Elephants, Pigs, Cows, and Middle-Schoolers

I started working in the Lawrence Public Library Children’s section about a  month ago, and if I had to pick the one thing I love most about this job, it’s that to do it well, I have to immerse myself in some of the best children’s literature out there today.

Out of all the books I’ve read in the past four weeks, three in particular stand out: Mo Willems’ 
Elephant and Piggie series, Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and Doreen Cronin’s Click, Clack, Moo, Cows that Type.

In Willems’ case, well, what can I say? He’s beloved enough that I certainly don’t need to tell parents just how great all his books are. I read A Big Guy Took My Ball! on my first day on the job and it was the perfect introduction to Gerald Elephant and Piggie, along with Willems’ great sense of humor. Another favorite is Waiting Is Not Easy! not only because it captures how annoying waiting can be for adults just as much as kids (especially in the age of binge-watching, etc.) but also because of the final pages. I won’t spoil the surprise, but the final image took me aback, and it’s lingered in my mind ever since.

Diary of A Wimpy Kid has also stuck in my head long after I finished reading the first in the series. I haven’t thought about middle school for a long time and reading about Greg Heffley's good and not-so-good times reminded me why. It’s a fun, relatable book and if you need more proof I loved it, I’m about halfway through the second volume now.

Finally, there’s Click, Clack, Moo. I discovered the book with the help of my now-co-worker, Linda Clay, when I was trying to find a good children’s book to read during my interview. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for exactly, but when I read Click, Clack, Moo, I knew this was it. It’s a story about solidarity, persistence, justice, and cows – in other words, a story for everyone.

These, of course, represent a tiny fraction of the books available in the children’s section, and I’m looking forward to continuing my quest to read through every single one of them. By the time I do that, I’m pretty sure I’ll have some more to recommend. - Matt Seidel

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