Mother Ghost: Nursery Rhymes for Little Monsters
by Rachel Kolar, illustrated by Roland Garrigue
Sleeping Bear Press
This brilliant collection of nursery rhymes for young Halloween readers will keep pages turning and laughter rolling. In What Are Little Bats Made Of?, readers explore what little bats and little ghouls are made of. Little imaginations will run wild in Mary Had a Little Ghost and run creepy in Zombie Miss Muffet. But what happens in Sing a Song of Witches, when the blackbirds attack the witch?
Geared for the youngest readers, humor is woven in with the spooky, as in Mary, Mary, Tall and Scary:
Mary, Mary, tall and scary,
How does your graveyard grow?
With buried bones and carved gray stones
And little ghosts all in a row.
Illustrations are done in night darks and spooky purples to support the scary poem re-writes. They often tell another story beyond the re-written one, as when the dog in Old Mother Hubbard hilariously runs away with arm and hand bones.
Those who love scary Halloweens will love Mother Ghost.
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My Heart is Like a Zoo
By Michael Hall
Greenwillow Books, 2009
My Heart is Like a Zoo bursts with vivid colors, fresh rhymes and twenty-one zoo animals cleverly illustrated with hearts. More than three hundred hearts in the book! Fresh metaphorical rhymes act as directional signs in a zoo, enticing a reader deeper and deeper into the animal menagerie. Each rhyme depicts an aspect of the heart, such as ‘eager’, ‘hopeful’, and ‘rugged’. Early readers learn affirmations of the heart. They learn about animals, how to find shapes and they practice counting. The book finished with the ‘zookeeper’ happily tuckered out while his zoo animals wait on the shelf for the next day of play.
Author/illustrator Michael Hall uses sixteen hearts to illustrate, “…quiet as a caterpillar wearing knitted socks.” He uses another sixteen hearts to illustrate “…bothered as a bull with a hornet in its hair.” Hall is a professional graphic designer, and it shows in his work. His images are simple, yet compelling. Each one comes to life on the page. Children with an artistic or engineering sense will study each animal to see how hearts can be transformed into animals. This is Hall’s first children’s book, and we’re sure to see many more books from this talented writer/illustrator.
Originally published in San Francisco Book Review
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Cowpoke Clyde and Dirty Dawg
By Lori Mortensen, illustrated by Michael Allen Austin
Clarion Books, 2013
I can’t decide which I love the most, the clever, fun rhymes, the twists in the story, the surprise at the end, or the cute dawg running through the scenes. It’s got it all going for it. The lively rhyme and the jump off the page illustrations will hold the attention of the liveliest youngster. A great book for active boys.
The story goes like this: When Cowpoke Clyde, whose house is immaculate, spies dirty dawg, he determines dirty dawg needs a cleaning and a raucous romp through the ranch pursues. Surprises and laughter ensue as Cowpoke Clyde tries to outsmart the dawg, but the dawg is stubborn, and doesn’t like to be told what to do…. A fun read with a surprising and satisfying ending.
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