Notes from the Black Lagoon

Posts Tagged ‘children’s book reviews

In typical New England fashion, the weather is atrocious and unpredictable today! Last night it snowed; today it’s warm with monsoon-like rains. Either way, it’s still winter and a crappy day is a good day for soup. Of course, I was too dysfunctional this morning to pack any for my lunch, but I thought I would satisfy my soup craving via story time at the local YMCA preschool (which I visit twice a month). If you need some soup stories, here are the two I read today:

Bravery soup

Bravery Soup by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

Under the tasty guise of soup, this story is really about facing your fears! Carlin is a scaredy-raccoon in need of courage. After Big Bear asks him to retrieve a special ingredient for bravery soup in a monster’s cave, Carlin shores up what little he has and sets off with the gifts of armor, food, and a stick from some well-meaning (but overwrought) forest friends. “Remember”, Big Bear says, “you are more brave than you think.” Carlin discovers he’s perfectly capable of navigating through the Forbidden Forest and Skulk Mountain by using his own wits instead. Finally, Carlin faces his fear and the cave monster to obtain the special ingredient box. He returns to a big cheer, but only to find the box is EMPTY! All’s well that end’s well though and Carlin learns that bravery isn’t in a box but in doing things you don’t think you can do! A tasty bowl of a story and a life lesson all in one. This story had the older class of 4 year olds entranced and they loved it!

Duck soup

Duck Soup by Jackie Urbanovic

Maxwell Duck is back as chef extroardinaire in this hilarious book. Max is happily cooking away, trying to invent his own soup recipe. After realizing his special soup needs just the right something, Max trots off to find chives in garden. Enter his three goofy friends with big appetites. Mystified by Max’s disappearance from the scene, his friends are about wolf down some tasty soup when they notice an ominous feather in the broth. Chaos ensues as Brody, Dakotah and Bebe frantically strain Max’s soup and panic over his demise in carrots, potatoes and onions. Upon returning, Max witnesses the destruction of his masterpiece and sits at the dinner table looking understandably demoralized. But, as his friends point out, at least he’s not duck soup! A totally hilarious read for the kids as they realize Max’s “head” is really a potato, etc.

All and all, a satisfying story time inspired by a satisfying meal.


So the staff at the TPL and in the Children’s room love animals. We love picture books about animals. We love pets. We love pets so much that sometimes we let patrons and staff bring in their pets to visit even though it TECHNICALLY is against library policy. We also love animals so much that we decided the Children’s Room needed a pet. So we got a dwarf hamster named Scooter. Scooter didn’t last too long and she sadly died right before Christmas. Santa (aka Daisy, the assistant director) brought us a new, awesome, regular-sized Black Bear hamster that we’ve named Ratatouille.


He’s a great hamster and our patrons just love to see what he’s up to. Mostly, he runs on his wheel and hoards food. An exciting hamster life.

Most staff here also really value our local animal shelter and have rescued pets at some point in their lives (including me!) Thus, I was particularly moved when I read the review for Before You Were Mine by Maribeth Boelts. This pet story focuses on a young boy who imagines his dog’s life before the family rescued the pooch from the pound. The author covers all scenarios for pets’ past lives, including abandonment, moving families, and running away. All ends well as the Boelts finishes up her tale with a happy homecoming for the dog and the young boy’s family. This book was a real tear-jerker for us in the Children’s Room and touched us so much that we donated several copies to the Taunton Animal Shelter for families who adopt pets. Bonus: According to the dust jacket, Boelts will donate a portion of the profits to the Humane Society.

So that’s why we love animals here at the TPL and why we loved Before You Were Mine by Maribeth Boelts. If you are considering getting a pet, please consider your local animal shelter. If you aren’t ready for a pet yet, buy this book and help out the Humane Society.

Before you were mine