Book Reviews
May 2009

“Book Reviews,” Friend, May 2009, 44–45

Book Reviews

Picture Books

Bertie Was a Watchdog, by Rick Walton, illustrated by Arthur Robins. Meet Bertie, the smallest and nicest watchdog you’ve ever seen. When a robber comes into Bertie’s house, the robber just laughs at Bertie and challenges him to try to stop him. Even though Bertie is small, can he catch the robber and save the day?

When Dinosaurs Came with Everything, by Elise Broach, illustrated by David Small. A boy goes to town with his mother, expecting to be bored. But when they buy a box of doughnuts and get a free dinosaur, he isn’t so bored anymore. And the bakery isn’t the only place giving away free dinosaurs!

Gossie & Gertie, by Olivier Dunrea. Gossie and Gertie are best friends. They do everything together, and Gossie is always the leader—until Gertie finds an interesting bullfrog. Then it just may be Gossie’s turn to follow.

For children ages 5–9

Small Pig, by Arnold Lobel. On a farm in the country, a small pig loves to sit and sink into his good, soft mud. When the farmer’s wife decides to clean the house and the barnyard, the pig’s mud gets cleaned up too. The pig runs away to find some more mud. But is good, soft mud as easy to find as the pig thinks?

Huge Harold, by Bill Peet. When Harold the bunny starts to grow, he keeps growing until he is the biggest rabbit anyone has ever seen. Knowing that he will be an easy target for hunters, Harold’s parents sadly send Harold off to live deep in the woods. But the woods aren’t very friendly. In fact, it seems that Huge Harold is just too big to fit in anywhere.

Amelia Bedelia, by Peggy Parish, pictures by Fritz Siebel. Amelia Bedelia has come to work for Mr. and Mrs. Rogers in their very nice house. Before leaving for the day, Mrs. Rogers gives Amelia a chore list with exact instructions. Amelia obediently follows the instructions but finds some strange requests!

For children ages 10–12

Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective*, by Donald J. Sobol. Nobody in Idaville breaks the law and gets away with it. Not with 10-year-old Encyclopedia Brown on the case. For only a quarter, he’ll solve the toughest case, looking carefully at all the evidence. Think you can solve the cases? Give it a try, then turn to the back of the book for the solutions.

The Mysterious Benedict Society*, by Trenton Lee Stewart. Reynie is an orphan with a talent for solving problems. When he discovers an ad in the newspaper for gifted children looking for special opportunities, he goes to apply. After a series of interesting tests, he and three other children begin a dangerous and unusual secret mission to save the world—but they’ll need each other to finish the task.


Volcano! by Ellen J. Prager, illustrated by Nancy Woodman. What exactly is a volcano? What makes a volcano erupt? Are there any volcanoes near you? Find the answers to these and other volcanic questions. Plus, check out the different types of lava and look at photographs of volcano eruptions. Then learn how to make your own volcano!

Actual Size, by Steve Jenkins. Just how small is the tiniest fish or the smallest lemur? How big is a gorilla’s hand or a giant squid’s eye? Sometimes facts and numbers don’t tell the whole story. In this book, what you see is the actual size of these amazing animals and many others. Be prepared for a life-sized adventure.

Love Is … , adapted from the Bible by Wendy Anderson Halperin. Taken from Paul’s description of charity in 1 Corinthians 13, this book illustrates what love is. Each left-hand page shows what life is like without love, while the right-hand page shows what life can be like with love. Ultimately, it shows that love is more than words—love is action.

Illustrations by Maryn Roos