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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Two Goofy Board Books Will Amuse Young Children

When Your Lion Needs a Bath
Written by Susanna Leonard Hill and illustrated by Daniel Wiseman
Little Simon, 2017

When Your Elephant Has the Sniffles
Written by Susanna Leonard Hill and illustrated by Daniel Wiseman
Little Simon, 2017

Susanna Leonard Hill has published two silly board books about how to solve your unusual pets’ problems. Young children will enjoy the goofy stories and colorful cartoon pictures by Daniel Wiseman.

The stories are a little reminiscent of Laura Numeroff’s “If You Give ...” series, “If You Give a Moose a Muffin,” “If You Give a Pig a Pancake,” “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” etc. One silly suggestion leads to something else, which leads to another thing. Like Numeroff’s stories, Hills are told in second person, addressing the reader as “you.”

“When Your Lion Needs a Bath” begins with the problem that your pet lion is smelly and needs a bath. It is difficult because the lion is afraid of water like all cats, so you need to be sneaky. As the narrator tells you what to do, a boy main character prepares the bath and tries one thing after another to get the lion into the bathtub. Finally, he succeeds, but he leaves the door open. The lion runs out and gets muddy again, splashing him too. “Looks like your lion needs another bath ... and so do you.”

“When Your Elephant Has the Sniffles” starts with the problem that your pet elephant has the sniffles. The narrator says, “You must take good care of him.” The girl main character does one thing after another as the narrator says what you must do to take good care of your lion being careful to prevent a sneeze. Finally, she sings him a song but she isn’t careful about the props she uses, wearing a feathered boa. “Because after all your hard work, his nose might begin to itch ... and twitch ... and ah ... AH ... AAAHHHH ... CHOOOOOOOOOO!

“Oh dear.

"When your elephant has the sniffles, you just might end up with them too!”

About the Author

Susanna Leonard Hill is the award-winning author of nearly a dozen books for children, including Punxsutawney Phyllis (A Booklist Children’s Pick and Amelia Bloomer Project choice); No Sword Fighting in the House (a Junior Library Guild selection); Can’t Sleep Without Sheep (a Children’s Book of the Month); and Not Yet, Rose (a Gold Mom’s Choice Award winner). She lives in New York’s Mid-Hudson Valley with her husband, children, and two rescue dogs. She loves chocolate, animals, and being outdoors. 

About the Illustrator

Daniel Wiseman likes to draw. A lot. He likes it so much, he’s made a career out of it. Usually he draws animals wearing clothes, or kids enjoying a good dance party. However, when prodded, he’s been known to draw pretty much anything else. Daniel lives in St. Louis, Mo., with his wife and son. When he isn’t drawing, he can usually be found perfecting his biscuit recipe, hiking up a mountain in some faraway location, singing loudly in his car, riding his bike, or napping.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

‘Cowboy Car’ Teaches Kids to Follow Their Dreams

Cowboy Car
Written by Jeanie Franz Ransom and illustrated by Ovi Nedelcu
Two Lions, New York, 2017

“Cowboy Car” is a “Little Engine that Could” sort of story with a funny twist. Little Car dreams of being a cowboy, but everyone tells him, “Cars Can’t Be Cowboys.”

When Little Car gets bigger, he packs his trunk and goes out West. He finds a cowboy hat just his size on the roof of a cowboy shop. Then he finds a ranch and meets a cowboy named Dusty.

At first, Dusty echoes the words Little Car has always heard, “Cars can’t be cowboys,” but then he says it is a shame because they could use an extra hand. Little Car begs, “Let me prove I can do it.” Dusty agrees to give him a try.

In the next few days, Little Car shows how fast he can go, how he can haul things, and use his headlights to help round up li’l doggies in the dark.

But at the rodeo, he is told he cannot participate unless he can ride a horse. Dusty invites him to stay and watch him ride Double Trouble, the biggest, meanest bull.

After Dusty falls off Double Trouble and is about to be gored by the bull, Little Car races onto the field his tires squealing, horn honking, and radio blasting. He drives around and around, and makes the bull collapse from dizziness. He saves dusty and becomes a hero.

A reporter asks Little Car if he is a cowboy at Circle R Ranch, and Dusty says, “He sure is. In fact, he’s my pardner!” Dusty grins from ear to ear.
This is a cute book for children, teaching them to follow their dreams. Nedulcu’s colorful illustrations are energetic and expressive, complementing the story. 
About the Author

Jeanie Franz Ransom has written eight other picture books including “Big Red and the Little Bitty Wolf, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin, and “There’s a Cat in Our Class,” illustrated by Bryan Langdo. She has three grown sons, and divides her time between homes in O’Fallon, Mo., and Northport, Mich. Learn more about her at

About the Illustrator

Ovi Nedelcu is a character designer for animation as well as an author and illustrator. He’s worked on many animated films for such studios as Laika, Disney, DreamWorks, and Sony. In 2015, he wrote and illustrated his first picture book, “Just Like Daddy,” which School Library Journal called delightful. He lives in Portland, Ore., with his wife, children, and an assortment of animals. Learn more about him at