Children’s books: Elephants and dogs, teachers and librarians

“What To Do If An Elephant Stands On Your Foot” by Michelle Robinson with pictures by Peter H. Reynolds (Dial Books, ages 3-7, $16.99) is a rollicking formula tale.

If an elephant does stand on your foot, you certainly must not panic because that will only attract tigers. And if you run from a tiger, keep quiet! Any noise will awaken the rhinoceroses, and so on.

Michelle Robinson writes a fun, fast-paced story. Rather than being predictable, her foreshadowing of events engages listeners. Her heroine faces great dangers with a growing confidence. The pictures by Peter H. Reynolds are hilarious as well, focusing on the important elements.

In what should be the happy ending, an apology to the elephant startles it, and the cycle begins once more.

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A perfect back-to-school choice is “My Teacher,” written and illustrated by James Ransome (Dial Books, ages 5-8, $16.99).

A young student shares about her teacher for the new school year. Although her teacher is quite old (she taught mama and grandmama), she is obviously young at heart. The student keeps wondering why her teacher loves to teach and sometimes thinks she has it figured out.

Better known as an illustrator, James Ransome has produced a pleasing picture book that picks up on important qualities of an excellent teacher. Although written from a child’s viewpoint, the text is very thoughtful and mature. His illustrations bring out details of life in the classroom.

Why do good teachers keep on teaching? It is because they “love helping to make your dreams come true.”

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Bailey the dog is back and is on a school field trip in “Bailey at the Museum,” written and illustrated by Harry Bliss (Scholastic Press, ages 5-8, $16.99).

Bailey is excited to visit the museum – perhaps a little too excited. Every student is matched up with a buddy, but when Bailey starts chewing on dinosaur bones, he is given a new buddy, a museum guard! Bailey has to wonder: is this a friend or an enemy?

Harry Bliss has written another superb Bailey adventure. The story line incorporates aspects of a quality museum visit, and Bailey’s cartoon bubble comments are hilarious. The artwork combines the fine detail of artifacts with the joy of children (and a dog) on a fun trip.

At the end of the visit, the museum guard thinks “Phew! We made it!” and Bailey knows he has made a new friend.

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“Return of the Library Dragon” by Carmen Agra Deedy with illustrations by Michael P. White (Peachtree Publishers, ages 8-12, $16.95) is a charming look at the intangible joys of reading in an electronic age.

After 557 years, Miss Lotty is retiring as the librarian at Sunrise Elementary. The children wonder who will read to them and dress in goofy costumes. Miss Lotty is sure her replacement will do just fine. Then Mike Krochip walks in. He plans to remove all the books and give each student a MePod, preloaded with 10,000 titles.

Carmen Agra Deedy’s sequel to “The Library Dragon” is just as fiery when someone wants to mess with beloved books. Michael P. White’s airbrush watercolors explode upon each page with vibrant detail and color. The end papers are filled with quotes about the love of books, reading, and learning.

Miss Libby is at her dragon boiling point when former student Molly Brickmeyer enters. Ms. Brickmeyer is the real, new librarian and she quickly puts Mike Krochip in his place along with all the library books, though you do need to use the computer to check them out now.