and never boring like the adults he knows. When he hurts himself doing a silly stunt, he learns that the adults were once as young and carefree as he is and that age doesn't affect your spirit.

"Verdi" is truly a wonderful coming of age story that will have you wanting to read it again and again. It is listed here as a book for first to third graders, but I feel it goes much beyond that due to the fantastic art work and sweet story line.

4-0 out of 5 stars Verdi review
This book is about a snake named Verdi that doesnt want to turn green. Verdi is a young yellow snake that is very athletic. When Verdi visits other snakes that are old, boring and green he hopes that he will never be like them that is when the trouble starts.

I would rate this book a 4 out of 5 because it was a good story and had great illustrations. I would recommend this book to people that enjoy reading about animals and to artist that like to draw animals.

5-0 out of 5 stars Soon to be a favorite!!
This book will become a favorite for many children, as it was for my child. Its vivid illustrations are tremendously life-like. Children will feel a kinship with the young snake's tribulations about growing up.

It has a strong emphasis on Personality Development. It is like a "coming of age" story where a child does not want to grow up but finds it happens anyway. As much as Verdi the young snake tried to seek independence from adults, he learned that he still needed the warmth and security from the adults in his life.

Social Development skills could also be learned from Verdi as he began to understand the adult pythons' points of views. When Verdi gave them a chance, he realized the adults were quite amazing. ... Read more


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