Rutka's Notebook

Today is Anne Frank’s birthday.  Here on Earth, a program on Wisconsin Public Radio, offers a program on Rutka Laskier’s diary.  Ruska’s diary has just been discovered and published.  She was a 14-year-old Polish Jew killed in Auschwitz who is being called the Polish Anne Frank. 

Just the story of her half sister discovering that her father had previous children who were killed in the Holocaust is enough to cause chills. 

The program will be available to listen to in the next day or so. 

Children's EBooks

Scholastic and Disney are venturing into the world of ebooks for children.  Targeting schools and libraries, Scholastic’s BookFlix pairs nonfiction ebooks with short online movies.  Disney is aiming straight for families and will allow downloads of books for a fee.  Should be interesting to see if either of the plans works with consumers.  It will all depend on cost for both companies. 

I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean

I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry.

There is something so very approachable and wonderful about this book.  Children will see the cover and just have to take it home with them.  Mine wouldn’t let it rest on our pile of books to read once they spotted it.

It is the story of a giant shrimp who is very sure that he is the biggest thing in the entire ocean.  Bigger than shrimp, bigger than jellyfish, crabs, turtles.  But he might just be wrong!  The illustrations are simple, wonderfully big and bright, and are perfect to read to a very large crowd because they will project well across a room.  The story is perfectly simple and short with a nice twist.

Recommended for any age of story time.  This book is also a great read for emergent readers who will like the short sentences on each page and the repetition.  It reads like a very basic reader, but has the marvelous illustrations that take it to another level. 

Bob and Otto

Bob and Otto by Robert O. Bruel, illustrated by Nick Bruel. 

Bob, a caterpillar, and Otto, a worm, were very good friends.  They both liked digging in the ground, eating leaves, and playing in the grass under a big tree.  But then Bob feels the need to go up into the tree and Otto disagrees, deciding to go down under the tree into the ground.  While they are apart, Bob turns into a butterfly but nothing happens to Otto.  How will Otto feel when they are reunited?

This is a sweet story that is strengthened by the repetition of the prose when the characters are climbing or digging.  The book’s illustrations are also strong, focusing on life up in the tree and deep below the ground.  The parallel frames are very effective. 

This book will be great with two different age groups.  First, for storytimes with toddlers, this book is ideal.  Add it to your butterfly story pile or for a great addition to insect storytimes.  But wait!  It will also work well for emergent readers.  Even the most early of readers will be able to read the repetitious parts and it may encourage them to read on beyond those sections.  Read on!