Friday, July 5, 2013

Shelf Life [kids]

Jack and the Giant Barbecue by Eric A. Kimmel, 32 pages.
In this quirky “spin” on the traditional Jack and the Beanstalk tale, a young cowboy, Jack, climbs Mount Pecos to recover his daddy’s barbecue recipe book, stolen years ago by a greedy giant.  Jack’s father had once been known far and wide for making the best barbecue sauce in West Texas.
When he reaches the giant’s ramshackle cabin and sneaks inside, Jack finds an unlikely ally: a talking jukebox (which speaks in Patsy Cline and Hank Williams lyrics).
The giant discovers Jack in his cabin and threatens to “roll him in salsa and pico de gallo, and gobble him up.”  Instead, after finishing an enormous meal of barbecued ribs, the giant falls asleep and the jukebox helps Jack to find the stolen recipe book.
As Jack and the jukebox escape from the cabin, the giant awakens and pursues them in his heavy-duty, super-large pickup truck.  Jack outwits the giant, returns home and uses the precious cookbook to open a new restaurant that serves (what else?) the best barbecue recipes in West Texas. 
Jack’s resourcefulness, the larger-than-life illustrations, the silliness and the exaggerations in this Texan tall tale are sure to make it a favourite choice for young children.
An interesting note about Texas barbecue is included at the end of the book by author Eric Kimmel, who has written over 50 stories for children, including Rip Van Winkle’s Return and Blackbeard’s Last Fight.

** Recommended for ages 4 to 7 years. 

Pirates Don’t Say Please!  By Laurie Lazzaro Knowlton, 32 pages.
Everyone knows that pirates have no time or use for manners!
When young Pirate Billy Nelson refuses to wash his hands, say “Please” and use his manners at the lunch table, his mother sends him to his room (“the brig”) without lunch.  She tells him to not to return until he leaves behind his rude pirate ways and language and is once again her polite son.  Plundering a chicken leg, Billy navigates to his room where he goes on an imaginary journey to find some buried pirate treasure.
Before his quest is finished, he is deserted by Elephant for not saying “Thank you”, and refused a ride by the pirate ship’s captain for not saying “Please”.
Eventually, he reaches his buried treasure, but while he is digging it up, a problem arises - his tummy begins to growl ferociously. 
Suddenly Billy realizes that good manners may be worth more than any pirate treasure or loot.  He digs up his lost manners instead, washes his hands and finds his mother – just in time for dinner!
Adrian Tans’ expressive illustrations bring Billy, his mother and his scallywag pirate friends to life in this laugh-aloud story of a young boy who learns about the importance of using good manners, even at home.     

** Recommended for ages 4 to 7 years.      

Visit , phone us at 519-271-0220 or visit us in person to find out about the many FUN, free reading programs for children being offered at the Stratford Public Library this summer.  Our theme is “GO!”

This review appears in The Stratford Gazette on July 4, 2013. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

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