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Pip & Squeak

Pip & Squeak by Ian Schoenherr.

Pip and Squeak are two mice who are off to a party for Gus.  But distracted by the snow, they forget Gus’ present.  They travel over a frozen landscape, trying to find another gift for their friend.  When they discover the snowman’s carrot nose, they think the orange color means that it is cheese.  Since they found nothing better, they haul the carrot to Gus’ party where they find it was the perfect present after all.

If you are looking for good toddler books, this is certainly one.  Very brief words on each page, friendly animals, and oversized illustrations combine to form the perfect toddler or early preschool book.  Children will recognize familiar objects that are foreign to the mice and will immediately know that the present is perfect for Gus the second they see him.  Nicely designed, the book is great to share with a group for a wintry story time. 

Thunder Bunny

Thunder Bunny by Barbara Berger.

I’m slowly realizing that I might have a thing for bunny books, but I’m going to tell you about this one anyway!  I think it may come from my love of Watership Down, read to me at the breakfast table as a child. 

Thunder Bunny is a bunny who arrived out of the blue, and her fur is the bright blue that you see on the cover image.  When she looks up into the sky, she sees that the blue is always there even if it is hidden by clouds or darkness.  And she decides that she has come from the sky.  The other bunnies scoff at her, but she knows she is right.  When a gust of wind startles the other rabbits back to their hole, Thunder runs right into the wind and rides it into the sky.  She tunnels into a dark part of the clouds and gets scared, until she reminds herself that she is “the blue.”  Then she lives up to her name and returns to earth to dazzle the other bunnies.

This book is so fabulous.  Talk about girl power!  And a wide embrace for the power of being different!  The illustrations are bright and will work well with a group.  My five-year-old was lost at the ending, but older children will understand that magic and power are at work and accept the ending without argument. 

I always appreciate books that take risks and end strangely.  This is one of them.  No neat tying of ends, no explanation, just amazement.  Share this interesting book with children first grade and older.  Much more than a nice spring title, this one will resonate with certain children who also feel different from the crowd.