Now on to more Cybils nominees...
My Baby Crocodile by Gaetan Doremus (ages 4-8)
This book is told from alternating perspectives - first a crocodile who thinks he's found a baby crocodile (which is really a boy in a knight's armor) and then the boy once he sheds his armor. It's funny to hear their thoughts and see their different interpretations of the situation. The end gets a little confusing because it changes perspectives rather quickly. It's a very creative book, but I'm not sure whether kids will understand what's going on.
Cry, Heart, But Never Break by Glenn Ringtved (ages 6-10)
Four children live with their aging grandmother. When Death comes for her, they are not ready to let her go. They try to trick Death by giving him coffee to keep him up all night. Death tells them a story to try to illustrate that knowing death is inevitable makes life that much sweeter and that much more worth living. The children don't understand, but they eventually let Death take their grandmother. This book may help children understand death or it may just confuse them even more. I do not know. I enjoyed it.
Superhero Instruction Manual by Kristy Dempsey (ages 4-8)
This book is adorable! It's 7 easy steps to becoming a superhero. I can't wait to read it with my son. It's one you can kind of talk through as you're reading it - what should your superhero name be? who should be your sidekick? what super power will you have? how will you save the world? It's a really fun read that kids will definitely love. It's not classic literature or anything too profound, so I don't think it will win Cybils, but it will be a favorite with kids.
Ninja Baby by David Zeltser (ages 4-8)
This book started off with a cute concept - a ninja baby. But then it turned into a book about jealousy over a new baby. Nina, the older sibling, is the ninja baby, and the new baby brother is a Kung Fu Master. He comes along and steals all of the attention. There is a weird exchange that magically resolves everything - I didn't get it, and suddenly the Ninja and Master are working together. It didn't work for me.
Giraffes Ruin Everything by Heidi Schulz (ages 4-8)
This book is kind of nonsense, but it's one I think kids will enjoy. A little boy explains the many ways that giraffes ruin everything from birthday parties and trips to the movies to tree houses and slides at the playground. Of course, in the end the boy ends up needing the giraffes help. It's silly and cute, with fun illustrations of the giraffe in many precarious situations.
Tell Me a Tattoo Story by Alison McGhee (ages 4-8)
I'll admit, I am not a tattoo person at all. I had my doubts about this book before reading it, but it's really sweet. A dad tells his son about each of his tattoos. They all have very significant meanings, and the illustrations really help bring those stories to life because the words are fairly limited in this book. The ending is super adorable - the little boy's favorite tattoo is a small heart with his own birthdate inside of it. The father admits that that is his favorite too.
Real Sisters Pretend by Megan Dowd Lambert (ages 4-8)
Wow! This story is wonderful and heartbreaking. In the story two young girls, sisters, are playing pretend. The younger suggests that they pretend to be sisters. The older says they don't need to pretend that because they are sisters, through adoption. This book is based on a true story of something her own girls said while playing after a woman at a store as asked if they were "real" sisters. Even aside from the adoption stuff this is a sweet story of pretend play.
Normal Norman by Tara Lazar (ages 5-9)
This book is another fun story that break the fourth wall. A scientist is attempting show what it means to be "normal." She mentions being the narrator of the book and keeps asking for brief breaks when things don't go according to plan. Normal cannot be defined.
How This Book Was Made by Mac Barnett (ages 6-10)
This book walks the reader through the process of creating a book from writing many drafts to editing to illustration to printing to delivery and finally to reading. Along the way there are some exaggerations and crazy embellishments. It's a lot of fun, and very informative, but it's definitely for older readers. Any child who's wondered where books come from or dreamed of being a writer will enjoy this book.
Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins (ages 4-8)
This book is silly and has some adult humor. It reminded me a little of Duck Soup and Duck at the Door. A bear loves cooking eggs recipes, but one day his goose eggs hatch, and he's stuck with 4 baby goslings. He's less than pleased, and he can't get rid of them.
Grandma Is a Slowpoke by Janet Halfmann (ages 4-8)
A little girl and her grandmother go for a walk. Grandma keeps stopping because she's a slowpoke. She's observing nature and telling the little girl all about the animals she sees. Sometimes it's good to slow down and look around. The little girl agrees by the end. This is a sweet story.
Follow Me by Ellie Sandall (ages 2-4)
This book is a great read aloud for younger kids. It has simple rhyming stanzas, and the meter works perfectly. A family of lemurs is running around busily climbing and eating when they encounter a crocodile. Luckily they escape unharmed. They sigh and head back to their tree to rest at the end of the day. Nothing amazing happens, but it's a fun introduction to the written word with great pictures.
On the blog last year...
Kid Lit: The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party