Reading My Library (14 years)

How is it possible that it’s been 14 years since I began my crazy goal of reading every book in my local library?

In that time, I moved from Lincoln to Columbus Nebraska (and kept on using my Lincoln library) and then from Columbus to Wichita (and switched from my Lincoln library to Wichita’s Central Library). We moved from downtown-ish Wichita to just outside of Wichita (and kept on using the Central Library) – and then the Central Library moved to the new “Advanced Learning Library”. Now that coronavirus means just picking up books we’ve requested (rather than browsing the stacks), I’m picking up my books at a closer location (but I’m keeping on using the Advanced Learning Library as my library of record, in hopes that someday we’ll be able to return!)

TOTALS as of September 5, 2020 (14 years or 5114 days)

Category Items in 2019-2020 Total Items since 2006 Notes
Juvenile Picture 528 2508 We were racing through these at the beginning of the year, but pandemic really slowed us down – and then we started really liking chapter books…
Juvenile, Board Books 15 558 We closed these in 2018, so this is just “fun reading” that the kids picked up during visits to the library (back when we could still visit the library.)
Juvenile, First Readers 3 80 I’m going to vote on this one for greatest growth over the next year.
Juvenile Fiction 2 410 The “two finished” is quite deceptive, since re-reads don’t count – and I’ve been reading quite a few of my favorites out loud to the kids. Also, these numbers won’t jibe with previous reports since I reorganized the “chapter books” from my old library into their place here as juvenile fiction.
Juvenile Nonfiction 55 468
Teen Fiction 0 52 Just not doing a lot of this sort of reading these days.
Teen Nonfiction 0 5
Adult Fiction 13 503 My statistics tell me my average for adult fiction is 37 books a year – obviously VERY skewed from my pre-kids days.
Adult Nonfiction 29 3 I knew my reading was down, but this is shocking. My overall average is 76 per year.
Audio CD 357 1778 Music, which takes an hour (for shorter CDs) to ten hours (for the big multidisc sets) and can be listened to while carrying out ordinary tasks, is a lot easier to get through these days.
Juvenile DVD 7 68 Harry Potter and kids yoga videos. The children watched the latter with me; Daniel and I did not let them see the former – because, witchcraft ;-)
Adult Fiction DVD 7 119 We’re currently watching the Marvel movies in chronological order (per this list. It’s fun.
Adult Nonfiction DVD 7 74 Do I like documentaries? Yes. Did my children and I watch a college course on child development? Yes, that too.
Periodicals 4 131
Total 1018 items 7786 items
2.78 items/day 1.21 items/day While I have vastly decreased my “me” reading over the past 14 years, picture books and audio CDs inflate my item count these days.

What with not being able to access our library’s physical collection AT ALL for almost 2 months, it’s been a weird year of reading – but I’m soldiering on with my goal. I’m going to keep trying until I die (no doubt.)


Picture Book Highlights (Author CRO-CZE)

We read 74 children’s picture books in the month of March – which, given that we only visited the library once the whole month (and that only to pick up less than a dozen books on hold!) is quite a feat, I think.

Our physical libraries are closed at least through the middle of April, so I’m guessing my “read every book” goal is going to have to take a pause while we spend more time reading what we already have in our home collection.

The Really Groovy Story of the Tortoise and the Hare by Kristyn Crow, illustrated by Christina Forshay

The Really Groovy Story of the Tortoise and the Hare

A fun rhyming retelling of the classic story, set in modern day Chicago (I think) with a fast-moving city hare and a slow-and-steady country tortoise.

Just as Good: How Larry Doby Changed America’s Game by Chris Crowe, illustrated by Mike Benny

Just as Good

Homer, a young Cleveland boy, is ecstatic that Larry Doby has joined the Cleveland Indians. Here at last, is a chance to prove that Jackie Robinson is not just a fluke, that black folks can be just as good as white ones. Homer and his father eagerly listen to the fourth game of the World Series, rejoicing as Larry Doby makes a home run – one of the two scores to win the 2-1 game. In the morning, Homer and his dad see a picture of Doby and white teammate Steve Gromek hugging in the newspaper – and they feel that, at last, change is coming for black people.

Only You by Robin Cruise, illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine

Only You

I’m a bit of a sucker for “precious” picture books with very few words and a general theme of “I love you”, clearly intended to be read to babies and young toddlers. This is a very nice example of the genre – sweet without being saccharine, expressing a parent’s delight in a child without romanticizing bad behavior (as some books of the type occasionally do.) I also appreciate how the illustrations show a diverse selection of children and parents – boys, girls, men, and women black, white, and brown.

Ten-Gallon Bart Beats the Heat by Susan Stevens Crummel, illustrated by Dorothy Donohue

Ten-Gallon Bart Beats the Heat

Texas is so hot that Ten-Gallon Bart (the dog) heads up to the Yukon to cool off (and maybe prospect for a bit of gold). When he gets buried in a crazy snowstorm, his friends head north to dig him out and bring him back home. This is not fine literature, but it’s fun. The children enjoyed the story, mama enjoyed the Texas drawlin’ and the fun cut paper illustrations. Crummel and Donohue also wrote two books about Ten-Gallon Bart before this (but that we read out of order): Ten-Gallon Bart and Ten Gallon Bart and the Wild West Show. We thoroughly enjoyed all three in this series.

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas, illustrated by Erin E. Stead

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles

A man has the lonely job of uncorking ocean bottles and taking them to their recipient. He dreams of having a bottle addressed to him, but knows there is little chance since he has no friends. But, as Tirzah Mae pointed out: “Well, then, he should make some friends!” And so he does, with the help of an anonymous bottle. A sweet and lovely book.

The Cello of Mr. O by Jane Cutler, illustrated by Greg Couch

The Cello of Mr. O

A young girl grows up in a war zone. Wednesday afternoon relief trucks are the only thing she has to look forward. Until a bomb strikes the relief truck and their drop-off point is cancelled. But the neighbor, Mr. O brings out his cello and plays in the center of the empty war-ruined square, giving everyone hope. This is a weighty book, but a wonderful one.

The Little Fire Truck by Margery Cuyler, illustrated by Bob Kolar

The Little Fire Truck

A relatively simple book with thick, tear-proof pages. Each page starts “I’m a little fire truck…” and can (generally) be sung to the tune of “I’m a little teapot.” Louis (who is obsessed with trucks) and Beth-Ellen (who is obsessed with singing) particularly enjoyed this title, requesting it over and over and over again until I had no voice to sing and had to refuse to read it again.


Reading My Library (13.5 years)

March 5 just so happened to be the half-year mark on my “reading my library” challenge, which I began on September 5, 2006. So we’re about 13.5 years in. So far, it looks like this year will look relatively similar to last year – except that we’re reading a lot more juvenile picture books compared to other types of books/materials.

TOTALS as of March 10, 2019 (13 years and 187 days or 4935 days)

Category Items in past 6 months Items in 2018-2019 Total Items
Juvenile Picture 272 323 2252
Juvenile, Board Books 14 31 557
Juvenile, First Readers 1 2 78
Juvenile, Chapter 0 0 92
Juvenile Fiction 2 4 326
Juvenile Nonfiction 28 133 441
Teen Fiction 0 3 52
Teen Nonfiction 0 6 11
Adult Fiction 9 22 499
Adult Nonfiction 16 49 1018
Audio CD 142 488 1563
Juvenile DVD 6 8 67
Adult Fiction DVD 1 5 113
Adult Nonfiction DVD 1 18 64
Periodicals 2 33 129
Total 494 items 1125 items 7262 items
2.93 items/day 2.94 items/day 1.21 items/day

We are racing through the children’s picture books, having read 84% of last year’s total in just 6 months! I’m loving having found something that’s working for us for read-aloud time. Juvenile nonfiction intake, on the other hand, has plummeted (only 21% of last year’s total so far this year) as we’ve spent a lot more time in the car, which makes me less likely to want to go INTO the library (and therefore less likely to let the kids pick out their own favorites) – we’ve been doing a lot more just driving through the window to pick up our holds on the next picture books in line.

Grown-up reading seems a bit low so far, but it’s always a little hard to tell actual status on that, since I always have quite a few books going at any given time (I think I have about 10 going as we speak, give or take). Also, especially when it comes to fiction, I tend to go in spurts and fits. I’m guessing I’ll be doing lots more grown-up reading after the new baby comes when I’ll be breastfeeding all the time.


Picture Book Highlights (Author COO-CRO)

Despite being a shorter-than-average month (even with that leap day), February was a productive reading month. I read 83 children’s picture books with an author last name “C”. In large part, I think this was due to my decision to try to spend just a little bit of time with each child individually each day (usually right before their naps). I’ve mostly spent that time reading aloud (what else?) When I don’t have to wait for everyone to be ready to listen together, it makes reading aloud tons easier – and has allowed me to power through a lot more of our picture books. We have maybe 40 or 50 more books to go until we’re done with author last name C – we’ll likely finish those out in March!

Homer by Elisha Cooper

Homer

The dog, Homer, is offered lots of opportunities to go out and do all sorts of interesting things. He’d rather lie on the front porch and watch it all. He delights to hear everyone’s stories of all the exciting things they’ve done, but mostly, he likes to be at home with everyone he loves around him. I can identify. :-)

Petra by Marianna Coppo

Petra

A little rock has great dreams – but what will he become? A simple, short book that’s just right to keep the interest of all four of our little ones (5, 3, 2, and 19 months.)

Little Pig Joins the Band by David Costello

Little Pig Joins the Band

When all his big siblings make a brass band, Little Pig wants to join too, but none of the instruments fit him. He’s able to find his place, though – a much needed place – as band leader, getting them all to play together in time.

What Elephant? by Genevieve Cote

What Elephant?

A cute little story that helps to explain the saying “the elephant in the room.”

The Road Home by Katie Cotton, illustrated by Sarah Jacoby

The Road Home

More a poem than a story, with art that’s visual poetry. Animal mothers invite their children to join them in their tasks before ending with a refrain: “This road is hard, this road is long, this road that leads us home.” And then it ends, “This road is hard, this road is long, but we are not alone. For you are here, and I’m with you… and so this road is home.” Just lovely.

Don’t Be Silly, Mrs. Millie by Judy Cox, illustrated by Joe Mathieu

Don't Be Silly Mrs. Millie!

This is not fine literature, but Mrs. Millie’s silly mis-speaks had my two oldest (5 and 3) roaring with laughter all the way through. Mrs. Millie instructs her students to “hang up your goats” at the beginning of the day and keeps making “mistakes” with rhyming words and sound-alikes all day long. “We have parrot sticks and quackers today!” Very fun.


Picture Book Highlights (Author COL-CON)

The kids and I read right around 50 children’s picture books in January (in addition to some nonfiction, some board books, and listening to Cherry Jones narrate Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods and Farmer Boy.) These are some of the highlights from this month’s reading. We’re going to plug along with authors CON and on in February – but we’re also excited to continue our Laura journey with Little House on the Prairie and maybe On the Banks of Plum Creek as part of Barbara’s final Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge.

The Winter Wren by Brock Cole

"The Winter Wren"

We’ve read a couple of other whimsical folk-type tales by Brock Cole, but this was my favorite. In it, a boy goes off to wake up Spring, who is sleeping in Winter’s castle. Cole’s illustrations are just delightful and this story very fun.

Rachael Cole

Books by Rachel Cole

I was unfamiliar with Rachael Cole, but fell in love with her City Moon, in which a young child and his mother take a walk through the city at night, watching for the moon. The spare text does a good job of getting inside a child’s mind – and reflects the interactions between mother and child well.

Cole’s second book, Mousie, I will Read to You, illustrates the progression of a child’s reading and the wonder of introducing books to the next generation in a non-didactic way that both parents and children can enjoy (if myself and my children are any indication, that is.) This book lover teared up at the end – but don’t worry, this isn’t sentimental pablum. It’s just delightful.

So far, these are the only picture books Cole has written – but I’ll definitely be watching for more from her.

The Deer Watch by Pat Lowery Collins, illustrated by David Slonim

"The Deer Watch"

A boy wakes up early to get a chance to see deer with his father. Slonim’s thick oil (acrylic?) paintings give wonderful expression to the joy of experiencing nature at dawn. While we certainty don’t experience any scarcity of deer sightings her on the plains like the narrator does on the coasts, the experience of waiting silently for a reticent animal to show itself is certainly common to nature lovers everywhere.

So Close by Natalia Colombo

"So Close"

A couple of animals live next to each other, pass every day on their way to work and home from work. But then one day, someone ventures a “Hello” – and their whole lives change. A very simple, sweet book.

See You Soon Moon by Donna Conrad, illustrated by Don Carter

"See You Soon Moon"

A little boy packs up his belongings to go to visit his grandma. He says goodbye to what he leaves behind – but, to his surprise, the moon follows him all the way to Grandma’s house! My children enjoyed Carter’s thick paint on poster-board illustrations – they kept asking if they were birthday cakes (since they strongly resemble the cut-out cakes I make for the kids for their birthdays.)

The Most Important Gift of All by David Conway, illustrated by Karin Littlewood

"The Most Important Gift of All"

A little girl wants to give her baby brother a gift (like all the relatives are), but her grandma tells her that love is the most important gift of all. So the little girl sets off through the savannah to try to find love. A lovely story with lovely illustrations.


Reading My Library (13 Years)

I briefly resurfaced from under the dark waves to discover that I’d missed an important anniversary – the 13th anniversary of my massive project to read every book in my local library. So, instead of giving my totals as of September 5, I’ve got totals as of September 23 – when I realized I’d forgotten to write an update.

TOTALS as of Sept 23, 2019 (13 years and 18 days or 4766 days)

Category Items this year Total Items Total Categories Closed
Juvenile Picture 323 1980 611
Juvenile, Board Books 31 543 285
Juvenile, First Readers 2 77 3
Juvenile, Chapter 0 92 7
Juvenile Fiction 4 324 25
Juvenile Nonfiction 133 413 14
Teen Fiction 3 52 5
Teen Nonfiction 6 11 0
Adult Fiction 22 490 78
Adult Nonfiction 49 1002 52
Audio CD 488 1421 116
Juvenile DVD 8 61 2
Adult Fiction DVD 5 112 9
Adult Nonfiction DVD 18 63 2
Periodicals 33 127 2
Total 1125 items 6786 items
2.94 items/day 1.21 items/day

We made two big gains in the past year, closing the board books entirely per challenge rules (543 total books by 285 different authors) and closing the picture books by author last name B (979 total books by 335 different authors).

I’ve also made significant headway with the audio CDs, trying to listen to one CD from each Library of Congress classification. I’ve “cheated” a bit with these, though, listening to albums that are available on Spotify that way and (mostly) only checking out stuff that isn’t available on Spotify. That way, I’m listening at home in addition to in the car. I have not, however, been faithful with recording what we’ve listened to on Spotify – which means I likely have an additional couple dozen albums that haven’t been logged.

I was hoping to get picture book authors “C” read in 2019, but it’s looking like that might be a bit of a challenge since the kids have decided that nonfiction is really where it’s at. We have read just about every book the library owns about new babies and about construction vehicles, as well as a fair bit about tools and floods. And then, of course, there are giraffes and states and butterflies and “black knights”. The children almost always tell me as we’re walking in to the library what topic they’re interested in researching this visit.

I’m a little surprised to find that I read a little over 80 books for myself (not counting re-reads). I really thought my personal book consumption had slowed almost to a halt over the past year, but apparently not!


Picture Book Reading Report (April 2019)

Sometimes, you’ve just got to press publish on the post you’ve been building over the course of a month – even if you haven’t got time to edit it. So, please forgive any roughness – and enjoy this peek into our month of reading.


Asterisks represent books I recommend (3 stars or above).

Written by Dori Chaconas

  • Don’t Slam the Door, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand
    Don’t slam the door, because if you do…it’ll wake the cat, who’ll set off a string of far-reaching implications. (Of course, someone slams the door!)
  • Mousie Love illustrated by Josee Masse
    A mouse falls desperately in love and keeps asking his love to marry him (only to interrupt her answer with something else he thinks he should do to be worthy of her. I thought this was terribly fun, but it was really over the kids’ heads.
  • *On a Wintry Morning illustrated by Stephen T. Johnson
    A sweet little daddy/child song that goes through a winter’s days activities. I sang the book to the tune of “Polly put the kettle on” and it worked quite nicely.
  • *Virginnie’s Hat illustrated by Holly Meade
    When Virginnie’s hat flies off into the swamp she just about encounters all sorts of scary animals. This is a fun look at perceived dangers versus real ones.

Written by Authors Last Name CHAL-CHAP

  • Mr. Frog Went A-Courting, written and illustrated by Gary Chalk
    Based on an old song (that I am unfamiliar with), the story of Mr. Frog is full of all the ridiculous twists and turns often found in folktales. Careful observation of the illustrations reveals a “hidden story”.
  • Pick a Pup, written by Marsha Wilson Chall, illustrated by Jed Henry
    How will Sam know which pup to pick? (Spoiler alert: Maybe it’s the pup who’ll pick him.)
  • Mario Chalmers’ ABCs of Basketball by Mario Chalmers and Almarie Chalmers, illustrated by Emmanuel Everett
    Part informational, part motivational – I just can’t get into the “believe in yourself and you can do anything” stuff (some kids, however hard they believe and even how hard they practice, will never play in the NBA.)
  • The Library Book by Tom Chapin and Michael Mark, illustrated by Chuck Groenink
    This was the lyrics to a song, rather a fun one, but one whose tune I don’t know. I tried singing it unsuccessfully. Perhaps if I could have seen the endpapers and tried picking it out on the piano… (Or, you know, I could have looked on Spotify – why didn’t I think of that until after I was returning it?

  • This was the lyrics to a song, rather a fun one, but one whose tune I don’t know. I tried singing it unsuccessfully. Perhaps if I could have seen the endpapers and tried picking it out on the piano… (Or, you know, I could have looked on Spotify – why didn’t I think of that until after I was returning it?
  • Me Too, Grandma written and illustrated by Jane Chapman
    A “jealous of the new baby” book except that little owl is jealous of how her baby cousin is taking Grandma’s attention. Cute illustrations, not my favorite genre.

Written and illustrated by Jared Chapman

  • Pirate, Viking, And Scientist
    A scientist is friends with a pirate and a viking – but when both come to his birthday party he discovers they’re NOT friends with each other. Time to experiment to see if he can get them to be friends with each other. Not bad.
  • T.Rex Time Machine
  • Ugly juvenile illustrations. Hard to read out loud. Not a fan.

Written by Authors Last Name CHAR-CHE?

  • The Selfish Crocodile, written by Faustin Charles and illustrated by Michael Terry
    The crocodile is selfish until he finds himself in terrible pain and someone helps him. Then it’s all sunshine and roses. A little too convenient an ending, I thought.
  • *Alphaboat written and illustrated by Michael Chesworth
    A rather silly, but very fun romp off to C, packed full of word play using the names of the letters of the alphabet. A sample: “f we go here, what will v z? Atop this hill – a lonely tree where blue J’s flutter up to rest upon their X, safe in the nest.”

Written and illustrated by Remy Charlip

  • Fortunately
    Very strange things keep happening to Ned, but fortunately… something stranger happens to save him from whatever disaster seemed so certain. This sounds like the sort of story an imaginative three year old might tell (rambling plot, no sense whatsoever, random strangeness everywhere…) I can’t like it.
  • Little Old Big Beard and Big Young Little Beard
    The eponymous characters are cowboys and best friends and lovers of beans. But then they lose their cow. This is an almost plotless book.
  • *A Perfect Day
    A simple book about what a perfect day might be – spending time together.
  • *Sleepytime Rhyme
    A mama sings how she loves everything about her baby. The rhyme can be a bit awkward in places, but it’s nice overall.

Books out of order

  • *Maisy Learns to Swim by Lucy Cousins
  • Simple description of beginner swimming lessons (which don’t involve any actual swimming). These “Maisy First Experiences Books” are a very nice way to introduce kids to common childhood experiences that might seem a little scary if they don’t know what to expect.

Books about Construction

  • *Little Excavator by Anna Dewdney
    Does this sound familiar? Yes, yes. I’ve only read it to Louis fifteen thousand times by now. Although really, if you have to read a book fifteen thousand times, this is a good choice.
  • *Mighty, Mighty Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
    Of course we read this again (and again and again). And then I returned it (because I have SO many other books to read.)

Picture Book Reading Report (March 2019)

I fell short of my goal of 45 picture books author last name “C” this month – we only got in 37. The children have really started to love nonfiction and re-reading, both of which cut down on my ability to quickly work my way through this section of the library. Altogether, we’ve read 108 “C” books here in the first three months of the year, which is 19% of the approximately 560 I estimate that are in this section. So I definitely need to step on it if I’m going to get it done this year!


Asterisks represent books I recommend (3 stars or above).

Authors Last Name CAR

  • Henry and the Bully, written and illustrated by Nancy Carlson
    I’m not a big fan of Carlson’s illustrations – and even less a fan of books about bullying (which I tend to see as giving kids instructions on how to bully rather than being particularly helpful at avoiding or managing bullying.)
  • *Melanie, written by Carol Carrick, illustrated by Alisher Dianov
    We read several of Carrick’s other books in February and I held off reading this one because it was longer than the rest. I totally shouldn’t have waited. This is a lovely fairy tale story that was a true delight to read.
  • "Alice in Wonderland: Down the Rabbit Hole"

  • Alice and Wonderland Down the Rabbit Hole by Lewis Carroll, retold by Joe Rhatigan and Charles Nurnber, and illustrated by Eric Puybaret
    A very nice abbreviated introduction to the classic story.

Written by Mary Casanova and Illustrated by Ard Hoyt

Books by Mary Casanova

  • One-Dog Sleigh
    One animal after another joins in to ride in the “one-dog sleigh”. Okay.
  • Some Cat!
    A rescued cat and her new owners’ dogs make peace with one another. I’m not a cat person, or a dog person really, so this didn’t really float my boat. Your results may vary.
  • *Utterly Otterly Day and *Utterly Otterly Night
    A truly delightful couple of tales. They tell of the adventures of a young otter in a sing-song rhyme. In one tale, otter thinks he’s a big boy and doesn’t need to obey (with predictable results). In the other, otter senses something amiss and does as he ought to save the family. I will definitely read these again.

Written and illustrated by Judith Casely

"Field Day Friday"

  • Field Day Friday
    Two friends compete on the same team for their school’s field day – but only one wins the single foot race.
  • Mama, Coming and Going
    After mama has a new baby, she can’t tell whether she’s coming and going – and she gets into all sorts of absent-minded scrapes.
  • On the Town
    A little boy explores his community as part of a school assignment
  • Sisters
    Melissa’s family adopts a girl from somewhere overseas – and the two girls must learn what it means to be sisters

Authors Last Name CAS

Books by Authors CAS

  • A Lullaby for Little One by Dawn Casey, illustrated by Charles Fuge
    A gentle little story of a little rabbit and his big daddy rabbit.
  • The Cat in the Rhinestone Suit by John Carter Cash, illustrated by Scott Nash
    A showdown of sorts with plenty of wild west imagery. Not my thing.
  • Kibby the Space Dog? by Andrea Cassel, illustrated by Melanie Regier
    A first person story about a dog who had to wear a cone of shame. The dog is both overly self-aware and overly didactic: “I was being rejected because people thought I was now different. My life was not the same anymore. I lost my fun, playful spirit.”
  • Kazaak! written and illustrated by Sean Cassidy
    A moderately fun story about a couple of porcupines, one of whom is afraid of bears, the other who is full of bravado thanks to his quills. Turns out, Mr. Fearful has to save Mr. Bravado :-)
  • Sterling, Best Dog Ever

  • Sterling, Best Dog Ever written and illustrated by Aidan Cassie
    Sterling is delivered with a shipment of silver and tries to be good cutlery – but he soon learns that his family loves him for who he really is. Eh.
  • "Beach House"

  • *Beach House written by Deanna Caswell, illustrated by Amy June Bates
    Caswell tells the story of a family traveling to the beach in short sentences of sweet poetry. Bates’s illustrations are just right. Lovely.

Written and Illustrated by Lauren Castillo

Books by Lauren Castillo

  • Nana in the City
    A little boy is scared about his grandma living in the city – but she teaches him that the city is a wonderful place to live. Okay, but not particularly applicable to us.
  • The Troublemaker
    Someone is taking off with a little boy’s precious belongings – but who can it be? A cute little story.

Written and Illustrated by Peter Catalanotto

Books by Peter Catalanotto

  • Ivan the Terrier
    The title character keeps interrupting the author’s attempts at retelling fairy tales. Silly.
  • *Kitten, red, yellow blue
    How does a woman keep track of the sixteen calico cats her cat gave birth to? Using colors, of course! A fun little book.
  • Matthew A.B.C

  • Matthew A.B.C
    Mrs. Tuttle’s kindergarten class has 25 students, all named Matthew. How on earth does she tell them apart? Easy, actually. And the 26th student fills the gap nicely.
  • More books by Peter Catalanotto

  • The Newbies
    When Luke’s parents seem to be too busy preparing for the birth of the new baby, he imagines himself some new parents (only to find out the old ones are better after all.
  • Question Boy Meets Little Miss Know-It-All
    What if everyone was a superhero in costume – and the child who always has a question meets the child who always knows the answers? I enjoyed the story of their little show-down – and so did Tirzah Mae (probably because Little Miss Know-It-All wears a tiara!)

Authors Last Name CAT-CAZ

The Magic Rabbit

  • The Magic Rabbit written and illustrated by Annette LeBlanc Cate
    When a boy magician and his rabbit get separated, will the rabbit find his way back to his friend?
  • Treasure Hunt written and illustrated by Lorinda Bryan Cauley
    Let your kids go on a treasure hunt along with the characters of this book – all the way to a picnic in a clearing in the woods. The clues and illustrations were just the right difficulty for my two preschoolers (4.5 and almost 3).
  • Books by Author CAU-CAZ

  • *Nothing at All written and illustrated by Denys Cazet
    Various members of the farmyard do all sorts of things – but what does the scarecrow do? I enjoyed the surprise ending.

Written and Illustrated by Randy Cecil

Books by Randy Cecil

  • Gator
    When an amusement park shuts down, the gator from the carousel goes out to explore the world. Eh.
  • One Dark and Dreadful Night
    A director keeps trying to put on a dreadful play – but his young actors keep turning them into ridiculous fairy tales. Double eh.

Written by Melanie Cecka and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully

"Violet" books by Melanie Cecka

  • Violet Comes to Stay
    Cecka channels Cynthia Coppersmith or Jan Karon’s Mitford series – to present a story of Violet the white cat. It was okay but not amazing.
  • Viiolet Goes to the Country
    Ditto the above.

Authors Last Name CE-CL

"Elbow Grease"

  • Elbow Grease by John Cena, illustrated by Howard McWilliam
    A book about gumption – not giving up, whether you win or lose. Monster Truck “Elbow Grease” isn’t as tough or fast or smart or brave as his brothers – but he has gumption enough to finish the Grand Prix despite the odds. Good point but the story isn’t really my thing (but it might be yours or your child’s).
  • Swing

  • The Swing written and illustrated by Joe Cepeda
    A very surreal story about a family who always loses things and a (magic?) swing that retrieves the lost things.
  • One Little Mouse

  • *One Little Mouse by Dori Chaconas, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
    A lovely, lyrical little counting book. A little mouse tries to find a new home – and, after trying on other people’s homes, discovers that his own is best after all!
  • The Backwards Birthday Party

  • The Backwards Birthday Party by Tom Chapin and John Forster, illustrated by Chuck Groenink
    A very, very silly birthday party. The endpapers include music to go along with the words, but alas, the library’s cover hides half the notes so I didn’t sing it to my kids.
  • Marco Goes to School

  • Marco Goes to School written and illustrated by Roz Chast
    Fairly run-of-the-mill story of going to school and making a new friend.
  • *Tiger Days: A Book of Feelings by M.H. Clark, illustrated by Anna Hurley
    A very nice book about emotions – how we can feel different things at different times and still be the same person. We’re working on managing emotions at home – and I picked this up ahead of schedule after I read Dawn’s review at 5 Minutes for Books. Very good.

Books about Construction

  • Little Excavator by Anna Dewdney
    A sweet story of a little excavator who tries to do everything that the big trucks do, with little success. But when a certain task needs done, Little E is the kid for the job.
  • Mighty, Mighty Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
    A sequel (or maybe prequel?) to Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, this favorite describes how different construction vehicles must work together to get a job done. Very well done.

Picture Book Reading Report (February 2019)

I’ve been struggling to figure out how to report on the picture books we’ve read. My goal is to finish my library’s collection of picture books with an author last name starting with C this year – which means I’m reading A LOT of picture books – many of which aren’t worth re-reading. But there are a few that are quite good. For now, I’m going to try separating out picture books into a post of their own and report briefly on each book. Titles with an *asterisk* are ones I think are worth re-reading (3 stars or above).

Authors Last Name “CAN”

Picture Book Authors CAM-CAN

  • *Pinduli by Janell Cannon
    I did not at all expect to enjoy this story of a hyena who gets made fun of – but enjoy it I did. It’s all about how our words impact others. Quite good.
  • *Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
    A young bat falls into a bird’s nest – and discovers that though he and the birds are different, they can still be friends. Very nice.
  • Bonjour Camille by Felipe Cano, illustrations by Laia Aguilar
    I don’t know what to think about this exactly, except that I don’t think it’s worthwhile enough to spend too much time figuring out what I think about it.
  • A Friend for Einstein by Charlie Cantrell and Dr. Rachel Wagner
    A tiny, tiny miniature horse is lonely. Who will be a friend for Einstein? Okay, not amazing.

Written by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

  • 5-Minute Biscuit Stories illustrated by Pat Schories
    Gentle stories of ordinary adventures children will likely be able to identify with. This anthology is a nice one if you happen to like the “Biscuit” books.
  • Biscuit Visits the Doctor
    Half of the text is “woof”. No thank you.
  • "5 Minute Biscuit Stories" by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

  • Hannah is a Big Sister illustrated by Dorothy Stott
    As usual, this “new baby” focuses on an older sibling’s frustration – until she discovers she can soothe the baby. Eh
  • *I will Love You illustrated by Lisa Anchin
    Pretty pictures, pretty rhyme, great for reading to a little-little one.
  • Books by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

  • *Mighty Tug illustrated by David Mottram
    A sweet rhyming story about the small but mighty tugboat (and all the things he can do).
  • Not This Bear illustrated by Lorna Hussey
    A little bear on his first day of school disagrees whenever his teacher says that “all the bears enjoy…” – but he finds that his first day of school isn’t so bad after all.
  • The Potty Book for Boys illustrated by Dorothy Stott
    A rather standard “I’m a big boy” type book
  • Tulip and Rex Books

  • Tulip loves Rex
    and Tulip and Rex Write a Story illustrated by Sarah Massini

    A girl and a dog are friends. They like to dance. They write a story. Meh.

Authors Last Name “CAPO” to “CARL”

  • Monster Know Shapes by Lori Capote, illustrated by Chip Wass
    A rather generic shape book with rather dull cartoon illustrations.
  • "Monster Knows Shapes" and "Cinderella's Stepsister and the Big Bad Wolf"

  • *Heroes of the Surf by Elisa Carbone, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter
    Interesting story of a beleaguered ship and the people who came to its rescue – based on a true story from 1882.
  • **47 Strings: Tessa’s Special Code by Becky Carey, illustrated by Bonnie Leick
    A lovely letter written to a big brother about his little sister, who has Down Syndrome.
  • Books by authors CAN-CAR

  • Cinderella’s Stepsister and the Big Bad Wolf by Lorraine Carey, illustrated by Migy Blanco
    A fun fractured, multi-fairy-tale mashup. Cinderella’s hard-working and kind step-sister doesn’t live up to the ugly name, so her mother sends her off to learn how to be evil from all the best (worst?) fairy tale villains.
  • **The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
    We’ve read all of Carle’s books before – but Louis pulled this one off the shelf at home and OF COURSE I’m willing to read it to him!
  • A World of Your Own by Laura Carlin
    All about drawing your own imaginary world – with lots of ideas for doing so. I found it to be just, meh.

Written by Nancy Carlson

I am not much of a fan of Carlson’s illustration style – or of most of her subject matter. Meh.

  • Harriet and the Roller Coaster
    Henry’s bravado turns out for naught when Harriet discovers that she actually enjoys the roller coaster – while Henry discovers that it isn’t really for him.
  • Henry’s 100 Days of Kindergarten
    I wasn’t a fan of the illustrations and I think I might be something of a Scrooge when it comes to depictions of classroom life…so this book was not for me.
  • Books by Nancy Carlson

  • Loudmouth George Earns His Allowance
    George discovers that forcing his little siblings to do his chores doesn’t exactly save him time or energy.
  • Sometimes You Barf
    I understand the idea, trying to make barfing less scary. But I just can’t enjoy this book.
  • There’s a Big, Beautiful World Out There!
    There are lots of things to be afraid of – but even more to be glad to explore. Made all the more poignant when you learn at the end that the book was written on Sep 12, 2001.

Written by Nancy White Carlstrom

  • Before You Were Born illustrated by Linda Saport
    This opens and closes with that “before you were born, God wrote your days in a book”, but the middle was enigmatic. I’m not sure whether I like it.
  • *Mama, Will It Snow Tonight? illustrated by Paul Tong
    Three different mother/child pairs ask and answer “Mama, will it snow tonight?” Sweet.
  • "Jesse Bear" books

  • Better Not Get Wet, Jesse Bear
    Guess Who’s Coming, Jesse Bear?
    Happy Birthday, Jesse Bear and
    *Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? illustrated by Bruce Degan

    A rhyming series of inconsistent quality. I enjoyed What Will You Wear quite a bit – but found the others either too preachy or too repetitive to be truly enjoyable.
  • Books by Nancy White Carlstrom

  • *The Way to Wyatt’s House illustrated by Mary Morgan
    A lovely transition from quiet to loud and back again. Fun.
  • What Does the Sky Say? illustrated by Tim Ladwig
    Beautifully poetic, lovely word pictures of the sky speaking – but a bit hard to interpret. This has Psalm 19 at the end of it “The heavens declare the glory of God…” but the message of the book doesn’t really have the sky speaking the glory of God.
  • Authors Last Name “CAR” to “CAS”

    • I’m 3! Look What I Can Do by Maria Carluccio
      I’m surprised this wasn’t a board book. It’s very, very simple. Simple enough to be boring to my two-year-old (who listens with half an ear as if to say, “well, duh, I can do most of those things. What of it?”)
    • *A Circle of Friends by Giora Carmi
      A little boy changes his neighborhood when he gives a roll to a homeless man sleeping on the bench below his apartment. A lovely wordless book.
    • The Children Who Loved Books by Peter Carnavas
      A book against Marie Kondo-ing your book collection :-)
    • Books by authors CAP-CAR

    • Haunted Houses Handbook by Monica Carretero
      Nothing terribly objectionable, but really not my thing.
    • How Roland Rolls by Jim Carrey, illustrated by Rob Nason
      Groan.
    • Papa’s Backpack by James Christopher Carroll
      A child wishes he could go along “in papa’s backpack” when his father is deployed. I wanted to like this, but it just didn’t do it for me.
    • Books by Authors CAR

    • Spiders Dance by Maureen Carroll, illustrated by Bobbie Powell
      A spider wants to dance – but has to learn his own way of dancing. The author made asides to the reader at the end of every page, which might have spoiled the story for me.
    • *Under a Prairie Sky by Anne Laurel Carter, illustrated by Alan and Lea Daniel
      A boy dreams of becoming a Mountie – and pretends that he already is one.
    • *Guess Who, Haiku by Deanna Caswell, illustrated by Bob Shea
      A cute book of haiku about different animals – offering the reader an opportunity to guess which animal.

    Written by Jan Carr

    • *Dappled Apples and
      *Frozen Noses illustrated by Dorothy Donohue

      Poetic tributes to autumn and winter (respectively), filled with scenes from each season. Delightful – engaging enough for a four-year-old, a two-year-old, a one-year-old, and their mama.
    • Books by Jan Carr

    • Toe Shoe Mouse illustrated by Jennifer A. Bell
      A mouse finds a home in a toe shoe – and a friend in the toe shoe’s owner Celeste.

    Written by Carol Carrick

    • Lost in the Storm illustrated by Donald Carrick
      Realistic fiction about a dog who got lost in a storm (and is found).
    • Books by Carol Carrick

    • Mothers are Like That illustrated by Paul Carrick
      Simple and sweet, about how mothers love their children.

    Other Picture Books

    • Papa’s Gift by Kathleen Long Bostrom, illustrated by Guy Porfirio
      A rather saccharine tale checked out from the church library. One reading was plenty enough.

    12 years: a reading progress report

    It’s been 12 years now since I began my epic project to read every book in my local branch library. 12 years, three cities, six homes, one husband, three biological children, and two foster children later… I’m still reading.

    TOTALS as of Sept 5, 2018 (12 years or 4383 days)

    Category Items this year Total Items Total Categories Closed
    Juvenile Picture 165 1657 472
    Juvenile, Board Books 365 512 268
    Juvenile, First Readers 9 75 3
    Juvenile, Chapter 0 92 7
    Juvenile Fiction 6 320 25
    Juvenile Nonfiction 19 280 1
    Teen Fiction 1 49 4
    Teen Nonfiction 0 5 0
    Adult Fiction 3 468 71
    Adult Nonfiction 34 953 44
    Audio CD 238 933 14
    Juvenile DVD 4 53 0
    Adult Fiction DVD 8 107 7
    Adult Nonfiction DVD 3 45 1
    Periodicals 5 94 0
    Total 860 items 5643 items
    2.36 items/day 1.21 items/day

    This year’s biggest reading accomplishment was getting serious about closing categories. The children and I read everything our library owns by 222 different board book authors. We have 8 more board books to read before we can say that we’ve read every board book in Wichita’s Advanced Learning Library!

    Next up? We’re going to be hitting the picture books hard.