Wednesday, February 4, 2015

I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison

18594516
I Got the Rhythm
by Connie Schofield-Morrison
illustrated by Frank Morrison 
32 pages
Bloomsbury-Kindle
June 2014

Book Jacket Summary
On a simple trip to the park, the joy of music overtakes a mother and daughter. The little girl hears a rhythm coming from the world around her— from butterflies, to street performers, to ice cream sellers everything is musical! She sniffs, snaps, and shakes her way into the heart of the beat, finally busting out in an impromptu dance, which all the kids join in on! Award-winning illustrator Frank Morrison and Connie Schofield-Morrison, capture the beat of the street, to create a rollicking read that will get any kid in the mood to boogie.

My Thoughts 
Colorful and bright! This book catches your attention right away. There are bold colors and the little girl is just bursting with energy as they walk through the park. Plus she is adorable and I love her hair! It is nice to see so many multicultural characters in one book. It is just like a real walk in the park.
I always wanted to incite an impromptu dance party on the streets. Growing up on musicals and Disney films will do that to you but this book almost makes it real. The little girl is dancing to the sounds of the world around her. The drummer in the park, the snapping of fingers, and the stomping of feet. The illustrations have fluidity to them and you can almost see the characters dancing to the music. The pure joy of music and dance will set your toes a tapping and itching to dance.
I highly recommend this one, if only for the illustrations. They are delightful and I love the main character! She gets everyone to dance and have fun. Plus it is nice to see a picture book about dancing that does not focus on ballet. There should be more books about just loving the joy of dancing. 

Book Pairings
Dance with Me by Charles R. Smith Jr.
How Do You Wokka-Wokka? by Elizabeth Bluemle
Kitchen Dance by Maurie J. Manning



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Monday, February 2, 2015

Marlene, Marlene, Queen of Mean by Jane Lynch

Marlene, Marlene, Queen of Mean
Marlene, Marlene, Queen of Mean
by Jane Lynch and A.E. Embrey PhD
illustrated by Tricia Tusa
32 pages
Random House
September 2014

Book Jacket Summary
Glee actress Jane Lynch takes a look at bullying head-on in her first picture book.
Marlene is the self-appointed queen of the playground, the sidewalk, and the school. She is small but mighty . . . intimidating! Known for her cruel ways, the little Queen of Mean has kids cowering in fear—until big Freddy stands up to her and says what everyone has been too fearful to say. In Seussian rhyme, actress Jane Lynch, clinical psychologist Lara Embry, and former children’s book editor A. E. Mikesell gently and comically depict the undoing of a bully and her efforts to reform. Tricia Tusa’s charming illustrations make the story an even more accessible conversation starter for all ages.
 
My Thoughts
I am usually a bit wary of celebrity picture books but the more I heard Jane Lynch talk about how she used to be a bully the more I wanted to read it. Plus you should always be wary of girls with huge bows on their heads. That is one thing I learned from Saturday morning cartoons.
The book is simple enough with rhyming couplets that describe the atrocities that Marlene creates across the playground. She rules the school yard until one boy stands up and asks "Why?" Why is she ruling us? Especially since she is so small. The wind is taken out of Marlene's sails and she realizes that having power over people do not make friends.
The best part is that Marlene does slip back into her mean streak every once in a while. It is more believable than if she suddenly became perfect. Plus it is a good teaching moment for kids that even if people change they can still make mistakes and hurt you. Marlene backslides but still tries to be good most of the time.
It is a good book to add to the anti-bully pile. I would check it out of the library rather than run out and buy it though.

Book Pairings
The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill 
Fancy Nancy and the Mean Girl by Jane O’Connor
The Only Boy in Ballet Class by Denise Gruska


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