The authors of these books may be famous for their comedy, acting and music. Now as authors, their notoriety may help to get their books into the hands of readers.
“Sugar Plum Ballerinas: Dancing Divas” by Whoopi Goldberg, Illustrated by Maryn Roos, Jump at the Sun Books, 2012, 156 pages, ages 6-10.
In this edition of the Sugar Plum Ballerinas series, Epatha and her dancing friends are asked to perform with a professional ballet company in “Springtime in Harlem”. When Epatha is chosen to perform a duet with a famous dancer, she eagerly puts her spirit and creativity into the dance. However, the director wants her to follow his directions. Epatha, with the help of her friends, learns an important and difficult lesson about when to be creative and when to meet others’ expectations. Whoopi Goldberg, actress, comedian, talk-show host, began writing books for children in 1992, with the Sugar Plum series beginning in 2008.
“Ghost Buddy: Mind if I Read Your Mind?” by Henry Winkler & Lin Oliver, Scholastic, 2012, 172 pages, ages 8 and up.
Who wouldn’t want a ghost for a best friend? Billy Broccoli and his ghost friend Hoover Porterhouse are featured in this second edition of the Ghost Buddy series. In this story Billy must give a demonstration speech for a class contest, and Hoover insists he demonstrate the skill of mind reading. Billy decides being himself is more important than impressing others. Henry Winkler may be best known for his role in the television show “Happy Days”, but readers of children’s books will also know him as the author of the Hank Zipzer series, which he began in 2003.
“Ninja Detective: The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit” by Octavia Spencer, 2013. Simon & Schuster, 214 pages, ages 8-12.
Life has been difficult for 12 year old Randi Rhodes since her mother passed away, but things appear to go from bad to worse when her father, a writer, decides to move the family to the small town of Deer Creek. Since her father always seems to be absorbed in writing a book, Randi takes up amateur sleuthing and works to solve the mystery of the time capsule, the ghost, and the treasure. Along the way she makes new friends and finally gets the attention of her father. “Ninja Detective” is the first novel for Octavia Spencer, Academy Award winning actress for her role in the movie “The Help”.
“Daisy and Josephine” by Melissa Gilbert, Illustrated by Julia Kuo, 2014, Paula Wiseman Book, ages 4-8.
Separation can lead to loneliness, and Daisy feels this acutely when her daddy travels for work. Before he leaves on a trip, Daisy receives a friend who chases away the sad times during Daddy’s absence. Author Melissa Gilbert is best known for her role in the television show “Little House on the Prairie”, although she has starred in more than 50 movies. This book is loosely based on her own experiences as a child.
“Octopus’s Garden” by Ringo Starr, Illustrated by Ben Cort, 2013, Aladdin, ages 4-8.
Bright and colorful illustrations transport readers to the octupus’s garden under the sea. Based on the lyrics of the Beatle’s song, the rhyme and rhythm of the words entices readers of all ages to sing along. Ringo Starr’s musical notoriety stems from The Beatles, but he also has continued as a solo artist and actor. The book includes a CD with Ringo Starr’s version of the song.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Dobler