Sunday, September 28, 2014

Mouse's Corner: Library Favorites


Fire Engine for Ruthie by Lesléa Newman, Illustrated by Cyd Moore
Clarion Books, 2004
Fiction (Children's); 32 pgs

I think I loved this book more than my daughter did, although she did enjoy the story.  It's just that my daughter is very much a girl who loves dolls and dress up and tea parties.  She also enjoys playing with fire engines and trains too though, so she does not quite understand why anyone would not want to play with them ALL.  

Fire Engine for Ruthie is about a little girl who is visiting her grandmother.  Her grandmother has such wonderful plans for the two of them, only Ruthie, on a walk with her grandmother, sees a neighbor boy, Brian, playing with a fire truck. She plays at home with her grandmother, only she'd much rather be playing with the fire truck.  On and on it goes until one day the grandmother asks Ruthie what she wants to do. Ruthie asks if she can play with Brian--and off they go.   

What I liked about this story most is that it shows a girl who doesn't necessarily like to play designated girl games or with girl oriented toys. It's okay for a girl to want to play with trucks and motorcycles and trains!  And some do. I like that Ruthie doesn't fit into that stereotype of a girly girl--and I think a lot of other girls (and boys) would be able to relate to Ruthie's character.

I especially loved the way Ruthie turned her grandmother's games of dress up and dolls and the tea party into a game she could enjoy--even if it wasn't what the grandmother had envisioned.  It showed imagination and outside the box thinking.

I admit I wish the book ended sooner than it did.  At the risk of spoiling the book, the grandmother at the end takes Ruthie to the store to buy the toys Ruthie wants.  I would rather the book have ended a couple pages earlier--with the grandmother playing with Ruthie and the neighbor boy.  I think the message would have been just as powerful.


The illustrations are eye catching, not to mention well done.  Mouse loved picking out various details on the pages.

Fire Engine for Ruthie is a fun story, one I think will especially appeal to young children who don't always (or at all) fit into stereotypical behavior when it comes to play.

To learn more about author Lesléa Newman and her work, please visit her website
To learn more about illustrator Cyd Moore and his work, please visit his website

Source: We read this book at the public library.



Chalk by Bill Thomson
Two Lions, 2010
Fiction; 40 pgs

Mouse and I are of the same mind when it comes to Bill Thomson's Chalk.  It's is one of our favorites.  After the first couple readings of this one at the library, Mouse begged her dad and I to buy it for her.  We haven't yet, but we did check it out of the library.


The illustrations are amazing.  They are very detailed and realistic.  I like that the children are of different races.  Most of all, I love the story this book tells--all without words.  It's the story of three children who are walking in the rain.  They come across a gift bag full of chalk, hanging from the mouth of a dinosaur at the park.  Each of the children takes a piece of chalk and draws a different picture.  The first girl draws the sun--and magically, the sun raises from the ground and into the sky, chasing away the rain clouds.  The second girl draws butterflies and soon the children are surrounded by the beautiful butterflies.  The boy decide to draw a dinosaur who comes to life--and scares them, forcing them to hide in the park.  

It's a beautiful story about the magic of our imaginations and problem solving. Mouse enjoys telling her dad and I the story just as much as we enjoy telling it to her. I can't recommend this book enough.

To learn more about author Bill Thomson and his work, please visit his website

Source: We checked this book out from our local public library (after reading it a few times at the actual library)




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14 comments:

  1. I was one of those girls who didn't really care for dolls and enjoyed playing with cars and trucks so A Fire Engine for Ruthie really appeals to me. Chalk looks gorgeous!

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    1. Kathy - I was more like my daughter in some ways, but I also had a brother and so we often played with his toys just as much as mine. Mouse has access to boy, girl and neutral toys. It's been interesting to see which way she naturally gravitates towards. I'm sure daycare has played a part in that too though. It's hard not to be influenced by friends.

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  2. Thinking back to my childhood I can safely say that my (naughty) little sister would certainly have liked Fire Engine for Ruthie more than me. A great way for my great-nephews though at just one Elf may well be too little yet.

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    1. Tracy - It was a fun book. My daughter leans more towards the girl-oriented stuff at this point, although it really does depend on her mood.

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  3. :) Neither of my girls much cared for dolls, although they did go through phases of wanting something they saw advertised. Bryce Eleanor will have nothing to do with a human face, she only wants animals--dogs, ponies, and recently, dragons.

    Love seeing the books Mouse enjoys and having a chance to see some of the wonderful illustrations!

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    1. Jenclair - I tried to steer Mouse away from dolls early on, but it was no good. LOL

      Bryce Eleanor, I didn't want anything with a human face growing up either. It was all about animals. :-)

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  4. These two books sound great. I think my youngest will enjoy Fire Engine for Ruthie. That sounds like a fun read.

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    1. Melody - It was a fun read. I do wish it had ended a bit differently, but that's just my personal bias. :-)

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  5. Oh I think the Tornado would love Chalk. He really likes looking at books on his own but he gets frustrated because he can't quite read yet so we've been doing a lot of picture books. I think he'd like the silly adventure of this one. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Katherine - I have a feeling I'll end up buying a copy of Chalk because we love it so much. It was funny because I tried to change the story up a bit the other day when "reading" Chalk to Mouse, and she got upset with me. "That's not how it goes, Mama!" They have such good memories. :-)

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  6. These sound delightful! Good picks Mouse (FYI my little miss is certainly no miss. She loves trucks planes and cars as well as dinosaurs which are good for chewing on apparently)

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    1. Mandy - Yes, dinosaurs are great for chewing on. LOL Mouse had a bad dream the night before last, so last night when she was going to bed, I told her to dream of her favorite things. Her list included flowers and rainbows and dresses and her dump truck.

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  7. Gage visited our local fire station today for their open house. Jason said he spent most of his time in the bounce house, haha. I'll have to look for Chalk!

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    1. Gage - How fun! I want to take Mouse on a tour of a fire station. She always seems to fascinated with them when we see one on the street. :-)

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