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Results 1 - 25 of 41
1. Illustrator Saturday

A big thank THANK YOU to Kathy Temean for asking me to be a part of Illustrator Saturday! Lots of information and some process images. Click on the link below to read the full interview. As Neil Gaiman says, "WARNING:Contains me" 


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2. #527 – E-I-E-I-O: How Old MacDonald Got His Farm with a Little Help From a Hen by Judy Sierra & Matthew Myers


EIEIO: How Old MacDonald Got His Farm with a Little Help From a Hen

by Judy Sierra & Matthew Myers, illustrator

Candlewick Press      2/25/2014


Age 4 to 8     32 pages


“Once upon a time, Old MacDonald didn’t have a farm. He just had a yard—a yard he didn’t want to mow. But then, under the direction of the wise (and ecologically sensitive) Little Red Hen, Mac learns to look at the environment in a very different way, and whole new worlds start to bloom.”


“Old MacDonald had a house, E-I-E-I-O!”

The Story

Old MacDonald had a house with a big backyard he didn’t like to mow. In fact, he waited so long to mow it that Old MacDonald would sweat after just a short push of his power mower. There had to be a better way. So Old MacDonald got a goat. E-I-E-I-O! There were problems with the goat. MacDonald knew there had to be a better way, so he searched the Internet for help. He got that help from the Little Red Hen, the smartest hen in the world. But could she help Old MacDonald with his backyard lawn mowing aversion?


A fun story that will have kids and adults laughing from the beginning, E-I-E-I-O puts Old MacDonald in the middle of suburbia. He has a house with a large backyard and Old MacDonald doesn’t like to mow. He gets a goat but the goat eats the hedges, putting a window between MacDonald and his neighbor. But MacDonald’s real trouble—and fame—doesn’t begin until he hires the Little Red Hen. I love bringing in a character from another story. It adds more flavor to the story and most kids will instantly recognize the Little Red Hen. Plus, this wise hen has an agricultural diploma—perfect for Old MacDonald.

First, Little Red Hen gets rid of the grass. At first, I didn’t get what she was doing—nor will most kids—but soon it became clear. Until that could happen, the neighbors join and form a protest, insisting, as one sign put it, “A LAWN in every YARD.” I love the signs. One says the neighbors formed a mud watch group. But the sign stating, “Change is BAD” pretty much sums up the problem: no one like change. Though there is one little guy who may like change. His sign says, “No More Mud,” but he put a line through one of those words. Not until Old MacDonald has a workable farm, producing organic veggies, does the neighborhood change their feelings toward the smell of Old MacDonald’s backyard farm.

The illustrations are fantastic. They tell the story as well as the text tells it. The details are terrific and sometimes surprising, but you must look carefully to appreciate all the effort that went into these spreads. Colorful, informative, and humorous are but three words that immediately come to mind when looking at E-I-E-I-O. I love the part when Little Red Hen has Old MacDonald throw his trash onto his backyard, well, actually, his back-mud. Old MacDonald looks like he has given up when he tosses his corncob out the window onto his back-mud.

Kids inherently think the word “poop” is funny. Well, Little Red Hen cannot make her compost without it, or worms, so kids will love these spreads. Of course, Little Red Hen stays out of the muck, calling directions out from atop her hen house. Yes, she is one wise hen. Eventually, Old MacDonald gains the neighbors’ favor and a new career in one of the most entertaining, yet informative, picture books this year.

E-I-E-I-O: HOW OLD MACDONALD GOT HIS FARM. Text copyright © 2014 by Judy Sierra. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Matthew Myers. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.


Learn more about E-I-E-I-O: How Old MacDonald Got His Farm with a Little Help From a Hen HERE.

Get your copy of E-I-E-I-O at AmazonB&NCandlewick Pressyour local bookstore.

.Meet the author, Judy Sierra at her website:   http://www.judysierra.net/

Meet the illustrator, Matthew Myers at his website:  http://www.myerspaints.com/

Find other great books at Candlewick Press’ website:   http://www.candlewick.com/

Also by Judy Sierra

Wild About You!

Wild About You!



Suppose You Meet a Dinosaur

Suppose You Meet a Dinosaur





Also by Matthew Myers 

Battle Bunny

Battle Bunny

Bartholomew Biddle and the Very Big Wind  

Bartholomew Biddle and the Very Big Wind

The World According to Musk Ox  9/2014  

The World According to Musk Ox  9/2014






.New from Candlewick Press

Ocean Creatures: A 3D Pocket Guide

Ocean Creatures: A 3D Pocket Guide

FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman: Doggie Duties  

FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman: Doggie Duties

Peppa Pig and the Great Vacation

Peppa Pig and the Great Vacation


eieio how old macdonald got his farm

Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Top 10 of 2014 Tagged: Candlewick Press, children's book reviews, ecology, eieio, environmentlism, gardens, judy sierra, matthew Myers, old macdonald had a farm, organic frming, sustainability

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3. Destruction, Disruption, and Defiance: Jewish Resistance in the Holocaust

In discussing the persecution of European Jews in the years before and during World War II, my students would often ask, "How could they let this happen?" Meaning, how could the rest of the world stand by and do nothing? For all the answers I can help students to find, I still can't answer this question myself.

The question asked nearly as often, however, is this: "Why didn't the Jews fight back?" But to that question I can readily answer, "They did. They did fight back. But realize that it wasn't just with guns; even children your age found ways to disrupt and defy the Nazis who tried to exterminate them."

In teaching the topic of Jewish resistance, I've found a great resource in an impressive series of six books from Enslow Publishing titled True Stories of Teens in the Holocaust. This series explores, through hundreds of primary documents and photographs, the diverse experiences of Jewish and non-Jewish youth caught up in the Holocaust.

Another terrific single-volume resource for any middle or high school classroom is Doreen Rapapport's Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust, published by Candlewick Press.

Check out the books below, and then read on for suggested sites for helping students learn history through analyzing primary sources.

Courageous Teen Resisters: Primary Sources from the Holocaust

The popular title Courageous Teen Resisters: Primary Sources from the Holocaust documents both violent and nonviolent defiance of Nazi terrorism, from the increasingly overt persecution of early 1930s Germany to resistance efforts in France to the twenty-seven days of the Warsaw uprising. Readers learn how subtle and secretive efforts by Jews and Gentile sympathizers disrupted and distracted occupying enemy troops in some circumstances, while outright armed resistance and acts of sabotage wreaked chaos and destruction in others.

From Courageous Teen Resisters:

Courageous Teen Resisters is recommended as a stand-alone volume for students seeking to learn more about Jewish Resistance, as well an informational text companion to Heroes of the Holocaust: True Stories of Rescues by Teens (available from Scholastic).

The remaining five titles in the Enslow series are described below with a short publisher's summary or excerpt as well as recommended companion titles. This series is especially useful in text pairings not only to meet demands of the Common Core emphasis on informational texts, but to provide students with the necessary historical and social contexts needed to truly appreciate biography and historical fiction rooted in the Holocaust. (If you're seeking Holocaust texts for lower-level readers, be sure to check out my Annotated List of Holocaust Picture Books).

Youth Destroyed - The Nazi Camps
"Alice Lok was deported to Auschwitz, a Nazi death camp, in 1944. Upon her arrival, she faced a "selection." Alice had to stand in line as a Nazi doctor examined the new camp inmates. If the doctor pointed one direction, it meant hard labor—but labor meant life. If the doctor pointed the other way, that meant immediate death. Alice was lucky. She survived Auschwitz and two other camps. However, millions of Jews were not so lucky."  ~ from the publisher
Youth Destroyed - The Nazi Camps is recommended as an informational text companion to The Devil's Arithmetic (gr. 6-8), Prisoner B-3087 (gr. 6-9; see my review here), Four Perfect Pebbles: A Holocaust Story (gr. 4-6), Hana's Suitcase (gr. 4-5), Elly: My True Story of the Holocaust (gr. 5-7), I am a Star: Child of the Holocaust (gr. 5-7), Surviving Hitler: A Boy in the Nazi Death Camps (gr. 5-8), I Have Lived A Thousand Years: Growing Up In The Holocaust (gr. 8-12), and Night (grades 9-up).

Trapped - Youth in the Nazi Ghettos
"(M)any Jewish youth living in the ghettos in Europe... faced death, fear, hunger, hard labor, and disease everyday. Millions of Jews were forced into ghettos, where the Nazis kept them until they could be deported to the death camps."  ~ from the publisher

For this title I'd recommend Children in the Ghetto, an interactive site which describes itself as
"...A website about children, written for children. It portrays life during the Holocaust from the viewpoint of children who lived in the ghetto, while attempting to make the complex experience of life in the ghetto as accessible as possible to today’s children.

Along with the description of the hardships of ghetto life, it also presents the courage, steadfastness and creativity involved in the children’s lives. One of the most important messages to be learned is that despite the hardships, there were those who struggled to maintain humanitarian and philanthropic values, care for one another, and continue a cultural and spiritual life."
By examining writings, artifacts, and first hand interviews, students gain an understanding of the "anything-to-survive" mentality which the ghetto created, and demanded, of its inhabitants. Students can explore freely, taking advantage of the interactive elements, or respond to prompts in writing using the printable handouts (I downloaded the handouts, available in Word format, and adapted them according to my lesson objectives).

Once students have interacted with this site, they will have a mental bank of sites, sounds, stories, and symbols from which to draw upon, greatly increasing their understanding and appreciation of this nonfiction text as well as any novel with which they're working.

Trapped - Youth in the Nazi Ghettos is recommended as an informational text companion to The Island on Bird Street (gr. 4-6), Milkweed (gr. 6-8), Yellow Star (gr. 5-8), and Daniel's Story (gr. 4-8).

Escape - Teens on the Run
"Thousands of Jews lived on the run during the Holocaust. Some were able to escape Germany before the war started. Others had to move throughout Europe to flee the Nazis. And many more could not escape at all."  ~ from the publisher

From Escape - Teens on the Run

Escape: Teens on the Run is recommended as an informational text companion to Number the Stars (gr. 4-5), The Night Spies (gr. 3-5), When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit (gr. 4-6), Escape: Children of the Holocaust (gr. 5-7), Run, Boy, Run (gr. 5-8), Once (gr. 6-10), and Survivors: True Stories of Children of the Holocaust (grades 5-8).

Hidden Teens, Hidden Lives
"(T)housands of Jews went into hiding during the Holocaust. Barns, trapdoors, bunkers, secret attics, forged identity papers, and fake names became tools for survival."  ~ from the publisher
The fate of Jews who were hidden is of special interest to students. Even in a classroom that chooses not to embark upon a full Holocaust unit, time can certainly be devoted to learning about Jews who went into hiding rather than face extermination by the Nazis.

The uncertainty of such a choice is reflected in this diary entry from Anne Frank which appears in the book:

Hidden Teens, Hidden Lives is recommended as an informational text companion to Number the Stars (gr. 4-5), Jacob's Rescue (gr. 3-5), The Upstairs Room (gr. 4-5), Hidden Like Anne Frank: 14 True Stories of Survival (gr. 4-6), Anne Frank (10 Days) (gr. 5-7), The Hidden Girl: A True Story of the Holocaust (gr. 4-6), Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl (gr. 7-up), and The Book Thief (gr, 8-up).

Shattered Youth in Nazi Germany
"Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party's rise to power in the 1930s changed life dramatically for all people living in Germany. Hitler used propaganda, fear, and brutality as his main weapons. Jewish children faced strong antiSemitism in their schools and on the street, and saw their families ripped apart. Non-Jewish children deemed "undesirable" suffered a similar fate. "Aryan" children were forced to enter Hitler Youth groups or endure humiliation."  ~ from the publisher

This book is a real stand-out as it not only chronicles the experience of Jews in Nazi Germany, but also Gentiles who were reluctant to submit to Nazi ideologies.

Shattered Youth in Nazi Germany is recommended as an informational text companion to The Big Lie (gr. 3-5), The Boy Who Dared (gr. 6-8), The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the Impossible Became Possible . . . on Schindler's List (gr. 5-9), Someone Named Eva (gr. 6-9), Parallel Journeys (gr. 6-8), The Book Thief (gr. 9-up), Hitler's Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow (gr. 6-12), and The Berlin Boxing Club (gr. 9-12).

Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust

If you're looking for a single-volume resource for any middle or high school classroom, I recommend Doreen Rappaport's multiple award winning Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust, published by Candlewick Press.

Like all of Candlewick's titles, this text is supported by a number of resources available from the publisher's site, including a full page spread, a teacher's guide, an interview with a survivor, and an audio excerpt. The book itself includes primary source excerpts, maps, a pronunciation guide, timeline, index, and sources.

In speaking of her accomplishment (which took five years to research and write), author Doreen Rappaport says,
"How Jews organized themselves in order to survive and defy their enemy is an important but still neglected piece of history. I present a sampling of actions, efforts, and heroism with the hope that I can play a role in helping to correct the damaging and persistent belief that Jews ‘went like sheep to the slaughter.’"
Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation

A key resource for teaching Jewish resistance, and for discovering a multitude of primary sources, is the web site of the Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation, whose key mission is "to develop and distribute effective educational materials about the Jewish partisans and their life lessons, bringing the celebration of heroic resistance against tyranny into educational and cultural organizations."

Over 30,000 Jewish partisans, or “members of an organized body of fighters who attack or harass an enemy, especially within occupied territory.” joined the hundreds of thousands of non-Jewish resistance fighters who fought the Nazis. Interestingly, however, their assistance was not always welcome, as antisemitism was often common in non-Jewish resistance groups.

This comprehensive and well constructed site offers teachers and students myriad free resources including:
  • Professional Development modules which can be completed for continuing education credits (CEUs)  (I highly recommend that prior to using this site you complete at least the first module, to better understand how to best access the site's videos, articles, lesson plans, student hand-outs, and more);
  • An extensive film collection, containing 3 to 20 minute films trhough which students can "witness the Jewish partisans' stories of endurance, victory, and struggle;"
  • Interactive maps of Jewish partisan activity;
  • A Virtual Underground Bunker;
  • An Image Gallery (captioned and sourced); 
  • Downloads for the classroom and a Resource Search option; and
  • A very unique tool called Someone Like Me, where a students enter a combination of characteristics which describe themselves, and the site presents a partisan who matches those characteristics. Students can then explore the life and work of that partisan through any of the resource links above.
Primary Sources

Because the impact of Holocaust education relies heavily upon students learning the true events of this tragedy, primary sources should play a role in every Holocaust unit. The JPEF site described above provides a wonderful collection of sources from which to choose, but below I have compiled a number of additional resources which educators may find useful in planning their instruction. As always, please reach out and let me know what other sites, books, and documents you've found useful.

Why Should I Use Primary Sources?

Reading Primary Sources: An Introduction for Students
From Learn NC, a step-by-step guide for students examining primary sources, with specific questions divided into five layers of questioning.

Primary Document Webinar
This hour long recorded webinar present teachers with not only reasons for using primary sources, but also ten really easy-to-implement ideas for starting with primary sources in the classroom.

Making Sense of Evidence
This is a highly recommended collection of articles written by experts in the field on how to make sense of films, oral histories, numbers, maps, advertisements, and more. While written by the experts, students will find the language they use to be accessible. From the site:
“Making Sense of Documents” provide strategies for analyzing online primary materials, with interactive exercises and a guide to traditional and online sources. “Scholars in Action” segments show how scholars puzzle out the meaning of different kinds of primary sources, allowing you to try to make sense of a document yourself then providing audio clips in which leading scholars interpret the document and discuss strategies for overall analysis.
Because of the career connections, this site is a valuable tool for achieving College and Workplace Readiness goals.

Engaging Students with Primary Sourcesfrom Smithsonian’s History Explorer site
A 64 page pdf that serves as an excellent introduction to using primary sources.

Primary Sources Fitting into CCSS
Brief article showing how instruction with primary docs helps fulfill CCSS.

Teaching the Holocaust with Primary Sources
From Eastern Illionis University, a Holocaust Unit utilizing resources provided by the Library of Congress.

Library of Congress: Why Use Primary Sources?
Very brief pdf discusses reasons in bullets; good for making your point when discussing unit plans with others.

Primary Sources Cautionary Tales (pdf article)
Considerations and concerns surrounding primary sources.

Where Can I Find Lesson Plans with Primary Sources?

I Witness
From the USC Shoah Foundation, this site contains over 1300 video testimonies and other digital resources, as well as assistance for educators seeking to use these tools in Holocaust education.

Response to the Holocaust: Resistance and Rescue(Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center)
A pdf format document filled with original writings and suggested student activities; you can also download the entire curriculum from the Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center.

Jewish Resistance: A Curriculum from The Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida
Lesson plans include original documents, along with suggested student questions to help analyze them.

The Power to Choose: Bystander or Rescuer?
Popular set of plans that has been online for some time; used by many educators as a good starting place for planning units.

Where Can I Find Additional Sites for Primary Sources?

PBS Learning Media - Interviews with Survivors and Rescuers
A good online source for interviews.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Offers an ever-changing variety of resources, as well as searchable pages for research. Educators can often request free teaching materials as well.

PBS Resources on the Holocaust 
The search page of PBS provides a vast number of resources, including excerpts from shows which have appeared on public television.

Oral History from Virginia Holocaust Museum
Oral History Project provides witness of survivors and rescuers.

Dr. Seuss Went to War
Theodore Geisel was a radical political cartoonist who urged America to join "Europe's war," in large part due to the oppressive policies of Hitler's Nazi. But are Geisel's cartoons themselves a type of propaganda? See an earlier post here on Propaganda and Persuasion.

What Strategies or Tools are Available to Assist Students in Analyzing Sources?

SOAPS Primary Document Strategy
This pdf provides information about the SOAPS acrostic, which students can easily recall for use in analyzing primary sources of information.

Primary Source Analysis Tools from the Library of Congress
Several different tools in pdf form for analyzing oral histories, manuscripts, maps, movies, and more.

Document Analysis Worksheets from National Archive
These pdfs allow for blank printing or for students to type directly on them and then print out or save; very handy for conducting analysis online.

Analyzing a Primary Source Rubric
A rubric for scoring student efforts in using primary sources.

0 Comments on Destruction, Disruption, and Defiance: Jewish Resistance in the Holocaust as of 3/30/2014 12:43:00 AM
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4. "Summer Nightsong" from "If I Could"

A few years ago I was asked to create illustrations for a lovely poem/story called "If I Could" by Susan Milord. The story had few details and once again my art director at Candlewick press gave me the freedom and support to produce a series of images that were personal and captured those special moments shared by a little one and his/her parent or grandparent. I loved this project and brought so much of my personal experiences to the finished art. The beach is the one just down the street from the studio and yes, I have bundled up in a blanket with my own kids and watched the stars!
This original painting was just posted at my ETSY shop. 

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5. Illustrator Interview – Matt Phelan

A few weeks back I posted a review in our Perfect Picture Book Friday series of the first book Matt illustrated, THE NEW GIRL…. AND ME. I had so many comments on this post on my Facebook page from people … Continue reading

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6. Watch for It: Formerly Shark Girl

Here's a verse novel to watch for, rgz. You know I'm partial to the verse novel. Kudos to publishers who continue to give them voice! So, remember Shark Girl? You can read Kelly Bingham's full issue for rgz here. Get ready to see what happened afterwards: Formerly Shark Girl!

Kelly picks up Jane's story a year after the shark attack. She's waffling between nursing and art school. She's dealing with unexpected pain, a possible surgery, fan mail, and a bucket list for her senior year. The pages turn quickly as you journey with Jane through her choices, and she reaches satisfying conclusions.

Way to go rgz, for nudging Kelly to tell the rest of the story. Her dedication reads: "This book is for all the readers who asked for more of Jane's story. Without you, this book would not have been written." Brava, rgz!

Formerly Shark Girl
by Kelly Bingham
Candlewick Press, 2013

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

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7. “A marvelous way to tell a difficult story”

The upcoming Austin SCBWI Graphic Novel Workshop on Saturday, October 5 promises to be a day for writers and illustrators, writer-illustrators and anyone interested in exciting alternative literary forms for children, teens and young adults. OK, plenty of adults read them, too. Webcomics creator, animator, digital content creator and our SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book […]

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8. “A marvelous way to tell a difficult story”

The upcoming Austin SCBWI Graphic Novel Workshop on Saturday, October 5 promises to be a day for writers and illustrators, writer-illustrators and anyone interested in exciting alternative literary forms for children, teens and young adults. OK, plenty of adults read them, too. Webcomics creator, animator, digital content creator and our SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book […]

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9. review#398 – The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas by David Almond

.. The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas by David Almond Oliver Jeffers, illustrator Candlewick Press 4 Stars Inside Jacket:  Since all the jobs on the quayside disappeared, Stan’s Uncle Ernie has developed an extraordinary fascination with canning fish.  Overnight, life at 69 Fish Quay Lane has turned barmy.  But when Uncle Ernie’s madcap obsession takes …

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10. “Little toddler feet and hands all over my wall…”

Children’s book illustrator Patrice Barton begins a picture book with a spiral ruled notebook that she soon fills with ideas, tactics and to-do checklists related to the project.

It’s almost as if the words come first. The drawings, which for her are a series of tireless explorations only a tiny fraction of which make it to the book, spring forth after she’s worked out the notions, notations and marching orders for herself.

In the previous post she told how she assembled her scraps of sketches on tracing paper to develop finals for Sweet Moon Baby by Karen Henry Clark (Knopf Books for Young Readers.) This time she reveals the earliest stages of her artwork for the picture book Mine! by well-known children’s author Shutta Crum.

Released in June, Mine! is Patty’s second book for Knopf.

At the end of our video interview minutes before class time at the Art School of the Austin Museum of Art Patty walked through the F&G’s for her third Knopf title, Rosie Sprout’s Time to Shine by Knopf editor Allison Wortche — due for publication in December. Here are sophisticated first graders, not babies or toddlers. With their glances, gestures and placements on the pages, Patty orchestrates a very funny elementary school drama of evil plans, remorse and redemption.

Watching her interpret Wortche’s scenes as text gives us insight into how she thinks about her characters and re-constructs a story in its most telling images.

SCBWI happenings for your calendar

Southern Breeze Illustrators Day poster

Southern Breeze Society of Children’s BookWriters and Illustrators Illustrators Day   – Friday, September 2 on the lower floor of the DeKalb County Public Library, 1 Comments on “Little toddler feet and hands all over my wall…”, last added: 8/29/2011

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11. The Yellow House

The Yellow House. Blake Morrison. Illustrated by Helen Craig. 1987/2011. Candlewick Press. 32 pages.

Every day we passed the yellow house on our way to the park, Mom and me and my little sister, Jenny. The house was on its own. It looked old, sad, and rather scary. 

I'll try to keep this one short. After all, why waste time with a book I'm not eager to recommend?! This picture book was just odd to me. I haven't decided if the intent is just to be odd, or if the intent is to be odd and CREEPY. Is it a seemingly simple book about a young girl with an active imagination? Or is the "little boy that beckons to her" meant to be creepy? I found him VERY creepy. But that could just be me.

So. There's this abandoned house that the heroine passes often. She feels a little sad--if sad is the right word?--that no one lives there. That the house doesn't have a family, a family with little children. One day the little girl passes the house and stops. She "notices" a little boy in the yard. He wants her to play with him. And they have an over-the-top, completely unbelievable adventure together. But. Of course she never sees him again because no one lives there, the place is abandoned and will likely always be abandoned.

Anyway, the book is weird. I suppose it could just be unusual or quirky or peculiar. I didn't like it. But you may like it more than I did. Are you a fan of this one? If you like it--love it--I'd love to hear why. I would appreciate seeing it through someone else's eyes!

Text: 2 out of 5
Illustrations: 2 out of 5
Total: 4 out of 10

© 2011 Becky Laney of Young Readers

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12. ‘Where’s Waldo?’ To Be Adapted as Live-Action Movie

According to Deadline, MGM will  to adapt the popular picture book series Where’s Waldo into a live-action movie.

MGM motion picture group president Jonathan Glickman has secured the film rights to the franchise. Who would you cast as Waldo?

Here’s more from the article: “Created by Martin Handford and first published in 1987, Where’s Waldo? is one of the most recognizable characters in the world and a pop-culture icon. A publishing phenomenon with more than 55 million books sold worldwide from New York to Sydney to London to Tokyo, Where’s Waldo books are available in more than thirty-eight countries and have been translated into more than thirty languages. Where’s Waldo has also been spotted in gaming, selling more than 4.6+ million Apps for iPhone and iPad.”


New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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13. Varmints

Something weird and wonderful. Keep reading… Having seen Marc Craste’s commercial work, Helen Ward set out to write the story of Varmints with him, “I like to think in pictures, so it is very important to me that I know and love the work of the illustrators for whom I write.” Helen tells a story [...]

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14. Week-end Book Review: Tía Isa Wants a Car


Meg Medina, illustrated by Claudio Muñoz,
Tía Isa Wants a Car
Candlewick Press, 2011.

Ages 5-7

Nowadays, many of us take owning a car for granted and we think nothing of the fact that a good number of families have two, even three cars. Recently awarded a spot on the Amelia Bloomer Prize List for portraying a strong female protagonist, Meg Medina’s children’s book, Tía Isa Wants A Car, shows readers how dreams can come true if you set your mind to something and have a whole lot of perseverance and determination.

Dedicated to the memory of her own family’s first car, a “light-blue Wildcat that stalled everywhere and was awful to park on crowded streets,” Medina’s book tells the story of how a young girl and her aunt, Tía Isa, manage to save enough money to buy a “shiny green car” that will “take us to the beach!” With the funds from taking odd jobs around the neighborhood and her aunt’s work at a local bakery, the girl and Tía Isa save up enough (while also putting aside money for family out of the country) to ultimately end up with their dream car, a symbol of freedom literally as well as metaphorically. Tía Isa be able to take her family to the beach and not have to wait for the bus, but she has also defied a cultural norm: one where the women are obedient and demure. After purchasing the car, Tía Isa is no longer seen as a “[r]rrridículo” sister who prepares meals; rather she has taken on the role of a strong contributing family member who can act independently, yet still manage to support other family members who are far away.

The pictures by Claudio Muñoz, an award-winning illustrator whose work has appeared in The Economist, The Financial Times, and several children’s books, has created a visually pleasing accompaniment to Medina’s words. He has created his own descriptions of the characters through his illustrations, choosing to depict Tía Isa and her strong personality in bold, brightly patterned dresses, whereas mention of the loved ones living outside of the country are depicted in a more toned down palette of colors.

Tía Isa Wants a Car is a heart-warming story that brings together culture, the importance of family, and the rewards of hard work. Children will delight in the sprinkling of Spanish words throughout and they will take away the knowledge that nothing is impossible if you have the belief and drive to make your dreams a reality.

Keilin Huang
February 2012

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15. Week-end Book Review: No One But You by Douglas Wood, illustrated by P. J. Lynch


Douglas Wood, illustrated by P. J. Lynch,
No One But You
Candlewick Press, 2011.

Ages 6+

There’s something wonderful about stimulating the senses through the simplistic beauty that Mother Nature has created. In Douglas Wood’s children’s book, No One But You, people of all ages are invited to use their five senses to discover “many important things” because “the best things, the most important ones of all, are the ones no one can teach you or show you or explain. No one can discover them but you.”

An award-winning writer and author of the best-selling book Old Turtle, Wood once again highlights his fascination with nature, this time focusing on the happiness that comes with the simple things in life: dangling your feet in a pond, eating a strawberry, gazing at the stars, laughing and smiling with loved ones. There is a rhythmic feel to his writing and the repetition of the two words “no one” throughout the book lends an almost hypnotic quality. This, paired with P. J. Lynch’s beautiful oil illustrations, makes for a winning combination. Lynch, an acclaimed illustrator and two-time winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal, has created images evocative of ones a parent would take of their own child, perhaps from the weekend getaway to the park or a camping trip by the lake. It encourages parents to contemplate whether they too can capture a loved one “set[ting] out to create their special place in the world.”

Younger children will be inspired by Wood’s beautifully crafted book, whether they set out to uncover the treasures of nature for the first time or they wish to share their enchantment with others. While this is a children’s book, adults can also take something away from the story. We live in an era where technology dominates every aspect of our lives, from how we socialize with others to how we shop. No One But You is a reminder that life is more than texting, emails, and sitting at a desk; it’s worthwhile to take time to slow down and enjoy what life and nature have to offer.

Keilin Huang
February 2012

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16. Web of Words: A Monster Calls

50 Book Pledge | Book #23: The Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson

I present a passage from Candlewick Press‘s A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd.

Nevertheless, the monster said, standing, the roof beams of his grandma’s office seeming to sigh with relief, that is what will happen after the third tale.

“Great,” Conor said. “Another story when there are more important things going on.”

Stories are important, the monster said. They can be more important than anything. If they carry the truth.

“Life writing,” Conor said, sourly, under his breath.

The monster looked surprised. Indeed, it said.

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17. Candlewick Believes!

Well, yeah!  Who DOESN'T believe in picture books???!!  They are so wonderful!  Thanks, Candlewick.

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18. Maya Makes a Mess: Messy Eater Contest!

Later this month, Toon Books releases the above easy-to-read comic reader Maya Makes a Mess. Written and illustrated by Rutu Modan, this is something I would have loved to read as an emerging reader.
I love this dynamic spread (and that flowing line of spaghetti!) Rutu Modan is masterful at capturing so many big expressions with spare lines and flat color.

Pop on over to the Maya Makes a Mess Messy Eater contest page for a chance to win your own copy. Just submit a picture of YOUR messy eater. That's my messy little one, on a typical morning I might add - I think Maya would approve of her methods.

1 Comments on Maya Makes a Mess: Messy Eater Contest!, last added: 8/3/2012
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19. Book Review: Nothing Like a Puffin

I know I've reviewed Bob Kolar's fabulously illustrated picture books before. Nothing Like a Puffin, written by Sue Soltis, is another gem. A fun book to read and look at, with a lesson for little ones about comparisons.

The artwork is so beautifully rendered in the simplest of forms and a gorgeous and limited palette. The way color blocks are slightly 'offset' is a subtle but lovely touch, adding depth and interest in just the right spots.
You can see more of Bob's work at his blog Whoop Dee Do.

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20. We Believe in Pictures Books!

Candlewick Press launched a year-long tribute to the picture book beginning this month.  Every day for the next year, a new video will highlight authors, illustrators, librarians, teachers, readers, and YOU!  Yep, that’s right–YOU! If you love picture books and believe they have a purpose in young reader’s lives, or in your own, you too [...]

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21. Watch for It: Daylight Savings

Daylight Saving (Hardcover) ~ Edward Hogan Cover Art

Reminding me of a tale by William Sleater, Daylight Saving by Edward Hogan is a fast-paced, mind-bending chiller. Daniel, on a forced vacation with his father, meets a girl whose wounds seem to worsen daily. As the clock runs down, he grasps for courage and inspiration to try to save her. At the same time, he's dealing with his own body image, the blame of his parent's separation, and his father's drinking. If you liked The Lovely Bones, you'll find a similar thread here.

Watch for Daylight Saving. And see how sympathetic you become as the clock ticks backwards...

Daylight Saving
by Edward Hogan
Candlewick Press

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

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22. A Foot in the Mouth: Poems to Speak, Sing, and Shout by Paul B. Janeczko

5 Stars
A Foot in the Mouth: 
Poems to Speak, Sing, and Shout
Paul B. Janeczko
Candlewick Press
No. Pages: 64         Ages: 8 to 12

From the Introduction: Poetry is sound. Oh, sure, it’s other things too, but sound needs to be near the top of the list. To hear the sound of a poem, really hear it, you need to read it out loud. Or have someone read it to you. All the poems in this book have been chosen because they are terrific candidates for reading aloud. They might be as easy as the six-word “Gigi” by Arnold Spilka, or as “frabjous” and as “brillig” as Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky,” full of delicious nonsense words to roll across your tongue. Many of the poems have very strong rhyme schemes—the poet is showing you how to read the poem through the use of rhyme.

You don’t need to be an expert, and if you’re not sure how a certain part should sound, ask a parent or teacher. Practice a few times. In no time at all, you’ll be able to share the music of a good poem read aloud. If you’ve never read a poem to somebody, you don’t know what you’re missing. This book will give you a chance to change that. These three dozen poems are especially satisfying spoken, recited—shouted!—out loud, from lively rhymes to tricky tongue twisters. Give it a try – Paul B. Janeczko

A Foot in the Mouth is a wonderful collection of some of the silliest, funniest, sarcastic, and fabulous poems for children I have ever read. Adults who like revisiting their child-self through books will enjoy reading this diverse selection of poetry. There are tongue twisters, limericks, rhymed poems, bilingual poems, and poems for one voice to a group of voices. Poets include A.A. Milne, Walt Whitman, William Shakespeare, and a few who did not want to, like to, or forgot to, take credit for their work.

I really enjoyed reading, and reading again, these poems, which are mostly humorous. I like funny. I also like the occasional quirky, such as Old Hank by an unknown poet, penning under the pseudonym Anonymous. Okay, okay. No one can recall who wrote Old Hank, still I like it for its irony.

..............................For a lark,
..............................For a prank,
..............................Old Hank,
..............................Walked a plank.
..............................These bubbles mark
..............................Where Hank sank.

Oh, poor Old Hank, walked that plank, trying to prank someone and instead of bobbing back to the surface  and yelling “Gotcha,” he sank and stuck. Old Hank is but one of the shorter poems that try to say much with few words. As a kid, I loved limericks and devoured all the limerick books at the library. I like the identical cadence and the often-unexpected wit about them. There are only three limericks in A Foot in the Mouth, yet kids will get the structure of these poems quickly.

The illustrations cannot be overlooked. They enhance each poem, sometimes help explain the poem, but mostly entertain alongside them. Most of the illustrations look abstract. I am not a graphic artist by any stretch of my imagination, so let me try to explain.

People, animals, and things are comprised of a stroke of paint pulled, blotched, spotted, or sprayed on to make the object. Patterns instead of sketched/painted lines make up these picture.*

I like them, think they are fun and often funny. The illustrations fill up the white space on many of the pages and give the eye a second enjoyable piece of art to consume.

Poetry for children does not show up in my mailbox often, but when it has, the results have been fantastic. This book does not disappoint. The humor and fun in each of these poems, regardless the form, will delight those that read them. When delighted, we want more. That is my wish for A Foot in the Mouth—that kids will be so delighted with these poems they will seek out others.

*If anyone can explain this better, please do so in the comment section. Thank you.

Foot in mouth

Author: Paul B. Janeczko    website  bio
Illustrator: Chris Raschka    bio
Publisher: Candlewick Press   website
Release Date:  March 10, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7636-6083-3
Number of Pages: 64?
Ages: 8 to 12

Filed under: 5stars, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Poetry Tagged: Candlewick Press, children's books, humor, middle grade books, paul b janeczko, picture books, poetry

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23. Happy Birthday to our little bear, Oliver!

2 Comments on Happy Birthday to our little bear, Oliver!, last added: 10/26/2012
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24. Watch For It: Feral Nights and Eternal

A shout out to our beloved Cynthia Leitich SmithEternal, Zachary's Story, the paperback graphic novel illustrated by Ming Doyle, will be available February 12th, along with Feral Nights. The later develops characters from Tantalize in their own series. Both books pack a supernatural punch, so watch for them. Congrats, Cynthia!

Feral Nights
by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Candlewick Press, February 12, 2013

LorieAnncard2010small.jpg image by readergirlz

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25. Failure IS an Option; A Really Funny One

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Pearls Before Swine strip creator Stephan Pastis is a hilarious new title guaranteed to win big with fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Dear Dumb Diary.

I read it with much amusement and delight, but thought that perhaps my own immaturity and snarkiness prevented me from qualifying as an unbiased judge of its greatness. I therefore turned to an expert on books of this type: my third grade daughter Mackenzie.

I decided Mackenzie could serve as an impartial judge due to the following qualifications:
  1. Timmy Failure is aimed at her demographic, 
  2. She's a voracious reader of this genre,
  3. She regularly discusses and swaps books with her third grade posse, and 
  4. She stole the advance review copy the day it arrived at our house before I even had the chance to open the cover.
I also felt I owed it to her after she scoured the shelves of our public library looking for Number Two in the series. I believe Mackenzie suffered intense emotional damage upon learning that the follow-up wouldn't be available for quite some time. Nonetheless, she graciously agreed to be interviewed.

Me:  So what's Timmy Failure all about?

Kenzie:  It's about this boy who's really bad in school that decides to open up a detective agency. The problem is, he really bad at being a detective and he misses lots of obvious clues. And he owns a fifteen hundred pound polar bear named Total.

Me:  Is the polar bear real, or stuffed?

Kenzie:  It's real! (She shrugs her shoulders and lifts her hands up, palms to the ceiling  as if to say. "Duh!").

Me:  You're sure it's real?

Kenzie:  What does it matter?

Me:  Good point. So apart from this polar bear, does Timmy have any friends?

Kenzie:  He has one friend name Rollo, but Timmy thinks he's not that smart, which is crazy, because Rollo studies all the time and gets really good grades, and Timmy doesn't.

Me:  Any other friends?

Kenzie:  Well, he has an archenemy (speaking with increased enthusiasm now) and her name is Corinna Corinna, and what's funny is that at first he won't name her or even let you see her face. She has her own detective agency and Timmy thinks she's reeeeeally annoying.

Me:  Any favorite parts?

Kenzie:  I like when he tries to solve cases, because he always ignores really obvious clues. This one time a boy hires him to find out who ate all his candy. On Timmy's way out, he peeks in the room and sees the boy's brother, his face all covered with chocolate, sitting on his bed surrounded by candy wrappers. You think he's solved the crime, but all Timmy does is write in his notebook, "Gabe's brother is a slob."

Me:  Any other favorite parts?

Kenzie:  Well, I think it's really funny that the librarian is really, really tough, and he has "Dewey" on a tattoo...

Me:  You mean like, the Dewey decimal system?

Kenzie:  Yeah. You don't really expect a librarian to look like that.

Me:  (picking up the book) I noticed some pretty hard words in here. Did you understand them all?

Kenzie: Yeah. If you read the book, you can tell what the words mean.

Me:  Really? All of them?

Kenzie:  Well, most of them. But you don't have to understand every word to get the story. Plus, I think that sometimes even Timmy doesn't know what the words mean. He names his detective agency Total Failure, Inc. because the polar bear's name is Total, but he doesn't even get why that's a really bad name for a company.

Me:  So who would enjoy this book?

Kenzie:  Anyone who likes funny stories. Every day I show funny parts to my friend, so she wants to borrow it next. And then her friend wants to borrow it... yeah. You might not get it back.

Me:  So is Timmy a failure?

Kenzie: Yes. Actually, no. He's not a failure. He's just clueless. Are we done yet?

# # #

There you have it: the insightful and thought provoking reflections of a third grader.

One point on which we both agree is the vocabulary. Stephan Pastis intersperses fantastic vocabulary throughout the book, purposefully heavier at times to indicate moments on importance. Check out how in the following short excerpt he combines specific vocabulary, repetition, sentence variety, and even sentence fragments, in a wonderful way.

But that greatness did not prepare me for what I would see at the Weber residence.

For today it is the scene of total devastation. All marred by the remnants of someone inhumane. Someone determined. Someone whose weapon of choice comes in packs of six, twelve, and twenty. If you are squeamish, look away.

Toilet paper. It is everywhere.

And this isn't one isolated and out-of-the-ordinary passage; this is how he writes the entire book. For that reason, I would definitely recommend this book for middle schoolers, and certainly reluctant and struggling readers. I could even see myself using several portions as mentor texts to teach sentence and paragraph structure, understatement, satire, and word choice.

So pick up a copy of Timmy Failure for yourself, or visit the official Timmy Failure site for fun extras such as wallpapers, interviews, and videos.

6 Comments on Failure IS an Option; A Really Funny One, last added: 4/8/2013
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