Hi there... This is the third page of the Letter "S" in an alphabetical list of children's books reviewed on ReadThatAgain.com... All these books are also listed by Author in another section of the site.

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Kids Books -- "S" By Title
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"Sing, Sophie!"
Written by Gayle Anne Dodds
Illustrated by Rosanne Litzinger
(Candlewick, 1999)

Yee-haww...!!! Though sadly out of print, this cowgirl comedy is worth tracking down, as it has a lively text and provides plenty of opportunity for parents and caregivers to sing as badly as they want. Little Sophie Adams has a song inside her that's just got to come out -- too bad no one in her family wants to hear it! They keep shoo-ing her from place to place, telling her to stop her "caterwauling" and give them some peace and quiet. She dutifully moves along, muttering folksy oaths ("Oh, fiddle-faddle!") and coming up with ever-more silly verses. Good story, with nice, fun artwork... And, of course, Sophie is eventually vindicated: her family eventually comes around and find they really can't live without her songs after all, then Sophie gets to yodel all she wants. Cute. It's nice, too, that although this is a "country" book, the author avoids hillbilly stereotypes and always uses proper grammar. (Thank you, Ms. Dodds!) (A)

Written by Elizabeth Winthrop
Illustrated by Sarah Wilson
(Harper & Row, 1989)

A simple, down-to-basics celebration of sledding in the snow. Two little kids dress up in their boots, jackets, scarves and caps, then go out, climb a snowy hillside and zoom down it in their sled. Nothing super-special, but a nice read, nonetheless. Can I take my turn next?? (B-)

"Sleep Tight, Ginger Kitten"
Written by Adele Geras
Illustrated by Catherine Walters
(Penguin/Dutton, 2001)

A sweet story about a little orange tabby cat who prowls about the garden and house looking for a good place to take a nap. There's always something a little wrong with every place he tries -- door open on him, insects distract him, etc. finally he finds the perfect spot: a nice, warm lap. Warm, well-studied illustrations and a cute, but not-too-cloying narrative. Cat lovers will enjoy this book a lot. (B)

"Sleepy Book"
Written by Charlotte Zolotow
Illustrated by Stefano Vitale
(Harper Collins, 2001)

A lovely going-to-bed book, with a gentle, lulling, almost haiku-like text discussing how various animals fall asleep, culminating with a human child, tucked in bed. While the text is quite nice, it's the artwork that's most striking here, beautiful paintings laid atop a wooden canvas, so that you can see the grain of the wood underneath every panel... It's an unusual and distinctive style. All in all, a very classy book. (A)

"Sleepy Me"
Written by Marni McGee
Illustrated by Sam Williams
(Simon & Schuster, 2001)

Written in simple, dreamy phrases, this book shows a little girl getting tired and going to sleep. The artwork is appealing, although the tone of the text is a bit too sugary-sweet. A nice sleepytime book, though somewhat cloying and precious, and no real plot. This met with a muted, somewhat polite response. Probably best suited to really small kids and infants. (Followed by a second book, Wake Up Me, which I like a little better.) (B-)

"Slinky Malinki"
Written by Lynley Dodd
Illustrated by Mallinson Rendel
(Gareth Stevens, 1991)

My favorite cat name to recite from Hairy Maclary, Scattercat has always been "Slinky Malinki..." Turns out I am not alone, and Lynley Dodd graduated the ebony meowser from footnote to full-on protagonist, with a series of his own.... This is the first volume of the S. Malinki saga, in which a kleptomaniac kitty-cat goes prowling through the neighborhood, kiping old gloves, sneakers and bits of string. When his pile of trashy treasures topples over at home, Slinky's secret is discovered, and he has to quit his klepto ways. Once again, Lynley Dodd's artwork is a delight, and the bouncy rhymes propel us along as well. A fun book, even if the protagonist is a sneak thief... (PS: Thanks to the folks from Tricycle Press for reprinting these wonderful, daft gems!)

"Slinky Malinki, Open The Door"
Written by Lynley Dodd
Illustrated by Lynley Dodd
(Gareth Stevens, 1993)

Slinky learns how to master the doorknob... One of the great developmental milestones in any kitty's life! His partner in mischief is a parrot named Stickybeak Syd, who helps Slinky topple furniture, unravel scarves, tip over vases and generally wreak havoc. Now, my wife actually had a black cat who could open doors (her cohort was a golden retriever) and I'm told that this book is entirely true to life... And the big twist at the end? The humans don't come back and put an end to the hijinks! Once again, Dodd crafts a nice, fun book, with a rollicking plot and an effective rhyme... If your kid values meyhem, this is definitely worth checking out!

"Slinky Malinki -- Catflaps"
Written by Lynley Dodd
Illustrated by Mallinson Rendel
(Gareth Stevens, 1998)

The cats from Hairy Maclary, Scattercat return -- with a few new additions, such as the Pappadum Kittens -- to join Slinky in a midnight seranade. The neighbors don't appreciate it, though, and after a bit of yelling and shushing, the cat choir retires to Slinky's house, to sit by the fire. Another nice one from Lynley Dodd; if your child likes to memorize characters and lists, this one's a winner. And great artwork, too, as usual.

"Slippers At Home"
Written by Andrew Clements
Illustrated by Janie Bynum
(Dutton Books, 2004)

A cutesy, but not overly cloying story of a bright-eyed, happy little puppy (named Slippers) who loves all the humans in his house -- the mommy, the daddy, the young girl and the toddler, Edward, whom he likes to play tug-of-war with, using doggie toys and old socks. The story is told from Slippers' point of view, and the narrative conceit does get a little precious at times (Slippers smells his way around the house; some of the wording is a little bit weird, like when the puppy calls the girl's bedroom her "place," etc...) But overall this is a nice book; nothing violent or weird, just a white, apple-cheeked, middle-class family, as seen through the eyes of their dog. This doesn't speak to great artistic depths, but it's an okay, innocuous read. (B-)

"Slippers At School"
Written by Andrew Clements
Illustrated by Janie Bynum
(Dutton Books, 2004)

There's more action -- and more comedy -- as Slippers climbs into Laura's backpack and stows away to her first day at school. He romps around from classroom to classroom, and even gets spotted by the principal, before sneaking back into the bag and making it back home. It's meant to be a rollicking good time, and probably is, for the right kids. We liked this book okay, though the characters aren't really strong enough to capture your imagination. (Also see: Naptime For Slippers, from 2005.) (B-)

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