The Dunderheads Behind Bars by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by David Roberts. Candlewick, 2012, 48 pages. Add a Comment
I'm a huge baseball fan, so I was excited that I got the opportunity to read this book. I haven't read the first three books in the series but I didn't feel like I missed anything. There are a lot of great baseball facts in this book. There is information about the game, including the hidden ball trick, and then at the end there is a special section called Dugout Notes that features information about the Astros' ballpark.
Plan in advance for father’s day! The month of June is dedicated to books for dads and boys…don’t worry, a few dads & daughter books thrown in too! Good list for reluctant readers as well as summer vacation. Enjoy!Add a Comment
In celebration of Mother’s day, moms, women and daughters, recommendations span ages and areas of interest. Great for summer vacation reading too!Add a Comment
Review by Chris Singer
About the author:
Mo Willems’ work in children’s books, animation, television, theater, and bubble gum card painting have garnered 3 Caldecott Honors, 2 Geisel Medals, a Geisel Honor, 2 Carnegie Medals, 6 Emmys, and multiple bubble gum cards. Upcoming non-bubble gum card projects include “Hooray for Amanda and Her Alligator,” a portrait of the relationship between a girl and her stuffed alligator told in 6-1/2 stories
About the book:
Gerald is careful. Piggie is not. Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can. Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to.
Gerald and Piggie are best friends.
In I Broke My Trunk! Gerald tells Piggie the long, crazy story about breaking his trunk. Will Piggie end up with a long, crazy story of her own?
My take on the book:
Another Elephant and Piggie book review? If you’ve been following Book Dads for awhile you, of course, are not surprised. I’m not sure if there’s an official, or unofficial fan club, but if there isn’t we should either start one or join one…(paging @the1stdaughter, @birthdayauthor, @linkstoliteracy…).
I can’t help it though. I love these books so much I just have to, no I MUST, share them with you so you can share them with your little ones and receive the same gift I do when I see that huge smile on my little listener’s face while I read these books aloud to her.
I Broke My Trunk is in one word, fantastic. You can substitute this word for others if you wish. Incredible. Delightful. Amazing. Hilarious. Pick one of those adjectives and you’ll be correct in your assessment. It’s the case over and over with every book of Mo Willems we’ve picked up and brought home from the library. The Elephant and Piggie series seems to get better with each new release and Mo Willems continues to find new ways to keep us interested, laughing and yearning for more!
This is going to be an extra special book as well because it is one of the few things we’re giving my daughter for her birthday in just over a week. It will also be the first Mo Willems book she will call her own. That is special indeed!
You see, we’re moving and it’s a big move too. From Lansing, Michigan to Corvallis, Oregon. 2400 plus miles. We’re also downsizing from a house to an apartment and we’re not taking a lot of “stuff” with us. So this year we have to keep it a little light on the birthday gifts because we just don’t have the space or finances to take everything with us. We’ll make it up to her when we get settled. However, I don’t think she is going to mind. I’m almost posDisplay Comments Add a Comment
The Creative Director of Abrams Books, Chad Beckerman, has a terrific blog where he sometimes discusses the evolution of book covers that he's worked on. I've always loved those posts--and now there's one for LIKE PICKLE JUICE ON A COOKIE! Please check it out: http://cwdesigner.blogspot.com/2010/11/evolution-of-like-pickle-juice-on.html. Pay special attention to the list of titles that were considered; some of them really made me laugh.
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|The stores and shops teemed with life,|
and people lined up at tables in the marketsquare,
signed books, and paid money to
men in flowing red robes and shiny hats.
|Finally, three more men entered from out|
of the night. Kings, the people called them.
They carried gifts and laid them before the
child and his parents.
|The kids got to know the young family,|
and even Young Billy became friends with
Oh, Holy Undies, how could I have missed my own 5th Anniversary? So a quick scan of the records showed that five years and nine days ago I embarked on this journey to read, write, and review books for children and young adults. What began as an exploration to better educate myself eventually led to an MFA at Vermont College and what is clearly becoming my great second act in life. I wouldDisplay Comments Add a Comment
Julie: Why do our fingers get so wrinkled in the tub? Why does popcorn pop? Why do onions make us cry? Why do dandelions turn white and fluffy? For clear, interesting, and simply worded answers, inquiring minds need look no farther than Catherine Ripley's WHY? THE BEST EVER QUESTION AND ANSWER BOOK ABOUT NATURE, SCIENCE AND THE WORLD AROUND YOU. It's certainly designed for kids, with full-page, color illustrations and child-friendly language and content. But I confess: I feel smarter having read this book. I always knew the bathroom floor was colder than the bathmat, for example. But I never thought about why. Now I know. I feel quite proud. Maybe I need to read more non-fiction! Mia, what do you think?
Marirosa Mia: I enjoyed it as well. It was quite fun testing my knowledge on questions like: Why do we yawn? and Why do my fingers stick to frozen juice cans? I'm not saying I would win a million on Jeopardy!, but I knew quite a few things; and that made me happy. The book's categories are divided by the location where the question will likely be asked: Bathtime Questions, Outdoor Questions, Supermarket Questions, and the like. It's an appealing and easy-to-reference structure. This will be an excellent book to have once my niece starts asking "Why?" questions!Add a Comment
In case you missed it, this week’s results for School Library Journal’s Fuse #8 Re-Seussify Seuss challenge were in, and they were pretty spectacular! The mission, as set forth by children’s lit guru Betsy Bird, was to draw a spread from a Dr. Seuss book, but in the style of ANOTHER famous picture book artist. I was inspired by the fun mash-up idea, and pulled off the image of Yertle The Turtle in the style of Arnold Lobel, above.
The idea for the image itself came to me pretty easily. It’s no surprise that I love drawing turtles, and Yertle The Turtle is a family favorite. The reptile vs. amphibian factor – Yertle crossed with Frog and Toad - was amusing to me as well. In particular, I wanted to try my hand at Arnold Lobel’s style. I thought the limited palette with textured graphite would be fun, and his characters and watercolors lend themselves easily to my own style. Plus, he’s a fellow Pratt alum!
I learned a lot about Arnold Lobel’s creative process from this video with his daughter, Anita Lobel. She sought to replicate her father’s paintings when she colored Arnold Lobel’s unfinished The Frogs and Toads All Sang:
I am very interested in Lobel’s use of color separations to make the Frog and Toad illustrations, and I wish I could find more on the subject. While Anita went with full-color in her recent interpretation, I wanted to imitate the 2-color (and black) separations by sticking to a green layer, a brown layer, and dark graphite. I’m pleased with the result and think it was rather successful, if I do say so myself.
Now go check out Betsy’s post for the other mind-blowing creative Re-Seussification mash-ups!
The full April list is here. Get a sneak peak at the 2nd half of the month and stock up for summer vacation too!Add a Comment
Recently, we have collaborated with some Minnesota author friends to open a retail store over the holiday season that featured our products. The store was the brain child of our friend, Kelly Lucente, author of “Bye Bye Monster.” We are honored and humbled that Kelly calls us her friends and mentors. The story ran on the front [...]Add a Comment
Había una vez
Marirosa Mia: Our second guest reviewer! I’m so excited, and we even went to the same school! Yes, Puerto Rico is very small… so what? I’m also very excited that she’s reviewing one of my favorite childhood collections. But I’ll let Salome take it from here.
Salome: For my first review of books in Spanish, I wanted to go back to the classics, which in my case means the books we were forced to read in grade school. I looked at a couple of them and found them to be completely inappropriate or plain boring. And then I remembered Había una vez... - yes, Once Upon a Time....
It is, as one may expect from the title, a collection of fairy tales. There's La gallinita dorada (it's The Little Red Hen, but I guess she has a golden tan in the tropics), El Gato con botas (Puss N' Boots), Juanito y Margarita (guess!, yes, Hansel and Gretel) and El pollito pito (Chicken Little), to name a few. But there are also some awesome Caribbean classics like La cucarachita Martina (Martina, the Little Cockroach), which I somehow could recite by heart at age 2 to my parents’ bragging delight. It also has riddles, starting with the traditional Adivina, adivinador (Guess, guesser), popular songs like ¡Qué llueva! (May It Rain!), and gives kids a peek at some great Spanish language authors, with poems by Lope de Vega, Federico García Lorca, Amado Nervo, and Juana de Ibarbourou.
I had not seen the book in 35 years, until one of my sisters sent a copy to my Spanish-language-challenged kids. The book had since lost its hard cover to a more price-efficient paperback form, but everything else remained the same. And I remembered every bit of it - its awesome retro illustrations and selections - as if I had owned it all along.
I believe that what makes it so special is that the stories are written in plain Spanish - well, as plain as Spanish can be - and that the writing is the closest thing to a Pan American Spanish – something like Univision Spanish - that kids in any Latin American country can understand and follow easily. That is often not the case with children's books, particularly if they are published in Spain. In my children's case in particular, I love the fact that they include such straightforwardAdd a Comment
wished you had a list of the top 100 children's books of all time, as voted on
by children's book fanatics? Librarian and blogger extraordinaire Betsy
Bird has conducted the poll, and she's counting them down, day by day, right
Check it out--and be prepared for some surprises!
I've been slacking off lately, but since last August, I've been putting a "Kids' Classic I Forgot to Read" on our front desk for a month at a time. Previous titles are: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler, Egypt Game, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, Mr. Popper's Penguins, The Cricket in Times Square, A Wrinkle in Time and 13 Clocks. In honor of Fathers' Day, I decided to select My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannet (illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannet), a fabulously wholesome story perfectly suited for reading aloud with the whole family. Little Elmer Elevator (the father of the faceless narrator) would give anything to fly. Luckily for him, he's made friends with an alley cat who knows where a dragon lives, held captive by a slew of wild animals. It is Elmer's quest to free the dragon, and chase his own dream of flying, and to do so he must use all his cunning, courage and (most of all) kindness to accomplish his goals. Elmer makes for a lovable protagonist, whose most memorable characteristics are that he is kind and he is clever. Though many of the animals want to eat him, he finds ways around them that do no harm to anyone. Win, win.
The illustrations are plentiful, and the type set is large, so the fact that it is 86 pages is a bit misleading. It's a very short story, similar in feel to many of the Japanese fairy tales I grew up reading (only with less tail-cutting-offness and swords). Simple enough for younger kids to follow, with all the adorable a grown-up can handle, I totally recommend this book for full family read alouds, barring the involvement of any snarky teens.Shown above, an illustration of Elmer and his run in with the Rhino on Wild Island.
Revisions, revisions, revisions! It has been a year since I worked on Ollie And Logger In The Deep Blue Sea, the early reader book that I illustrated (and my mother wrote) for my first semester senior project. I love the story and feel good about the pacing of the sketches as a whole. But as I look back, I was deeply dissatisfied with a couple of things. The characters seemed awkward, stiff and bloated, their faces falling short of the natural cuteness I was going for. And on top of that, all the color work I did wasn’t working either. Try as I might last fall, I was not getting the lightness and fluidity of underwater scenes, and all the pieces look overworked. That’s the hardest part about watercolor – knowing when to stop, because once you go too far there is no going back, just starting over.
Despite my self-criticisms, I am confident that we have something marketable with Ollie And Logger – it’s just a matter of revising. So I spent my three-day weekend reworking the characters and the first color piece . . . and here are the results of the makeover!
Cynthia's Attic Series on Amazon!Display Comments Add a Comment
In What’s the Big Idea, the school science fair gives second graders, Ivy and Bean, their most scientific adventure yet – their mission: to solve global warming.
Of course, it’s NOT going to go as planned. So, get ready to laugh along with these charming young friends who won’t stop until they find the best way to solve their environmental issue, no matter how many ideas they must try.
What’s the Big Idea, the seventh Ivy and Bean early chapter book, just might be the best Ivy and Bean yet. Young scientists’ brains will be spinning with ideas and inspiration after reading this book which is perfect for most seven year olds.
Want to see for yourself? Read the first chapter for free right now. Click here to read.
I love the Ivy and Bean books for their age-appropriateness, humor, and well written characters and plot lines. It’s is a series you can read in any order; once you like one, you’ll want to read them all. And, you can become a Facebook fan of the series, too!
Book Play: After you read What’s the Big Idea, go to the Activity Guide. Ideas like “What Endangered Animal Am I?” and “Ice Cube Toss” will keep you thinking about the book and the environment.
|my preferred cover|
|the current edition since changing publishers|