HOW THE MOON REGAINED HER SHAPE, by Janet Ruth Heller, illustrated by Ben Hodson, Sylvan Dell, $15.95; ages 6-10.
April 22 is Earth Day so this story could be used in connection with it. Learning links and activities to use with the story can be found at SylvanDelPublishing.com. In this story, sun tells moon she isn’t needed because people just need the sun to grow crops. When comet hears moon’s story, she sends moon to visit Round Arms on earth. Round Arms takes moon around where she first met the artist Painted Deer who was having trouble painting because he wanted the effect of moonlight to finish his picture. At the next stop, mother rabbit is disappointed because her family needs moonlight to gather food. Moon realizes that both the sun and the moon have jobs to do. In the glossary, readers learn words pertaining to the moon and its phases.
MY DOG MAY BE A GENIUS, by Jack Prelutsky, illustrations by James Stevenson, Greenwillow, $18.99; ages 4-10.
Jack Prelutsky’s new book of poetry is out just in time for National Poetry Month in April. My attention was drawn to a poem about a child marveling over the words in a book. Several poems have to do with pets. Anyone who has ever had a gerbil, hamster or mouse running free in the house will enjoy the poems pertaining to mom not liking a loose rat or mouse. In another, the dog (in the title) becomes a genius when he learns to spell so he won’t be fooled anymore. Another introduces the idea of "pouring pythons" (rather than "raining cats and dogs"). According to the poem, it must be true because the cancellation notice posted said, "GAME CALLED ... ANACONDA RAIN."
PIZZA, PIGS AND POETRY: HOW TO WRITE A POEM, by Jack Prelutsky, Greenwillow, $5.99; ages 7-10.
Prelutsky tells us in the introduction the most-often-asked question is "where do you get your ideas?" Ideas, he says, come from what’s happening around you. Keep a small tablet and two pens handy at all times. He talks about jotting down ideas and letting them "percolate" until more thoughts come to mind. The book also includes 20 writing tips. After reading this book, if you are still having trouble getting started, getting through the middle, getting to the end or even making revisions, Prelutsky includes 10 poem starts for you to try. He makes it sound easy. Maybe it is easy for him after writing 40 books.
HORTON HEARS A WHO POP-UP!, by Dr. Seuss, pop-ups by David A. Carter, Robin Corey, $25.99; ages 4 and up.
In connection with the new "Horton" movie, you can enjoy this classic story in a new book. This version contains the complete story using five full-page pop-ups. The other pages continue the story with smaller pop-ups and pull tabs. The book was first published in 1954 and the other story, Horton Hatches an Egg, published in 1940. What a fun way for the whole family to revisit an old friend and remember "A person’s a person no matter how small."
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.