Strong as Sandow: How Eugen Sandow
Became the Strongest Man on Earth.
By Don Tate. Illus. by the author.
Aug. 2017. 40p. Charlesbridge, $17.99 (9781580896283).
796.41092. Gr. 1–3.
At the turn of the twentieth century, Englishman Eugen Sandow was known as the
strongest man alive, a trailblazer in bodybuilding and fitness, and a personal trainer to King
George V. Though his life story may not be the
stuff of history textbooks, his experiences are
a window to popular culture in the Victorian
era and the emerging idea of celebrity. He was
one of the first to inspire people to pay attention to their health and to be physically active
long before it became a mainstream practice. He became a world-wide phenomenon
by performing feats of strength in circuslike
shows and hosting bodybuilding competitions for spectators. Both Tate’s narrative and
colorful illustrations reveal his own personal
experience in the bodybuilding arena and his
respect for Sandow’s lifelong goal. Throughout his life, he perfected his physique and the
larger-than-life persona that accompanied it,
but Tate’s measured biography doesn’t shy
away from the imperfect aspects of Sandow’s
personality. —Erin Anderson
Talking to God: Prayers for Children
from the World’s Religions.
By Demi. Illus. by the author.
Sept. 2017. 36p. Wisdom Tales, $17.95
(9781937786694). 242. PreS–Gr. 2.
Most books of prayers for children, if not
coming from a specific religion, draw on the
universality of prayer for its content: thanks
for food, shelter, protection, and so on. This
book is more sectarian, with content divided by religion. There are several prayers each
from Christian, Jewish, Islamic, and Hindu traditions, and one each from Taoism,
Shintoism, American Plains Indians, and
Central Africa. These prayers mostly come
from holy books and scriptures, though
a few come from folk traditions. Oddly,
in the Christianity section is Psalm 23,
which begins, “The Lord is my shepherd.”
Though certainly a prayer used by Christians, it is found in the Jewish Bible and is
ascribed to David. Jewish readers may feel
uncomfortable to see its placement and the
accompanying illustration of (as the “Notes
on the Illustrations” say) “a Christ depicted
with arms outstretched to welcome all to the
good news of the gospel.” The book is illustrated in Demi’s familiar, diminutive art,
though sometimes with less detail and definition. A good choice for libraries wanting
to enlarge prayer shelves. —Ilene Cooper
When Planet Earth Was New.
By James Gladstone. Illus. by Katherine
Sept. 2017. 40p. Owlkids, $18.95 (9781771472036).
550. Gr. 1–3.
Billions of years have changed the Earth.
From dryly witty to sidesplittingly hilarious, these funny picture books, reviewed in Booklist between July 2016
and June 2017, provide a bundle of laughs. —Maggie Reagan
Creepy Pair of Underwear! By Aaron Reynolds. Illus.
by Peter Brown. Aug. 2017. Simon & Schuster, $17.99
(9781442402980). K–Gr. 3.
Jasper Rabbit doesn’t realize that his prized new undies
glow, until the bedroom lights go out. His dismay quickly
changes to terror after he stuffs them in the laundry hamper—
and, horror of horrors, wakes up wearing them again.
Du Iz Tak? By Carson Ellis. Illus. by the author. 2016. Candlewick, $16.99
(9780763665302). PreS–Gr. 2.
A few bugs discover a green shoot sprouting from the ground and, in their own gibberish language, discuss. Visual cues in splendid folk-style illustrations allow readers to draw
meaning from the hilariously nonsensical dialogue.
How to Be a Hero. By Florence Parry Heide. Illus. by Chuck Groenink. 2016. Chronicle,
$16.99 (9781452127101). PreS–Gr. 1.
Fairy-tale-obsessed Gideon keeps a constant eye out for his chance to be a hero.
Readers will chuckle watching the caped boy, who’s so focused that he misses glaringly
obvious opportunities to help.
The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors. By Drew Daywalt. Illus. by Adam Rex. 2017.
HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray, $17.99 (9780062438898). PreS–Gr. 1.
This madcap origin story presents Rock, Paper, and Scissors as three mighty warriors.
The earnest gravity of the fighters’ quests pairs with the melodramatic tone to produce a
brand of purely absurd, sidesplitting humor.
Lexie the Word Wrangler. By Rebecca Van Slyke. Illus. by Jessie Hartland. 2017. Penguin/
Nancy Paulsen, $17.99 (9780399169571). K–Gr. 3.
Lexie ties words together and herds them into sentences. But a missing d turns Lexie’s
bandana into a banana: a word rustler is on the loose! Droll and playful wordplay will impress teachers and readers alike.
Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion. By Alex T. Smith. Illus. by the author. 2016.
Scholastic, $16.99 (9780545914383). K–Gr. 2.
Little Red marches off through the African bush to deliver medicine to her aunt—but
who’s that behind her? Warm colors, fantastic comic timing, and a twist ending infuse
this updated tale with humor.
Nanette’s Baguette. By Mo Willems. Illus. by the author. 2016. Hyperion, $17.99
Nanette, a young frog, is sent to pick up a baguette but ends up devouring it. Full of
regret, Nanette contemplates moving to Tibet, but, luckily, Mom understands. Delicious
wordplay and delightful illustrations convey energy, emotion, and hilarity.
Rudas: Niño’s Horrendous Hermanitas. By Yuyi Morales. Illus. by the author. 2016.
Roaring Brook/Neal Porter, $17.99 (9781626722408). PreS–Gr. 1.
Little luchador Niño faces off against his little sisters, and they fight dirty. They tattle,
screech, and scream—until Niño cleverly traps them and calms them with a book. Bilingual text and hilarious pictures depict the spectacular battle.
Triangle. By Mac Barnett. Illus. by Jon Klassen. 2017. Candlewick, $15.99
(9780763696030). PreS–Gr. 1.
Triangle is up to no good: a prank on his friend Square. Square fails to see the humor
and chases the tricky Triangle back to his triangle-shaped house, where the tables are
A Well-Mannered Young Wolf. By Jean Leroy. Illus. by Matthieu Maudet. 2016.
Eerdmans, $16 (9780802854797). PreS–Gr. 2.
A young wolf catches a rabbit and politely offers a last wish—only to have the rabbit
break his promise to stay put. This understatedly humorous tale of politeness gone awry
even sports a twist ending.
TOP 10 HUMOROUS PICTURE BOOKS
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