Saturday, March 19, 2011

Books of the Week: Franny K. Stein, Holler Loudly, Baby Brains, Hide and Seek Mr. Croc

Here are our favorites from the past week (Tintin is in the middle of several chapter books – Hardy Boys, Harry Potter, Encyclopedia Brown, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, etc., etc., – but isn't far enough in any of them to consider it to be a favorite of the week):

Tintin, age 8

Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist: The Fran That Time Forgot
Author/illustrator: Jim Benton
Publisher: Scholastic (October 2005)
Source: Scholastic Book Club/home library

In the fourth installment of the Franny K. Stein series, Franny comes up with a science fair project that for once doesn't pose a threat to anyone. At least, not until Franny decides to use the Time Warp Dessert Plate on herself instead of on her cake. After Franny becomes the laughing stock of the school all because of her ridiculous middle name, she goes back in time to change it to something more befitting a mad scientist and to warn her baby self against those who laugh at her. As often happens when one interferes with time, however, things don't actually end up for the better, and Franny must figure out how to save the world from her future, now-evil self.

Tintin read this book in one sitting. Shortly after, he went to his room, closed the door, cleaned his room (mostly), turned it into a lab, and became a mad scientist. He stayed up until midnight and came up with 10 inventions. The next day he found a faithful lab assistant and came up with 10 more inventions, complete with diagrams. Fortunately, none of these inventions was as terrifying as Franny's remote control scissors or tornado in a jar.

Tintin's note: I like when she goes back in time because it's awesome.

Find it: Amazon, IndieBound

Johnny Boo, age 5

Holler Loudly
Author/illustrator: Cynthia Leitich Smith/Barry Gott
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (November 2010)
Source: Public library

Holler was named for his loud voice, a voice he has trouble controlling. He gets shushed and shunned constantly because of it. He finally decides to keep quiet and learns that he actually likes listening. When a tornado strikes, however, Holler proves to the townspeople that his hollering can actually come in handy sometimes. He learns that there are times for quiet and times for loud. Johnny Boo isn't quite as loud as Holler, but this is still a good lesson for him to learn. As I write this, the two of us are in his room while he sings (after annoying his book-reading brother in the living room).

Johnny Boo's note: I like when Holler screams, "SOOEY!" It's so LOUD!

Find it: Amazon, IndieBound

More about Holler Loudly at Cynthia Leitich Smith's website, including some amazing teacher guides.

Baby Brains Superstar
Author/illustrator: Simon James
Publisher: Candlewick (September 2005)
Source: Public library 

Baby Brains Superstar is the second Baby Brains book, about an incredibly smart baby. In the first book Baby Brains starts reading the newspaper the day after he's brought home from the hospital and goes on to become a doctor and a space explorer while still an infant. In Superstar we find out that he's also a musical genius, and while he of course has mastered just about every instrument, like my own baby brains, he prefers the electric guitar. He becomes a famous musician and performs in front of a huge crowd, but he soon realizes that maybe he's not quite ready for the rock star lifestyle. This book, at least for Johnny Boo, is a "Read it again!" book.

Johnny Boo's note: I like it because there are so much brains in there [not really–Ed.]. I like when the baby calls for his mommy.

Find it: Amazon, IndieBound

More about Simon James

Hide and Seek Mr. Croc
Author/illustrator: Jo Lodge
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books (November 2007)
Source: Half Price Books/home library

Hide and Seek Mr. Croc is a book that opens up into a house, as you can see from the picture at left. Johnny Boo reads it occasionally, but mostly he uses his imagination to make up his own Mr. Croc stories. The book comes with a small Mr. Croc figure that can sit at a kitchen table, in a chair and in a bathtub, sleep on a bed, and hide in a closet. Johnny Boo will sit and play with this for a very long time, which makes this one of the best impulse purchases I've ever made.
Johnny Boo's note: It's playable. I like to play with it so much at night. I like when you get to hide Mr. Croc.

Find it: Amazon


Mom and Kiddo said...

Holler Loudly sounds terrific, especially for my loud son!

Grandma and Grandpa said...

reading newspapers makes for very smart grandpa!

Julie P. said...

These books are all new to me and look terrific for Booking Son. I have a feeling that all of the books you recommend would be his faves.

Everyday Mama said...

Stopping over from SITS! Love finding new books to read to the kids. Definitely following you for great book ideas.

Raising a Happy Child said...

I didn't know there is the second Baby Brains book. We read and enjoyed the first one, very funny! I think we will look for your 5-year old's picks. Thanks for joining WMCIR!