The Columbia Journal
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Vancouver, British Columbia,
Canada V6B 3W8
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ISSN 1712-3763

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Volume Ten, Number One   January 2005

TheoTheo’s picks

a view from 3 years, 6 months

Buying books for kids is just one way to make them happy readers. The library is another. Every week Theo travels to the library to pick up another 10-20 books, and of those, the best are sought out and bought. Here are the best from the last few months – witches, ghosts, monsters, picky eating, and babies crawling in trees.

Piggie PiePiggie Pie!        By Margie Palatini, Illustrated by Howard Fine
The paintings in Piggie Pie! come alive at every page with emotion, perspective, blazing colour, and crazy humour. The words demand to be read in fantastic and kooky voices, while Theo grins and picks away at the corner of the next page. A hungry witch finds a farm in the yellow pages, flies in, and demands the pigs surrender. They dress up and hide as other animals while she interrogates them as to “Where are the Piggies?”  Devoured nightly over 130 bowls of spaghetti.

Operation GhostOperation Ghost        By Jacques Duquennoy
Theo loves ghosts. Especially the hilarious ones, and Henry the ghost is at the top of the list. After getting measles, more sickness, a broken arm, and lots of band-aids, Henry falls asleep while hiking and needs an operation to replace his “internal clock”. Operation Ghost is 47 pages of a great read, a real story, and lots of explaining, i.e. how do scissors cut open a ghost, and what is surgical thread, and Why Why WHY? Ghosts can get boo-boos and can get sick in this book, and do get better, and why not? Read during 99 servings of black olives.

The Story of Frog Belly Rat BoneThe Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone        By Timothy Basil Ering
There are few books out there that are completely original, absolutely engrossing, and have compelling original artwork: this is one. The paintings are surreal, the story a wild post-apocalyptic children’s yarn, and the words magic. A special boy looks for a treasure in Cementland, finds it, and creates the monster Frog Belly Rat Bone to protect it while the treasure grows and then erupts into flowers and colours that transform Cementland into a happy place. An eco-friendly journey that Theo finds newness in every time. Read during 140 pieces of cheese toast.

The Day The Babies Crawled AwayThe Day The Babies Crawled Away    By Peggy Rathmann
The Day the Babies Crawled Away is a story told completely in silhouette, like a shadow play, where Theo’s imagination creates the textures and detail. This excellent book is perfect for an older sibling who dreams of the baby leaving and getting into trouble, but also secretly yearns to be the protector. The babies in question steal away from a picnic, crawl into the trees, into a bog, into a cave, and a little child follows, saves them, feeds them, and returns them to fireworks and celebrations. The words tumble along in sweet rhyme. Read while 50 bowls of ice cream were slurped down and 250 babies were saved.
Alvie Eats Soup
Alvie Eats Soup        By Ross Collins
A perfect companion for the picky eater, Alvie Eats Soup is all about Alvie only eating soup and nothing but soup, and who needs recipes of soup read to him at night to put him to sleep. Chaos ensues when a visit is announced from Granny Fanny, a famous chef. A delightfully absurd but strangely realistic comic, with as much or more humour in it for the struggling parent as for the reader. A picky eater, Theo ate up every page, and asked for seconds. 138 bowls eaten and 138 recipes read.

Today’s picks:
Piggie Pie!        By Margie Palatini, Illustrated by Howard Fine
Operation Ghost        By Jacques Duquennoy
The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone        By Timothy Basil Ering
The Day The Babies Crawled Away    By Peggy Rathmann
Alvie Eats Soup        By Ross Collins

Theo picks and his dad David Stambler writes

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