Perfect Piggies

Title: Perfect Piggies

Author: Sandra Boynton

Age Group: 1-4

The plot, in three sentences or less: From the spring of their tails to their snuffling snouts, piggies are pretty much perfect. Appreciate their wonderful pigginess in this sweet little book!

The Good:

* Sandra Boynton is a fixture on our bookshelf right now. The Grumpkin loves all her work, but Perfect Piggies has been a fast favourite since day dot. I had the whole thing memorized after about three readings.

* There’s a little song at the beginning! Any book with the words “snuffle-dee-dah” in it is A-OK by me.

* The pictures are, as usual, very sweet.

 

The Bad:

* Remember how I said I had it memorized? Well, it was memorized to the point of circling around in my head, over and over. So many nights I have drifted off to “We are all perfect piggies and we know what we need…” It’s very, very, very catchy. Very.

 

My Overall Opinion:

This book is going to have to be replaced for the next kiddo, because it has been LOOOOVED by The Grumpkin. Not only have we read it a bazillion times (we have), but we also have pictures of her chewing on it, sitting on it, flipping through it (maybe we take too many pictures?). When she gets into a book, she gets INTO a book. If that doesn’t make you want to go out and buy a copy for your own little ‘un, I don’t know what will!

C’mon, Alexander. Move already. Seriously. Move.

This is the first review I’ve done of a book that I really, really don’t like. I’m planning on doing a not-so-great book review once a month (that is, the book isn’t so great. The review will be awesome!).

Suffice it to say, these reviews definitely won’t end with my usual “OMG, go out and buy this book NOW!”

I’m going to ruffle some feathers here when I say that I really don’t care for Judith Viorst’s “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”. But honestly, I don’t.
Why?
Because the whole book is about a kid who whines about stuff that really isn’t that bad. Really. And even as a kid, I think most people would realize that maybe Alexander’s a bit…hypersensitive. Yes. Let’s go with that.

Anyway, that aside…

There’s a sequel!

It’s called (wait for it): “Alexander, Who’s Not (Do you hear me? I mean it!) Going to Move”.
Good lord, Judith! Brackets in your title? What’s up with that? Simplify, girlfriend!

So. Alexander is back and ready for more whining! Only this time he’s upset because he has to move. Now, moving IS hard, and it CAN be a traumatizing challenge for a child. But…I have a few issues with the story itself. Ah, let’s just do a good ol’ fashioned list recap, shall we?

Here goes:

1. The story starts out with Alex refusing to move. And why? Because! Somehow, Alex knows that there are no children his own age on his new street (which happens to be a thousand miles away). There are kids his brothers’ ages, though. Because the world is unduly cruel to Alex.

2. Alex decides (based on the lack of boys his own age on his new street) that he will stay where he is. He’ll just move in with the neighbours! I’m sure they’ll be pleased to have a random bratty kid show up on their doorstep!

3. If the whole neighbour thing doesn’t work out, there’s always a tree house. You gotta love the picture of his parents standing below it, searching for their cleverly hidden son. The mother is sobbing…the dad kinda looks like he’s half-assing the search. “No, honey. I don’t see him anywhere. Let’s just go inside and start packing. I’m sure he’ll turn up eventually. Or not. Whatever.”

4. Alex’s brother suggests that Alex might stay at the zoo. I’m with him on that one.

5. Alex has to take one more look at all his ‘special places.’ Alex has to say goodbye to all of his ‘special people’. He complains throughout the entire process. I’m guessing the ‘special people’ are all having a party after Alex leaves. You know, because he’ll be out of their lives forever.

6. Alex decides maybe he’ll hide on his parents right before the moving van leaves. I would encourage this, if I was Alex’s mom. “Sure, son. Try to hide! And we’ll totes look for you. Honest! If we don’t find you right away, it just means you’re winning the game! Goooo you!”

7. Eventually, Alex realizes that he has to move. His parents promise that he’ll be able to call his friends long distance and they assure him that he’ll make some new pals at some point…oh, and they bribe him with a dog.

So…the moral of the story? Throw a big whiny fit when you don’t get what you want, and maybe your dad will buy you a puppy!

Judith, I did not enjoy the first story…and I enjoyed this one even less. Out of ten ridiculously long titles, I give this book a paltry three.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Title: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Author: Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault

Illustrator: Lois Ehlert

Age Group: 2-5 years old

The plot, in three sentences or less: The lowercase alphabet heads up a coconut tree, but things get a little crazy and everyone falls out! The uppercase alphabet comes to the rescue of their ‘little dears’. The story ends with lowercase ‘a’ daring everyone to join him in the coconut tree again.

The Good:

* A lot of ABC books leave much to be desired. This one is a winner.

* The rhythm of the poetry is so catchy. I always feel like I’m at open mike night at a beat cafe when I’m reading this to The Grumpkin.

* The illustrations are simple but striking and colorful. Totally lovely to look at.

 

The Bad:

* As a Canadian, it drives me kinda nuts that I have to say “zee” instead of “zed” when reading the story to make it rhyme properly. I know, I know. It’s a little thing. But still. I’m going to stick by my Canadian-ness and complain. And then promptly apologize.

* My mom had trouble reading this one. She didn’t get the whole ‘read it like beat poetry’ thing and tried reading it straight. The Grumpkin gave her a withering look and closed the book. My mother said, “I hate this book. It’s terrible.” I then showed her how to read it properly and she admitted “Wow, that’s really good when you read it right.” So read it right, parents/grandparents. Just get into it! You’re centre stage! Tap into your inner beatnik!

 

My Overall Opinion:

The Grumpkin (age 15 months) already recognizes the letter V (the first letter of her actual name). That’s a pretty ringing endorsement, right there. She also LOVES the alphabet at the end of the story, and enjoys waving along with the alphabet song (she’s not quite ready to sing it yet). So get your own copy and get reading, jive turkey.

Wait, that’s not right. Well, you get the idea.