You would think it was because of Halloween, but LTD really digs ghosts, monsters and the like throughout the year. The Ghosts Go Haunting satisfy’s his things that go bump in the night fix nicely. The tale, written by Helen Ketteman with illustrations by Adam Record features all manner of ghosts, goblins and mummies. The story focuses on an ever increasing number of spooky creatures haunting a school. The tune, which took me a long time to remember as it was one of those things I knew I knew but could not quite place, is The Ants Go Marching. The Ghosts go haunting one by one and so forth. The zombies go stumbling ten by ten is perhaps the best or section especially when sung out loud. I mean how many times during the week do you get to sing, brains, brains? The art is colorful and more silly than spooky which is important as lately, LTD has been biting off more than he can chew in the watch scary things department. It is a little unclear why the creatures are focusing their attention on a school, but LTD did enjoy the section where the principal freaks out.
When you hear the words, by the author of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, you take notice. I always wonder why Judith Viorst didn’t write more but than I realized it was none of my business. And Two Boys Booed is her brand new book with illustrations from Sophie Blackall and is very different from Alexander. The first thing you notice is that it is a flap book which makes for more direct reader involvement it also means I have to keep it away from BB for the immediate future (#onemanwreckingcrew). The tale centers around an boy (name unknown) as he prepares to sing in the school talent show. The other students each do their act and through repetitive phrases we see the boy totally ready to sing and completely without nerves. As with all Beyond the Car Seat reviews I will not spoil the ending except to say that his previous boasts that he was not nervous were not exactly on the money and kids do in fact boo (which I like because it is realistic) but I betray no confidence in concluding that it has a happy ending.
I got my sister a copy of Humans of New York because she asked for it as a birthday present and it turns out I basically got one of the last copies before they needed to print more. I guess it was popular. As such, we never want to seem uncool so we have been reading LTD Little Humans by Brandon Stanton. The tale features big crisp photos of kids around NYC. The tagline is, “Little humans can do…” followed by different photos depicting concepts like friendship, love and helping. It is all very neat, but all that matters to my boys is that one of the pages features the answer to the titular question: Super Hero tough! with a picture of a boy in a Batman costume and his dog in a Robin costume. However, I am running into a problem as some of the kids have clearly dressed up for their picture and now LTD wants to go on a shopping spree.
The Mommy is a big Halloween nut and has influenced the children to join her in practicing the dark arts of the season. LTD likes to walk the razor’s edge between scary and not really scary at all. It is for this reason that we focus a lot on Halloween books instead of haunted houses. Keith Graves’ The Monsterator features one of LTD’s favorite things (the other two being Robots & Dinosaurs). The tale focuses on Master Edgar Dreasdbury, a boy not really interested or excited by all that Halloween has to offer, that is until he discovers a little titular machine called the Monsterator. As usual, I won’t spoil the ending except to tell you he does get turned into a monster but is surprisingly cool with the change. The real neat feature of the book is the last few pages that contain flip book style options for the reader to create a whole bunch of different mix and match monsters. As BB is frequently in destroyer mode, he is the only thing a monster book fears and will have to wait until older to enjoy.
When I was a youngster back during the Taft administration you couldn’t throw a rock without hearing about cowboys and Indians. That type of play may have fallen out of fashion, but I still have a fondness for it. Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads puts a modern spin on the cowboy narrative tradition. Bob Shea (with pictures by Lane Smith) crafts a tale in the vain of The Outlaw Josey Whales and Unforgiven. No, that’s not true in fact the Kid Sherfiff makes a point of not using a gun. The Toad Brothers are causing trouble all over town and the Kid Sheriff is convinced that dinosaurs are behind the crimes. I know what you’re thinking, he’s crazy and the book uses the American old west as a metaphor for mental illness, but trust me when I tell you that the Kid Sheriff isn’t crazy and in fact has a plan. In keeping with BTCS tradition, I won’t spoil the ending, but rest assured justice is served.
Now that LTD and everyone else has officially started school, I figured it might be time for a better late than never review. We have read LTD a few books over the years about getting ready for school and they have all been fairly straight forward. However, Stewie Boomstein Starts School takes a slightly different tack. Written by Christine Bronstein with illustrations by Karen Young, the story focuses on Stewie, a child with typical 5 year old problems. Stewie is depicted as not only being funny but also as loud and angry. I enjoyed those aggressive character traits as many books deal only with being scared of the first day of school. In this tale, Stewie has a pretty bad first day and his family has to rally around him to figure out a game plan to survive day two. The narrative deals with Stewie being off his routine and not having access to a clear schedule like at home. As usual, it is Beyond the Car Seat policy not to spoil the ending, but I believe you a can guess how the Boomstein family creatively ensures Stewie doesn’t drop out and become just another statistic.
Lately, LTD has been staying up wicked late and so I always enjoy reading him short stories and Little Elliot Big City fits the bill nicely. The story focuses on the elephant Little Elliot with the catch being that this particular elephant is, as his names suggests, little. The art is amazing and the tale features many wonderful splash pages that give the book a movie feel. Mike Curato’s work shows a love for New York of yesteryear and the images create a nice sense of nostalgia. As keeping with Beyond the Car Seat policy I won’t spoil the ending and will only add that Little Elliot’s size plays a “big” part.
LTD calls Mother’s Day Happy Mother’s Day as in I made you a card for Happy Mother’s Day, but Father’s Day is just Father’s Day, but he did ask me, but he had to check with his teachers first, what I wanted. Dave Engledow’s Confessions Of The World’s Best Father features in both words and photos his greatest (worst) parenting nightmares. Told through Day headlines like Day 1 and Day 580, he explores his daughter Alice Bee and his adventures on the bad parenting express. Day 490 shows a small kitchen fire while Day 393 depicts how many household items can fit in a normal bathroom toilet. Every picture contains his World’s Best Father mug like the Playboy bunny. My only regret is showing the book to LTD who perhaps took away the wrong lesson and asked to re-enact many of the photos. Who am I too argue, Day 1 begins.
Every now and again, it’s nice to be able to read the boys a story that doesn’t feature Transformers or other toy characters. Kabir Sehgal and Surishtha Sehgal new book. A Bucket of Blessings is beautifully drawn by Jing Jing Tsong. The tale, based on an Indian legend, tells the us about Monkey and his quest for water during the dry season. The story is told through bright vibrant colors and simple text. The narrative is clean and focused and just the right length for bedtime. All of this isn’t important to LTD because all he cares about is the fact that the protagonist is called Monkey and the more you say the word Monkey to a little boy the more they laugh. The book also features an Afterword by Maya Angelou with the words, “it is a blessing to be a blessing” which fits nicely into LTD’s lessons at school as the kids are learning about empathy. The blue of the water is so bright that I thought we were going to wet the bed reading it. And in keeping with my policy of not spoiling the ending of books, I won’t tell you if the village gets water or not, I would only remind you that the book isn’t called a bucket full of dirt.
As long time BTCS readers know all too well, LTD is, in his words, a great artist. The Mommy and I are always looking to encourage his growing talent without pressuring him. Sophie Benini Pietromarchi’s The Colour Book features a clear easy to read approach to explain how to mix shades and use color effectively to create striking images. She deals with topics including primary and complementary colors, how to create your own color and shading all through collages and story telling. She also goes deeper into how color can convey feelings and mood. LTD especially enjoys making up his own names for colors and I think it is pretty cool that he is moving beyond using red, green, yellow and blue all the time.