Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Support Noodle Equality with Noodlephant!

Noodlephant, by Jacob Kramer/Illustrated by K-Fai Steele, (Jan. 2019, Enchanted Lion), $18.95, ISBN: 9781592702664

Ages 4-7

Noodlephant is an elephant who loves noodles – and she believes in sharing! Her noodle parties are all the rage, until the bossy kangaroos decide that only kangaroos get to eat noodles. Breaking the law will land offenders in “the zoo”: which isn’t a very fun place to be! Sticks and twigs don’t cut it for Noodelphant and her friends, so they invent the Phantastic Noodler, a machine that makes pasta out of anything put into it: pens turn into penne, cans into cannelloni, pillows into ravioli! The kangaroos are ready to make a bust – will kindness save the day?

Noodlephant is a fun, wacky look at creative civil disobedience and injustice. The kangaroos are oppressive and mean, forbidding other animals from enjoying anything the kangaroos deem exclusive to their little group. The pushback is creative and silly enough to get a laugh out of readers while encouraging them to think about bullying and exclusion. Occasional verse lends a subversive air that kids will understand and appreciate: “When the laws are so unjust, misbehavior is a must!” Sometimes, you just have to break the rules. K-Fai Steele’s cartoony art is bold, bright, and loaded with noodley fun.

Pair this one with Miranda Paul’s The Great Pasta Escape for a pasta-riffic storytime. A nice add to your picture book collections and a fun, discussion-provoking add to social justice storytime.

 

 

Posted in Humor, Preschool Reads

Fun with Food: The Great Pasta Escape

The Great Pasta Escape, by Miranda Paul/Illustrated by Javier Joaquin, (Aug. 2017, Little Bee/Bonnier), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1-4998-0480-5

Recommended for readers 3-7

Different types of pasta learn the ugly truth about where they really go once they leave in those cute little packages, and take action in this hilarious story.  Pasta followed the rules: they stuck to their own kind; they stayed still in their packaging, and they NEVER spoke to humans. They thought they were bound for a better place; a happy, carefree existence, until the fettuccine overhears some factory workers talking about how hungry they are… *needle scratch* and what they plan to eat. Fettucine panics, and the rest of the pasta gets ready for action: Bow Tie tries to stay logical; Ramen is ready to rumble; elbow-shaped Mac just wants everyone to chill. Together, the different pasta types come together to carry out the greatest escape in pasta history.

This book is a current favorite at home because it’s so funny. The pastas have their own personalities, some of which tie into their shapes, like the professorial Bow Tie. My favorite is Mac, the elbow pasta who has a total New Age look on life and envisions himself by the water, doing some yoga. It’s a fun adventure story; pure escapism and laughs, with a Menu – sorry! I mean, Guide to Pasta Shapes – at the end. The art is vibrant and bright, and the endpapers sports different types of pasta in the front, and a boxed spaghetti-look at the back.

I pair this one with an oldie but goodie, Food Fight! by Carol Diggory Shields/Illustrated by Doreen Gay-Kassel, for a fun food storytime. You can read Tomie dePaola’s Strega Nona for a story about pasta that gets out of control, and pasta necklaces are perfect for a craft pairing. Ask your kiddos what types of pasta they recognize in the book, and see what you’ve got in the house to identify.

Miranda Paul is an award-winning author who has a great author website where you can find resources, including downloadable teacher guides to her books (and a blobfish coloring sheet!!!) and videos. She’s also the chair of the We Need Diverse Books Mentorship Committee. You can find more of illustrator Javier Joaquin’s illustrations at his website, including a section of his children’s book work, where you can filter by subject or style to see everything from nonfiction to board books to classics and more.