The Children's Book Compass

Archive for February 2011


Miss Dorothy and Her BookMobile by Gloria Houston.  Illus. by Susan Lamb.  (2011) Pages not numbered.  Harper.  Grades 2-6.  Picture Book.

When I was a child my family visited our local library every Saturday.  The children’s librarians encouraged my reading and even saved books for me that they thought I would like.  Gloria Houston dedicates her newest book to such librarians, “For all Librarians, who bring the world to our door.”  Her story starts, “When Dorothy was a young girl, she loved books, and she loved people, so she decided that she would become a librarian.”  Houston chronicles how Dorothy fulfilled that dream.  In the process, through her hard work and dedication, she brought books to people in remote parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina first using a bookmobile and then through an established library.  “Everywhere Miss Dorothy went, she made new reading friends.”  The story ends with letters from some of those friends that show how Miss Dorothy influenced their lives.  Softly colored illustrations show the lovely landscapes Miss Dorothy traveled through as well as the perils she encountered in fording flooded streams and snow covered hills.  An Author’s Note at the end tells about the real Dorothy and how she was a bright spot in the lives of many.  “Her memorial is the love of books she engendered in the lives of her patrons, young and old.”  Houston and Lamb teamed on another book, My Great-Aunt Arizona, which also promotes the love of learning and reading.  Connect this with two other books on the topic, Biblioburro: A True Story from Columbia by Jeanette Winter and That Book Woman by Heather Henson.



Where’s Walrus? By Stephen Savage.  (2011).  Pages not numbered.  Scholastic.  Grades Preschool-3.  Wordless Picture Book.

This wordless picture book follows a walrus as he romps through an urban landscape.  While his keeper naps, Walrus makes his escape from a tiny pool at the city zoo.  As the keeper searches for him, Walrus finds ways to make himself blend in – adopting a pose like the mermaid statue in a fountain, or as manikin in a department store window and more.  Each time Walrus manages to elude capture with his adoption of a matching hat.  Children will delight in discovering each new disguise while the keeper remains clueless.  Finally, the keeper sees Walrus in a platform diving competition where he is awarded a gold medal.  The last illustration shows Walrus back at the zoo in a large pool where he performs his championship dive.  Savage’s playful illustrations were drawn and created in Adobe illustrator.  The artist uses white effectively as background and emphasis for his crisp, retro illustrations that pop from the page.  This is a great introduction for young children to interactive picture books like Where’s Waldo? Searching for the not-so-hidden walrus will engage them.  Older children might want to participate in story telling by writing text to accompany the illustrations.  All children can engage in building their oral language skills by narrating the story.  Enjoy this link to another Walrus adventure.

Pointing the Direction to New Books for Children and Teens

Marilyn Carpenter, PhD.

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