Little Locomotive by Ib Spang Olsen
Little Locomotive is one of many used vintage books sitting on the shelves at my house. I picked it up at random when I was looking for picture books to read for this challenge, and I definitely made a good choice. The little locomotive is a runaway train whose adventure takes him right into the kitchen at Mrs. Jensen's house, where he snatches up her laundry and makes off with it. The plot is a bit over-the-top in its silliness, but the language is really enjoyable. "Dagadum" - the sound the little locomotive makes as he travels along the rails - is a perfect onomatopoetic expression of what trains sound like to kids. There is also a wonderful rhyming interlude in the midst of the story where the text lists the many things the locomotive passes as he picks up speed. The rhyming is especially impressive because the book was originally published in the author's native Danish.
Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka and the New Dotted Dresses by Maj Lindman
Shawneen and the Gander by Richard Bennett
Shawneen and the Gander is a tale set in Ireland, so naturally it involves a leprechaun. Shawneen longs to have the bugle that is available for sale at the local shop, but he just can't afford it. A leprechaun gives Shawneen an egg and tells him to hatch it and sell the gander, and then he'll be able to buy the bugle. But the gander proves to be more difficult to part with than Shawneen ever imagined, and the path to finally owning that bugle has some surprises along the way. Despite being half Irish, I don't really enjoy leprechaun stories that much. I think the same part of me that struggles to appreciate fantasy also just doesn't really understand the appeal of leprechauns' mischievous magic. This book was fine, and I liked the artwork, but it just didn't make a special impression on me at all.
There Is a Dragon in My Bed and Other Useful Phrases in French and English by Sesyle Joslin and Irene Haas
This imaginative phrasebook is similar in tone and sense of humor to Joslin's What Do You Say, Dear? illustrated by Maurice Sendak. The entire thing is very tongue-in-cheek. Each page shows a phrase in French, along with its English translation and an accompanying humorous illustration of a situation in which the phrase might come in handy. This book would be really fun for a confident elementary reader who could sound out the phonetic pronunciations for the French phrases. It would also be a wonderful book to give to a child who speaks both French and English, or who is learning French. I am excited for the fun my own kids will have with it when they are older!