Thursday, September 5, 2013

Shelf Life [kids]

Chamelia and the New Kid in Class, by Ethan Long, 32 pages.

Chamelia was an unusual chameleon. Unlike most chameleons, she did not want to blend in with her surroundings and hide.  Instead, Chamelia liked to “make a splash” and stand out in a crowd.  She thrived on attention, especially at school.

That was why Chamelia was so annoyed one day when a new student stole the spotlight and quickly became the centre of attention.  Cooper made friends easily, both in the classroom and on the playground. He was the best soccer player. He was the best artist in the class, and everyone wanted him to draw their portrait. His new games were a hit with everyone, and he brought yummy frosted cupcakes to school on his birthday.

Chamelia was outshadowed, and she didn’t like it at all!  How could she regain centre stage among her friends and classmates?
She hatched a plan.  On Show-and-Tell Day, she did her best to distract her classmates just as Cooper was proudly showing his rock collection. She yawned - and yawned again.  She blew raspberries. She yawned some more.  Her plan worked, and everyone was totally distracted.
However, as Chamelia looked at Cooper’s sad, embarrassed face, she got a not-so-nice feeling in her stomach. Right away, she decided to change her game plan and show her classmates what a true star would do.
Readers will enjoy the way in which this story ends, with Chamelia making a new best friend.    
Ethan Long, a father of three young children, is both author and illustrator of this entertaining picture book with its message about jealousy, empathy and friendship. His earlier picture book, Chamelia, can also be found at the Stratford Public Library.

** Recommended for ages 4 to 7 years.

Z is for Moose, by Kelly Bingham, 32 pages.
Nobody wants to be left out – especially the big brown moose who is so enthusiastic about being included in an alphabet that he can’t wait his turn.  Before the letter “M” is reached, Moose tries to push aside Duck at “D” and Elephant at “E”, replace the hat at “H” and butt into the ice cream at “I”.
Zebra, sporting a black-striped shirt as the referee, is having none of it.  “No. Moose does not start with D, E, H or I!  You are on the wrong page.”  
Moose simply must wait for “M”.
However, at “M”, Zebra chooses Mouse instead of Moose.  Moose is shattered and retreats offstage in tears.
As “X” and “Y” are reached, it appears that there’s nowhere at all in the alphabet for Moose.  But wait! 

At “Z”, Zebra has a wonderful, heart-warming surprise for Moose.
With Moose’s Bullwinkle-like face, his goofy antics and a just-right conclusion, Z is for Moose is a hilarious picture book with lots of action – a perfect choice for those who are learning or re-learning the alphabet - and for anyone who enjoys an amusing story. 

** Recommended for ages 3 to 6 years.

This review appeared in The Stratford Gazette on September 5, 2013. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

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