I NEED MY MONSTER, written by Amanda Noll, illustrated by Howard McWilliam, Flashlight, $16.95; ages 4-8.
Some children are afraid they might find a monster under their bed. Not Ethan. One night, as Ethan looks under his bed for his monster, he finds a note informing him that Gabe has gone fishing. Soon, Ethan meets Herbert, who will not do as a substitute because he doesn’t have claws. Ralph’s claws have been polished and he’s not scary. Cynthia has scary claws but Ethan has a problem with a girl monster. They all tell Ethan he is too picky. But you will be delighted with this book.
MAMA SAYS: A BOOK OF LOVE FOR MOTHERS AND SONS, written by Rob D. Walker, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon, Blue Sky, $16.99; all ages.
Mothers around the world have the same aspirations for their children. They want them to be kind, loving, strong, caring and successful. Twelve mothers and sons are pictured in their native attire representing different cultures. On each page is the mother’s advice for her son.
IF YOU GIVE A CAT A CUPCAKE,
written by Laura Numeroff, illustrated
by Felicia Bond, HarperCollins, $16.99; ages 3-7.
Everyone knows if you have a cupcake, you must have sprinkles on the top. Mothers also know what happens if children do their own decorating. Imagine the same thing with a cat. Cleaning up the sprinkles on the floor makes one hot, so, of course, you have to go some place to cool off. This cat certainly crams a lot of activities in one day.
YOU NEVER HEARD OF SANDY KOUFAX?!, by Jonah Winter, illustrated by André Carrilho, Schwartz & Wade, $17.99; ages 4-9.
The cover of this book moves through the motions of a pitch. The publisher calls this lenticular motion, which creates the illusion of movement. Koufax didn’t begin as a great pitcher. For his first six years he mostly sat on the bench. Then his catcher told him to "just put it over the plate." For the next five years, Koufax was one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history.
WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH AN OLD RED SHOE?: A GREEN ACTIVITY BOOK ABOUT REUSE, by Anna Alter, Henry Holt, $16.95; ages 4-7.
An old shoe can become a flower pot for a small plant. Shower curtains become great painting aprons or tablecloths for little artists. A favorite outgrown T-shirt becomes a favorite pillow. Old broken crayons can be melted and reused. Take the ideas from this book and let children participate in recycling.
THE SWAMPS OF SLEETHE: POEMS FROM BEYOND THE SOLAR SYSTEM, by Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by Jimmy Pickering, Knopf, $16.99; ages 8 and up.
Have you ever thought about traveling into outer space? If you do, you will want to stay away from the locations described in this new fun-to-read poetry book. If you happen across Sarbro, you will be changed into a tree for the rest of your life. The waters of Wonthoo are very dangerous. Just one small sip and you will continue to shrink until you are so small you evaporate. When the Strovilean explorers come to check out Earth, they see bad air, toxic waste and its inhabitants harming one another. They quickly get back in their ship and head back home. Prelutsky always comes up with very imaginative ideas.
Judy Belanger is Chicago Parent’s children’s book reviewer and a retired elementary learning resource center teacher with four grandchildren. She continues to substitute in grades K-6.