ToddWorld Volume 1: Being an Individual
The wonderful, zany, rainbow-colored Toddworld, which started in picture-book format, now has new stories available on DVD. Based on Todd Parr's signature artwork, Being an Individual celebrates the many ways people are different. Each of the six episodes ("Princess Pirate," "Dirt Day," "Bark Like a Cat," "Underwear Everywhere," "Whatever Sways Your Swing," and "Big Feet") is 10 minutes long. Such important messages as accepting others, trying new things and celebrating differences are shared in each story. Also look for ToddWorld Volume 2: Appreciating Differences. For children ages 3-5, although the concepts work for older children as well.
- Lesley Kircher
A Samurai Never Fears Death
By Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler
Seikei's childhood dream of becoming a Samurai, which seemed impossible for the son of a tea merchant, has come true. Adopted by Judge Ooka at age 11, Seikei has studied for five years and is now a young Samurai. But Judge Ooka has been called to travel to Seikei's childhood home of Osaka, and Seikei must accompany him. While the Judge stays at the castle, involved in a case that has mystified the shogun, Seikei must stay with his former brother and sister at their teashop. Denzaburo, Seikei's brother, introduces him to Japanese puppet theater, where he stumbles onto a murder, intrigue and a smuggling operation that seems to involve his birth family.
Set in Japan in the early 1700s, this historical mystery/coming-of-age story, rich with historical details, plenty of action and believable, well-rounded characters, creates a thoroughly satisfying tale for mystery fans ages 11 to 14. This title can be read on its own, but each book in the series develops Seikei's growth, so it's best to read the series in order.
- Karen Lucas
Bow-Wow Bugs a Bug
By Mark Newgarden and Megan Montague Cash
Bow-Wow Bugs a Bug's cover features a bug sitting on the top of bemused Bow-Wow's head. Then what? We follow Bow-Wow throughout his day as he deals with this bug and his buddies. Told entirely in drawings, Bow-Wow's story includes more dogs and more bugs, suspense, confrontation and finally bedtime.
Bow-Wow Bugs a Bug appeals to toddlers because it's simple and fast moving. Preschoolers pick up on the many expressions of Bow-Wow and his buddies that tell the story as vividly as if it included words. Every time you open it, Bow-Wow Bugs a Bug is open to new interpretations. Perfect for nonreaders and English-as-a-second-language students.
- Alice Oakey
Rabbit's Gift: A Fable from China
By George Shannon
This story, based on an ancient Chinese tale, is illustrated with care by Madison painter Laura Dronzek. A white bunny tries to find food in the snow. Then he starts thinking about a donkey friend - will he have enough food? All of the animals of the forest are willing to share what food they have, and there's a surprise ending of sorts, too. The sweet drawings, winter setting and useful lesson make this a wonderful picture book to share around the time of the new year.
- Linda Falkenstein
Some Reviews provided by Youth Services Librarians of the Madison Public Library