1. Madeline And The Gypsies by Ludwig Bemelmans 2. This Day In June by Gayle E. Pitman 3. Joey And Jet In Space by James Yang 4. Library Lily by Gillian Shields 5. The McElderry Book Of Aesop’s Fables by Michael Mopurgo
For our trip to the library this week (actually last week) we picked some books we intended to bring on our trip to the yurt. However, when it came time to pack, the only book Foos wanted to bring was Two Silly Trolls, which she got as a gift from her grammy. We have been reading these this week instead.
Madeline and the Gypsies is only the second book in the Madeline series we have read. I mentally prepare myself to be disappointed by children’s books written in this time period because racism and sexism sometimes subtly pop up (Babar, ugh). This book indulges a bit in gypsy stereotypes (the untrustworthy gypsies will hide your kids and make them work, gasp!), but Foos is not attuned to any of that and enjoyed it. I like that books with questionable content give me the opportunity to explain things which may not come up otherwise. I used this as an opportunity to talk a little bit about the historically unfair treatment of the Roma, and tried my best to explain how this book was a bit unfair to the gypsies and why. Madeline is generally, is a good choice for Foos, and it is very likely she will continue to choose books from this series on future library trips.
This Day In June is a brilliant book! the subject of the story is a pride parade and the happenings. The book itself never mentions pride or homosexuality, it leaves that to the illustrations. This book focuses more on the collective humanity on display during joyful gatherings (such as this parade); babies crying, couples smooching, dancing, chanting, and the like. Honestly, reading this book started so many conversations about the nature of families and love, leather daddies, and drag queens. I cannot recommend it enough, it was wonderful!
Joey and Jet in Space is simple and beautifully illustrated. Joey loses his dog, Jet, in space and goes off in search for him. Spoiler — the story takes place in Joey’s imagination, but you don’t get that until the end. I did find myself wishing Joey was a Julia because there are so many books about boys in space, but I am the mother of a little girl and a rabid feminist to boot, of course I feel that way.
Library Lily is about a bibliophile who goes to the library with her mom and would rather read than do almost anything else, including sleeping and playing. Then she meets Milly, who is the flip side to the Lily coin; she hates reading and loves real life adventures and playing. Lily teaches Milly to love books, Milly teaches Lily to love playing, they become great friends for life and even write a book together. The illustrations were not my favorite, but it was a cute story. If the characters of Milly and Lily were combined, they would equal Foos; there was a lot in there for her to identify with and I know she was delighted by seeing versions of herself, of us, on the page.
The McElderry Book Of Aesop’s Fables is perfect for introducing young readers to Aesop’s classic stories. I must admit, when she picked up this book at the library, I frowned because it looked like a text book to me. Thankfully, the versions of the classic stories in this edition are short (perfect for bedtime and self-reading), amusing, and contain a clear explanation of the moral of each story.