Levi Strauss Gets a Bright Idea
By Tony Johnston, illustrated by Stacy Innerst
Published 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
This is a wonderful new example of a tall tale - based on some facts but greatly embellished. This is a fun and interesting story about Levi Strauss and how he invented that brand we all know and love - Levi's jeans. There are some good vocabulary words in this one but it's a little long, so would work better for an older crowd. There is an author's note to help sort out the fact from fiction and I think this would work great in a classroom setting. Very unique illustration style.
Fall Mixed Up
By Rob Raczka, illustrated by Chad Cameron
Published 2011 by Lerner Publishing Group
This is another new picture book that basically seems written for storytimes. Kids can have fun pointing out all the things that are wrong with each picture and explaining how they should be fixed. You could also talk about which fall activities are their favorites. The illustrations are fun and depict the colors of fall really nicely but I don't like the randomly inserted actual photographs throughout - they just don't work with the style in my opinion.
Acoustic Rooster and his Barnyard Band
By Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Tim Bowers
Published 2011 by Sleeping Bear Press
This is fun with a nice rhythm that could work really well in a storytime about music. This rooster just wants to jam but can't find a band around that seems suited to his style. I'm glad that it includes back matter - a glossary, the names of musicians who inspired the characters, and a jazz timeline. I like the illustrations - they really pop and, this will sound weird, they somehow seem musical. An interesting new picture book.
The Not-So-Scary Snorklum
By Paul Bright, illustrated by Jane Chapman
Published 2011 by Good Books
I mostly picked this one up because of Chapman's illustrations - they are so adorable and have so much personality. This is a pretty cute story about the scary snorklum and all the animals he encounters one night. The animals manage to trick him into being not-so-scary. This would be great for kids who are afraid of monsters under the bed or similar - might teach them some tricks for confronting the scary things.