365 Penguins

365 Penguins by Jean-Luc Fromental and Joelle Jolivet.

I know, I know! There is a plethora of penguin books out on the market right now.  But this one is different than all the rest and well worth sharing.

On New Year’s Day, a knock on the door brings a package with one penguin in it.  The package also has a note: I’m number 1. Feed me when I’m hungry.  No sender’s name is on the package.  The next day the postman brings another box with another penguin and so on.  The book goes through the family trying to organize the penguins into piles, the months and days of the year, and the math of feeding the many penguins.  By the end of the year, there are 365 penguins in the house and the entire house is covered in fish.  But finally the family discovers who has been sending them the packages!

This book is a lot of fun with illustrations that are both modern and have a 70s vibe.  The illustrations add a lot to the story, especially when showing the futile attempts to organize the penguins neatly.  Children who enjoy math will like this book.  Even children in middle elementary will enjoy it because it has such a good sense of humor.  I would recommend not reading it aloud to a group.  The pictures have small details that are fun to examine.

Chicken Joy on Redbean Road

Chicken Joy on Redbean Road by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, pictures by Melissa Sweet.

This book is pure fun, especially when read aloud.  In fact, if you try to read it silently, I bet you will read aloud just to feel the words dance on your tongue. 

This is the story of a blue-headed rooster who crows the farm awake every morning.  He also crows along with the music of Joe Beebee which sometimes comes floating down the road.  But when the rooster gets the chicken measles, he loses his crow.  Mrs. Miser Vidrine, who owns the farm, sees a rooster without a crow as useless and starts to think about stewing him for dinner.  But a brave chicken, Miss Cleoma, works up a plan with the rest of the flock to get the roo’s crow back. 

Music is used in the story not only as a central theme and a road to salvation, but also in the texture and tone of the writing where rhythm and repetition work together to make the entire book shimmy.  Some of the writing is especially lovely, like this description of what happens when the rooster crows: 

“That call made the skies pinker, the corn crunchier, and the morning glories more glorious.” 

Whew!  What a sentence!

Add this one to your stack of great read alouds that can be pulled out at any time.  It will work well for chicken, farm and music themes. 

Kate Greenaway Shortlist

The Kate Greenaway Medal Shortlist has been announced.  It is a British award for illustration in children’s books.

Here is the shortlist:

The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon by Mini Grey.

Augustus and His Smile by Catherine Rayner.

The Elephantom by Ross Collins.

The Emperor of Absurdia by Chris Riddell.

Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett.

Scoop!: an exclusive by John Kelly.

Carnegie Short List

The 2007 Shortlist has been announced for the Britain’s Carnegie Medal.

Beast by Ally Kennen.  (Read this one, but I don’ seem to have written a review!)

Just in Case by Meg Rosoff.

My Swordhand is Singing by Marcus Sedgwick.

The Road of Bones by Anne Fine.

Road of the Dead by Kevin Brooks.  (Reviewed in March 2006)

A Swift Pure Cry by Siobhan Dowd. (In my To Be Read pile!  Just moved to the top!)