Book Looks

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

From Nancy Gilson, Arts Editor at The Columbus Dispatch, comes another great batch of recommended new books for children.

On this go-around, she tells us about books for young readers that don't shortchange them on quality….

Lulu and the Brontosaurus (Atheneum, 113 pages, $15.99, ages 6 to 10) by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Lane Smith With Lulu, Viorst -- author of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day -- introduces a character as spoiled as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory's Veruca Salt. Lulu decides she wants a brontosaurus for a pet, but the big green guy turns the tables, announcing that he wants Lulu for a pet. Smith (The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales) provides pencil illustrations as smart-alecky as the story.

The Memory Bank (Scholastic, 279 pages, $16.99, ages 8 to 12) by Carolyn Coman, illustrated by Rob Shepperson (to be released Friday) Coman borrows from the part–text/part-illustration format of Brian Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret to tell a fanciful tale of separated sisters and a land where dreams and memories are stored. Young readers who buy into the alternative world and its complicated rules will be rewarded with a warm story of sibling love. Shepperson's wordless pages of images are mesmerizing.

The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen From the Future (Blue Sky, 176 pages, $9.99, ages 6 to 10) by George Beard and Harold Hutchins (aka Dav Pilkey) The second graphic novel in the series about cave-boy heroes is narrated by George and Harold, stars of Pilkey's Captain Underpants. Here, Ook and Gluk must protect their hometown of Caveland, Ohio, from attack by an evil corporation from the future. The comic-book style (including "flip-o-rama" pages of action), inventive spelling and mild gross-out humor don't camouflage the theme of environmental protection.

Roland Wright: Brand-New Page (Delacorte, 138 pages, $12.99, ages 6 to 10) by Tony Davis The second installment in Davis' historical-fiction series follows 9-year-old Roland and his pet mouse, Nudge, as they enter the king's court where Roland will be trained as a page. A bully named Hector, a kindly lady-in-waiting, an exotic elephant sent to the kingdom from afar and a queen afraid of mice all figure into the fast-paced, well-written tale with occasional, sprightly pencil illustrations by Gregory Rogers.