Bears, Lions, and a T-Rex: New Books for Younger Readers

bearBig Bear’s Big Boat by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter
In this sequel to Little Bear’s Little Boat, Big Bear has grown too big for his little boat so he decides to make himself a new one that is just like his old boat, only bigger. However, his friends Beaver, Otter, and Blue Heron all have suggestions to help make the big boat even better. Bear adds a mast, a top deck, and a cabin at the advice of his friends, but now it’s no longer just like his little boat. Bunting’s delightful story emphasizes following one’s dreams and being true to yourself while Carpenter’s illustrations convey Big Bear’s hard work and happiness in achieving his dreams.

duskDusk by Uri Shulevitz
On a cold winter day, a boy with his dog and his grandfather go for a walk. When the sun starts to set, the boy is saddened by the short days but, when they trio get back to the city, they notice people are still out and about. While some are going home, others are going to shop — a man with a cravat, a woman with a hat, a retired acrobat, and even a visitor from the planet Zataplat shop and walk around the city at dusk. As the skies grow dark, the streets begin to brighten with lamps and lights that make the city “as light as day.” Shulevitz’s brief text makes way for his breathtaking illustrations of a city in the winter, celebrating all types of holidays. A pleasure to read whether the sun is out or not.

WhenLionsRoarWhen Lions Roar by Robie H. Harris, illustrated by Chris Raschka
A young child is surrounded by loud and frightening noises on a family outing to the zoo: a lion’s loud roar, a monkey’s high screech, and thunder and lightning scare and startle the child. Instead of succumbing to fear, the child stops, sits, and declares “Go away. Scary! Go away.” Now, the sun is out and life’s simple pleasures calm and reassure the child that everything is alright. Raschka’s illustrations display the child’s mood shifts from gloomy and scared to calm and happy through colors and lighting. A great read for adults and children who want to get over their fears.

chick coverChick-O-Saurus Rex by Lenore and Daniel Jennewein
Little Chick wants to play in the tree house, but because his ancestors aren’t known to be mighty and brave, the other little animals send him away. Father Rooster shows him a picture of Grandpa Rooster digging up a large bone: perhaps it was an ancient ancestor? Little Chick and his dad do some digging, and discover the bones of a Tyrannosaurus Rex! Feeling braver, Little Chick calls himself Chick-O-Saurus Rex and saves the other little animals from a nasty wolf! Chick-O-Saurus Rex is a fun tale about discovering your identity through history and overcoming bullies. An author’s note at the end explains to readers that scientists have confirmed how the Tyrannosaurus Rex’s closest living relative is, indeed, the chicken.