Captain Raptor and the Space Pirates, by Kevin O'Malley and Patrick O'Brien
Walker & Co., 2007
ages: 5 - 8
Traction Man Is Here! by Mini Grey
Alfred A. Knopf, 2005
ages: 4 - 8
I love finding books that just capture the imagination of certain kids. These two books just capture what it's like to be a boy in kindergarten - playing with toys as they come to life to do heroic battle and rescue the situation at hand.
Traction Man Is Here! by Mini Grey tells the story of a little boy's heroic toy action figure and all of his valiant deeds. Traction Man zooms down to save the farm animals being held captive by the evil pillows. He jumps on the pillows, wearing his rocket boots and saves the day. The little boy (nameless throughout) brings Traction Man with him everywhere, so Traction Man helps with the dishes - becoming a deep sea diver and searching for the lost sieve in the depths of the sink. I just loved the feeling of celebrating a little boy's imagination and love for action and adventure. There's also a sequel: Traction Man Meets Turbo Dog, published in 2008.
Captain Raptor and the Space Pirates, by Kevin O'Malley and Patrick O'Brien, reminds me of little boys who make their dinosaurs into real characters. This story takes place on the planet Jurassica, which is under siege by the evil space pirates. They capture the famous jewels of Jurassica, and Captain Raptor must save the day! If you have a dinosaur lover, this tale is for you. But it isn't for the faint of heart - the images are full of missiles, weapons and space battles. Think of Star Wars, but where the heros are all dinosaurs dressed in full battle gear. I'm guessing that 1st and 2nd graders would love it, but younger kids might eat it up as well. You just have to judge each kid. If you like this book, check out the first in the series: Captain Raptor and the Moon Mystery (2005).