Books in the Park

suggestions from the Barbara S. Ponce Public Library at Pinellas Park

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Ada Twist, Scientist, by Andrea Beatty

Ada Twist, Scientist, by Andrea Beaty

There’s no denying that we need more S.T.E.M. books geared towards children. Andrea Beaty is working towards that goal with her hit picture books about Iggy Peck, Architect, Rosie Revere, Engineer, and now Ada Twist, Scientist. Ada Twist, Scientist is the latest of these books and was chosen as one of the Sunshine State Young Readers Award Jr. books for the 2017-2018 school year.

Beaty has once again paired with David Roberts as the illustrator and the book is adorable! The book, as with the first two, is written in rhyme which makes it really fun to read out loud with younger readers.

Ada is an intriguing character, as it is explained that she is mostly silent until the age of three, at which time she starts asking “why?” Not satisfied with “I don’t know,” young Ada turns to the scientific method to help learn about all of the world’s wondrous (and not sometimes stinky) things. The book follows Ada as she develops her scientific and sometimes troublesome nature. Ada’s family loves to help with her experiments, but sometimes they become troublesome around the house!

I have read this book to my 3 and 6 year old daughters countless times and recommend it to many of our younger readers at the library. It is recommended for grades K-2, but will be fun even for older children. Young scientists will love this book and their parents will surely love the ideas that start popping into their heads when they too discover that they don’t have to just ask “why” and can discover the world of science for themselves.

Check the PPLC catalog for Ada Twist, Scientist.

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This Day in June, by Gayle E. Pitman

This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman

This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman is a beautifully written and illustrated picture book with a simple rhyming pattern throughout the book. With these short, sweet, simple rhymes, Pitman conveys the feelings of the Pride Parades that are held annually in June to celebrate the LGBT community.

As you pick up and open This Day in June, the first thing that catches your eye are the gorgeous illustrations by Kristyna Litten. The style is very charming and expresses joy, love, and pride throughout the book. Each page shifts in hue, reflecting the colors of the rainbow. 

In addition to the story, the book includes a note to parents and caregivers. It gives suggestions for talking to children in different age groups (3-5, 6-12, and 13-18) about sexual orientation and gender identity in age-appropriate ways. It also includes a reading guide that explains the historical events and figures mentioned throughout the book.

With Pride fast approaching pick up a copy of This Day in June to get the party started early!


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Beauty and the Beast, by Ursula Jones and Sarah Gibb

beauty-beast-jones-gibbIf you’re looking for a “tale as old as time,” you’ve come to the right library. In Ursula Jones’s retelling of Beauty and the Beast, we are immersed in a fairy tale passed down from the 18th century by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, which is about true love being anomalous to what we often see in its place, and that no amount of wealth or good looks can take the place of devotion, time, and sacrifice.

The story of selfless Beauty, her merchant father, and egomaniacal sisters will have you laughing and crying from start to finish. If you’re looking forward to seeing Lumière and Cogsworth—DON’T. They’re… not home right now. In this retelling, Beauty’s sisters’ narcissistic behavior will provide all of the laughter needed to go along with the suspense of someone having to die at the hands—erm, claws—of the Beast for the unforgivable penalty of plucking a rose from his collection.

Now in terms of the illustrations, the rich, black shading compliments the bright and strikingly delicate colors with every turn of the page. You won’t feel let down by the magic brilliantly captured by award-winning author Ursula Jones and masterful illustrator Sarah Gibb.

Check the PPLC Catalog for Beauty and the Beast.

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No Pirates Allowed! Said Library Lou, by Rhonda Gowler Greene and Brian Ajhar

library-louWhat could be better to read aloud than a book about pirates and librarians? The answer is nothing! It’s great for reading aloud, and the various sizes of print make it clear to young pirates whether it’s time to whisper, talk in a normal voice, or shout.

“At Seabreezy Library, things were just right. Book lovers were cozy.” Until Big Pete and his parrot Igor stormed in. Big Pete is convinced there is treasure to be found at the library as his treasure map showed a big red X right where the library stands. After all, X marks the spot right?

Pirate Pete was loud, and worst of all he was SMELLY!!! Library Lou would have none of it and told Big Pete to be quiet. She’d help him find the treasure, but first – he had to go home and take a bath. Big Pete came back the next day and thus began his adventure in the library with Library Lou.

Indeed there is treasure to be found at this library, but is it the treasure that Big Pete is looking for? This book is a librarian’s dream! However, I think kids of all ages would totally get into it, maybe even acting out the book as an activity at home.

Check the PPLC Catalog for No Pirates Allowed! Said Library Lou.

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Lost & Found, by Shaun Tan

lost found tanThree timeless tales for all ages with stunning and unique illustrations that will speak to an inner part of yourself, a part which relates to feelings of loss, nostalgia, and hope.

In the first tale, “The Red Tree”, a nameless character, a bright spot of color in a world of dull and subdued tones, is weighted down with feelings of isolation and melancholy. She meanders through her daily routine with no sense of direction or meaning until one day a bright red a leaf, a symbol of hope that blossoms into a flaming red tree, saves her from her bleak and subdued world.

“The Lost Thing”, my personal favorite, is about a boy who discovers a lost robotic “thing” wondering near the beach one day. Nobody seems to notice or care that it is lost and the boy decides to take it home. His parents, too busy speaking about current events to truly notice the lost thing, tell the boy that he needs to take it back. The lost thing, a metaphor for the loss of wonder, magic, and imagination of childhood, makes me nostalgic for the days where we could run and play outdoors for the entire day, noticing little details, not weighted down with worries and responsibility.

The last story, “The Rabbits”, written by John Marsden and illustrated by Shaun Tan, is about a profound environmental crisis, a conflict between the old ways of spiritualism and the new ways of overbearing technology. This story is at once ageless and applicable to our current situation.

The themes in Lost & Found make it a collection that readers of all ages will want to return to again and again. The artwork is so detailed and unique that adults and children alike will look at it many times and always notice something new. I can’t recommend this book enough; it has been a book that I have revisited many times and enjoyed immensely. Look for Lost & Found in our chapter book section.

Check the PPLC Catalog for Lost & Found.

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Vote for Me! by Ben Clanton

vote for me clantonDonkey and Elephant have lots of reasons why you should vote for one of them, even if those reasons aren’t very good. Donkey promises candy if you vote for him; Elephant promises peanuts. The not-so-serious debate soon devolves into literal mud-slinging as the candidates call each other all kinds of funny names. But the story has a surprise ending that neither Donkey nor Elephant could have predicted.

If a child you know has shown any interest in the hotly contested United States 2016 election, s/he will love this book and its derisive humor. Both Donkey and Elephant are portrayed as one-dimensional characters with no other ambitions except to win your vote. The book also shows children that there are more than two candidates to vote for, no matter what Donkey and Elephant say. And the colors, blue for Donkey and red for Elephant, will help the child recognize the traditional symbols of our two major political parties. Although this book was written in 2012 during the Obama/Romney election season, it works well for any United States election.

Check the PPLC Catalog for Vote for Me!

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There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Bugs, by Johnette Downing

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some BugsThere was an old lady who swallowed a fly…
But she didn’t stop there!

In a flavorful twist on the popular traditional tale, this particular little old lady continues to swallow many more disgusting, squeal-inducing flying insects and creepy crawlers such as a poached roach, a squiggly worm, a slimy slug, and many more icky bugs!

This fun, brightly-colored book provides a less concerning alternative to the possible fate of the original little old lady. The repeated phrase of “perhaps she’ll die” has been replaced with “perhaps she’ll cry” making this a much more child-friendly version. This new phrase provides an opportunity for the reader to invite the listeners to participate in a little crying together. Boo hoo hoo!

Along with the author’s vague description of the little old lady, this book’s bold and colorful collage-style illustrations add to the mystery of who this bug-eating woman could be. The vibrant illustrations show each unlucky creature as it is introduced to a bright pink tongue and menacing white teeth. No other clues! Just a tongue and some teeth. Who could be munching down on these wiggly, jiggly bugs?

Soon the creatures all find themselves inside the little old lady’s stomach with everyone waiting and wondering what will happen next! And this is where we will leave you now.

This isn’t just any little old lady!

Check the PPLC Catalog for There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Come Bugs.