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Welcome to ReadThatAgain.com, a just-for-fun website reviewing a bunch of children's books that our family has enjoyed over the last few years. We try to find fun, intelligent, well-crafted books, but most importantly, books that kids like! Hopefully you'll find these reviews useful... Please feel free to comment on the site or send recommendations for books we may have missed... In the meantime, enjoy!

This is the first page of books written by authors under the letter "L"

Kids Books -- "L" By Author

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"Space Boy"
Written by Leo Landry
Illustrated by Leo Landry
(Houghton Mifflin, 2007)

One night, when little Nicholas is about to go to sleep, he finds himself bothered by all the noise around him -- a baby crying in the other room, the cars toot-tooting outside, his dog barking at the door -- who can relax with all that going on?? So, Nicholas packs a lunch, puts on his NASA regulation space suit, hops in his rocket and heads for the moon, to get a little peace and quiet. It works pretty well-- his sandwiches drift away in the low gravity, but at least it's quiet up there. Of course, it may be too quiet: after a while, Nicholas feels lonely and even misses the sound of the baby crying, so he packs his tuff up again and zooms back home. A goofy, likable fantasy, although on balance it doesn't really stick to the ribs. (B-)

Lena & Olof Landstrom -- see author profile

"Snowbaby Could Not Sleep"
Written by Kara LaReau
Illustrated by Jim Ishikawa
(Little Brown, 2005)

A very cute book about sleep issues.. Snowbaby is a little snowman whose parents try their best to get him to go to sleep... Their solutions feature cute try-and-get-him-colder ideas, like piling another blanket of snow on top of his bed, giving him an extra-icy glass of water, singing him Christmas carols, etc. When all that fails, they come up with an even better idea: giving Snowbaby a "toy" animal to snuggle with, in this case a snowman-style puppy that Snowbaby "helps" go to sleep -- singing to it, giving it more blanket, etc. The story is clever and well-played, and the artwork is very friendly, clear and funny. Nice sleepytime book -- nice for winter lovers as well! (B)

"Sophie And Rose"
Written by Kathryn Lasky
Illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin
(Candlewick, 1998)

A slightly troubling exploration of the love between a child and a doll... Poking around in the attic, a girl named Sophie finds her mother's old doll, a porcelain-faced, gingham-dressed antique that she adopts and renames Rose. She bonds tightly with the doll, but, being forgetful and unused to fragile, old-fashioned toys, she damages it in various slight ways. The narrative is compelling, and theme of how children can test out love and responsibility through an intense relationship with a doll or stuffed animal is explored with great sensitivity... However, some of the scenes showing the hardships Rose endures along the way -- losing one of her button eyes, getting left out all night, etc., may be a bit disturbing to younger readers. (C+)

"Love That Baby"
Written by Kathryn Lasky
Illustrated by Jennifer Plecas
(Candlewick, 2004)

A what-to-expect, how-to manual for little kids (and maybe new parents) in a household about to recieve a new baby. Do they drool? Why, yes they do. Poop? Yup, that too. What do you do when they cry? Oh, all kinds of things! The book also suggests some games you can play and behavior you can expect... The text is a bit thick, but it's still a cute book, and could be useful to help explain what's going on, or about to happen when you get that little bundle o' joy. (B)

"The Owl And The Pussycat"
Written by Edward Lear
Illustrated by James Marshall
(Harper Collins, 1998)

A really fun book. Lear's beloved nonsense poem is vividly and joyously brought to life by children's book author James Marshall (known for his James & Martha and Stupids series....) There are several picturebook adaptations of this same text, but this is the best one I've seen... It's just so readable and visually appealing! Recommended! (A+)

"The Very Kind Rich Lady And Her One Hundred Dogs"
Written by Chinlun Lee
Illustrated by Chinlun Lee
(Candlewick, 2001)

A funny, goofy story about a woman who has one hundred dogs... Well, "story" may not be the right word for it, since the main point of this book is simply going through and naming each and every one of the dogs (and that takes a long time!), along with a quick runthough of the activities involved with taking care of so many pooches. Not much of a plot, nor much personality comes through... Nonetheless, the combination of dozens of deftly rendered, frisky critters and their gazillion fanciful names makes this a nice, quick read... The sounds flow quickly by and you can have fun pointing out individual dogs and trying to find them later on other pages. But beyond that, there really isn't much to this book -- it just is what it is: a lighthearted lark, and nothing more. This probably isn't for everyone, but for the right readers, it'll be lots of fun. I liked it, particularly the artwork, although it took a couple of tries before my daughter really warmed up to it. Afterwards, though, she'd really get into it and request it at storytime... (B)

"While We Were Out"
Written by Ho Baek Lee
Illustrated by Ho Baek Lee
(Kane Miller, 2003)

An oddball story about a mischievous rabbit -- a family pet -- that sneaks into the apartment when the family is away... The bunny raids the fridge, watches TV and plays with all the toys, then gets up early in the morning to slip back onto the porch where it lives, confident that the humans will suspect nothing. The book ends on a silly, scatological note, as these plans are undone because of the little poop pellets the excited little bunny left behind. Cute book -- originally published in South Korea, it has some added Asian touches, such as the traditional childrens' clothes that the bunny dresses up in and some of the writing on various items inside the house. (B-)

"Please, Baby, Please"
Written by Spike Lee & Tonya Lewis Lee
Illustrated by Kadir Nelson
(Simon & Schuster, 2002)

Riffing on the memorable tagline of his feature debut, She's Gotta Have It, film director Spike Lee makes a good-natured, engaging foray into the world of kid's lit. In this case, the "please baby" pleading isn't to have sex, but rather to get a tireless toddler to comply with her parent's wishes. The hyperrealistic artwork verges on being garish, and some parents may cringe at seeing (and showing) a little girl running roughshod over her household (getting out of bed at 3:00am, writing on the walls, etc.) But it's still pretty cute, and obviously derived from the Lee's real-life experience and their affection for their kids: parents who have had similar trials and tribulations will get a kick out of this book, as will any child who has a wild side, and appreciates it when art mirrors life. Worth checking out. (B-)

"Please, Puppy, Please"
Written by Spike Lee & Tonya Lewis Lee
Illustrated by Kadir Nelson
(Simon & Schuster, 2002)

A near note-for-note repeat of Please, Baby, Please, this time trying to get a puppy to behave... (B-)

"The Red Book"
Written by Barbara Lehman
Illustrated by Barbara Lehman
(Houghton Mifflin, 2004)
A fantastical story -- told without text, so you have to make up the narration -- of a schoolchild who finds a magical red book that opens a window into a world of imagination and constantly-shifting changes of perspective and geography. It's derivative of Istvan Bayani's Zoom, which was written earlier and (in my opinion) is more intricate and engaging. (Not that Bayani invented infinity books, or anything -- I just like his book better.) Anyway, this is okay, but it's a little awkward, not all of the transitions are that easy to follow. (B-)

"The Other Dog"
Written by Madeline L'Engle
Illustrated by Christine Davenier
(Sea Star, 2001)

Sibling rivalry, as seen through the eyes of the household dog, in this case, Touche L'Engle, a beloved pooch owned by the author of the famed "Wrinkle In Time" children's sci-fi series. The story is told in the first person from the canine point of view, with Touche deciding that the little bundle the humans have brought home must be another, inferior dog... Over the course of the book, the precocious poodle grows accustomed to the baby, and finally decides she really does like it, although she still thinks it's a dog. It's a clever concept, but the text could have used a lot of paring down -- the glib, gabby, humorous prose just goes on and on, and I imagine most children will zone out on it after a while, as we did. Perhaps L'Engle was a little too close to the subject, and found it hard to tone down the strong personality of her old pet -- the result is a book that's charming, but a bit dense and repetitive. A mixed bag.

"Cowboy Small"
Written by Lois Lenski
Illustrated by Lois Lenski
(Random House, 1949)

Old-fashioned, yet oddly alluring, Lois Lenski's books featuring a little guy named Small have an enduring charm for modern readers. This volume features Small out on the range, ropin' and ridin' with a bunch of cowpokes, with his trusty horse Cactus all saddled up and ready to go. The book gives a brief but fairly accurate view of life on a ranch -- indeed, the page where Small ties and brands a calf may be a little shocking to city kids today (we used to skip it every time we read this to our little cowgirl...) Nice for kids who like horses and cowboys -- also includes a diagram explaining the all horse tack, and a short glossary of cowboy lingo. (B)

"K Is For Kitten"
Written by Niki Clark Leopold
Illustrated by Susan Jeffers
(Putnam, 2002)

One of our favorite alphabet books! This is largely because of the lovely artwork by Susan Jeffers (we're big fans) and also because of the strength of the writing, as well as the overall kitty-cattishness of the whole book. K Is For Kitten is also notable for being am alphabet book with a coherent narrative -- an actual beginning, middle and end -- deftly told through the course of its twenty-six character arc. It tells the tale of a little stray cat, Miss Rosie, who is rescued from an alley ("A"), brought home, fed and protected by a little girl and her family. Her main protector turns out to be the family dog, Amos, a gentle old hound who saves Rosie from mischief and mishaps, and also calmly endures the bites and pounces that come with having a little kitten in the house. The ending -- with the three of them, the little girl, the kitten and dog, all curling up to sleep together -- is one of the sweetest scenes in any of the books we've read. Rosie's rambunctiousness and the richly detailed artwork will give you lots to talk about -- in panel after panel, Jeffers catches the true essence of her subjects, and makes you believe in the reality of what you see. Recommended! (A)

"Emma's Lamb"
Written by Kim Lewis
Illustrated by Kim Lewis
(McMillan, 1991)
British author Kim Lewis specializes in realistic representations of traditional farm life in the English countryside; many of Lewis' books have a somewhat severe character to them, an anti-sentimentalism which not only acknowledges, but emphasizes the unbendable realities of farm life. This one's kind of an exception to the rule, though, a cute, comedic story about a little girl who is given a stray lamb to watch over while her father looks for the missing ewe. Emma thinks the lamb would make a nice pet and that she could take care of it herself... She plays with it as though it were a dolly, but eventually realizes that (A)

Written by Kim Lewis
Illustrated by Kim Lewis
(Walker, 1992)
One of the classic Kim Lewis books, but also one of the more bummerly. Floss is a sweet sheepdog who has ben raised in town, where he plays with the local children and is generally quite content. For unexplained reasons, Floss' owner decides to give him to one of his sons, who has a sheep ranch in the country, and Floss is soon reprimanded for being playful, even when he is not herding the flock. Later the farmer relents and allows Floss to play with the children again, but the emotional tone is kind of harsh. Really little kids won't get what's going on, or why the doggie is being yelled at... I'm not sure I do, either. Beautiful artwork, though! (B-)

"Little Puppy"
Written by Kim Lewis
Illustrated by Kim Lewis
(Walker Books, 2001)
One of the nicest and simplest of Kim Lewis' farm books set in the English countryside. None of the too-realistic severity of the author's other books is present in this slim volume, making it ideal for the smallest of readers. A little girl named Katie visits a newborn litter of puppies and falls in love with the first one to open its eyes. The story is sweet, simple and short, almost like a haiku, and lends itself to being read again and again. Perfectly captures the magic of a small child learning about baby animals. Recommended! (A)

"Little Baa"
Written by Kim Lewis
Illustrated by Kim Lewis
(Candlewick, 2001)
A frisky young lamb and his mother get separated while grazing in a large field -- when the shepard notices the ewe (named "Ma") looking for her baby ("Baa") he treks across the pasture to find the little lost lamb. And the dog he takes with him? Why, it's none other than our friend, Floss! Beautiful, pastoral artwork which may stand in lulling contrast to the underlying anxiety of the story... But the pages turn quickly and the happy ending comes soon, so there's not really much opportunity for kids to get too freaked out about the mother-child separation issues. Nice book. (B)

Written by Kim Lewis
Illustrated by Kim Lewis
(Barefoot Books, 2001)

A gentle, realistic exploration of negative emotions and how friends fight and make up again. A young girl visits a friend who lives on a farm... While she's there, the boy hears on of their chickes lay an egg and the children go into the coop to find the newly-laid egg. At first they are excited about it, but then, after a brief struggle over who gets to keep the egg, it falls and breaks, and the two children feel angry and upset. Fortunately, another hen lays a new egg and they realize they don't have to fight with each other after all. I avoided this one at the library for a couple of years, because I didn't want to get into such an upsetting storyline, but once it seemed age-appropriate, we checked it out and it got a good reception. The story is compelling, the actual fighting part doesn't last long and the peaceful resolution comes quickly, and -- as with all of Lewis' books -- the artwork is quite lovely. If you're ready for it, this is quite a nice book, easily understood and easy to talk about. (A)

Written by Rob Lewis
Illustrated by Rob Lewis
(Henry Holt & Co., 1999)

An I-told-you-so story for kids who are having trouble socializing. A little rabbit lad named Oscar moves to a new neighborhood but has a hard time making friends because he is too grumpy about doing the things the other kids want to do... He wants to swim and only to swim, and none of their pastimes interest him. After a couple of lonely days, though, he realizes that you have to give a little and compromise to make friendships work. The moral and the story are both a little blunt, but the message is pretty useful... The book is fairly artless, but there's a happy ending, and some of the bunnies are kind of cute. Whether your budding little misanthrope will be won over by the semi-preachy tone or not is probably up in the air: it's pretty easy to see through the author's agenda, and a half-smart kid might be a little resistant to the indoctrination. Still, can't hurt to try. (B-)

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