Recommended reading.(bibliography)(Bibliography)(Critical Essay)

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Dog Eared 
AMANDA HARVEY 
Doubleday, Ages 3-7, 32 pages 

The eloquent dog Otis is on a walk one day with his owner, Lucy, when another dog scathingly calls him "Big Ears." "Big Ears? I thought. Surely not. But doubt crept into my mind," narrates Otis, who does indeed have long, floppy ears. Beset with the doubts that children also feel, Otis debates curling his ears up or under, or tying them in a bow. Amusing pen-and-watercolor pictures illustrate Otis' dilemma, possible solutions and the happy conclusion.

Would You Rather ... 
JOHN BURNINGHAM 
SeaStar, Ages 4-g, 32 pages 

Would you rather an elephant drank your bathwater or a hippo slept in your bed? With the sort of questions children like to ponder, this oversized picture book will get imaginations in gear, offering funny, strange and scary choices. The curly-haired child in the watercolors often reacts with a deadpan expression to options like living in a fishbowl, leaving readers to make decisions themselves. This wonderful book may prompt children to come up with their own creative questions.

What About Me? 
ED YOUNG 
Philomel, Ages 5-9, 40 pages 

The master of cut-paper illustration, Young again dazzles the eye in this retelling of a Sufi tale about a boy who seeks knowledge. When the boy approaches a grand master, the man requires a small carpet first. The carpet maker requires thread, the spinner woman requires goat hair and so on. In the exquisite collages, figures made of patterned and plain paper stand out against neutral, textured backgrounds, with boxed text supplying balance. After a quiet start, the story and illustrations pick up energy as the boy hurries to fill everyone's needs and, unwittingly, his own.

Ready? Set. Raymond! 
VAUNDA MICHEAUX NELSON 
ILLUSTRATED BY DEREK ANDERSON 
Random House, Ages 4-8, 32 pages 

This jaunty book for beginning readers skillfully succeeds in the difficult task of creating an entertaining story with very short sentences and simple words. …