Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tons of Tails

New Animal tales offer fun lessons for story time and beyond.

"The Pout-Pout Fish"
By Deborah Diesen
Illustrated by Dan Hanna
For ages 4 – 8
Ever meet a pouty, grumpy person who just spreads gloom in their wake? The pout-pout fish is the undersea equivalent of that guy. The pout-pout fish swims along with a frown on his face and an attitude that is definitely a downer. Although his friends and acquaintances try to cheer him up, he just says I'm a pout-pout fish and continues to spread the "dreary-weariers all over the place."

Then a lovely young girl fish comes swimming along and plants a kiss right on his pout. He has a revelation, which leads to a transformation. Our hero the pout-pout fish puts his old ways aside and becomes a kiss-kiss fish, "spreading cheery-cheeries all over the place." So what is the message for your kids? The next time you see that grumpy person hanging around bringing everyone down, plant a kiss on his pout and see it turn upside down. Not really, but it is a funny thought.

The clever rhythm and rhymes make "The Pout-Pout Fish" a fun read-aloud story. They are light and breezy, like the humorous illustrations. Hanna offers bright clean undersea life with exaggerated expressions that will have children enthralled throughout story time.

"Are You a Horse?"
By Andy Rash
For ages 4 – 8
This delightfully silly tale follows a cowboy named Roy, who has a slight problem. He has no idea what a horse is. So when his friends give him a saddle and explicit directions to  "find a horse," Roy sets off on a very funny journey.

he asks a wagon, a cactus, and a snake if they are a horse. All to no avail. Roy not only has no idea what a horse is, he obviously doesn't have a clue about much of anything else either. This adds to the ridiculous situational humor. Roy proceeds to ask a variety of other animals including crabs, lions and zebras. When Roy finally discovers a horse he puts the saddle to good use — in a humorous fashion, of course.

The gouache and ink illustrations are appropriately funny and clever. The pleasing images will distract children from the ridiculousness of the story and fuel giggles as they read aloud.

"Library Mouse: A Friend's Tale"
By Daniel Kirk
For ages 4 – 8
This follow up to "Library Mouse" covers sharing, secrets, reading, writing and book making in a heartwarming tale that will inspire young writers and offer teachers possibilities for classroom activities.

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