The Book Shelf - April 24
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Apr 24, 2014  |  Vote 0    0

The Book Shelf - April 24

Stratford Gazette

The Fort that Jack Built

by Boni Ashburn,

32 pages.

@ SPL:  JP Ashbu

“This is a table. / And two comfy chairs. / A big stack of pillows that came from upstairs. / A breakfast-bar stool. / An armload of books. / A green shower curtain with twelve purple hooks.”

Thus begins the creation of a magnificent fort in the living room on a rainy day.  Constructed from household items and furnishings, Jack is certain that this fort will be an essential defense for his family against marauding knights and invading soldiers!

His family, however, isn’t convinced.

Right away Jack’s sister needs one of the chairs and his brother removes his books.  His mother needs the pillows; his father takes the other comfy chair, and someone urgently needs the shower curtain and the bath towels. Even Jack’s dog, Milo, isn’t helpful, as his wagging tail almost collapses the rampart instead of defending it.

In the end, a lonely table is the only part that remains of Jack’s once-imposing structure.

With the help of his sympathetic grandma, however, Jack still finds a way to enjoy his make-believe fort.

Children will have lots of fun with Boni Ashburn’s newest picture book, a modern-day version of the classic story This is the House that Jack Built.

** Recommended for ages three to six.

Little Red Writing

by Joan Holub,

36 pages.

@ SPL:  JP Holub

Little Red Writing Pencil was suspicious.

Granny Principal didn’t sound or look like her usual self today. Her voice was too growly and her teeth were much too big and sharp. Was it possible that she actually wasn’t the principal, but was, instead, the Wolf 3000 – the grumpiest, growliest, grindingest electric pencil sharpener ever made? Yes! … and Little Red Writing Pencil was now in big trouble because those pencil-sharpening teeth were especially made to chomp and grind up pencils like her!

Fortunately, Little Red had her wits about her – as well as one last word - which she used to foil the hungry pencil sharpener, rescue the real Granny Principal and return to her classroom to tell her tale.

Joan Holub’s creative, witty picture book – a parody of the familiar Little Red Riding Hood - is as much about creating a story as it is about the story itself. It begins when Ms 2 directs her class of pencils to write a story.  Elements of style, vocabulary, parts of speech and types of punctuation are mixed and matched, creating literary mayhem everywhere.

Then Little Red Writing Pencil is asked to run an errand to Granny Principal’s office. Wending her way through a tangled forest of description, she escapes the lurking Wolf 3000 pencil sharpener only to find that it has somehow reached the office ahead of her.

The result is a clever and visually-appealing picture book with a happy ending - which children, parents and teachers can enjoy time and time again.

** Recommended for ages five to eight.

– Sally Hengeveld, librarian

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