Library Book Roundup: “What Can You Do in the Rain?”, “Max and Ruby’s Snowy Day”, and “Mountain Babies”

Here are a few of the library books we’ve been reading this week.  Looks like at least some of them are out of print, but what the heck, I’ve already written my reviews.

What Can You Do in the Rain? by Anna Grossnickle Hines, pictures by Thea Kliros. 1999 Greenwillow Books (division of William Morrow)  http://www.aghines.com/anna_html_pages/Book_htmls/weather.htm

Offspring picked this out, and I didn’t expect it to be topical because it’s definitely supposed to be snowing here. But it would appear that the Offspring can predict global climate change better than I can.

Pretty much what it says on the tin. It’s basically a series of answers to the question posed by the title.  The watercolors of chubby-cheeked children playing outside in the wet and mud are matched with descriptions like “Mix a mud pie” or “Taste a raindrop”.

Cover illustration shows a little girl of Asian descent with an umbrella. Will those who are trying to build a diverse library feel like that represents what’s inside?
Well – out of eleven kids, there are two more Asian girls on the front and last pages. In the middle there is one Black boy, and eight kids who are probably white. (A couple more might be able to be interpreted as Asian?) Out of these eleven kids, there are three who appear to be boys, six who are probably girls, and two of ambiguous gender.

I’m not sure why the Offspring likes it so much, but it’s been a pleasant, easy read. Doesn’t require any special voices or sound effects to keep the Offspring’s interest (though I’m sure rain sound effects could be added for those who don’t already have enough sound effects in their lives). I expect we’ll be renewing it a time or three.

Max and Ruby’s Snowy Day, based on the characters of Rosemary Wells. 2004. Grosset and Dunlap (Random Penguin).  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/max-and-rubys-snowy-day-rosemary-wells/1100578186

This book, I will be returning as soon as I can manage it, because it makes me start falling asleep. Two anthropomorphic rabbits get dressed in their snowsuits, mittens, boots, and scarves of various colors and finally get outside to sled on the last page. I guess the bond between the little brother rabbit and his helpful, caretaking older sister is sweet?  So possibly I would like it more if we were already established Max and Ruby fans or something.

The Offspring likes it, though. I think because it repeatedly includes the word “Zoom!” And my wife, who is all about the clothes generally, seems to like it fine, too. She even reads the whole mittens et al part with the full text, instead of saying: “And then they put on all their other stuff.” Not that I know anyone who does that or anything. *shifty eyes*

Mountain Babies, by no-one who wanted to put a name on the book itself, though the internet is attributing it to Kristen McCurry.  Illustrated by various photographers of stock wildlife photos. 2006 NorthWord Books for Young Readers. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3308947-mountain-babies

This is just the latest in a long sequence of similar books from our library, all full of cute stock photos of baby animals and paired with not terribly inspiring text. (Which I also usually paraphrase or skip. In another year or two, though, I predict I am going to transform into a pendant who insists on reading every. last. word. correctly.) There seem to be a lot of stock-photo board books. They’re kind of like the glossy, chewable, official version of the kind of baby books that can be made out of cardstock, glue, and butchered catalogs/National Geographics/and anything else with bright photos.

Anyway, I will read Mountain Babies over Max and Ruby’s Snowy Day anytime. Because I am all about the animals.

My wife, on the other hand, pages through Mountain Babies (and it’s brethren) listlessly when the Offspring insists. This morning she told the Offspring that the baby mountain lion was a bobcat. When I objected, she asked if there was a difference. That little misunderstanding has now been cleared up, and in the process we renewed our deal that when possible, I would focus on reading Mountain Babies while Mama takes care of Max and Ruby’s Snowy Day.

Which I suppose is all to say, if you’re thinking about buying books for your kiddo? Or even just still at the stage where you can completely control what library books come home because your offspring is still too tiny to take their own books to the checkout desk? Don’t forget to think about what you want to read. Of course, it’s also important to read Classics and Obligatory Vehicle Books and so on. But at the end of the day, it’s also important to find the books that you can stand to read a kabillion times with joy and grace and enthusiasm.  There are a lot of ways in which sharing the fun of books with your baby trumps actual content.

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