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The Center of Everything – by Linda Urban
Ruby Pepperdine, the “center” of this story, is a quiet young woman who has a strong desire to do the right thing. She does what her mother wants, helps her aunt, and always does what her best friend Lucy wants. But then she won the “Bunning Day Essay Contest” and that was not expected, by anyone. Ruby begins to think that what she is “supposed to do” might be questioned. The book is intriguing and sweet, about relationships and questioning what people say are the “rules” of behavior. I can’t say more, but the book weaves in and out of real time, which is THE Bunning day when Ruby is to give her speech, and she is standing in a taped square on Cornelius Circle, waiting. As Ruby waits, she thinks of past events, thus the whole story is told, in and out of the past. I enjoyed the book, and the other characters, Ruby’s friends. It is complex enough that it may make a good read aloud.
The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark – by Deborah Diesen, illustrated by Dan Hanna
Written in poetry, this book tells the tale of Mr. Fish, of Pout-Pout fame, who swims off into the deep, despite being scared of the dark, to help a friend. If you know something of ocean habitats and the creatures there, this will be even more interesting. The illustrations fill the pages with diverse creatures, peeking out of holes in sloping sides of sand, underwater, with the pout-pout fish standing out. It’s a book that would be terrific for younger primary-aged children. It’s about making difficult choices and then succeeding as well as doing things for friends, no matter the challenge!
I have a large collection of picture books, some older, and am trying to read (or re-read) and share some of those too. Some are not to be missed, or can be used in a different way than I did previously.
The Big Orange Splot – written and illustrated by Daniel Pinkwater
This isn’t a great book, but it interested my four-year-old granddaughter who had lots of questions about it. Essentially is about following one’s own dreams of how to ‘be’. There is a street where all the houses look exactly alike, and Mr. Plumbean is one of the homeowners. One day, a seagull flew over Mr. Plumbean’s home, and dropped a can of orange paint on his roof; it made a splot! Before anyone even thinks about what can be done to “fix” this. Mr. Plumbean has an idea, to do something even more decorative than painting over the splot, he does more painting. Thus begins a revolution of sorts on the street, with a few resisting, but turning out okay after all. It is good to read a book that supports those who might enjoy being different!
The Giant Hug - by Sandra Horning, illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev
This is the cutest book! A little boy pig wants to send a real hug to his Granny for her birthday, and thus begins the whole process of sending it, via the mail clerk, the sorter, the airline pilot, and so on. Each one who handles the mail is a different animal, but the process does show every step that happens to our mail. And the hugs please everyone, sending good feelings all along the route! The illustrations remind me of the Little Bear books, and there’s a fun surprise at the end.
Next – Reading Kate Messner’s Capture The Flag (good!), and will try to start The Key - The Flame, by Claire M. Caterer and Quiet by Susan Cain.