Cooking with Henry and Elliebelly, written by Carolyn Parkhust and illustrated by Dan Yaccarino, is a culinary blast of imagination as two siblings present a cooking show. Henry is your host, and two-year-old Eleanor (Elliebelly is definitely a snappier stage name) helps out…sort of. They’ve got spatulas, they’ve got a theme song, and they know what they are cooking today. Henry instructs his viewers with a cool professional expertise that you just don’t always see on the Food Network: “There are two ways you can make barbecued banana bacon: you can start with bacon and add bananas, or you can start with bananas and add bacon. It’s really up to you.”
Once there was a little girl named Hana Brady. She lived in Czechoslovakia with her beloved family. She liked to ski cross-country with her brother and play with her wolfhound and her fluffy, white kittens. She helped her father at the family’s general store. More than 50 years later, a suitcase with her name on it was sent to an education center in Japan. School children learned all about Hana and what happened to her during the Holocaust, a story told with words and photos in Hana’s Suitcase.
For most of us, peanuts don’t usually conjure up thoughts of sickness and death, but for Ambrose Bukowski that’s all they have to offer. The main character of Susin Neilsen’s Word Nerd has a serious allergy, but his real problem is the fact that he’s so awkward. His classmates tease him nonstop for the way he acts, the way he dresses, and the things he says. When they hide a peanut in his sandwich at lunch, the hospital visit afterwards convinces his overprotective mother to homeschool Ambrose.
There are a lot of stories out there: boy wizards, girl detectives, wimpy kids, and underpantsed captains. Despite the many possibilities and and numerous titles to read, there may be that ever-lurking fear that there is not a story out there for you. In this is the case, you might want to avoid a panic attack by taking a note from Dr. Cuthbert Soup, head of the National Center for Unsolicited Advice. If you are so brave and wise to follow Soup’s advice, you will be handsomely rewarded with A Whole Nother Story.
That time is upon us. That time when we start sniffling and coughing. A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead is about one of those days when you just want to go back to bed. Amos McGee is the cheerful zookeeper at the local zoo. Every morning he "ambles" down to the bus stop after his breakfast of oatmeal and tea to catch the number 5 bus to the zoo. When he arrives there he always makes sure to spend time with his friends before he starts working. He plays chess with the elephant, he races with the turtle, and he sits quietly with the penguin. This particular day, Amos wakes up with the sniffles and his legs are achy. He decides to stay home and not to go to work.
Well, after some time has passed the animals begin to worry when Amos has not arrived at his usual time. The elephant has the chess board ready, the turtle is ready to race, and the penguin waits patiently alone. "Where is Amos?" they all wonder. Tired of waiting and concerned for their friend, the animals decide to go and check on Amos. So, they board the bus and head to Amos' house, where they arrive to find him not well. They each tend to Amos in their own special way, and then they end the day with a pot of tea.
Emmaline and the Bunny by Katherine Hannigan is a sweet, cautionary tale about the dangers of eliminating the messiness of nature from our everyday lives. Emmaline lives with her parents in the tiny town of Neatasapin which is run by the bad tempered Mayor Oliphant. The mayor's favorite pastime is making declarations about tidy people, tidy houses and tidy yards all in the name of keeping the town of Neatasapin as neat as a pin. Emmaline feels out of sorts because she enjoys playing in the mud, running and jumping and hollering the occasional "hoopalala!" When Emmaline's parents ask her what she would like for her birthday, she asks for a bunny to call her own. Bunnies are messy. Bunnies are untidy. How can Emmaline make a place for a bunny in a place like Neatasapin?