Look at this — I’m up to five weeks of The Thursday Three. That’s as consistent as I’ve ever been about anything ever. With only slight changes, these are my notes as I first see the books, so I’m liking taking the pressure off of doing longer, more carefully edited picture book reviews. For instance, I’m not even going back to edit the previous, slightly awkward sentence. Carry on.
A Visitor for Bear, by Bonny Becker, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton
Bear doesn’t like visitors, so when a mouse comes by one day he sends him away. But the mouse keeps showing up anyway — in the cupboard, in the drawer, everywhere. Each time the bear sends him out. After many times — the build-up will thrill young listeners — the bear gives up and entertains his unwanted guest. To his surprise, the bear finds that he likes visitors after all. The soft illustrations are wonderful, and convey the characters’ emotions to perfection. The title will be of interest to a wide range of ages. This is a great story, a fantastic read-aloud, and an overall brilliant book.
Charlie Hits It Big, by Deborah Blumenthal, illustrated by Denise Brunkus
Ah, HarperCollins, you had me at Brunkus. If I wasn’t sold by the guinea pig on the cover — and I love my pet rodents — I was definitely on board with seeing the illustrator of the Junie B. Jones books get a little more space to play with in this picture book. Charlie is a pet guinea pig who decides to take off on an adventure and explore Hollywood. He is cast in a movie and has all the trappings of stardom, except his favorite food and his owner’s love. In the end the love — and the favorite food — win out. This is one of those books where no one else seems to realize that the animal is not human (a big source of the humor), but the Brunkus Touch certainly doesn’t hurt. Lots of fun for older preschoolers to second grade.
Little Rabbit’s New Baby, written and illustrated by Harry Horse
Little Rabbit’s mommy is having a baby. Well, actually three babies. Little Rabbit is very excited to play with the baby rabbits, but things don’t ever work out. They don’t eat what he expects, they can’t play with him right, and they mess up his toys. He’s mad about this at first, but then works to be more helpful and to teach the baby bunnies what they need to know. And it all ends okay. I’m not generally a fan of books that look at the negatives of new siblings because I think that it sets the stage for problems before they happen. However, I like the growth of the character in this book, and I love the sweet illustrations that remind me of an updated Beatrix Potter, so I’m giving it the MotherReader nod of approval.
It’s now less than 48 hours until the MotherReader announcement, and I can say that I’m (a) not pregnant (b) not getting a book deal — oh, HarperCollins why won’t you call? (c) not turning forty-eight on 4/4/08, though I concur that it would be cool if I were.