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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: animals, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 1,800
1. Chasing Cheetahs by Sy Montgomery

Chasing Cheetahs: the race to save Africa's fastest cats Scientists in the Field Series Text by Sy Montgomery; Photographs by Nic Bishop Houghton Mifflin. 2014 ISBN: 9780547815497 Grades 5 thru 12 I borrowed a copy of this book from my local public library The decision as to who reviews what goes fairly smoothly between Cathy and I until there is a new Scientists in the Field book, then,

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2. Ribbit! By Rodrigo Folgueira

We all know that pigs say “oink” – or do they?

One morning the most adorable pink pig is discovered by the frogs sitting on a rock in their pond. Seeing a pig in their pond is very confusing to the frogs. When asked why he is sitting in their pond the pig answers “RIBBIT!” The frogs don’t know what to make of a pig in their pond who says “RIBBIT!” Is he making fun of them? What exactly does he want from them?

When other animals arrive to see the pig for themselves, they begin to laugh which only upsets the frogs more than ever. The chief frog decides that they must go find the wise old beetle who will surely know what to do about a ribbit-ing pig. When the animals, along with the wise old beetle, return to the rock in the pond, the pig is gone. In all his wisdom the beetle says, “Maybe he just wanted to make new friends.” Oh no! the frogs and other animals hadn’t thought of that!

Sure enough, the adorable pink pig has found himself some new friends. What a delight to discover who all his new friends turn out to be!

This is a wonderful book about acceptance, friendship, as well as confidence. The charming illustrations draw the reader into the story. I read it over and over – it’s just that much fun!

Posted by: Wendy


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3. #534 – You Are My Baby: Garden & You Are My Baby: Ocean By Lorena Siminovich

cover postYou Are My Baby: Garden

You Are My Baby: Ocean

By Lorena Siminovich

Chronicle Books     2014

Age up to 4     10 pages

.“Two books in one! Turn the pages of the little book nestled inside the bigger book to match the baby animals to their parents. La-la-chirp! Buzz-buzz! Swish! Splash! Perfect for learning and playtime fun.”

Openings

“You sing a happy song in our leafy tree. You are my baby little hatchling La-la-chirp!

“You crawl on the sandy ocean floor. You are my baby, little octopus. Fizz!

Review

You Are My Baby:  Garden includes animals you will find in your garden or backyard. Animals such as the answer to the opening line above top: a Blue bird and a baby blue bird. You will also find a spider, snail, squirrel, and a bumblebee, all with their baby.

yamb gardenYou Are My Baby:  Ocean includes animals from the sea. In this board book, you will find an octopus (the answer to its opening lines), a seahorse, goldfish, turtle, and a big wale with water spouting out of its blowhole.

yamb oceanBoth books have soft colors, many in a pattern, such as the bluebird made of blue with a white dotted body and a yellow beak with smaller white dots.Each book is also two books in one. The adult animals and the baby animals move independently giving any possible combination as you please. If you want the whale to raise the baby turtle, simply put the two together. Both are easy to handle. Made of thick cardboard, the books—all four—will withstand the toughest of little hands that grab, pull, and drop.

fish1

I really like the two books together. I like the mix and match of the two without carting out a second book. Kids like to match things up. As a kid, I matched up playing cards. One of these books would have been so much more fun. I could have sat in my grandpa’s lap instead of next to him; I could have practiced on my own. Plus, I know from experience, jelly wipes right off these pages.

Both the Garden, and the Ocean version of You Are My Baby series is adorable and will enchant children and peak their growing curiosity of the world around them. The series is a collection of four including, You Are My Baby: Farm and You Are My Baby: Safari. These You Are My Baby books are one other way of interesting your child in books and reading at an early age. Babies like other babies, making this perfect for the child recognizing his or herself in the world.

missing covers 2

YOU ARE MY BABY: GARDEN and YOU ARE MY BABY:  OCEAN. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Lorena Siminovich. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

Learn more about the You Are My Baby series go HERE.

To purchase any of the You Are My Baby books go to AmazonB&NChronicle Booksyour local bookstore.

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Meet the author/illustrator, Lorena Siminovich at her website:  http://www.lorenasiminovich.com/

Find more board books at the Chronicle Books website:  http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

*all illustrations courtesy of Chronicle Books

Also by Lenora Siminovich

You Know What I Love?

You Know What I Love?

Monkey See, Look at Me!

Monkey See, Look at Me!

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New Chronicle Board Books

We're Going to the Farmers' Market

We’re Going to the Farmers’ Market

A Tree for All Seasons

A Tree for All Seasons

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you are my baby gardwen and ocean


Filed under: 5stars, Board Books, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Series Tagged: animals, baby animals, children's book reviews, Chronicle Books, Lorena Siminovich, matching, relationships

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4. Portrait Palimpsest

When I'm working in a watercolor sketchbook, I don't get too worried if a sketch doesn't work out, because I can always start a new picture on top of the failed one.


This sketch of the draft horse Turk was painted over a restaurant portrait that got off to a wrong start. Beneath the horse, you can see the ghostlike yellowish shape of a man's head at center, with blue color around it. When I got home I just wet the whole surface of the paper and scrubbed out the details.

The next day I was visiting the farm, and I liked the way Turk looked in his stall. So I painted him over the portrait palimpsest. In the bargain I got a light effect that might not have occurred to me otherwise.

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5. Geometric Grid Sketches and Typography

Still working on sketches for my e-course, The Art & Business of Surface Pattern Design Module 4 ... I did some doodles and sketches with geometric, floral, and typography themes in mind.

I'm not sure if the final results below would be considered strictly geometric but hey, I drew grids and shapes and then got carried away filling them up. There are florals there too, so perhaps I managed to work on two of the themes at one go. Oh, and some typography too ...

 

Grid sketches 1 by Floating Lemons

Grid sketches 2 by Floating Lemons

 

The second one is still unfinished. I 'work' on it whenever I have time, i.e. when I'm uploading designs onto stores. I used to have a dodopad in high school, and used to colour it in with magic markers, does anyone remember those? These grid doodles reminded me of that, and the whole exercise is teaching me tons about colour, and is fun to boot.

I did some typographical sketches with a holiday theme:

  Text-sketches-by-Floating-Lemons

 

I love playing with text design. And some of you may know that this year I've decided to do a monthly design based on "I Choose ..." as a positive affirmation, that I make available as a free printable to the subscribers of the Floating Lemons Newsletter. It's a hugely wonderful experiment in typography for myself, and these are the ones I've come up with so far, for January till April:

 

I Choose poster typography by Floating Lemons

 

They count as typographical exercises, wouldn't you say? Next month I'll be doing "I Choose Courage", as I'm going through huge changes in my life that require a large amount of deep breathing, and I'll be plunging into a different life and lifestyle. Scary, but also very exciting. I'm thoroughly enjoying the text designs and the affirmations that are emerging, and hope to do a calendar with them at the end of the year.

Meanwhile, I'll be away for two weeks as of next week. I shall try to blog as much as possible, but as it's my dad's 80th birthday that we're celebrating, I may not be able to do that, so forgive me in advance. I'll be posting up at the facebook page, so follow me there if you want a peek at my updates, and to see photographs of whatever inspiring bits I pick up from the United Kingdom and Istanbul (yay).

Meanwhile, have a fantastic week and don't forget to experiment joyfully. Cheers.

 

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6. Rufus Goes to School by Kim T. Griswell

Rufus is a little pig, and his greatest wish in the world is to go to school. After all, he has a backpack, he has a lunchbox, he has a blanket. What more could he need? He explains this to Principal Lipid, but he just keeps insisting that there are no pigs allowed in school! His reasons are many – pigs track mud in the halls, they turn their drawings into airplanes, they start food fights in the cafeteria, and the list goes on and on. Well Rufus is not about to give up – he finally pulls out all the stops and brings his favorite book to school and announces that he wants to learn to read. THAT does make a difference, and even strict old Principal Lipid cannot say no to this request. Of course the children are delighted when Rufus joins their class; and of course Rufus LOVES everything about school . . . and storytime most of all. This story is delightful and has an old-fashioned quality that will appeal to young and old alike.

Posted by: Mary


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7. The Surprising Magic of “Cookie”

Once again, crisis and injury averted thanks to a clever dog training technique I learned from master trainer April Bush.

A little background: Last fall while we were backpacking in the San Juan range of the Rocky Mountains, I heard some commotion one morning coming from the area where husband and dogs had gone off to retrieve our food bags from where we hung them in the trees overnight to keep them away from the bears.

Our younger Lab, Baby Moose, aka Baby Danger, was only about 10 months old. He’d already earned his nickname when he was 5 months old and jumped from a moving car just because that seemed interesting. He rolled several times, just a ball of whirling black fluff, while I watched in horror before catapulting out of the car myself, but by the time I reached him he’d already stood up and shaken it off like it was no big deal. “What are you looking at, Mom?”

Baby Danger.

So now fast-forward several months and I’m hearing his unusually deep, serious bark coming from that area where bear bags are hung. Then I hear my husband shout, “Moose!” and then even more loudly, “Robin!” And that’s never good, because it usually means there’s some sort of emergency calling for my wilderness medical skills.

Great.

So I start fumbling into my boots, but before I can get them on I hear my husband tell Moose very calmly, “Go show your mom.”

And here comes trotting toward me, very proud, Baby Danger with a face full of porcupine quills. Twelve of them. While our older dog had the sense to keep his distance from the porcupine they both found, Moose went right for it. Why not? Looks interesting. He didn’t even seem bothered by all the needles stuck in his snout–at least not until I started prying them out one at a time with the plier setting of the multi-tool I was happy we brought along.

So now here we are, six months later, and you’d think the dog had a sense of history or self-preservation or just some sense in general. Nope.

Baby Danger

Baby Danger

Yesterday while he and I were cross-country skiing in some beautiful woodlands, he suddenly veered off toward a tree. I kept skiing, not thinking anything of it, until I once again heard that deep, manly bark of his that only seems to come out when he’s found something particularly dangerous and worth chasing.

I quickly reversed course.

Moose stood at the base of a tree, barking his lungs out at a huge beach ball-sized porcupine perched on a low branch only about a foot above him. Well within quilling distance. The porcupine kept puffing himself larger and doing this cool trick where the spikes rolled in a wave across his back as if someone were running a hand over a fresh buzz cut. It was impressive, but also kind of awful. Because any second those quills were going to start shooting into my dog’s face.

I shouted, “Moose, leave it!” and “Come!” but as you can imagine, boring commands like that were nothing compared to the thrill of a treed beast.

But I had one more command in my arsenal. The magic one I’d learned from April.

“COOKIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!”

Moose tore himself away from the porcupine and came racing toward me. Unbelievable. I opened up my treat bag and let the heavens rain treat. Because that’s what the special word “Cookie” has come to mean. It has to mean that every time.

Here’s what April taught me: Come up with some special word that you only use in the most dire circumstances when you really, really need your dog to come to you. Maybe it’s because he’s about to run out into traffic, or he’s chasing something he shouldn’t, or he’s a black dog who’s run off into the darkness at night and you have no hope of finding him otherwise.

“Cookie” is a good word to use because you can really draw out the sound. Anything ending in an “ee” sound is great.

To build the power of the special word, you start using it a few times a day at unexpected, random times. You’ll always want to have a good supply of your best treats on hand–the thing that makes this word so special is that the dog really hits the jackpot of treats once he responds.

The first time, stand close enough that your dog can see you. Then call out the word with as much enthusiasm and volume as you can. The dog won’t quite understand what you’re doing this first time, so open your hand and show the monster mound of treats. Yes, lad, you get every one of these if you come.

Do it again some time later that first day, standing just out of sight of your dog. See if he remembers what happened last time. He probably will. Again, huge jackpot of great treats, one after another for about 30 full seconds. You want this to be the most fabulously-rewarded command in your entire arsenal.

And a key part of the training is that it has to be a totally positive experience. You can’t use “Cookie” and then leash up the dog or put him in his crate or do anything he might not have come running for if he’d known. In a crisis situation you are going to hold on to him and probably leash him up, but he doesn’t need to know that right now.

Do it about 3 times a day for a week. Then just once a day for the following week. Then every other day, gradually tapering off until you do it once a week. The whole process should take only a few weeks, but it’s worth continuing to strengthen it weekly.

Because there will come a time, just like my experience yesterday, when you’re going to want your dog to remember how fantastic it is to drop everything and run for the Cookieeeeee!  I cannot tell you how happy and relieved I was that it worked.

Me sportin' the ever-trendy treat pouch.

Me sportin’ the ever-trendy treat pouch.

The down side, from a fashion standpoint, is that you’re going to end up wearing something like this hot-looking number whenever you go somewhere where you’ll have your dogs off-leash. I know, I know, you’re insanely jealous right now. I understand.

The alternative is to carry a bunch of great, smelly treats in your pocket, and maybe end up like Elaine in that Seinfeld episode where she’s running from a pack of dogs because she’s hidden mutton in the pockets of her coat. Don’t ask why. Just watch the episode.

So that’s my how-to for the day. If you have a dog like mine with a will of his own, you’re going to need some magic every now and then to keep him out of danger. I don’t know if this will work on Moose every time, but I’m grateful it worked yesterday.

Peace out!

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8. Animal Parade

animalparade_RobertaBaird72

The next group to follow,
Was a most marvelous band,
Playing marvelous music,
In this most marvelous land.
~Robert Ball

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9. FISH HAWK IN THE SKY: A Tale of Two Ospreys

Now that spring is showing  us some signs that it just might stay awhile, have you ever wondered how birds know – sometimes before we do – that the weather is warming up and it’s okay to hang around? My writer, scrapbooking, and nature loving friend Shiela Fuller is back with a very interesting post about Ospreys that sheds some light on that question.
Each year since May 2012, wildlife biologists have been studying the migratory track of two adult ospreys from the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens, New York to their wintering site in South America. Queens is the easternmost of five New York City boroughs and the second most populated. The main goal of the project was to gain public awareness of the refuge and cultivate interest in the inhabitants that live there.

The first osprey outfitted with a transmitter was Coley. During the summer of 2012 his movements were monitored 12 hours a day. He began his winter migration and headed south on September 10th, 2012. Seventeen days and 2600 miles later, Coley arrived at his winter home, Columbia, South America.
On May 5, 2013, Coley began his round trip back to Queens, NY and he arrived in 15 days and 7 hours.

Later in the month, Coley’s transmitter was removed and placed on another male osprey, Coley 2. Scientists would now track the movements of this bird. During the summer, Coley 2 spent a lot of time perched with his mate after nest failure. Staying close to the nest assured the pair that it would still be their home the following spring.      IMG_9450
Weather can affect migration and when Coley 2 left New York on September 2, 2013, he was headed into some pretty serious thunderstorms. He only traveled 44 miles and settled in Trenton, New Jersey for the first night of his trip. Coley 2 continued onward and made remarkable time considering his damp start. He arrived at his winter home, Lake Valencia in Venezuela, South America on September 17, 2013.
While at Lake Valencia, Coley 2 will spend his time fishing, eating, and resting until his internal signal tells him it is time to return to the nesting area.

What inspires birds to migrate north or south and how do they find their way? There are only scientific speculations but some say it is hormonal changes and/or the changes in the length of day/night hours that motivate migration. Navigation is a bit trickier to understand but some say birds rely on the position of the sun, those that travel at night rely on the North Star, and some scientists say that birds use landmarks to help them find their way just as humans do. That doesn’t explain a bird’s first migration. How would they know the landmarks if they never traveled before?

Scientists had been monitoring Coley 2 at Lake Valencia and were happy to note that he must know the weather is bad in the northeastern US and stayed a little longer at his warm winter home but on Sunday, March 16, 2014, just a few days ago, Coley 2 left and was traveling at a remarkable 250 miles per day.       IMG_9705
Scientists are not monitoring Coley 1, but he and his female partner were spotted on their platform nest in Jamaica Bay on March 23, 2014. Will Coley 2 be far behind? Will his female partner arrive before he does? Follow Coley 2 on his magnificent journey and you can even predict when he might arrive at his summer home:  http://www.jamaicabayosprey.org.

For more details about the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy osprey project and to predict when Coley 2 will arrive go to: http://www.jamaicabayosprey.com http://www.nyharborparks.org

Footnotes: Another fabulous place to visit is the Cape May Bird Observatory. Their website for information is:  http://www.njaudobon.org

 

 


1 Comments on FISH HAWK IN THE SKY: A Tale of Two Ospreys, last added: 3/31/2014
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10. #525-6 – bunnies near and far & orange triangle fox by sarah jones

Today we start with a question. Two questions, to be exact.

  1. Can you count to ten?

“1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10”

Good!

 2. Do you know your colors?

Red, blue, yellow, green, orange— ”

—Okay, that’s great!

“. . . pink, purple, brown, black . . .”

Let’s get started. Debut Author Sarah Jones.

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bunnies near and far.

Bunnies Near and Far

by Sarah Jones

Blue Manatee Press      4/01/2014

978-1-936669-22-6

Age 1 to 4      10 pages

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“Colors. Shapes. Critters! Three concepts in one make learning fun! Inspire bedtime or story time, with this fun and educational concept book! Watch colorful native forest animals including red square owl and yellow star frog take shape, teaching basic concepts simultaneously. Rich, sweet watercolor illustrations are a delight for sharing over and over again.”

Opening 

1 bunny near. 2 bunnies far.”

Review

1

Farmer Bo has lost track of his bunnies. Where could they have gone? We know 1 bunny is nearby and 2 bunnies are far off. Where did 3 bunnies go, and 4 bunnies? I saw 5 bunnies going up and 6 bunnies going down—they were on a teeter-totter. Wherever 7 and 8 bunnies went in opposite directions. Then I heard 9 bunnies singing to 10 bunnies playing an instrument. Farmer Bo does not know where any of his bunnies are. Oh, look! Farmer Bo counts as the bunnies return home. 1-one, 2-two, 3-three . . . all the way to his 10-ten musical bunnies. Wow! How many bunnies is that?2

There are bunnies everywhere in Bunnies Near and Far. The situations the bunnies get into are common and recognizable by little kids. This is a fun way to learn how to count. The bunnies are cute though a tad plump and do some goofy stuff. Little kids will giggle at these bunnies on an apparent day off. I love the color of the book, which is predominately green with a few other colors tossed in on a few pages. The car is carrot orange and is somewhat shaped like a carrot. There even looks to be a smidge of green at the back of the car. I love details like this; things you would never expect. The theme of Bunnies Near and Far is more modern than most simple counting books and maybe that is what makes it so utterly charming.

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Still remember your colors. (Please do not tell me, I remember.) Let’s look at colors.

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orangr triangle fox.

Orange, Triangle, Fox

by Sarah Jones

Blue Manatee Press     4/01/2014

978-1-936669-21-9

Age 1 to 4     10 pages

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“Farmer Bo wants to know where his bunnies are. Some are near, some are far, some walking some in a car, and all are as cute as can be! Little ones will learn counting and opposites in this fun tale of bunnies on the go. Perfect for sharing: read and count along to find out what they’ll do next!”

Opening  

brown circle hedgehog”

Review

3

Orange, Triangle, Fox is about colors, shapes, and animals. What could be more perfect than all of these concepts in one book for the youngest children? Interestingly, the shape and color become the shape of the animal and its color. The title page is orange and the shape is a triangle. The fox is an orange triangle. I think this will delight kids. The forest animals include an owl, a fox, frog, and a turtle among others. Young children will simultaneously learn about three concepts—shapes, colors, and animals—learning to process multiple stimuli. They may start looking at the world around them for animals or other objects in a certain shape. The forest animals are adorable, maybe more so because of the shape they have become.

4

As a set, Orange, Triangle, Fox and Bunnies Near and Far help young children learn, or reinforce, their numbers, colors, and forest animals. The books are kid shaped, just the size for little hands to hold. The pages are thick to stand up to kids excitedly turning the page. Spilt milk and blobs of jelly should wipe right off the heavy, glossy pages. At ten pages, bedtime reading of Orange, Triangle, Fox and Bunnies Near and Far can start a tradition of reading and a lifelong love of books. Both of these books are nontraditional in form, but very much traditional in content. Little ones can learn about the numbers one through ten, and about colors, shapes, and animals. Four important elements your child needs to learn, packed into two adorable books with designs by Sarah Jones. Beautiful and functional, child-sized and childproof.

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Learn more about Sarah Jones books for young children HERE.

Buy Bunnies Near and Far at AmazonB&Nyour local bookstore.

Buy Orange, Triangle, Fox at AmazonB&Nyour local bookstore.

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Meet Sarah Jones at her profile at scbwi:  http://www.scbwi.org/members-public/sarah-jones

Find more board books at the website of Blue Manatee Press:  http://bluemanateepress.com/

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ORANGE TRIANGLE FOX and BUNNIES NEAR AND FAR. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Sarah Jones. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Blue Manatee Press, Cincinnati, OH.

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NEW FROM BLUE MANATEE PRESS.

Water, Baby Unplugged

Water, Baby Unplugged

Toast to Family

Toast to Family

Your Red Shoes

Your Red Shoes

 

 

 

 

saraah jones


Filed under: 4stars, Board Books, Debut Author, Library Donated Books, NonFiction Tagged: animals, baby, basic concepts, bedtime, Blue Manatee Press, children's book reviews, colors, counting 1 to 10, home learning, Sarah Jones, shapes, story time, toddler

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11. Sketches: Cats, Blobs and Feathered Friends

Yes, I love studying. So I've just started on The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design's Module 4, having taken the previous 3 Modules last year and loved them. The e-courses are doing me a ton of good and, if anything, letting me know how much I have as yet to learn about art and design. It's the first week of ABSPD, and I've been sketching Things and Characters. Here's a bit of what I've come up with so far. I'm calling this first one "Cat Blobs" ...

 

Cat blobs by floating lemons

 

I don't know about you lot, but I really want it on a print and, oddly enough, a tea towel - perhaps even a journal/notebook! The second one was just organic blobs really, and I'm not sure where it came from but quite liked it:

 

Organic blobs by floating lemons

 

And this final one was an attempt to sketch birds. OK, it needs more work, but I can see a few there that can be improved on and used for something later, what do you think? Any favourites?

 

Feathers and feline by floating lemons

 

I'm not too sure of how that cat got in the bottom of the page, but it probably thought the birds just too good to resist. I'm off to sketch more today, let's see what pops up. Can you tell that I'm thoroughly enjoying this?

WIshing you a day full of pleasant surprises. Cheers.

 

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12. ABC


April 11th is the release date for my ABC book. Published in France by Fleurus Editions, it's the first project where I had the challenge of drawing different types of vehicles, including bikes!
It's the story of Adrien, a firefighter who helps saving a farm and its animals during a thunderstorm.
Each double spread has a letter of the alphabet with three little vehicles and a full page illustrating the story. It's very nicely printed and the die-cut cover makes it even nicer.

You can see more images from the book under Featured Project ---> Mon Alphabet des Véhicules
 

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13. A House for a Mouse

mouse perspective_RobertaBaird1a

For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.  ~Martin Luther

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14. Good Night, Animal World: A Kids Yoga Story


A lot of movement-themed picture books are not the best bedtime picks because they can rile up little ones and make it hard for them to fall asleep. But Good Night, Animal World -- a new children's book by yoga teacher and independent author Giselle Shardlow -- was written to be read specifically at bedtime.

The yoga-inspired text and the illustrations by Emily Gedzyk are all meant to help wind children down at night so they can relax and sleep well. What a great premise -- and one that definitely got me excited (especially as a mother) to look inside this book!

Inside, six characters take readers to six parts of the world -- Australia, England, Guatamala, India, Tanzania, and the United States -- to say goodnight to animals from those specific regions. Each page shows an illustration of an animal, accompanied by some simple text (some imagery about the animal and a goodnight message) and a yoga pose. The 13 poses in the book, chosen for their calming potential, include forward bends, restorative poses, gentle twists, and some inversions.

Below is the "turtle" page from the book, followed by a book trailer that includes other images from the book plus some book reviews -- all set to relaxing music, of course!



It's actually hard to see how children wouldn't be calm after finishing this book. "Embrace their creativity and let them experiment with the poses. Whatever helps them release extra energy before bedtime is the perfect pose," says Giselle. The poses are even laid out in a sequence that facilitates flow from one pose to the next. And my favorite part of the book? The resting pose at the end! Just thinking about it is making me super sleepy… I think I need to take a rest!

This post is part of a blog tour hosted by Mother Daughter Book Reviews, where you can also see the full schedule for the tour. To learn more about author Giselle Shardlow and her series of Yoga Kid Stories, go to her website at www.kidsyogastories.com.

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15. Spring Reading 2014


Picture Books


Rip Van Winkle- Retold and illustrated by Will Moses, based on Washington Irving's book. Philomel Books a division of Penguin Putnam Books for young readers. New York 1999. This book is based on a  classical folk tale about a man who goes into the woods and falls asleep waking up many years later to a new world. This classic tale is retold with a combination of wonderful illustrations and words. It is probably better suited for the older child because of complex words and storyline. This new version brings a wonderful story back to our modern world. The storyline and sophisticated crafted words make it more suited for an older child.  

 
Patti Cake and Her New Doll- Written by Patricia Reilly Giff and illustrated by Laura J. Bryant. Published by Orchard books New York an imprint of Scholastic Inc. 2014. The book describes one day in a life of a little girl named Patti and her home companions mainly a dog named Tootsie and a new doll she got. With an imaginative approach, the author turns an regular day into an adventure and makes the ordinary into the extraordinary. A good book for you to get for you kids.



 
The Fisherman & His Wife- Based on a story by Grimm and Illustrated by John Howe 1984. Published by Creative Editions Mankato MN, 2001. The fisherman is happy living a simple life until one day everything turns around when he catches a magical fish. The fisherman's wife cannot be satisfied with what she gets. Her greed takes away everything the fish gave them. It is a great book for the older reader and the illustrations are stunning.







   
   Trouper- Written by Meg Kearney and Illustrated by E.B. Lewis. Published by Scholastic Inc. NY, 2013. The book is written from the point of view of a dog. The dog Trouper tells us his life story: how he lived on the streets t the time he was put in a pound and finally adopted. This book makes readers empathize with millions of abandoned dogs running on the streets or sitting in cages in the pounds waiting to find a loving home. I highly recommend this book to everyone.   




 
The Little Engine that Could
- Retold by Watty Piper and New Art by Loren Long. Published by Philomel Books a Division of Penguin Young Readers Group 2005. This is a great version of a classic. I loved how the writer and illustrator gave life to the characters. The story does not only teach children a lesson about never giving up, but it also introduces them to four kind of trains. I really loved this book and I strongly recommend you get it with your children. Each of us can accomplish anything we put our mind too.    


 Under the Same Sun- Written by Sharon Robinson and Illustrated by AG Ford. Published by Scholastic Press, New York 2014.  This is a great educational book about Tanzania a small country in Africa. One can vividly imagine the beautiful land of Africa with its lush scenery and many different animals. This book is very unique and the illustrations are amazing. The story is idle for a classroom setting.


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16. Diversity in picture books and the astonishing case of the stolen stories

“Books transmit values. They explore our common humanity. What is the message when some children are not represented in those books?”


Last weekend Walter Dean Myers, a previous National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature (the US equivalent of the UK’s children’s laureate) wrote a thought-provoking article in the New York Times about the need for books for children’ and young people to truly reflect the world around them. In his piece he was focussing on the lack of black children and young adults in books written for them. But I think much of what he writes is more widely applicable, as was explored and demonstrated at last month’s Inclusive Minds ‘What About Me?’ day at Imagine Children’s Festival. Among many other activities that day there was a discussion of the “concept of normal” in books for children and young adults, and the importance of diversity, of showing all sorts of children, from all sorts of backgrounds, so that all children could read books and see themselves somehow reflected, included and valued.

In a beautiful case of serendipity, with Myers’ words in my head, I picked up stolenstoriesThe Astonishing Case of the Stolen Stories by Anca Sandu (@anca_sandu).

Across a fairy tale kingdom, all stories have been stolen. The palace bookshelves are empty, the bookshop has no stock, and even cookery books and spell books are missing. A trio of detectives are called upon to crack the case and track down the culprit, but when they do so the explanation given for the thievery is heartbreaking:

“Well, I don’t know who I am,”
replied the thing. “I’ve found everyone
else in a book, but never me –
I thought if I kept looking
I might find a book with
my story in it.”

Children may not always be able to articulate it, but it is tremendously powerful when they find a story in which they recognise something of themselves, or something of what they could be. It’s the same for us grown ups, isn’t it?

Sandu’s gorgeous story ends positively with the detectives not only solving the case, but going further and taking steps to solve the source of the problem. Upbeat, witty, inventive, with compassion and creativity – there’s lots to love here.

The Astonishing Case of the Stolen Stories is tantalisingly ripe for use in literacy lessons, begging for teachers and children to work together to write their own stories. There are even jokes about enriched vocabulary, which will revitalise the drive for kids to use “wow” words or “power” words.

sandu

Sandu’s illustrations are shot with spring-like pastel hues and achieve a quite magical balance of clutter free, smooth spreads (enhanced by slightly glossy printing) sprinkled with humorous detail: See how many fairytale characters such as the Gingerbread man and Rapunzel you can find hidden in the illustrations.

Although I love The Astonishing Case of the Stolen Stories and would urge you to read it yourself, I also feel Sandu perhaps missed an opportunity in illustrating her story about the importance of readers seeing themselves somehow reflected in the books they read.

There are few female characters in this book; the humans that feature are all white, and the only inclusion of someone with any sort of disability is a pirate with an eye patch. Now I’m not saying that every book has to feature equal numbers of males and females, and different skin colours and people who use wheelchairs (for example), but I am observing that even in a book where your attention is drawn to the fact that readers like to find themselves in books (and thereby explicitly acknowledges the importance of reflecting society in its beautiful diversity – even in a fairy tale kingdom – in the stories we write and read) perhaps more could have been done to reach out to those kids who find it hard to find themselves in stories.

Inspired by the hunt for stories in Sandu’s book we set up our very own storybook treasure hunt. M and J were designated storybook detectives for the afternoon, after I had hidden books and clues around the house and garden.

detectives4

The clues were very simple and just asked the girls to work out a location based on a book I knew they knew. So, for example, I asked “Where was Pushka trapped until Lulu rescued him?” (The oven, see Pushka), “What gave Ulysses the squirrel his name?” (A vacuum cleaner, see Flora & Ulysses) and “What are you sorting out when you go DING DONG BANG or BING BONG CLANG?” (the kitchen pans, see All Join In).

detectives5

They then rushed around finding the books I’d hidden…

detectives3

detectives6

detectives1

And when they had solved the final clue we sat and read a selection of the books they’d found whilst munching on a treat:

detectives8

These are entirely edible storybooks made from no-cook fudge, coloured to match the pastels in The Astonishing Case of the Stolen Stories

detectives7

The recipe is super easy and brilliant for kids – just 3 ingredients (not including colouring or sprinkles), and all you need to do is mix everything together. The resulting “fudge” is lovely to play with, a little like edible playdoh. If you put it in the fridge for a little it firms up nicely and makes perfect books!

Whilst making the no-bake-fudge story books we listened to:

  • Every Great Detective by Sharon, Lois & Bram
  • Holding Out for a Hero by Bonnie Tyler. Yep. Terrible. Brilliant. Will make (some) sense when you’ve read Sandu’s book!
  • The ultimate detective music – the Pink Panther theme!

  • Alongside reading The Astonishing Case of the Stolen Stories you could enjoy:

  • The Lost Happy Endings by Carol Ann Duffy, illustrated by Jane Ray (you can read my review here)
  • This post by Pippa Goodhard about the gender disparity in anthropomorphic characters in children’s picture books (Thanks to @letterboxlib for helping me find this article)
  • Writing your own story! If you want to give your kids some prompts to help them create their own story, why not try these mini books Clara Vulliamy and I created for you to download.
  • What sort of stories are you currently hunting for?

    Disclosure:I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher.

    3 Comments on Diversity in picture books and the astonishing case of the stolen stories, last added: 3/20/2014
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    17. Niganigashiku

    Another sketch for the Turning Japanese series.
    Ink and gouache A4 size. Click to enlarge.

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    18. jungle cat

    Happy Monday!
    I was playing around with my panther sketch and here's what I ended up with:


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    19. Sometimes a Cicada

    The latest image from The Triumph of Pupik. Sometimes a cicada is just a cicada.
    Watercolour and gouache 30 x 49cm. Click to enlarge.

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    20. Chicken Lips

    Frame one from The Cuckoo Memorandum. Another from Turning Japanese.
    Adobe Ideas on iPad. Click to enlarge.

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    21. wip

    A lot of things are in the works around here, even if this space is rather quiet.
    This is a rough sketch for an assignment I'm very excited about. I get to do the cover and interior black and whites for a rather intriguing chapter book - I'll tell you more when it comes out.



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    22. #512 – Lost for Words by Natalie Russell

    9781561457397.

    .

    Lost for Words

    by Natalie Russell

    Peachtree Publishers    3/01/2014

    978-1-56145-739-7

    Age 4 to 8  32 pages

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    “Tapir and his friends all have nice new notebooks, just waiting to be filled. Giraffe decides to write a poem, Hippo writes a story, and Flamingo composes a beautiful song. But poor Tapir can’t think of anything to write – and the harder he tries the more upset he becomes! But everything starts to change when Tapir stops trying to write and begins to draw… this gentle story will inspire even the littlest artists to find their creative sparks.”

    Opening

    “Tapir had some pencils and a nice new notebook. But he didn’t know what to write.”

    The Story

    Tapir and his friends all have new notebooks and pencils. Giraffe, Hippo, and Flamingo all easily fill their notebooks with poems, stories, and songs. Tapir is stuck. He is having classic writer’s block. Nothing would come to mind. Tapir thought he must doing something wrong. He imitated his friends. First, Tapir tried humming but no words came. He tried chewing on nice green leaves off the tree, but all that came was a grumpy feeling. Finally, Tapir tried wallowing in the mud. Nothing. Tapir’s friends told him not to worry something would come to him. Poor Tapir didn’t think so. He walked away, way up to the top of the hill, where he could see everything and everything was so beautiful. No words came.

    Review

    For anyone who has ever had writer’s block, this is the picture book for you. Poor Tapir could not think of anything to write. Giraffe is writing poetry, Flamingo composes a song, and Hippo writes a story, but Tapir could not think of anything to write. Words would not come for Tapir. He tried so hard to force words to flow. Tapir tried copying his friend’s methods—humming, eating leaves, wallowing in mud, but they didn’t work because Tapir’s mind works Tapir’s way.

    1

    I love that Tapir wandered off somewhere quiet where all he had was his own resources. Then he simply looked around and inspiration hit. Words still did not come to Tapir, because he did not need words to express himself. Tapir needs pictures. When he was lost for words, Tapir tried to be like his friends when all he needed was to be true to himself. What a great message.

    The beautiful illustrations are in lighter shades of blues, greens, and yellows, with orange and a little brown thrown in. Author/illustrator Natalie Russell’s spreads are screen prints, not charcoal, pencils, or digitally made with Illustrator or Photoshop. Even drawn creativity can be many different styles, just as writing can be many different forms and genres. It is good to remember Hippo’s process of writing stories will not be Tapir’s way of creating pictures. A gentle push—a walk up a hill—might work, but creativity cannot forced.

    2

    Lost for Words will entertain young children and might spark their imaginations. The story of these four friends and the different ways they filled their notebooks is itself creative. After reading Lost for Words several times—or maybe just once—young children will be asking for a notebook of their own. Some will find words and write a poem or a story, or maybe a song. Others will draw pictures to express themselves. If Lost for Words encourages creativity, it has been a success.

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    Learn more about Lost for Words HERE.

    Buy your own copy of Lost for Words at AmazonB&NPeachtreeyour local bookstore.

    Meet the author / illustrator, Natalie Russell at her website:  http://www.natalierussell.co.uk/

    Find more great Peachtree books at their website:  http://peachtree-online.com/

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    LOST FOR WORDS. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Natalie Russell. Reproduce by permission of the publisher, Peachtree Publishers, Atlanta, GA.

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    Other Spring 12014 Releases from Peachtree

    grudge keeper.

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    The Grudge Keeper   4/01/2014

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    charlie bumpers nice gnome.

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    Charlie Bumpers vs. the Really Nice Gnome  4/012014

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    claude at beach.

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    Claude at the Beach   4/01/2014

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    lost for words

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    Peachtree Book Blog Tour

    Lost for Words

    Monday, 3/10/14
    Sally’s Bookshelf


    Tuesday, 3/11/14

    It’s About Time Mamaw

    Wednesday, 3/12/14
    Chat with Vera

    A Word’s Worth

    Thursday, 3/13/14

    Tolivers to Texas

    Kid Lit Reviews

    Friday, 3/14/14
    Geo Librarian

     

    Next Peachtree Book Blog Tour: ABOUT HABITATS: FORESTS, starting Monday, March 17th


    Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: animals, children's book reviews, compositions, creativity, friendship, Natalie Russell, Peachtree Publishers, poetry, prose, writer's block

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    23. I’m a Frog! By Mo Willems

    I am a FrogI’m just going to put it right out here – I LOVE the Elephant and Piggie books!

    Gerald, the elephant, and Piggie, the pig, are best friends. Piggie tends to be frivolous, while Gerald tends to be serious. They have a wonderful friendship.

    Piggie pretends to be a frog, which just totally confuses Elephant. Piggie hops around like a frog, she ribbits like a frog and she announces out loud that she is a frog. Gerald, who is a very literal elephant, says, “I was sure you were a pig. You look like a pig. And your name is Piggie.” Then he begins to worry that he, too, will turn into a frog. Oh my, he might have to eat flies!

    The problem is that Gerald doesn’t understand what it means to pretend. Piggie patiently explains about pretending and then she invites Gerald to be a frog with her.

    Oh, would you like to know if Gerald joins Piggie in pretending to be a frog? You should know that I NEVER give away endings!  RIBBIT! RIBBIT!

    Posted by: Wendy


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    24. Baseball Animals - a review


    Whether or not you buy MLB's position that Opening Day is March 22, 2014 in Australia (Sorry Australia, baseball "down under" just doesn't feel right), baseball season, will soon be here. Opening Day for the US and Canada is March 31.

    If you are a baseball fan, are raising a young baseball fan, or are trying to connect with a young baseball fan, here's the book for you - a marriage of baseball and animals!


    Jordan, Christopher. 2014. Baseball Animals. Plattsburgh, NY: Fenn/Tundra.

    Which MLB team shares its name with a songbird that loves acorns?
    This blue, black and white bird is thought to be responsible for spreading the oak tree across North America.

    If the beautiful photograph of my favorite bird on a stark white background doesn't give you the answer, just turn the page to reveal a full-page action shot of a Toronto Blue Jays batter. (Sorry that I don't know which one. Since they beat the Phillies in the 1993 World Series, I refuse to pay attention to the Blue Jays. We fans have long memories.)

    Each baseball page features the team's logo, a full-page action photo taken at the ballpark, and some team uniform trivia.  Did you know that the Cardinals (often called the Redbirds) were not named for the beautiful bird, but rather for the color of their original uniforms? Their uniforms were cardinal red. So, presumably they are named after the traditional color of a Catholic cardinal's cassock.  Now that's a great baseball trivia question!

    Fun and informative, this is a must-have for little baseball fans. I don't know why someone didn't think of it earlier!  An Appendix of MLB Teams and Logos rounds out the book - featuring all of the teams - even those sans animals on their logos.


    Advance Reader Copy supplied by LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program.



    In addition to being St. Patrick's Day, today is Nonfiction Monday.  Be sure to stop by the Nonfiction Monday blog for all of today's featured books.




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    25. Barking Mad

    Two dogs bark at the moon.
    Left: Adobe Ideas on iPad
    Right: Sketches/Artset/Snapseed on iPad
    Click to enlarge.

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