& His Terrible Library Plot
by Nancy Turgeon
Illustrated by Patricia Cullen Raine
Criss Cross Applesauce
ages 4 to 8
Buy directly from City of Light Publishing:
The bright, bold cover and illustrations were the first thing to catch my interest, and when the rhyming fun started, it was hard not to enjoy this fun read.
The Alekizou is a unique looking creature, who enjoys playing and fun more than anything else in the world. But this has its price. The Alekizou can't read. When he sees people coming out of a library, laughing and having fun, he gets a bit jealous. Wanting the kids to play with him, he eats all vowels and no one can read or speak. This wasn't what he expected would happen, and now, he has to somehow fix it again.
The Alekizou is quite an odd creature, but it's this which definitely grabs attention. His desire to play is easy to relate to...especially for those who maybe aren't so fond of learning themselves. Although he makes the mistake of being jealous and causes a huge problem, the lack of true evil content makes him sympathetic and it's hard not to cheer for him, hoping he can fix things again. His emotions and actions are something young readers will identify with and understand.
The rhymes flow pretty smoothly and weave with clever word play. It's not a book for younger listeners, but works great for those ages 7 and up, since there is quite a bit of text and the word choice as well as the word play are a little too advanced for the younger end of the spectrum.
While this is obviously a tale which celebrates reading, libraries, and words, there's the nice addition of ASL (American Sign Language). This is a rarity for picture books, and I was thrilled to see it used in these pages. This will especially draw young readers is and help increase their understanding of this type of communication as well.