Tale of Pip & Squeak

The Tale of Pip & Squeak
by Kate Duke. 

Pip and Squeak are brother mice who simply do not get along.  Squeak’s singing hurts Pip’s ears and Pip’s paint fumes give Squeak a headache.   The live together in the same house, but each in a different tower.  Once a year, the two brothers give a party where Squeak sings in his tower and Pip displays his paintings in his.  Now the party is approaching, but Squeak has written a very long song to sing and decides to build a large stage in the middle of the main floor of the house.  Pip responds by painting huge pictures that will be displayed there as well.  A huge fight breaks out between them, and everything is destroyed.  Can they put aside their differences in time to have a party tomorrow?

This book is filled with charming details in both the writing and the illustrations.  Duke’s writing is clear and simple, but not babyish.  She feels free to use longer words that really work in the story.  It is a joy to see words that stretch vocabulary as a part of a picture book.  Her illustrations are equally deft.  At the opening of the book, the reader sees an entire village of mice living in an attic.  Far in the back of the attic is an amazing home built from a shoebox that attaches two towers, one made of play-doh buckets and the other from a Tinkertoy box.  Just charming.

Recommended for mice or sibling storytimes, or just when you need a great book to read to kindergarteners or first graders.  They will enjoy the conflict, the humor, the charm and the resolution.  I enjoy that the story has a beginning, middle and end, all tied neatly together with clarity and grace.

Wonderful Thing About Hiccups

The Wonderful Thing about Hiccups by Cece Meng, illustrated by Janet Pederson.

If you want a wonderfully silly book about libraries, you have found it.  The story starts with very loud hiccups in the middle of a quiet library.  Of course you have to hand upside down and drink water to get rid of them, so you go hang in a tree outside.  But when you find a big surprise, a hippo, in the tree you get so surprised that your hiccups vanish.  Each new part of the story starts with “The wonderful thing about…” and goes ahead from there.  The book usually has a negative part of the wonderful thing, making the story full of giggles. 

This would make a great book to read for elementary class visits to the library, whether public or school.  The humor is filled with slapstick falls, messes, and pure silliness.  The illustrations are equally as silly as the story, especially make sure you read aloud the Library Book Rules to Remember as well as the title of the book the librarian is reading at the end of the story. 

The wonderful thing about this book is that it pairs hilarity and libraries, and as anyone who works in a library can tell you, that happens quite often in real life.