If you've been here before, you already know what's up. But for new readers, or for those who need a refresher, here's how this works:
In honor of Wonderful Weirdos Day, celebrated each year on September 9th, we here at Bugs and Bunnies present a few books each Friday in September that we just love: Fantastic stories that celebrate the unusual, with characters who are, well, characters. You know: the misunderstood, the eccentric, the quirky, the unique, the weird, the wacky. These books might be picture books, or chapter books, or middle grade books, or young adult books.
As usual, each week will have a Variation on the Overall Weirdo Theme. But, new for this Fifth Anniversary of the Bugs and Bunnies Wonderful Weirdos of Literature Series is the addition of one big, overarching theme for the whole month (besides weirdness, of course):
That's right – we're hovering our weirdo-loving magnifying glass over picture books and poetry anthologies this year. (Well, that's not entirely true. There is one novel. But it works, right? What would a celebration of the weird be, without at least one thing that doesn't fit the mold?)
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Let's get started with Installment #16, shall we? Today's Variation on the Overall Weirdo Theme is:
True Stuff. Just presented in totally weird (and fun) ways:
Pigs Over Colorado
Written and Illustrated by Kerry Lee MacLean
Ages 4 - 8
A personal quirky favorite of Chez Wheedleton's own Lovely Girl, who has graciously provided this summary:
Sand dunes, dinosaur fossils, roller coasters, mountain climbing, ghost towns, and skiing? You might say that a vacation that cool could only ever come around when pigs fly...
Good thing the flying family of Sky Piggies is here to lead you on a tour across the weird and wonderful state of Colorado!
If Dinosaurs Came to Town
Written and Illustrated by Dom Mansell
Ages 1 - 8
Another personal fave of Lovely Girl, who couldn't resist writing this summary, too:
Everyone knows something about the dinosaurs. Some were big, some were small, some were fierce, some were gentle. They lived MILLIONS and MILLIONS and MILLIONS of years ago, though, so we should be safe now, right?
Wait, is that a diplodocus holding up traffic? Did a quetzalcoatl just fly by overhead? What's an eryops doing in the bathtub? And who is that outside the window? AAAAGH! A T-Rex!
It looks like dinosaurs aren't so extinct, after all. At least we can learn about them up close now! (Not TOO close, though...)
Twenty-Odd Ducks: Why Every Punctuation Mark Counts!
By Lynne Truss
Illustrated by Bonnie Timmons
Ages 6 - 8
From the author of Eats, Shoots and Leaves: Why Commas Really Do Make a Difference, comes this giggle-worthy illustrated treatise that shows the young (and not-so-young) exactly why punctuation matters. Swapping a period for a comma, and some differently-placed quotation marks, could be the difference between a visit to you from Santa, and a visit to Santa from his mom. Or, your history teacher could be one hyphen-placement away from being either a teacher of old history, or an old teacher of history. Want to read (and see) more? Find the book, and check it out.
How Much is a Million?
By David M. Schwartz
Pictures by Steven Kellogg
Ages 4 - 8
When a kid wants to know how much a big number is, they don't want you to tell. They want you to show. If that number is, say, 100, there are lots of easy was to do that: lay out 100 pennies, or line up 100 pebbles, or stack up 100 blocks.
But, what if that kid is really ambitious? What if what that kid wants to know is: How much is a million? A million! Even most adults struggle with picturing what that looks like.
Never fear, help is here! Enter Marvelosissimo the Mathematical Magician, who takes curious kids on a journey to show them exactly how much a million is, in ways the non-magical just can't – stacking a tower of kids that stretches up past the sky, conjuring up an enormous goldfish bowl, taking an impossible hot air balloon ride through pages and pages of tiny tiny stars, and even traveling through time.
Of course, when one question is answered, however fabulously, others are sure to follow. What does a billion look like? the kids want to know. A trillion? And Marvelosissimo responds each time, in spectacularly large and dazzling fashion.
And for those readers who want the hard numbers and calculations behind Marvelosissimo's enormous examples, the author includes detailed explanations at the end of the book for each one.
The Truth About Poop
By Susan E. Goodman
Illustrated by Elwood H. Smith
Ages 7 and up
You can do so many more things with poop than flush it away. Useful things. Who knew?
Though there is certainly much in this book that will elicit giggles – both from the young, and from the young-at-heart – The Truth About Poop is full of interesting, surprising, and quite useful aspects of the oft-avoided and much discouraged subject of poop.
Covering a variety of living creatures, from insects to land animals to creatures of the sea to people, this book explains how poop is used for defense, attack, fuel, building material, identification – even entertainment.
There is a history of the toilet in two parts, and a history of toilet paper. There is a description of where poop goes once flushed. There's even a section devoted to "Waste in Space."
And if, after reading all of that, you aren't totally pooped out, the author includes resources for further reading on the subject. Where you choose to sit and read? That's up to you.
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That wraps things up for today. Be sure to come back next Friday, September 12th, for Installment #17 of the Fifth Annual Bugs and Bunnies Wonderful Weirdos of Literature Series, when we'll wax weirdly poetic.
Until then, we'll leave you with this:
"To be nobody-but-yourself – in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting."
– e.e. cummings