Awhile back, author Doreen Cronin and illustrator Betsy Lewin teamed up to bring elementary readers the popular "Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type," a rollicking story about Farmer Brown's cows who find a typewriter and learn to type out messages.
It comes in handy when the animals decide to go on strike to get blankets. The book was named a Caldecott Honor Book.
Cronin and Lewin didn't stop there. They produced a sequel, which features Farmer Brown's animals, with a duck at center stage. Duck even gets into politics in "Duck for President."
"Click, Clack, Quackity-Quack: An Alphabetical Adventure" is another sequel, and it's the first of two of this week's books. It is intended for "the youngest fans of Duck."
And there he is -- right on the front cover of the book.
Duck is rushing somewhere, carrying a note in his bill. What's up? Youngsters follow the letters of the alphabet to find out.
It begins with animals waking up (letter "A"). They're still under blue blankets (letter "B"). Two cows stand in front of a typewriter. They're at it again. One cow types a note with her hoof. "Clickity-clack"; it's letter "C." Duck watches. And then he's off.
Besides the cows and Duck, other animals in the story include goats, chickens, inchworms, kittens, mice, pigs and sheep. Readers will discover what they're all up to at around the letter "W."
This fun-packed book that helps children learn the alphabet is intended for ages 2 to 5.
"Click, Clack, Quackity-Quack" is published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (an imprint of Simon & Schuster), 2005.
The hardcover book is $12.95. ISBN 13:978-0-689-87715-5
The second of this week's books for young readers is "When Sheep Sleep," written by Laura Numeroff. She's the author of such best-selling books as "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" and "If You Give a Pig a Pancake."
The book is illustrated by David McPhail, who has 100 books for children to his credit.
The book is done in delightful rhyme. It begins when a young girl, tucked into bed with her teddy bear, can't sleep.
She plays with some toy animals: a pig, sheep, cow, deer and chicken.
"When you can't fall asleep, then try counting sheep."
The problem is that the sheep are asleep at the foot of the bed. The little girl and bear peer down at them. What a sight it is.
One sheep is asleep on its back with its feet up in the air. Its head is on another sheep. No need to try counting the sheep, so the girl and her bear check out other animals asleep under the moon-lit sky.
There's a bunch of cows, some deer, pigs,and others -- even a mother bear and her two cubs. They're all sound asleep.
The pen-and-watercolor illustrations of the animals are so cozy-looking that they make me want to doze off. Share this cuddly book with a child at bedtime.
"When Sheep Sleep" is $15.95 in hardcover. It's published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2006. Its ISBN is 13: 978-0-8109-5469-4.
Copyright Diane Prather, 2007. All rights reserved.