So it's only been two months since my last post, but thankfully I read far more often than I log into this blog, so there's plenty to catch up on...
For instance, since my last post in August, SOCKSQUATCH by Frank Dormer has hit the shelves. Blessedly short and silly, and therefor perfect for toddler heavy storytimes, Socksquatch is my new go-to book when I recognize all the attendees as kids who have already heard Bear in Underwear more than a million and twelve times. Socksquatch lumbers around, looking for a sock for his cold foot. Along the way he meets a mummy, a werewolf and a damsel who's not in distressed so much as she is perturbed and good at problem solving. The way that Socksquatch holds himself reminds me a little of the Bad Mood from Big Rabbit's Bad Mood, and I like him all the more for that.
Also out now is BINK AND GOLLIE, an early reader featuring three, perfect short stories by Kate DiCamillo, Allison McGhee and illustrated by Tony Fucile. Bink and Gollie are odd couple friends whose distinct personalities and voices drive the stories effortlessly. Hilariously told, playfully illustrated and surprisingly touching, Bink and Gollie is the perfect book to read to younger kids starting to make the transition into longer stories, but who are not quite ready for full chapters yet, and kids who are reading independently, but are too young for books like Clementine (by Sarah Pennypacker and Marla Frazee) or Ivy and Bean (by Annie Barrows). If for no other reason, pick up Bink and Gollie for excellently executed dialog.
Also for early readers, but more advanced than Bink and Gollie is LULU AND THE BRONTOSAURUS by Judith Viorst and (expertly) illustrated by Lane Smith. I love this book from the green polka-dotted chapter breaks, to Lulu's tiger-smashing suitcase. It's perfect as a read aloud book to the kids in the My Father's Dragon age group/attention span, since not only is it about the same length and density of illustrations, but it's clearly a modern, snarky update of that wholesome classic. Where Elmer was kind and curious, Lulu is stubborn and rude, though she learns far more from her quest than Elmer does. Smith's illustrations echo Gannet's without copying, while updating them in a way that's undeniably cool. Come Christmas and Channukah, I will literally be throwing this book at parents.