Allison's Book Bag

Foxes, Raccoons, and Baby Animals!

Posted on: June 7, 2017

Foxes, raccoons, and baby animals are the topics of the three picture books in my round-up this week. Two of the books are fun fiction selections. The other is a colorful smorgasbord of nature for young readers.

Argyle Fox by Marie Letourneau is an adorable tale of a fox who wants to play outside on a warm spring day but the wind keeps wreaking havoc with his activities. I love the upbeat narrative, which keeps me in anticipation. Fox diligently stacks and stacks cards, until he’s built the tallest tower in the world. The wind goes quiet and then–WHOOSH! Not to be deterred, Fox then creates a spider web, a pirate ship, a castle…. I also love the illustrations, which are engaging and filled with endearing details. The wind curves and swirls throughout the two-page spreads. There’s an otter in the river, cardinal near a tree stump, badger in the garden… Everything about Argyle Fox works. Fox is determined, then discouraged, but eventually he finds the perfect thing to play in the wind. Readers learn about problem solving and perseverance through an incredibly cute and engaging story. I can’t wait to read about Arygle Fox’s next adventure!

Audrey Penn’s first title in The Kissing Hand series placed in the NEA and the School Library Journal top 100 picture books for children. Chester Raccoon and the Almost Perfect Sleepover is the newest title. I love how every page shows sensitivity to the natural nervous anticipation of a first sleepover. At first, Chester Raccoon impatiently hops and skips on his way to Pepper Opossum’s home, and keeps asking his mom when they will get there. The very moment they arrive, however, he squeezes his mom’s hands. And when she leaves, he feels nervous. Although he’s soon racing around with his friends, when everyone curls up for a nap, Chester is unable to sleep. He misses home. I also appreciate the balance that Penn strikes between seriousness and humor. When Sassafras Skunk gets excited, he lets out a plum of purple gas he calls a “stinky puff.” Cute! Finally, the book is delightfully illustrated with big pictures and interesting scenes. The friends hang on branches, race over logs, skip stones across a pond, and roll in the dirt in laughter. I’ll be keeping watch for Penn’s other books!

Baby Animals by Dorothea DePrisco is a publication of Animal Planet. Every spread introduces a new topic and contains a lot of sidebars and infographics. I spent hours exploring the information. The pages are bright with bold text and big photos. They are a visual delight to explore. The adult in me wishes there was more structure. There is a table of contents and colorful tabs are the top of each spread guide readers through their Animal Bites adventures. However, the tabs get lost in all the colorful pages, and would have been more helpful if they stick-out ones. Or topics simply could have been grouped together instead of randomly mixed. This criticism aside, having been a school teacher, I know that young readers will be enamored with Baby Animals. I myself keep returning to it to read about such oddities as jacanas and planthoppers. There are also familiar creatures featured such as ferrets and bears. Check out supplemental educational cards at Animal Planet Animal Bites Fun Fact Cards.

Animal books have always been a favorite of mine. Imagine my delight to have this passion recognized with requests for animal-themed Advanced Reader Copies. Stay tuned for more in the months ahead!

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