Friday, June 29, 2012

SPL Shelf Life [kids]

Mitchell’s License, By Hallie Durand, 36 pages.@ SPL: JP Duran
Once, a little boy named Mitchell would make a terrific fuss each night about going to bed. However, everything changed when Mitchell was exactly three years, nine months and five days old. That was the night that he obtained his driving “license.” Now, every night, Mitchell drives his “car” to bed.
First he checks his car’s “tires” (which are actually his dad’s feet). He inspects the engine (dad’s stomach), cleans the windshield (dad’s glasses), and gets into the driver’s seat (dad’s shoulders). Then he starts up the “car” and braves the busy two-way traffic (Mitchell’s mom) in the hallway. He can drive his car slowly or quickly, make right and left turns, and reverse. Mitchell has learned to drive safely. He stops and looks both ways at the corners on the way to his bedroom. Sometimes, when toys are in the way, Mitchell has to honk his horn (dad’s nose) as loudly as he can. Sometimes his car needs oil, so Mitchell pours some water down his dad’s throat.
Strangely, his car is unable make turns toward the cookie jar, but otherwise, Mitchell loves driving to bed on the shoulders of his very patient father every night, and he crawls under the covers without a fuss.
Illustrated by artist Tony Fucile, this colourful, entertaining picture book will be of special interest to children who are reluctant to go to bed at night. Hallie Durand is the author of an equally engaging series of children’s chapter books about a girl named “Dessert” (the first book is entitled “Dessert First”).
**Recommended for ages three to five.

Catching Time, By Rachna Gilmore, 28 pages.
@ SPL: JP Gilmo
On a beautiful Saturday morning, Sara wants to go to the park, where there’s a wonderful playground with swings, slides and trees. However, her busy parents are bustling around the house, vacuuming, tidying, doing laundry and washing dishes. They agree that the family can go to the park when they’re finished … if there’s time.
Knowing from experience that her mom and dad rarely have enough time, Sara decides to help by catching some of the precious commodity. Finding her butterfly net and a big jar, Sara watches and waits. What does time look like, and where does it go? Is it gurgling down the drain in the sink where Dad is washing the dishes? Is the vacuum cleaner catching time and whooshing it away? Is time hiding in the cupboards and corners of the house? Perhaps it’s under the furniture, or perhaps it lives outside?
Try as she might, Sara can’t see or catch any time at all, and by the middle of the afternoon, her jar is still empty. In desperation, she shouts “Stop!” Everyone stops, looking at her. When Sara explains what she has been trying to do, her parents leave their chores and the family goes to the park, enjoying the rest of the afternoon together.
Ottawa-area author Rachna Gilmore’s important message in this beautifully-illustrated picture book is simply that family time is very precious …and time truly does fly.
** Recommended for ages four to seven.
These reviews appeared in The Stratford Gazette on June 21, 2012. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian

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