"Froggy Goes to Hawaii" by Jonathan London and illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz (Viking Books, ages 2 and up, $15.99) is just as hilarious as the other titles in this series.
Froggy's family is going on a dream vacation to Hawaii. Of course, Froggy is so excited he is jumpy all over. He hops from one activity to another to take in all the fun. It is all Mom and Dad can do to stay caught up.
London again writes a fast-paced, laugh-out-loud story for the youngest of listeners to early readers. Remkiewicz's illustrations exude Froggy's excitement, joy, and frenzy.
By the end of the story Dad needs a vacation from their vacation. Froggy sort of agrees, but adds "Next time, let's go for two weeks!"
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"What is Your Dog Doing?" by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Kathleen Habbley (Atheneum, ages 3-7, $12.99) initially appears to be merely a concept book, but is tons of fun. Sure, all sorts of dogs do all sorts of tricks. Here we see dogs doing much, much more. From "Dog inspecting" and "Dog protecting" to "Famous dog that gets chauffeured," various breeds are portrayed in common and unusual situations.
Singer presents simple scenarios featuring dogs, often with just two words and rarely with more than 4 or 5 words. As creative as the sparse text is, Habbley conveys much more of the story through full-page, full-color illustrations. They demonstrate the obvious, give visual clues to new vocabulary, and usually hint at something more going on.
"What is Your Dog Doing?" will be fun to read multiple times and will undoubtedly lead children to look at their own dogs in fresh, new ways.
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"Postcards from Camp, A Postal Story Presented by Simms Taback" (Penguin Books, ages 6 and up, $17.99) is a delight for children and parents considering a first camp experience or those remembering the initial trauma of past camps.
Michael's first postcard from camp states it succinctly, "I HATE camp! Come get me!" Dad writes back assuring his son, "you will feel better when you make new friends." Back and forth the writing goes.
This is an extremely clever picture book. Taback not only writes postcards with witty text, he illustrates the fronts with artsy-crafty illustrations.
The conclusion is obvious, but still fun. Michael makes friends at camp, has a great time, and next year is going for the entire summer.
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Calli of "Calli Be Gold" by Michele Weber Hurwitz (Wendy Lamb Books, ages 8-12, $15.99) feels lost in a family of overachievers.
The Gold family's motto is Be Gold. Eleven-year-old Calli's older brother is a basketball star and their sister is on a competitive ice-skating team. Her parents have tried dozens of activities for Calli, but she has flopped at all of them. Still, the family searches for that one thing that she will shine at.
First-time novelist Hurwitz writes an engaging story of the ordinary child in a extraordinary world. Family dynamics are realistically explored along with the social status levels of middle school students and the frantic pace of activity-driven social life.
When the fifth-graders are paired with second-grade students in a Peer Helper Program, Calli is drawn to a shy, reclusive boy who obviously does not fit in. Together, they discover the true meaning of achievement.