Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Funny Little Woman

Written by: Arlene Mosel

First line: Long ago, in Old Japan, there lived a funny little woman who liked to laugh, "Tee-he-he-he," and who liked to make dumplings out of rice.

Why you should read this book: Originally published over forty years ago, this small and wonderful fairy tale still has the power to delight. A woman who doesn't seem to take anything seriously blunders into mortal danger and uses the power of not really caring very much to defeat a legion of terrible demons and make off with a magical artifact. Great fun for reading aloud, with eerie-funny illustrations that heighten the sense of tension unfelt by the protagonist.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You are serious about stranger danger.


Written by: Tomie de Paola

First line: Tommy's grandfather always used to say, "We're named after each other, Tommy."

Why you should read this book: The special relationship between a small boy and a loving grandfather comprises this charming memoir about a couple of cut-ups and the trouble that a love of pranks and access to the butcher's discard pile can cause. Big Tom is a joker, but he probably doesn't anticipate the shenanigans that Little Tommy will find himself in when his grandfather shows him the world of possibilities inherent in a couple of chicken feet. A rollicking story that throws small children into paroxysms of laughter.

Why you shouldn't read this book: Fear of meat.

Because of Winn-Dixie

Written by: Kate DiCamillo

First line: My name is India Opal Buloni, and last summer my daddy, the preacher, sent me to the store for a box of macaroni-and-cheese, some white rice, and two tomatoes and I came back with a dog.

Why you should read this book: A friendly dog is Opal's entry into a social life in her new home of Naomi, Florida, as well as a way into a new place in her father's confidence and regard. Loving a needy creature gives her the courage to ask her distant father to tell her ten things about the mother who abandoned her, and make friends with some rather unlikely characters, all of whom live with their own loneliness until Winn-Dixie helps bring them all together. This quiet, beautiful slice-of-life book tells the truth about children and adults, about love and loss, and about the social infrastructure that is created when the right elements come together in conviviality and joy.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You would take that mangy mutt to the pound and doom your daughter to a life of loneliness.

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened

Written by: Allie Brosh

First line: It seems like there should be some sort of introduction to this.

Why you should read this book: Most Internet-savvy people are probably familiar with Allie Brosh, who published a completely random and intentionally badly-drawn comic featuring hilarious stories from her life, fell suddenly prey to the blackest depression, and then, still depressed, drew two comics about depression that are now held up as some of the best discussions of mental illness on the Internet. This book includes those comics, many other comics, some of which are not available online, and some other textual stuff. A fast, funny, real, touching, smart, and emotional book.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You will brook no insult to our canid friends, no matter how silly a dog might be. Also, you believe that Allie has always love hot sauce.