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Results 1 - 25 of 25
1. The Whisper by Pamela Zagarenski

Pamela Zagarenski is the recipient of two Caldecott  Honor silver medals. One for Sleep Like a Tiger, which was written by Mary Logue, and one for Red Sings from the Treetops: A Year in Colors by Joyce Sidman. The Whisper is her first major picture book as author and illustrator and it is every bit as superb as her layered, dream-like, magical illustrations. The Whisper is a modern

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2. When Books Went to War

When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II. Molly Guptill Manning. 2014. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 288 pages. [Source: Library]

Love to read? Love to read about reading, about books? Or perhaps you love to read about war, especially World War II? Or even perhaps you have an interest in the how-and-why of book publishing? of the history of book publishing? When Books Went To War may be the perfect--oh-so-perfect--book for you.

When Books Went to War is about two things really: a) the need and desire to supply American soldiers (troops) with reading material to keep up their morale b) the effect that the books--and the act of reading--had on soldiers. Both elements of the story are fascinating.

The opening chapters focus on a national book donation drive to supply soldiers with books. After a year--or perhaps two--it became apparent this wasn't the answer, or the best answer at any rate. Hardbacks are NOT practical for soldiers to carry. And you never know what you're going to get with book donations. The types of books--the genres or subgenres--and the condition of books. Sending soldiers books that are decades old, that are cast-offs to begin with. The books are probably unwanted for a reason. Not that every single book would have been disqualified, mind you. But all the donated books had to be gone through, evaluated and sorted. Many books were just not a good match. 

The remaining chapters focus on their new solution: the production of special paperback editions--ASE, Armed Services Edition--of selected titles. Paperbacks, at the time, weren't all that common in the field of publishing. Mass paperbacks hadn't really evolved quite yet in the market. The committee picked titles each month--28 to 40, I believe--in a wide range of genres, fiction and nonfiction. These editions were shipped all over the world wherever troops were stationed. And to say they were appreciated would be an understatement! Each book could fit in a pocket. And they could be taken anywhere--read anywhere. (The book does include a list of each title published from September 1943 through June 1947.)

Probably my favorite aspect of the book was reading about how these books impacted soldiers. Individual stories by soldiers on what these books meant to them, on what certain authors meant to them, on how reading helped them, kept them sane, meant so much to them. The book is full of WOW moments. Like soldiers writing to authors and corresponding with them.   

Librarians felt duty-bound to try to stop Hitler from succeeding in his war of ideas against the United States.They had no intention of purging their shelves or watching their books burn, and they were not going to wait until war was declared to take action. As an ALA publication observed in January 1941, Hitler's aim was "the destruction of ideas...even in those countries not engaged in military combat." Throughout late 1940 and early 1941, librarians debated how to protect American minds against Germany's amorphous attacks on ideas. The "bibliocaust" in Europe had struck a nerve. America's librarians concluded that the best weapon and armor was the book itself. By encouraging Americans to read, Germany's radio propaganda would be diluted and its book burnings would stand in marked contrast. As Hitler attempted to strengthen fascism by destroying the written word, librarians would urge Americans to read more. In the words of one librarian: if Hitler's Mein Kampf was capable of "stirring millions to fight for intolerance and oppression of hate, cannot other books be found to stir other millions to fight against them?" (15)
What the Army needed was some form of recreation that was small, popular, and affordable. It needed books. World War II would not be the first time the Army and Navy welcomed books into their ranks. Yet no other war--before or since--has approached the rate at which books were distributed to American forces in World War II. (24)
Charles Bolte, who was wounded in Africa, hospitalized, and distressed over his future as he faced the amputation of his leg, remembered a momentous day. A friend (who was being treated for a bullet wound) walked up to Bolte's bed, triumphantly waved a copy of Ernest Hemingway's The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories, which he had found in the hospital library. Bolte found comfort in a story about a hero who discovered that crying relieved the pain in his broken leg. Until then, Bolte had never dared cry. The story convinced him to cover his head with his blankets and give it a try. "It helped me, too." Bolte said. Although he endured multiple amputation surgeries, Bolte turned to reading throughout his hospitalization and credited books with helping him mend and move forward. "What happens during convalescence from a serious wound can sour or sweeten a man for life," Bolte remarked. For him, the latter occurred. "It was the first time since grammar school that I'd had enough time to read as much as I wanted to," he said. While there were many things that helped him heal, Bolte placed the dozens of books he read as among the most important. Tens of thousands of men would share Bolte's experience over the course of the war, finding in books the strength they needed to endure the physical wounds inflicted on the battlefield, and the power to heal their emotional and psychological scars as well. (46)

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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3. My Pet Book by Bob Staake

I am a big fan of the work of Bob Staake and I hope you'll take time at the end of this review to explore his other books, many of which I have reviewed here. His newest picture book, My Pet BOOK, perfectly presents Staake's wacky sensibilities and his colorfully crowded world while expressing the joys of books and reading at the same time. Set in Smartytown, we meet a boy who wants a

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4. Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature by Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson and Peter D. Sieruta, 276 pp, RL: ALL AGES

Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature is a behind-the-scenes look at the grown-up aspects of writing children's books written by three children's book specialists, Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson and Peter D. Sieruta, who passed away in 2012. Having been a fan of the blogs of Betsy Bird (fuse#8, which was picked up by School Library Journal a few years ago) and Julie

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5. The Jacket

The Jacket
by Kirsten Hall
illustrated by Dasha Tolstikova
Enchanted Lion Books, 2014
review copy provided by the publisher

This is a book about a book who wants nothing more than "for a child to discover him. / To disappear into his pages. / To laugh at his story. / To love him and care for him in a way all favorite books know."

That day finally comes for Book, but unfortunately, the girl who loves him also loves her dog, who loves to roll in the mud, which spells disaster for Book.

All is not lost, though. The girl is creative. Can you guess what she makes for her book to cover the mud stains? Yup. A jacket!

Directions for making a book jacket are included. ("*Don't forget to cut eye holes for your book's eyes!")

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6. Inside this Book (are three books). by Barney Saltzberg

Inside this Book (are three books). is yet another   book with brilliant paper engineering from the master of picture books that playfully inspire creativity, Barney Saltzberg. When I was a kid there wasn't much more exciting than blank pages folded in half and stapled to make a book, and I have students in the library doing this every day. In fact, there is a really neat way to fold a

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7. Open This Little Book, by Jesse Klausmeier, illustrated by Suzy Lee

<!-- START INTERCHANGE - OPEN THIS LITTLE BOOK -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";d.body.appendChild(s);} <!-- END INTERCHANGE --> There's been a lot of buzz about Open This Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier and Suzy Lee for months now and I an so thrilled to finally have it in my

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8. The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica: Here, There Be Dragons, written and illustrated by James A. Owen, 324 pp, RL 5

<!-- START INTERCHANGE - HERE THERE BE DRAGONS -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";d.body.appendChild(s);} The premise of Here, There Be Dragons, written and illustrated by James A. Owen, the first in a series of books that will come to an end with book seven, The First Dragon, in

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9. The Secret Science Alliance by Eleanor Daivs, 160 pp, RL 4

I first reviewed The Secret Science Alliance on 12/16/09 when I was just delving into the world of graphic novels. In the years since, I have read and loved many graphic novels (mostly for kids) but Davis' book remains at the top of my list for story, art and complexity. A must read! The Secret Science Alliance, by Geisel Award winner (for her excellent beginning reader comic book, Stinky)

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10. Ike's Incredible Ink by Brianne Farley

<!-- START INTERCHANGE - IKE'S INCREDIBLE INK -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";d.body.appendChild(s);} <!-- END INTERCHANGE --> Ike's Incredible Ink is the debut picture book from author/illustrator Brianne Farley. A story of epic procrastination - or is it inspiration? - Farley's

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11. Little Red Writing by Joan Holub, illustrated by Melissa Stewart

<!-- START INTERCHANGE - LITTLE RED WRITING -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";d.body.appendChild(s);} <!-- END INTERCHANGE --> Little Red Writing, written by Joan Holub and illustrated by Melissa Sweet, who has illustrated nearly 100 children's book and won a Caldecott Honor and a

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12. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, 434 pp, RL TEEN

<!-- START INTERCHANGE - FANGIRL -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";d.body.appendChild(s);} <!-- END INTERCHANGE --> When I reviewed Rainbow Rowell's stunning novel Eleanor & Park, there were so many things I wanted to talk about in relation to the book, in addition to the fact that

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13. Don't Turn the Page! by Rachelle Burk, illustrated by Julie Downing

Don't Turn the Page is a completely charming, cozy book-within-a-book by Rachelle Burk, perfectly paired with illustrations by Julie Downing. Don't Turn the Page is also a standout for being published by Creston Books, a brand (two seasons) new children's book publisher based in Northern California dedicated to resurrecting the "golden age of picture books, when fine books were edited and

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14. The Midnight Library by Kazuno Kohara

I was instantly drawn to the illustrations of Kazuno Kohara when I was working as a bookseller and discovered the paperback edition of Ghosts in the House! back in 2010. Ghosts in the House! is the rare Halloween-themed picture book - one that captures the spirit of the holiday while also offering just the right amount of spooky for little listeners. Kohara's book was a joy to read at story

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15. Top 10 books about bookselling

Every red blooded bibliophile will eventually admit that at one point they have dreamed of owning, or at least working, in a bookstore.  The idea of getting to spend ones days bustling though the smell of the stacks, handling old books, and being able to recommend a book that makes the customer’s week are a fanciful notion.   But is this actually how it happens, or is it just the romantic fantasy we bibliophiles hold on to about the professional bookseller.

If you ever wanted to know what it was like to work in a bookstore but aren’t ready to jump in head first here are a few reads that might help paint the picture for you.

Top 10 books about bookselling 

1.Books: A Memoir by Larry McMurtry
Larry McMurtry’s novels are barely mentioned. They just don’t seem that important to him. Books: A Memoir is a book about being a bookman, being a book scout, being a used bookseller. Countless authors stress the importance of literacy and bang on about how books must never die, but how many open bookstores and get their hands dirty at the sharp end of this business – flogging used books?

2.The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee
In The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop, a Book Sense selection, Lewis Buzbee celebrates the unique experience of the bookstoreé  He shares his passion for books, which began with ordering through the Weekly Reader in grade school to a fascinating historical account of the bookseller trade—from the great Alexandria library to Sylvia Beach’s famous Paris bookstore, Shakespeare & Co. Rich with anecdotes, The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop is the perfect choice for those who relish the enduring pleasures of spending an afternoon finding just the right book.

BooksLarryMcMurtry     YellowLightedBookshop         KingsEnglish            HauntedBookshop

3. The King's English by Betsy Burton
Burton opened her bookstore in Salt Lake City in 1977, and this book explains the trials and tribulations of running an independent bookstore.  From competition from national chains, censorship under the Patriot Act, strange twists in reading tastes, and even stranger tastes in visiting authors whose lists of demands read like those of rabid rock stars.

4. The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley
Unlike the previous suggestions The Haunted Bookshop is a novel set in Brooklyn just after the end of World War I.  The story juxtaposes a pair of middle-aged bookshop owners and two young lovers with a nest of German saboteurs, but more importantly for this list, the novel has a great insight into the bookseller’s trade.

5. Sixpence House by Paul Collins
This is Paul Collins account of his move, with his family, to the Hay-on-Wye book town (1500 residents and 40 bookstores) from San Francisco and the adventures he finds there.

6. Bookstore: The Life and Times of Jeannette Watson and Books & Co. by Lynne Tillman
The behind-the-scenes story of one of America's greatest bookstores, narrated by Lynne Tillman and the customers, employees, and famous writers who frequented it.

  SixpenceHouse     BookstoreLifeandTimes    AlphabeticalLife    GentleMadness     ShakespeareAndCo

7. An Alphabetical Life: Living It Up in the World of Books by Wendy Werris
This book is another memoir in the life of books and bookselling.  Werris got her start in 1970 selling books at Pickwick Bookstore in LA.  She talks about her time with small presses and independent bookstores. 

8. A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for…  by Nicholas A. Basbanes
Not directly about Bookselling per say but any conversation where books about books are talked about Nicholas Basbanes will eventually come up.  Basbanes has written no less than eight books about books, book collecting, bookstores, libraries and book culture and his works provide a great insight into the world in which booksellers live.

9. Shakespeare and Company by Sylvia Beach
In 1919 Sylvia Beach "opened an American bookshop in Paris called Shakespeare and Company.  The shop became a publishing house for a majority of The Lost Generation.  This book talks about how this little shop came to publish James Joyce`s opus Ulysses.

10. Left Bank waltz : the Australian bookshop in Paris by Elaine Lewis
Elaine Lewis left her home in Australia to open the first Australian book shop in Paris.  Elaine hosted events, book readings and encouraged an exchange of ideas and a love of literature, as well as midnight swims in the Seine! But when some bumbling and nasty French bureaucrats threatened to close down the shop, Elaine and her many staunch supporters were faced with a battle against the establishment that quickly became stranger than fiction Left Bank Waltz is the spirited story of an Australian woman's courageous decision to follow a dream

... I didn't include them on this list since they are not about bookselling per say but there is also a neat series of detective novels by author and bookseller John Dunning about a bookseller and ex-policeman named Cliff Janeway who solves crime.  Start with Booked to Die and work your way though the series.

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16. Shelf Discovery

Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading by Lizzie Skurnick. Avon, an imprint of HarperCollins. 2009. Copy supplied by publisher.

I feel like I should put a disclosure in this review -- Lizzie Skurnick is my best friend.

The problem with such a disclosure is, of course, that Skurnick and I have never met. (I hope Skurnick isn't now on the phone to her lawyers, reporting me as a potential delusional stalker). But having read Skurnick's essays on teen books, Shelf Discovery, I am convinced that somehow we are friends. How else to explain how she wrote about my favorite books? She has snuck into my house and looked at my bookshelves; she has remembered the titles I have forgotten; she has eavesdropped on my fifth, seventh, ninth grade self as I sat and talked books with my friends.

One big difference exists between the child/teen reader I was and the one I am; at age ten, eleven, thirteen I said I loved a book; that someone had to read a book; I knew I was getting something important from a book. But to put it into words? No. Skurnick takes those best loved books, treats them (and the young reader) with respect, and, as an adult, explains why, exactly, that book worked so well for the reader. At times I nodded along with agreement (yes, that's exactly why!); and at others, I was hit with the sudden realization of just WHY a book meant so much to me.

Skurnick on V.C. Andrews: "Andrews writes like a non-native speaker who has done time in a jail where they only show 1960s sitcoms and One Life to Live, and my small heart aches and blood runs from many small paper cuts as I read her, beating my small fists on the pages." Not only does Skurnick explain Andrews' style, she also imitates it. Honors it. And here is the thing -- upon occasion, as here, Skurnick brings the snark but done the right way. With love.

Because Skurnick is writing about the books she loved, these are books that were published in the 60s, 70s, and 80s (with a handful of titles, like Understood Betsy that are even earlier). Books that were out, and read, before the current golden age of YA. They are the books that we, the readers in the 70s and 80s and 90s, chose to read. Wanted to read. Found, ourselves, on library shelves, in classrooms, passed on from a friend, picked up at a garage sale, found in a bookcase at home. And while there is a so-called classic or two among these pages (because even classics can be loved), most are not. They are classics in our hearts; because we remember and love them; not because of committees and teachers and assigned summer reading and classroom book discussions.

Reading this is like a discussion with a friend; Skurnick throws out a reference to Canby Hall totally assuming we will know exactly what she is talking about; and we do. And smile a little. And wonder if somewhere we have one of the Canby Hall books, to revisit. The jacket covers shown for the books are not the current ones but the ones that we had; and no matter how much we may think they are "bad" now and know that they wouldn't be picked up by any reader today, they are ours, our firsts, so we love them best and want that. exact. copy from eBay to replace the one lost or stolen or thrown out or sold at a garage sale.

A handful of the books reviewed were also reviewed at Skurnick's Fine Lines column for Jezebel; but even those essays have been revised. While some adults will (like myself) remember reading these books (even if we forgot the title of Beat the Turtle Drum we totally have memorized "if we were all on a boat and the boat capsized, and we had only one life jacket, they would put it on Joss"), others (I know from talking to the parents in libraries) have blanked out the books of their childhood and teen years. They forget that yes, teen books did have s.e.x. (please reprint Norma Klein); and gay characters; and bad things happened liked YOUR PARENTS SENT YOU TO CAMP TO KILL YOU. Good lord, the current parents who are so sensitive on behalf of their children (but really are sensitive as to how they are being portrayed in fiction to children, it's not really about their kids but about them) need this reminder of just how godawful the parents were in the books we read.

Having finished Shelf Discovery, I want to reread old favorites with the new insights from Skurnick. I want to track down the books I had never heard of. But I also want to pick up the phone, call Skurnick (tho if we're friends I guess I can call her Lizzie) and say, what, no A Summer to Die? No The Last of Eden? And she'll say, Liz, I included To Take a Dare, what more do you want from me? No one else on the planet knows that book, so be quiet already. And I'll pull out my copy of To Take a Dare and say, remember how Chrysta's dad wouldn't give her the pills, and we'll just continue talking about the books.

Twitter Review

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

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17. The Secret Science Alliance by Eleanor Daivs, 160 pp, RL 4

The Secret Science Alliance, by Geisel Award winner (for her excellent beginning reader comic book, Stinky) Eleanor Davis is beyond amazing. The plot easily could have taken up a couple of hundred pages of a traditional young adult novel (without pictures.) The depth of the personalities of the three main characters, as well as a few secondary characters is also equal to any good young adult

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18. Fanny written and illustrated by Holly Hobbie

If you are a woman and over 40, you probably remember the original Holly Hobbie, seen at left. This bonnet wearing, calico loving waif was an iconic part of my childhood. As an adult I was stunned to learn that Holly Hobbie is a real person, and artist and illustrator and not just an appropriately, adorably named prairie girl. I learned this when the first Toot & Puddle book was published in

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19. Reckless, written and illustrated by Cornelia Funke, translated by Oliver Latsch, 394 pp, RL: MIDDLE GRADE

With Reckless Cornelia Funke returns to the dark world of fairy tales, however this time the portal to another world is a mirror instead of the magical voice of a reader. Although their last name is Reckless, brothers Jacob and Will seem to be direct descendants of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm and the fairy tales that they recorded. In Reckless, the first book in what is to be a series, Funke proves

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20. Genrefied Classics: A Guide to Reading Interests in Classic Literature

Genrefied Classics: A Guide to Reading Interests in Classic Literature. Tina Frolund. 2007. Libraries Unlimited. 392 pages.

Genrefied Classics is essentially a reference book. A book of bookish lists. There are ten genres explored in the book. Each chapter of genres is broken into sub-genres or categories. Each sub-genre has a list of recommended reads. Each entry lists the author, the title, the year and country of initial publication, details about more recent publications, and information about if the title has been done as a movie or an audio book. Each entry also features 'similar reads' and subject headings for that title.

Classics can be interpreted differently by people--depending on each person's definition of what a classic is and is not. This book only includes "classics" published before 1985. (Ender's Game would be an example of a more recent classic included in this one, the oldest examples would be The Iliad, Aesop's Fables, The Aeneid, etc.)

While the intended audience of this one may be adults who work with kids and teens (fifth grade on up through twelfth grade)--in other words librarians, teachers, etc., I think other readers can benefit from browsing this one. I don't think you have to be looking for a classic to put in the hands of a teenager to benefit from it.

There are categories or subcategories within this one which I wish were a bit longer because I would love even more suggestions. I would have LOVED it if the chapter on romance had been longer. I would have thought there would be more categories too. This section just felt a little uninspired, if that makes sense. Because while it's nice to include Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, it's not like those aren't oh-so-obvious choices. And to list only one Georgette Heyer?! I also think it would have been nice for Eugenia Price to get a mention or two either in this section or the historical fiction section. And Grace Livingston Hill, for that matter, either here or in inspirational fiction. And it just felt wrong, wrong, wrong for Elizabeth Gaskell not to be included in the romance section or the historical fiction section. Surely North and South and Wives and Daughters and Cranford are more than worthy to be included!!! I mean North and South is absolute must-must-must read in my opinion.

I was pleased to see some of my favorite authors included: Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Josephine Tey, Ray Bradbury, Orson Scott Card, John Steinbeck, L.M. Montgomery, etc. Some of the authors recommended were unfamiliar, which is a GOOD thing in my opinion. I picked this one up wanting to discover new-to-me-authors in my genres of choice. Unfortunately, some of them might be a bit tricky to find at the library. 

Because of my familiarity with some of the subjects (sub-categories), their recommended reading lists seemed too short, too incomplete, as you might expect. If you come to the book wanting new-to-you authors, new-to-you-books, the more you've read of the basics, the more that will be the case. But these lists aren't supposed to be comprehensive, they're supposed to be more basic than that.

One thing that also GREATLY annoyed me (I have low tolerance for this, don't laugh) is when they used the WRONG, WRONG, OH-SO-WRONG listing for the Chronicles of Narnia. Publication order. Publication order. Publication order. That's all I have to say about that.

As you might expect, the longest chapter is devoted to historical fiction. Over sixty pages worth of recommended reading. The shortest chapter is definitely the one devoted to inspirational fiction.
The ten genres are:


  • Espionage
  • Journey
  • Lost World
  • Nature and Animals
  • Sea Stories<

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21. Books Make Me Happy: My First Reading Log, created by Judy Pelikan

Books Make Me Happy: My First Reading Log by Judy Pelikan, published (THANK YOU!!) by Workman is so much more than just a reading log. Not only is it a great way to encourage reading and inspire a love of books, but it just might be your child's first introduction to critical thinking and writing.  In her note to parents a the start of the book creator Pelikan explains that a visit to The

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22. It's a Little Book

Written & illustrated by Lane Smith
$7.99 (board book), ages 4-8, 24 pages

A baby donkey tries to guess what a book is for and comes up with adorably silly uses in this pint-size companion to Lane Smith's gem It's a Book.

Instead of facing off over reading formats (the donkey's laptop verses the gorilla's book), as they did in last year's book, the two discuss the purpose of books as only babies would:

Plunked down on the floor, with their legs straight in front of them, as if they just lost their balance and tipped over, neither of them quite talking it over and both blurting out their thoughts.

The donkey's ears are perked up and he's trying to imagine what a book could be. The gorilla, a burly little guy with a tiny hat, is blankly watching him, as if didn't occur to him that he could help sort things out.

Every time the donkey guesses what the baby's gorilla's book is for and acts that idea out (as if he were playing charades), the gorilla dismisses his suggestion with a matter-of-fact, "No."

First, the donkey tastes the book, then he opens it over his brow like a hat, props it on his legs like a laptop and sticks it in his mouth to make a beak.

Soon he's making it flap in the air like bird, riding it like a saddle, rigging it up to be a roof for his building of blocks, and even trying it out as a pillow. Ugh, definitely not a pillow.

Of course none of these guesses are correct, and by the end of Smith's book, the taciturn gorilla finally spills what the book is really for.

"It's for reading…It's a book silly!" Gorilla tells him, then opens it up for both to share.

Lane's repartee between the donkey and gorilla is spare and hilarious, and made all the more funny because it's played out in the same way that babies play: alongside each other without a lot of interaction. 

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23. Speaking of Books... New from Puffin Classics and Daniela J Terrazzini!

Speaking of books and how much I love them, not just reading them but holding them and looking at them and admiring their lovely covers and creamy white pages.... Look at these absolutely gorgeous editions of classic children's books new from Penguin Classics and their children's division, Puffin. They already publish the best looking paperback editions of the classics (with great extras) at a

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24. Otto the Book Bear, written and illustrated by Kate Cleminson

Otto the Book Bear written and illustrated by Kate Cleminson is a new story that feels old and is simple and sweet while being moving and memorable at the same time. Or, as the Publisher's Weekly review says much better, "Cleminson is one of the latest in a long line of British storytellers who excel at being brisk and businesslike on the outside and deeply empathic on the inside." I couldn't

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25. Utterly Me, Clarice Bean, written and illustrated by Lauren Child, 192 pp, RL 3

Many years ago I discovered Lauren Child's wonderful picture book I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato, a very funny and clever book about a picky eater and her older sibling charged with feeding her dinner. Charlie and Lola, stars of this book and many others, went on to become television stars as well. Lauren Child has quite a way with kid-speak and presenting the world from a kid's perspective

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