As Lemony Snicket gets further from the series that brought him notoriety, he finds himself exploring terra icognita, or unknown territory. He finds new ways to craft stories, experimenting with what children's books are capable of. 29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy is a fascinating if challenging example of these efforts. The book follows two children as they investigate the mysteries of a peculiar business. They obsessively list what they have learned from their research, casing the joint like bank robbers.
1. We are very curious about the Swinster Pharmacy. We travelled all the way from the next town to find out what it sells.
George has a problem. He wants to be good. He knows how good dogs are supposed to act. They are not supposed to devour entire cakes that have been left on the table. They should probably leave any cats alone...dirt, too. George knows what he should do. He just doesn't do it. Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton, brings his eternal struggle to life.
"Everyone was perfectly fine with the way things were. Everyone but Mr. Tiger."
Mr. Tiger Goes Wild takes on proper behavior and tears it to shreds. At the beginning of Peter Brown's picture book, four-legged animals walk stiffly upright, wear suits, dresses, top hats, and bonnets. Elephants, bears, and deer all have perfect posture. Every house on the block looks exactly the same, and our striped protagonist is sick of it.
Niño is one remarkable little boy. He may look like an ordinary child playing with his toys. When he picks up his red mask though, Niño Wrestles the World.
Like a lost puppy, the moon follows a family home one night. Soon an entire town is affected by the celestial visitor. They all have just received their first Moonday.
At first, it is very exciting. When the moon shrinks enough to fit in the backyard, our protagonist hops onto it and explores. But things grow peculiar. Morning never arrives and everyone is feeling extra sleepy. Soon the backyard is flooded with a high tide and howling dogs!
Sometimes a quiet, imaginative book is what’s best before bedtime, and Emily Winfield Martin’s Dream Animals answers that need. Gentle pictures show small children making their way to their dream destinations on the backs of robins, a tiger, a fox, and even a narwhale. Where do the dreamers go? One to an elfin hollow, some high in the sky, another beneath the Seven Seas and one as far away as the moon and the stars themselves.
"Pssst!" is what a young girl at the zoo hears as she walks by each animal enclosure. They all want her to bring them increasingly outrageous and seemingly random items.
Sure, the gorilla's swing is broken, so a new tire does not seem that out of the question. And maybe bicycle helmets would be a good investment for a slipping sloth. But the turkeys don't want to eat the corn they ask for— they want to turn it into ethanol. Our young heroine is going to have a hard time meeting all of these demands.
The library is having a party and everyone is invited! More than two decades after his death, Dr. Seuss’ March birthday has become an annual, nationwide celebration for libraries and schools, and we are joining the fun! After all, it’s only fitting that one of the most beloved children’s book authors receives such recognition. His books are an intrinsic part of American cultural knowledge and span the generations with the first, “And To Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street,” published in 1937 to the last, “Oh, the Place You Will Go” in 1991, and include over 60 titles. I bet most Americans even know many of his most memorable lines by heart. While I could write an entire column about my favorites (“Green, Eggs and Ham,” “The Lorax,” and anything with Horton,) part of what I find so fascinating about Dr. Seuss is Theodor Geisel, the man behind the legend.
Theodora is an Odd Duck, but she doesn't realize it yet. She does all the normal chores that ducks do: swimming; buying mango salsa; and checking out library books. She knows what she wants in life, preferring to stay home in the winter with a nice cup of tea while all of the other ducks fly south.