Books

Ann Dickinson's Childrens/Teens Picks

Alfonso Grows Up on the Sheep Trail
In this companion book to "Emily Walks the Sheep Trail" (Southwest Books of the Year Children’s Pick, 2010) Alfonso, a young burro in training to become a pack burro, is heading to the White Mountains with 2,000 sheep. As he travels through desert, forest, grass, wildflowers and aspen trees, Alfonso tells us about his experiences and what he sees along the trail, sharing his opinions and feelings as a young pack burro learning how to be a big guy.
Amadito and the Hero Children: Amadito y los Ninos Heroes
This bilingual historical story starts with nine-year-old Amadito, who lives in New Mexico in 1918 during the deadly Spanish influenza epidemic, La Influenza Española. Amadito's mother vaccinates her younger children, using scabs gathered from the older children’s smallpox vaccinations. She then tells her children the story of their great-grandmother, who traveled around New Mexico with a group of children - Los Niños Heroes- to share their vaccinations against smallpox, the same way Amadito’s mother vaccinated her children. This is an excellent book for school-aged readers, based on actual events and information about illness, death and survival in the 1800s and early 1900s.
Cheery: The True Adventures of a Chiricahua Leopard Frog
Cheery is a Chiricahua Leopard Frog living in a pond in the Arizona mountains. His species is threatened with extinction by crayfish, bullfrogs and disease and many of his friends don’t survive. Luckily, Cheery is rescued by 'zoo people' who take him to a tank full of other leopard frogs and care for him until he can be taken back to a pond with his friends and new tadpoles. This is an informative short story for early grade readers. I felt happy and relieved that the 'zoo people' are watching out for the best interests of this species, so leopard frogs can continue propagating.
Cowgirl and Her Horse, A
“There are so many things a cowgirl has to do for her horse. It’s hard to keep them all straight.” So opens this sweet picture book about a small pink pig and her horse. A cowgirl has to go grocery shopping for her horse, hose him off in the kiddie pool, clean his room, wash his socks, bring him cupcakes for his birthday…she is an exhausted little pig! But then it’s all worthwhile, when her horse takes her on rides up mountains and down trails to see rainbows.
Desert Night, Desert Day
This is a fun, rhyming picture book that begins with desert creatures out in the desert moonlight and then moves into a daytime desert story. Each double-page spread displays a brightly-colored illustration of a desert animal, along with brief descriptive rhymes: “Slipping, sliding, watching, gliding – Banded king snake darting, hiding,” is accompanied by a picture of a colorful king snake hiding under a ledge. Each page includes a hidden image of the animal that will be featured on the next page, and a little quail hides on every page. Kids who like the I Spy series will especially enjoy this title.
Love-Sick Skunk, The
This very funny picture book by popular children’s storyteller Joe Hayes relates what happens to a boy who refuses to give up his favorite old, tattered, holey, black-and-white sneakers. The trouble starts when he goes camping with a friend. Left outside the tent, the sneakers attract a skunk that falls in love with them. A rival skunk boyfriend comes along and, in a fit of jealousy, sprays the old shoes. In the stinky aftermath of the encounter between skunks and shoes, the boy finally agrees to wear the new pair of sneakers that his mom bought. A delight!

Southwest Colors
This captivating picture book contains ten, beautiful, color photos of desert scenery and wildlife that provide the basis for lessons about the magenta color of the Calliope hummingbird's throat feathers, the bright blue of a Steller's Jay, the glorious yellow of aspen leaves, and much more. Each large color photo is accompanied by a column of text giving information about the featured animal or plant. Every page of this dramatic photographic picture book could stand alone as a striking piece of art.

About Ann Dickinson

Dickinson is a children’s and teen librarian in the Collection Development Office of the Pima County Public Library. She has been working in the library field all of her adult life and loves reading children’s and teen books.

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