Every once and a while (okay, fairly often) a children's book pops up that everyone but me seems to know about. One of the first-graders at the Maple Street School chose Simon James' Dear Mr. Blueberry at a book fair, and she and her teacher were singing its praises. The title was vaguely familiar, but I had no idea the picture book was about a whale.
School Library Journal recommended the 1991 book for beginning readers, summarizing,
It is summer, and Emily discovers that a whale is living in the pond in her yard. Eager to learn more about this amazing animal, she writes a series of letters to her teacher, Mr. Blueberry, asking for information about whales and their habits. The humor of the situation lies in Mr. Blueberry's replies. He sends Emily some details, but he is also quite adamant that whatever is in her pond is not a whale since they live in salt water. Nevertheless, both Emily and readers know that indeed there is a whale in the pond, and the proof is the amusing, full-page watercolor cartoons.
So, we have a new one for the library list.
My son is currently reading Busy, Busy Squirrels, a nonfiction book of straight-forward text ("Squirrels are furry, bright, lively little animals that are very busy") and photos (including squirrel teeth up close, ew) by Colleen Stanley Bare. It's a no-nonsense companion to more whimsical, fictional work like Melanie Watt's Scaredy Squirrel and Don Freeman's Earl the Squirrel.