Monday, September 17, 2012

Children's Book Reviews: Kel Gilligan's Daredevil Stunt Show; Hit the Road, Jack; and Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox

I love it when timing works out perfectly- when a movie shows up on a rainy day or food samples when I'm hungry.  We had an incident of great timing last week when three new kids' books showed up at our house- just as Nana arrived for two weeks of hanging out with the kids and reading books!  The three books we received were Kel Gilligan's Daredevil Stunt Show; Hit the Road, Jack; and Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. Here's a bit about these books:

Kel Gilligan's Daredevil Stunt Show:

From Michael Buckley, the bestselling author of the Sisters Grimm and NERDS series, and Dan Santat, author-illustrator of Sidekicks, comes this hilarious picture book starring Kel Gilligan (a.k.a. “The Boy Without Fear”) that encourages kids to laugh at their fears and celebrates the bravery it takes to try new things no matter how ordinary. Narrated by Kel himself as he attempts his “stunts” with Evel Knievel–like flair, the story unfolds as a performance in which readers themselves become part of the audience, encouraging Kel to get dressed all by himself (without a net!), eat new foods like broccoli (eww!), and take a bath (gasp!). Bold, interactive, and downright silly, this is a book to make kids cheer and attempt some “stunts” of their own.
Hit the Road, Jack:

In this delightful picture book, loosely inspired by Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, a scat-singing, bebopping jackrabbit travels across the United States and marvels at all the wonders that the country reveals—from hopping on the subway in New York City to playing a jukebox in Chicago, and from gazing at Mount Rushmore to crossing the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Written in the rhythm and spirit of Beat poetry, Hit the Road, Jack is an exuberant story of experiencing all the country has to offer with wide-eyed awe.
Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox:
In this humorous twist on a classic tale, Paul Bunyan and his best friend, Babe the Blue Ox, leave life on the farm to work for a logger who pays them with their favorite thing: pancakes! Paul and Babe tromp across the country with the logger, filling valleys with pancake batter (forming the Rocky Mountains) and chasing down pancakes blown away by the wind (creating the Grand Canyon). But when Babe starts to feel sick from eating too many pancakes, the two realize that maybe the farm, with its variety of foods, is really the best place for them after all.
My mom was a particular fan of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, and my kids thought Kel Gilligan's Daredevil Stunt Show was pretty fabulous. Since they got Kel Gilligan, they ask anyone who walks into our home to read it to them. Repeatedly. My aunt visited last week and ended up reading it to them twice in the space of a few minutes.  It is a very funny book, with lots of jokes for the adults as well as for the kids. Paul Bunyan is also a fun story and is very well-written. Hit the Road, Jack is more like a song or a poem than just a story, and I thought it was a fun tribute to travel and to the United States. 

These three books are all nicely written and illustrated and would be a great collection to any child's library.

Disclosure: I received these books to review for myself. I was not compensated in any other way and all opinions posted here are mine and mine alone.