books in brief / children's

August 31, 2008|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,liz.atwood@baltsun.com

Chester Raccoon and the Big Bad Bully

by Audrey Penn

Tanglewood / $17 / Ages 3-8

In her latest addition to the Kissing Hand collection, Audrey Penn of Olney tells the story of Chester Raccoon and his friends who are afraid to go to school. The ever-patient and wise Mrs. Raccoon learns that the reason the youngsters are afraid is that there's a horrible bully at school with "giant claws" and "fangs."

Mrs. Raccoon walks the children to school and tells them to be brave. But the bully terrorizes the school, snatching away balls and knocking the kids over on the playground. But Mrs. Raccoon has an idea of how to change things. While her solutions may be overly optimistic, the book is beautifully illustrated and a good starting point for talking to kids about the problems of bullying.

Stanley and the Class Pet

by Barney Saltzberg

Candlewick / $17 / Ages 4-8

It's finally Stanley's turn to take home Figgy, the class pet. His Mom tells him she's not a bird fan and so the animal is Stanley's responsibility. Too bad best friend Larry has the idea that Figgy would be happier if he was free from the cage. So the boys let Figgy out, and as luck would have it, Mom opens the door and Figgy flies away. Larry flees as well and poor Stanley is left to face the consequences and learn a lesson in responsibility.

Splat the Cat

by Rob Scotton

HarperCollins / $17 / Ages 3-7

It's the first day of Cat School, and Splat the Cat is wiggling his tail with worry. He tells his mom that he can't go to school because he doesn't have clean socks, he's having a bad hair day and the front door won't let him out. But once in Cat School, he learns that cats can do amazing things. Climbing trees and drinking milk is good, but Splat isn't so keen to learn that cats chase mice. After all, he has a pet mouse stowed away in his lunch box. So then it's Splat's turn to teach the teacher and his classmates a new lesson about cats.

Beware of the Frog

by William Bee

Candlewick / $16 / Ages 9-12

The only thing protecting Mrs. Collywobbles from the awful creatures that live in the big, dark, scary wood is her little pet frog. When the Greedy Goblin comes, her little frog eats him up. When the Smelly Troll comes, the little frog eats him up. And when the Giant Hungry Ogre comes, the little frog eats him up. See how Mrs. Collywobbles expresses her gratitude to her little frog in this tale that will make both kids and grown-ups giggle with surprise.

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