Hi there... This is the fourth page of the Letter "T" 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 -- "T" By Title
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"Tickle, Tickle"
"Clap Hands"
"All Fall Down"
"Say Goodnight"
Written by Helen Oxenbury
Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
(Little Brown, 1987)

I absolutely loathe this four-book series, but little babies love it, and my wife says I am forbidden to say bad things about these medium-sized board books. She calls them "baby crack," and says they're great. Personally, I can't stand reading them -- they're just so brainless and ooey-gooey, each one built around four two-page spreads that illustrate a mind-numbingly simple, four-line poem. For example, the entire text to Tickle, Tickle reads, "Squelch, squelch, in the mud/splish, splash, scrub-a-dub/gently, gently brush your hair/tickle, tickle under there..." Or, there's the companion piece, All Fall Down which goes, "Singing all together/running round and round/bouncy, bouncy, on the bed/all fall down..." Oxenbury's art is wonderful, but god are the stories dull! Also, while it's on the plus side that the little babies in the book are admirably multicultural, I get kinda confused about the adult caretakers. The adults are also ethnically diverse -- Asian, African-American, Latino and white -- but in addition to taking care of the babies during the day, they all seem to be living with the children as well, bathing them, putting them to sleep in full beds, etc. So what's the deal? Is this a commune? Super-boundariless co-housing? The world's cuddliest childcare co-op? Hard to tell. It's the sort of thing that keeps me up at night.
(Grade -- Me: (C-)
(The rest of the world: (A)

"The Tiger Who Came To Tea"
Written by Judith Kerr
Illustrated by Judith Kerr
(Harper Collins, 1968)

An odd, absurd, and distinctly British story about a tiger who comes to tea and eats everything in the house... He even laps up all the water in the taps, so that no one can take a bath! That's all very well and fine as far as little Sophie is concerned; she and her mother play hosts to the giant, smiling tiger and buy a tin of tiger food, hoping for him to return. Although the artwork is a bit stiff, small children will love the sight of the giant tiger, voraciously eating everything in reach, while Sophie follows him around gazing adoringly, or reaching out to pat his tail. The storytelling and art may be a little dated, but this book still has some magic. (B)

"Time For Ballet"
Written by Adele Geras
Illustrated by Shelagh McNichols
(Penguin-Dial Books, 2004)

A young girl name Tilly goes to her last ballet lesson before the big class performance that all the parents and grandparents come to see... In the show, she dances dressed as a cat, and her dad praises her afterwards, saying he thought she was a real kitty cat... This book fills much the same need as Patricia Lee Gauch's Tanya series, but it's a little less severe and a little more celebratory. If you just want to encourage your child's interest in dancing, this is a fine, fun volume to read. Uncomplicated and joyful, this is a pretty nice book. Shows a boy dancing, too, if that helps. (A)

"Time To Get Up, Time To Go"
Written by David Milgrim
Illustrated by David Milgrim
(Clarion, 2006)

A really cute little book about a boy who spends the whole day taking care of his doll the way a parent would -- feeding it, dressing it, putting it in a stroller, taking it to the park, bathing with it, putting it to bed. Nice, light touch on the gender issues: yes, it's a boy playing with a doll and being all nurturing and cute, but the best part is that the text doesn't make a big, explicit point about it. We just see the boy doing all kinds of fun stuff and are left to draw our own conclusions. I like the artwork (friendly, direct, effective) and the text, too, which has an uncomplicated, simple rhyming structure. All in all -- recommended! (You could also read this along with William's Doll, if you wanted to hammer the gender stuff home.) (B+)

"Time To Say Goodnight"
Written by Sally Lloyd-Jones
Illustrated by Jane Chapman
(Harper Collins, 2006)

A sweet, simple goodnight-little-animals book, with rhyming text and pretty, pastoral pictures... Very similar to Mem Fox's Time For Bed, with all the baby animals in the forest going to bed at the same time as the little kid at the end of the book. This has the added charm of Jane Chapman's ever-appealing illustration style: the text scans well, but also, who can resist all those smiley-faced, cartoony critters with the little India-ink dot eyes? A nice one! (B+)

"Time To Pee"
Written by Mo Willems
Illustrated by Mo Willems
(Hyperion, 2003)

A primer about going potty... I wanted to read it, but it's the kind of book you don't exactly want to buy used or get from the library. Now it's too late -- we already learned how to use the potty. Oh, well! I'm sure it's both hilarious and useful. (-)

"Time To Say 'Please' "
Written by Mo Willems
Illustrated by Mo Willems
(Hyperion, 2005)

A little girl wants a cookie out of the cookie jar, and so do the household mice (a couple of dozen of them) and they teach her how to use good manners to get what she wants... She gets daddy to give her a goodie, and then the mice turn their attention to the little girl, asking her, "please, please, please" too, until she shares her cookie with them. A nice primer on manners -- nice sense of humor, although I have to admit it was a little hard to get a handle on the text and find the "right" way to read it, so that the rhythm of the words matched the giddiness of the illustrations. (B)

"Time To Wake Up!"
Written by Marisabina Russo
Illustrated by Marisabina Russo
(Greenwillow, 1994)

A very cute book wherein Sam and his mother play a teasing wake-up game when he tries to stay cuddled under the covers and she tries to get him up and ready for school. A good-humored portrait of a tender, loving mother-son relationship, with little shared jokes and friendly, genuine warmth between then two. Appealling, cartoonish pictures and funny back-and-forth dialogue which will draw in young readers and weary parents alike. (This could also be interpreted as a single-parenting book, since no Daddy is in sight...) Recommended! (A-)

"Tippy-Tippy-Tippy, Hide!"
Written by Candace Fleming
Illustrated by Brian Karas
(Simon & Schuster/Atheneum, 2007)

In this sequel to 2002's Muncha Muncha Muncha, the three mischievous rabbits continue their campaign to torment the super-grumpy Mr. McGreely. It's winter, and the previously contested vegetable garden has gone to seed, but as the chilly winds start to blow the widdle wabbits want to come in from the cold. Oh, did I start to slip into an Elmer Fudd accent? Well, no wonder, since Mr. McGreely is the most Fuddian book character in years -- no matter that the rabbits do, he totally blows his stack and overcompensates by sealing his chimney, nailing his windows shut and bricking up his door, in an effort to keep them out. He's not a particularly likable character, nor are the rabbits, who don't get any lines, ala Bugs Bunny, and do, in all fairness, seem to get out to drive McGreely nuts. Although the wordplay and soundplay isn't as fun as the first installment, this is an okay book, a favorite for lots of folks, and one that was requested several times here, as well. (B-)

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