Picture books for fall, gifts for young readers

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 3 2013 3:51 p.m. MST

Alex Latimer unfolds the humorous plot with incongruous clues that readers will delight in as they recall Aesop’s “Rabbit and Hare.”

THE THREE LITTLE PIGS AND THE SOMEWHAT BAD WOLF,” by Mark Teague, Scholastic, $16.99 (ages 6-9)

When the farmer and his wife pay the three pigs for their good work on the farm and leave for Florida, they spend their pay. The first pig builds a house of straw and buys potato chips (lots of them). The second pig builds a house of sticks with money left over for cases of sody-pop. The third pig delights in his brick house and sumptuous garden. When a very hungry wolf “smelled pig,” he goes after a meal. He did get his dinner, but not in the ways of the traditional folk tale.

Teague’s oil paintings with subtle nuances will become a favorite for rereading.

CINDERELEPHANT,” by Emma Dodd, Scholastic, $16.99 (ages 4-8)

Emma Dodd’s fresh twist on one of the best-known fairy tales includes both visual and verbal clues in digitally produced illustrations. Cinderelephant and Prince Trunky dominate the story with their enormous sizes, but the mean Warty Sisters and a kindly Fairy Godmouse add lots of fun.

Even the youngest listener will see the humor as Cinderelephant and Prince Trunky were “hugely happy every after.”

HIDING PHIL,” by Eric Barclay, Scholastic, $16.99 (ages 4-8)

When three children find an elephant at a bus stop and have fun playing games with him, they decide their parents will love their new friend, too. But hiding a hunky blue pachyderm is not so easy. Young readers will find humor at each of the escapades of Phil, whose endearing qualities overshadow his bulbous size.

DING DONG! GORILLA!" by Michelle Robinson, illustrations by Leonie Lord, Peachtree, $15.95 (ages 4-8)

The doorbell rings and it isn’t the pizza delivery, it’s a gorilla whose mischief includes coloring on the walls, playing dress-up and breaking a vase. “The gorilla ran away … you probably won’t believe that HE made all the mess,” the boy admits.

Youngsters will have their own ideas on who made all the mess.

THE KING OF LITTLE THINGS,” by Bill Lepp, illustrations by David T. Wenzel, Peachtree, $16.95 (ages 4-8)

The King of Little Things was content with his life of little things “coins, candles, combs, keys/ knots, nods, knobby knees.”

Not so with King Normous, who wanted to be king of all the world. When he thought he had conquered it all, he heard about the King of Little Things and went about defeating him, too. With loyalty and cooperation, all little things came to the defense of the King of Little Things.

The deeply resonated storyline — Lepp’s storytelling background shines through — accompanied by glorious intricate paintings will delight a wide audience.

Email: marilousorensen@ymail.com

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