CCBC Shorts

Librarians here in Wisconsin know just how lucky we are to have the CCBC in our state.  The CCBC (Cooperative Children’s Book Center) offers insight into new books with a great eye for multicultural gems and great children’s poetry books. 

They have started a new service for librarians called CCBC Shorts which are book recommendations via  Wisconsin librarians can watch the webinars live (here is the upcoming schedule) and everyone out of state can watch the programs once they are launched on Blip.  The first Short covers titles for Halloween and new books of note from 2009. 

Dear Vampa

Dear Vampa by Ross Collins

When the Wolfsons move in next door to the Pires, the differences are clear.  The Pires are amazed when their neighbors stay up all day and complain when there is noise at night.  The pets of the two families don’t get along at all.  And when the Pires take to the sky as bats, the Wolfsons shoot them out of the sky.  That’s was it.  The Pires moved away much to the surprise of the Wolfsons who just may not be as normal as readers may have thought.

Collins’ art is wonderful.  You can see more of it on the Harper Collins website where several of the pages are available.  The use of black, white and red for the Pire family is striking against the full-color world of the Wolfsons.  The stylized colors are carried throughout the book to great effect, especially on the pages with both families in the same room.  Collins has a knack for humor both in his understated and brief prose and in his illustrations which really tell the full story. 

This is a great addition to any Halloween story time.  It has vampires but is much more about the neighbors than about any scary aspects.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from library copy.

Robot Zot!

Robot Zot! by Jon Scieszka and David Shannon

Robot Zot is here to conquer the earth.  His battle cry rings out:  “Robot Zot – never fall.  Robot Zot – conquer all!”  He finds himself in a house and destroys a blender with his blaster.  He then wrestles a vacuum cleaner tube on his way to blast his enemy, which happens to be a TV.  But something surprising is waiting for Robot Zot!  His Queen!  He can only reach his ship if he makes it past the Commander General who is in his way and insists on licking his queen.

Robot Zot is a delightful romp of a book.  The combination of Scieszka’s text with Shannon’s art is irresistible.  Combine it with robots and outer space, and this is one book that you can expect to be read to tatters.  Scieszka’s text is humorous, fast-paced, and surprising.  The reveal of Robot Zot’s small size is done with such style in Shannon’s art as are other great humorous touches.  The two work together seamlessly, sharing punchlines and big laughs smoothly.

A must-read for children who love robots and space, this book could be purchased just for the explosion of the television set.   If read to a class, expect lots of blaster and explosive play.  Inventive, funny and a great joy, this book is appropriate for ages 4-7.

Reviewed from library copy.

Also reviewed by Fuse #8.