Kid Culture | Books

THE LION& THE MOUSE, by Jerry Pinkney, Little Brown, $16.99; ages 4-8.

If your children are familiar with any of the Aesop Fables, they know about the lion and the mouse. In this wordless book, you tell the story. The beautiful lion’s head picture on the cover invites us to turn the pages to see what other illustrations are waiting. Visit to hear the author explain the making of this book.

THE FROGS AND TOADS ALL SANG, by Arnold Lobel, color by Adrianne Lobel, HarperCollins, $16.99; ages 4-8.

Several stories by the late Lobel, which had been given as gifts, were recently discovered. His daughter decided to get them published. She added color to the original drawings. Frog and Toad stories are still favorites, and these new rhyming tales will be enjoyable additions.

DAY IS DONE, by Peter Yarrow, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, Sterling, $16.95; ages 4-8.

It’s the end of the day and the animals in the forest are tucking their young in for the night. This is a quiet book for bedtime, which also includes a CD of the story with two other songs. Yarrow, from Peter, Paul& Mary, is accompanied on the CD by his daughter. It is nice to see some of his songs come to life in these stories.

THE MITTEN, retold by Jim Aylesworth, illustrated by Barbara McClintock, Scholastic, $16.99; ages 4-8.

Folk tales are stories told through many generations, adapted by the person telling the story. This version is more modern. The little boy receives from his grandma each winter a new hat, scarf and mittens to keep him warm. One day, after playing outside, he comes home without a mitten. Grandma suggests they look for the mitten the next day and in the meantime she makes him hot cocoa. (The recipe is included on the back cover.) During the night, several animals discover the mitten and crowd in to keep warm. Children will enjoy the rhyming repetition as each animal arrives and asks to come in to get their toes warm.

This is the 20th anniversary of the Jan Brett version of The Mitten, another adaptation to enjoy.

ONCE UPON A TWICE, by Denise Doyen, illustrated by Barry Moser, Random House, $16.99; ages 4-8.

Jam, the little mouse, has trouble following the advice of his elders. On a full moonlit night, he goes on his own adventure and is quickly spotted by a snake. Luckily he escapes. Many years later, when he is an elder, he warns little mice of danger. The fun part of this story is the way the author combines words such as: “dangershine of moon,” “wanderyonder by the lake” and “wisenmouse would fear.” For smaller children, it will take some explanation, but for the older ones, it is a good cautionary tale. The story is fun to read aloud, but do try it first.

REMEMBER THE RHYMES OF YESTERDAY, illustrated by Anne Anderson and Lisa Jackson, and HOW TO PLAY THE GAMES OF YESTERDAY, written by Huw Davies, illustrated by Lisa Jackson, Scholastic, $9.99; ages 5 and up.

With nearly 100 nursery rhymes in this book, I found all my favorites included, plus a few I had never heard before. I would like to see an alphabetical list of them all, which would make it easier to find each one.

The game book is one to keep on hand for the times children ask for something to do. It is good for use with youth groups, birthday parties and car travel.

IF AMERICA WERE A VILLAGE: A BOOK ABOUT THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES and IF THE WORLD WERE A VILLAGE: A BOOK ABOUT THE WORLD’S PEOPLE, written by David J. Smith, illustrated by Shelagh Armstrong, Kids Can Press, $18.95; ages 7 and up.

There are 306 million people in America. If a village was made up of 100 people so each person represented one million, how would the village look? The idea is to help children understand the makeup of the population of America. Of these 100 people: 27 would be below the age of 20, 43 between the ages of 20 and 49, 26 between the ages of 50 and 79, and four would be 80 and older. These 100 people own 81 cars, 73 cell phones and 74 televisions.

The statistics provide background for some very interesting family discussions. Also available in this same format is the world as a village. For suggestions on using the book, visit

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.

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