Acorns Everywhere!


Acorns Everywhere! by Kevin Sherry

The author of I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean returns with a new character that toddlers are sure to adore. 

Squirrels are running around gathering acorns as quickly as they can and this orange squirrel is doing the same.  Surrounded by so many acorns, he realizes that he has to hide them, gather them, dig and bury them.  He does, taking them right out of the paws of mice and the beaks of birds.  He almost gets in the way of a bear reaching for berries.  Then his stomach starts to growl.  But… where did he put all of the acorns? 

Done in Sherry’s signature wide-lined illustrations and large blocks of color, the pictures have a child-like feeling and cartoony style.   Sherry mixes in photographs of acorns and berries to great effect.  His words are simple and even sparse, allowing the bulk of the story to be told through the pictures. 

Toddlers will be drawn to the illustrations and will find a book that they themselves can “read” after only a few readings with adults.  This orange squirrel is sure to become a beloved fall fixture in story times for toddlers.

Reviewed from copy received from publisher.

But Who Will Bell the Cats?

But Who Will Bell the Cats? by Cynthia Von Buhler

Beginning with the fable from Aesop, Buhler creates an answer to the question of who will bell the cats.  The story is one of two very different but very nearby worlds.  One is the world of privilege and pampering of the princess and her eight cats.  The other is the world below the floor of Mouse and his friend Bat who live on the crumbs and waste of the world above them.  Mouse yearns to sleep on perfumed pillows, and eat gorgeous meals, so he makes plans to bell the cats so they will be warned of any approach by the cats.  He creates a suit of armor and a sword, but the cats just play ping-pong with him.  He dresses up as a dog to scare the cats, but they play floor hockey with him.  They put on a fashion show for the cats, but end up in mouse and bat pies, and are rescued by the kind princess.  Finally, Mouse has a great idea that answers the question of the entire book.

I must first comment on the illustrations of the book which caught my attention immediately.  They are done as miniature sets that Von Buhler built by hand.  The characters are flat paper against the 3-D sets, making for a very theatrical feel.  Her sets are done in deep colors that make them atmospheric and dramatic.  Each room has small touches that demonstrate the care she has taken with the entire book.

Against the elaborate illustrations, her writing is simple and will read aloud well.  The book is paced nicely, aided by quite a bit of humor that helps carry the story along. There is tension with each new plan from Mouse and a real sense of danger.  The drama of the storyline works well with the theatrical sets.

Great drama in a lovely theater of a book, this book will reach out to anyone who spots the cover.  Appropriate for ages 4-7.

Make sure to take a look at Cynthia von Buhler’s blog and get a glimpse of how she built the illustrations.

Reviewed from library copy.

Also reviewed by Fuse #8 and Elizabeth Dulemba.

Sweet Valley High, the Movie?!

The author of the screenplay for Juno is set to adapt The Sweet Valley High series for the big screen.  And just after most libraries finally weeded the bulk of the very long series.

I remember the series being one of a group that in the nineties you absolutely did not weed.  They sat on the shelves until they were in tatters.  Other series that could not be weeded at the time were RL Stine and Christopher Pike.  No matter how old they got, they still checked out constantly.

I was so thrilled when I could finally get those old books off of the shelves as their use went down and get newer titles.  And now, now they are making a feature film?!  Why now?  It also looks like they have already been made into a TV series in 1994 when they were still hot.

So my big question for all of you practicing YA librarians is whether you still have Sweet Valley on your shelves and whether they still go out.