January 24 – Global Belly Laugh Day

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-edmund-the-elephant-who-forgot-cover

About the Holiday

If there’s one thing that unites us all, it’s laughter. A good belly laugh is good for your soul and your health! Today’s holiday encourages us to smile, laugh, and engage in all the things that bring us joy. It’s also a day to think about and thank all those who share their funny stories, fun times, and laughter with us whether they’re professional comedians or your own family members. So celebrate today by spending time with friends, telling jokes, watching a funny movie, and reading hilarious books like today’s!

Edmund the Elephant Who Forgot

Written by Kate Dalgleish | Illustrated by Isobel Lundie

 

You’ve probably heard that elephants never forget. But little “Edmund did forget…a lot.” Still, his mother had entrusted him to pick up supplies for his little brother’s birthday party. She even gave him a song to help improve his memory (“‘Elephants always remember, / Elephants don’t get it wrong. Elephants always remember, As long as they sing this song.'”) and as a back-up, she gave him a list with six items on it.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-edmund-the-elephant-who-forgot-balloons

Image copyright Isobel Lundie, 2021, text copyright Kate Dalgleish, 2021. Courtesy of Sterling Children’s Books.

But when he stopped for a moment on his way to the stores, Edmund realized he’s forgotten the list! Meanwhile, Colin the cricket discovered the mix up and hurried after Edmund. Fortunately, Colin had a (typical) elephant’s memory and knew every item on the list. As Edmund came to the first store and pondered what was first on the list, Colin called out “‘It’s a bunch of blue balloons.’”

Despite his big ears, Edmund couldn’t hear the tiny cricket, “but suddenly he saw… ‘Aha! A gang of masked raccoons!’” He picked them up and put them in his wagon. At the next stop, Colin tried to remind Edmund about the “‘…twenty pointy party hats.’” Edmund knew it was something like “bats… or rats,” so when he saw “‘seven sassy dancing cats’” he knew he had it right. He loaded them up and continued on.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-edmund-the-elephant-who-forgot-cats

Image copyright Isobel Lundie, 2021, text copyright Kate Dalgleish, 2021. Courtesy of Sterling Children’s Books.

But what was number three? Edmund sang his mother’s song to try and remember while Colin shouted it as loudly as he could. Just then Edmund crashed into exactly the thing he needed. Into the wagon they went. Only three items left. But what was the next one? Colin bellowed the answer, but into the wagon went “‘a swinging baboon known as Betty!’” Edmund hurried to the last two stores and stocked up. Edmund was so proud of himself. “He’d not forgotten a thing!”

When Edmund got home, his mom took one look at his piled-up wagon and shook her head. Colin told her he had “‘tried to help.’” But “‘Edmund,’” his mother asked, “‘did you remember to give out all the invitations?’” What invitations? Edmund exclaimed, “‘You forgot to give them to me!’” But Edmund’s little brother didn’t mind. He thought his party was going to be the best ever!

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-edmund-the-elephant-who-forgot-toucans

Image copyright Isobel Lundie, 2021, text copyright Kate Dalgleish, 2021. Courtesy of Sterling Children’s Books.

Kate Dalgleish’s clever-to-the-max story will have kids laughing out loud as Edmund picks up more and more outrageously silly items for his little brother’s birthday. As Colin the cricket reminds Edmund (and readers) of the actual party supply he’s supposed to buy at each shop, kids will be eager to see how this forgetful elephant interprets what little he does remember. Dalgleish’s pitch-perfect rhythm-and-rhyme pairs will have kids in stitches, and some young wordsmiths may want to try making up their own alternate party decoration. Edmund’s mother’s song is a delight, and kids will love singing along on the repeated choruses. Shrewd touches reveal that everyone has foibles, but in the end we can still enjoy the “best party ever.”

There’s so much wonderful absurdity going on in each of Isobel Lundie’s cartoon-style illustrations that after the first reading, kids and adults will want to start over again to catch all the humorous action, allusions, facial expressions, and, especially, creatures in this busy town. For kids who love search-and-find puzzles, this book is a gift, with untold numbers of things to look for, count, sort, and chuckle over. At the end, one of the raccoons even invites kids to find him twenty-seven times throughout the book. Lundie’s bright colors, delicate line drawings, and lots and lots of witty detail, spotlight the funny text and make this whole package shine.

For story times (and math times) that are just plain fun, wild, and wacky that will leave kids giggling long after the story’s finished, Edmund the Elephant Who Forgot is definitely one to remember when you’re adding to your home, classroom, or public library collection.

Ages 3 – 7 (and up)

Sterling Children’s Books, 2021 | ISBN 978-1913337391

You can connect with Kate Dalgleish on Twitter.

To learn more about Isobel Lundie and see a portfolio of her art, visit Plum Pudding Illustration Agency.

Global Belly Laugh Day Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-made-you-laugh-word-search

Made You Laugh! Word Search Puzzle

 

Humor and laughing are such a part of our lives that there are lots of words for this universal emotion. Can you find all the words for laughter in this printable puzzle?

Made You Laugh! Word Search PuzzleMade You Laugh! Word Search Solution

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-edmund-the-elephant-who-forgot-cover

You can find Edmund the Elephant Who Forgot at these booksellers

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million

To support your local independent bookstore, order from

Bookshop | IndieBound

Picture Book Review

July 23 – National Day of the Cowboy

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-cowboy-camp-cover

About the Holiday

Observed annually on the third Saturday of July, the day commemorates the “contributions of the Cowboy and Cowgirl to America’s culture and heritage. The heyday of the cowboy and cowgirl came after the Civil War when Texas experienced a booming wild cattle population. As the United States grew and people moved West, the demand for beef in the Northern states grew. Cowboys and cowgirls drove nearly 5 million head of cattle north, sparking tales, legends, and a rich history of the Great Plains in their boot and hoof steps.

Cowboy Camp

Written by Tammi Sauer | Illustrated by Mike Reed

 

In the first moments of Cowboy Camp, Avery sizes up the other kids (both boys and girls) and decides he “was all wrong.” Not only is his belt buckle too big and his hat too small, but his name is completely UNcowboy. When the Camp leader, Cowboy Dan, introduces himself, Avery thinks he is “the realest looking cowboy” he’s ever seen. Cowboy Dan promises to turn the “little ragamuffins” into real walkin’, talkin’ cowboys. But first a chow time of grits and beans!

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-cowboy-camp-beans

Image copyright Mike Reed, 2005, text copyright Tammi Sauer, 2005. Courtesy of Sterling Children’s Books.

All the other buckaroos dig into their plate eagerly, but Avery spits out his very first bite and is relegated to eating cheese and crackers. “Whoever heard of a cowboy who doesn’t like grits and beans?” Avery thinks. Next up, announces Dan, is horse riding. All the kids saddle up. “It wasn’t but a minute later” though that Avery starts sneezing and has to ride a cow instead.

Surely, lassoing will be easier, he reasons. “It wasn’t but a minute later,” however, that his hands are red and chaffed with rope burn and he has to practice with yarn. “Whoever heard of a cowboy who got rope burn?” he thinks. A bit dejected, Avery sits in front of the campfire trying to think cowboy thoughts after all the other kids have “turned in for some shut-eye.” “It wasn’t but a minute later that Avery discovered he wasn’t alone.” Creeping out of the shadows is the meanest looking cowboy Avery has ever seen.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-cowboy-camp-lasso

Image copyright Mike Reed, 2005, text copyright Tammi Sauer, 2005. Courtesy of Sterling Children’s Books.

“‘I’m Black Bart,’” the mean looking cowboy says. He tells Avery that he’s there to put a stop to Cowboy Camp because “‘Cowboy Dan and his gang of good cowboys are makin’ it too hard to be a bad guy.’” Avery does some quick thinking. He doesn’t want anything to happen to Cowboy Dan or the camp. He stutters out that this isn’t Cowboy Camp, but Space Camp. Black Bart isn’t so easily fooled. Sensing disaster, Avery gives himself up as proof: “‘Sir,’” asks Avery, “‘Do I look like cowboy material?’”

To root out the truth Black Bart gives Avery three tests. First he opens a can of beans from his saddlebag. “‘All cowboys eat beans,’” Bart exclaims. Avery takes a tiny taste from the can and begins coughing and wheezing. “‘Hmm…’” says Bart. Next he sets Avery on his horse. “‘All cowboys ride horses,’” Bart exclaims, but as soon as Avery sits astride the horse, he begins sneezing. “‘Hmm…’” says Bart. He hands Avery his rope. “‘All cowboys know how to lasso,’” Bart exclaims. Avery grabs the rope and immediately begins crying in pain.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-cowboy-camp-bart

Image copyright Mike Reed, 2005, text copyright Tammi Sauer, 2005. Courtesy of Sterling Children’s Books.

Black Bart has seen enough. “‘You’re no cowboy,’” he agrees. With time a wastin’ to find and stop the real cowboys, Black Bart saddles up and turns his horse toward the rising sun. “‘It wasn’t but a minute later’” that the other campers and Cowboy Dan arrive. Dan congratulates Avery on his bravery and quick wit and proclaims that “‘No one but a real cowboy could outsmart the likes of Black Bart the way you just did.’” Avery smiles. He finally feels like a “real honest-to-goodness cowboy.”

In Avery, Tammi Sauer has created a welcome hero—a boy who uses his individual talents of intelligence and bravery to defeat the bad guy and comes to realize that he does fit into the group. Sauer’s witty plot line is a joy to read and offers real surprise when Black Bart appears on the scene. Bart’s “cowboy test” in which Avery’s supposed failings become his greatest assets is inspired. The realistic dialogue with a Western twang transports kids to the Great Plains and is fun to read, while the repeated “uh-oh” moment—“It wasn’t but a minute later that Avery discovered…”—elicits suspense and will have kids reading along.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-cowboy-camp-sneeze

Image copyright Mike Reed, 2005, text copyright Tammi Sauer, 2005. Courtesy of Sterling Children’s Books.

Mike Reed beautifully captures the allure of the Wild West in his humorous, sometimes larger-than-life illustrations. The golden plains of Cowboy Camp stretch to the red-rock plateaus in the distance while scrub grass and cacti pop up here and there. Cowboy Dan has a chin almost as long as his 20-gallon hat is tall, and Black Bart is perfectly scruffy and menacing, with a long black coat and bolo tie, as he creeps out of the midnight blue shadows to confront Avery by campfire light. Kids will both sympathize with Avery’s travails even as they giggle at his evocative expressions.

An ingenious bit of illustration occurs in Reed’s depiction of Avery. Although Avery feels as if his belt buckle is too big and his hat too small, in reality both of these are the same size as the other kids. Moreover, a side-by-side comparison with Cowboy Dan, the “realest cowboy,” shows that Avery looks almost identical to his hero with both wearing grey vests and hats. (You can even measure the hats for yourself!) In addition, the other campers are all different in some way, emphasizing the idea that everyone is unique and has their own place in any group and the world in general.

Both for the wonderful story and the burst of confidence building provided, Cowboy Camp belongs on every young reader’s bookshelf.

Ages 4 – 9

Sterling Publishing Co., 2014 | ISBN 978-1454913603 (Paperback) | ISBN 978-1454913894 (Board Book)

To view more of Tammi Sauer’s books and learn what she’s working on next, visit her website!

National Day of the Cowboy Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-cowgirl-coloring-page

The Best Durn Tootin’ Cowboy and Cowgirl Coloring Pages

 

Well, buckaroos, here’s your chance to create your own Wild West scene. Just print out these Best Durn Tootin’ Coloring Pages and have a rip roarin’ blast!