March 23, 2017

Bob, Not Bob! by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Matthew Cordell

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 1:05 am by suebe2

Bob, Not Bob!
by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick
illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Disney/Hyperion

Little Louie isn’t really such a little kid.  It isn’t like he needs his Mom every single second of the day.  But when he comes down with a head cold it sure would be nice to be able to call her.  Unfortunately, with his stopped up nose, instead of calling for Mom, he ends up calling for Bob.

For some people this might not be a big issue.  You call out Bob and your Mom, knowing your head is stopped up, would check on you.  Unfortunately, Little Louie has a dog named Bob. Every time he calls for his mom, along comes slobbery, overly-enthusiastic Bob.

His sister looks at him likes he’s loosing his mind when along comes Bob and Louie points out that he wants “Bob, not Bob.”  Before long, Little Louie is still sick but he’s also frustrated.  But so is Bob (he keeps coming like a good dog but Louie is super crabby) and Mom (what’s with this kid and this dog?).

Fortunately Mom knows that a cuddle can solve all manner of problems and soon Mom, Louie and even Bob have settled in for a nice nap.

Pretty soon Louie is feeling fit and when he can call Mom or Bob and get the one that he wants.  The problem is that now when he calls Bob, he ends up with his mother too.

The subtitle for this book says it all.  “To be read as though you have the worst cold ever!”

Anyone who has ever had a cold knows the problem — you try to speak oh so clearly only to have your stopped up nose botch something so badly that no one can understand you.  Reading this book aloud to a group turns it into a fun game so be ready for your class to chip in with carefully mispronounced words that make it sound like dare hed id all topped up.

The story is silly (and something both parents and kids will identify with) and Matthew Cordell’s illustrations just notch it up.  Bob (the dog, not the parent) is goofy and energetic and just as expressive as little Louie.

Share this book with your young reader today!

–SueBE

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September 14, 2015

She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Don Tate

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 1:08 am by suebe2

She Loved Baseball:
The Effa Manley Story
by Audrey Vernick
illustrated by Don Tate
Collins/HarperCollins

Even when she was still a girl in school, Effa hated being told “how things are.”  The principal told her not to play with those “Negroes” on the playground.  Never mind that those children were her brothers and sisters.  Lighter skinned children were often told not to play with darker children.

When the moved to Harlem as an adult, she couldn’t believe that even the department store in Harlem refused to employ black clerks.  Many of the businesses in Harlem were white-owned. Effa organized a civic organization.  They boycotted the store and encouraged other Harlem residents to do the same.  “Don’t Buy Where You Can’t Work!”  Eventually the stores hired over 100 clerks from the area.

Effa married Abe Manley.  The couple started a team, the Brooklyn Eagles, in the new Negro National League.  Effa discovered how much she enjoyed arranging schedules and transportation and buying equipment.  Over time, she took on more and more responsibility for the team and her players who called her “mother hen.”

When Effa attended league meetings, the other owners would complain that baseball was no place for a woman.  When they saw that she understood not only the game but the business, she won their respect.

Time and time again, Effa acknowledged a barrier by treating it as her next challenge, even conducting a letter writing campaign to get Negro League players inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  It came as no surprise to those who had worked with her when the Hall of Fame inducted her as its first woman member.

I have to admit that I had never heard of Effa Manley when I picked up this book.  Or, if I had heard of her, I didn’t remember.  But one of my son’s friends is a major league baseball fan.  Thank you, dear friend!

Tate’s illustrations are realistic without being “text booky” but also very expressive.  When you turn the page and see Effa peeking through her fingers while another baseball fan stares with his mouth open wide, you want to read on and find out what is happening.

Whether someone is a baseball fan or interested in either sports history, women’s history, or African-American history, this book is a must.  It doesn’t gloss over any of the problems faced by Effa Manley but it is very matter-of-fact in describing how again and again she rose to meet a new challenge.  This is definitely a women that our young people need to study both for the many elements of history that come together in her life but also for her heroic can-do attitude.

–SueBE

January 24, 2013

Brothers at Bat by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Steven Salerno

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 1:27 am by suebe2

brothers at batBrothers at Bat
by Audrey Vernick,
illustrated by Steven Salerno
Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

You may find it hard to believe, but from 1860 until the 1940s, there were 29 all-brother baseball teams.  Twenty-nine!   One of these teams was the Acerras and that’s exactly what it said on their jerseys.  ACERRAS.

The Acerras lived in New Jersey.  There were 12 boys and 4 girls, but apparently only the boys played baseball.

In 1938, the boys ranged in age from 7 to 32 and the oldest nine formed their own semi-pro team to compete against other New Jersey teams.  Some of the Acerras were amazing — Jimmy’s knuckleball is still talked about today.  It was hard to hit and just as hard to catch.  Some of the Acerras were much less amazing; Charlie was such a slow runner that his brothers joked about it.  But unlike many ball players today, they always stuck together.

Whether someone made a play or missed a ball, they stuck together.  They were, after all, a team.

Wherever they played, they drew big crowds.  They were even honored at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York.

But it wasn’t all fun and games. One brother was struck in the face with a ball and lost his eye although he returned to the team and continued to play with his brothers.  Then there was World War II.

The team disbanded and 4 Acerras joined the Army.  Two became Marines.  Amazingly, they all returned home.

They played their last game as team Acerra in 1952 but that wasn’t the end of their life in baseball.  In 1997, they were honored by the Baseball Hall of Fame.

I’m not a huge baseball fan but I am a huge history fan.  Vernick brings this time period to life just as she helps as see the Acerras as both an amazing family and a group of amazing individuals who just happened to be related.

Salerno’s illustrations, black crayon and water color and pastel, gives a feeling of power and drive to the story, a must read for baseball fans young and old.

–SueBE

June 6, 2011

Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten by Audrey Vernick illustrated by Daniel Jennewein

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 3:28 pm by suebe2

Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten
by Audrey Vernick
illustrated by Daniel Jennewein
Publisher: Balzar + Bray
AR 2.5

As you approach the first day of school, there is one very important question you should ask yourself — is your buffalo ready for kindergarten?  If he has his very own backpack,  the answer is YES!  But that’s important to know, because some people will tell you that a buffalo has no business in school.

Whether your child is the shy one who has troubles making friends or is a social butterfly, this fun book will make a good read as they get ready for that first day.  Vernick manages to work in a host of school issues from worrying about being different to having to learn the rules as well as how to disagree with others.

Because the child is preparing her buffalo for school, this puts the child reader a step back from the problem itself.  “This isn’t a child’s problem.  The buffalo is the one who doesn’t know what he can eat or when!”  Young readers will see their worries on the page but will have the distance needed to deal with them comfortably.

Jennewein’s illustrations add to the humor showing the buffalo’s exaggerated expressions within a diverse classroom of students.  Who knows — your child may be inspired to draw his very  own buffalo or bear or boar.

Whether your child is getting ready for the first day of school or the first day of camp, this book will give you a humorous way to discuss potential problems and how to deal with them.  An excellent choice for the new teacher in your life as well — reading this book in the classroom would be an excellent way to work in a discussion of classroom behavior and the various rules.

–SueBE

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