Saturday, September 3, 2011

SPL Shelf Life [kids]

These reviews appeared in the Stratford Gazette on September 1st. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

Ten Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break if You Want to Survive the School Bus, by John Grandits, 30 pages.

Kyle has never ridden on a school bus before, and understandably, he’s nervous at the prospect. However, his older brother, James, a school bus “expert”, has some words of wisdom for him.
Among James’ rules for school bus survival (which “positively, absolutely must not be broken”) are: never be the last one to get into the bus; never sit beside the school bus bully; never talk to the bus driver and never, ever talk to girls!
What will happen if Kyle breaks even one of these rules? According to James, he’ll be laughed at, yelled at, pushed around … or worse!
So many rules – how is Kyle going to remember all of them?
As it turns out, on his first day of school Kyle doesn’t remember any of the rules until after he’s broken every one of them – all on his first bus ride.
With tongue firmly in cheek, author John Grandits recounts how Kyle not only survives his first ride despite breaking James’s rules – but manages to gain the respect of the school bus bully and make a new friend – a girl, at that!
The clever illustrations of various people on the bus – for example, the bully and the bus driver, who morph into fierce animals as Kyle imagines that they could be, adds to the story’s gently satiric tone, while details such as the squirrel which hops in and out of  Kyle’s backpack, will tickle the funny bone of young readers and listeners.    
** Recommended for ages 4 to 8 years.

Gingerbread Man Loose in the School, by Laura Murray, 30 pages.

Oh no! The gingerbread man, freshly baked and set out to cool, has been left behind by the students who have just made him. Instead of the gingerbread man running away, the class has run away – because it’s recess!
Wanting to be a part of the class, the gingerbread man runs through the school in a search for his students. His first stop is the gym, where he is run over by a basketball on the loose. Next, it’s off to the school nurse’s office in hopes that she can fix his toe, broken off by the basketball.
Toe reattached, the gingerbread man searches the art room for his class, only to fall into someone’s lunch bag. Rescued by the art teacher, the gingerbread man is off to the principal’s office, for if anyone should know the missing class’s whereabouts, it would be the school principal!
Meanwhile, the class, returning to their classroom and finding their gingerbread man gone, has posted “Wanted” posters throughout the school.
In a happy ending to the story, the gingerbread man finds his missing students and the students find their missing gingerbread man.
Laura Murray’s amusing, rhyming story of one very smart cookie is, of course, based on the traditional tale of the Gingerbread Man.
** Recommended for ages 3 to 6 years.

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