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Richards, Keith. 2014. Gus & Me: The Story of my Granddad and my First Guitar. Hachette Audio.
Keith Richards, the rough-edged, raspy-voiced, Rolling Stones guitarist, is hardly the man that comes to mind for a picture book writer and narrator, but then again, who better to tell the story of his first guitar?
Richards wins the listener over immediately with his folksy, working class Estuary English accent (think dropped h's and "intrusive" r's) and unmistakable fondness for his topics - his first guitar and his beloved Granddad, Gus. It was the musically talented Gus who introduced a young Keith Richards to the guitar, teaching him how to 'old it, and suggesting the classical Malagueña(r) as the pinnacle of guitar mastery.
I have yet to see the print version of this story, but I don't believe it could surpass the audio book. A story with music at its heart needs music to be understood. Richards plays bits from Malagueña in appropriate spots throughout the story, and during a visit to a music shop in London, we hear Steve Jordan on drums. Once, the listener even hears a little chuckle - not musical, but surprisingly sincere. Richards collaborated with other authors, but this is obviously his story, and he delights in telling it.
(Run time: about 7 minutes)
My review of Gus & Me for AudioFile Magazine appears here with a small excerpt. Take a listen!
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Davis, Kathryn Gibbs. 2014. Mr. Ferris and his Wheel. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Illustrated by Gilbert Ford.
Though written in a fully illustrated, engaging and narrative nonfiction style, Mr. Ferris and his Wheel is nevertheless, a well-sourced and researched picture book for older readers.
The story of the 1863, Chicago World's Fair debut of the world's first Ferris wheel (or Monster Wheel, as Mr. Ferris originally named it), is told in a flowing and entertaining style,
George arrived in Chicago and made his case to the construction chief of the fair.
The chief stared at George's drawings. No one had ever created a fair attraction that huge and complicated. The chief told George that his structure was "so flimsy it would collapse."
George had heard enough. He rolled up his drawings and said, "You are an architect, sir. I am an engineer."
George knew something the chief did not. His invention would be delicate-looking and strong. It would be both stronger and lighter than the Eiffel Tower because it would be built with an amazing new metal—steel.
it contains sidebars that impart more technical information that might otherwise interrupt the flow of the story,
George was a steel expert, and his structure would be made of a steel alloy. Alloys combine a super-strong mix of a hard metal with two or more chemical elements.
George Ferris' determination is a story in itself, but it is the engineering genius of his wheel that steals the show. A "must-have" for any school or public library.
Some facts about the original "Ferris" wheel:
- 834' in circumference
- 265' above the ground
- 3,000 electric lightbulbs (this itself was a marvel in 1893!)
- forty velvet seats per car
|Ferris wheel at the Chicago World's Fair c1893.|
Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division[/caption]
It's STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)
Copyright © 2014 L Taylor
All Rights Reserved.
Rosenstock, Barb. 2014. The Streak: How Joe DiMaggio became America's Hero. Honesdale, PA: Calkins Creek. Ill. by Terry Widener
(Advance Reader Copy)
If you know only one baseball statistic, you likely know its one "unbreakable" record - Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak. According to the Author's Note, its probability for occurrence is once every 746 to 18,519 years. It was the most talked about news story of 1941, even edging out news of the war raging in Europe.
Oil-painted illustrations evoke the bygone era; references to new immigrants and mention of the war in Europe place the story in the context of history. However, The Streak is essentially a story of baseball, one man, and his favorite bat, Betsy Ann.
When DiMaggio was up, he strolled to home plate. He didn't pull at his cap, scuff his feet, or make Betsy Ann dance behind his head. He rubbed dirt on his hands, tapped the plate just once, and set his wide-legged stance. For a minute, Joe stood perfectly still, then he and Betsy Ann went to work.
The book includes: Author's Note, Statistics, Source Notes, Bibliography, Acknowledgments
Baseball, it's my favorite season of the year. Enjoy The Streak: How Joe DiMaggio became America's Hero
, and be sure to take in a baseball game this summer. You may witness history in the making. You never know.
Other reviews at
If you're looking for another great picture book about Joe DiMaggio, the 1941 baseball season, or "the streak," be sure to check out The Unforgettable Season: The Story of Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, and the Record-Setting Summer of '41
.This YouTube link will let you see Joe DiMaggio's famous swing and hear Les Brown's popular song of the day, "Joltin' Joe DiMaggio."
Below is my review of This Is Not My Hat
, as it appears in the July 2014, edition of School Library Journal
This book offers a wonderful opportunity for cross-curricular instruction - adding music knowledge and appreciation to language arts. Think of it as "Peter and the Wolf lite" for young listeners!Listen to an excerpt from This is Not My Hat on Audible's website.
KLASSEN, JON. This Is Not My Hat. 1 CD w/tr book. 34 min.
Scholastic Audio. 2014. $29.95. ISBN
PreS-Gr 3— Opening with "This hat is not mine. I just stole it," a small fish takes the listener into his confidence as he makes his getaway toward a place where he thinks that no one will ever find him. This unapologetic thief, his annoyed (and very large) victim, and a stool pigeon crab tell this wryly humorous and cautionary fish story. The outcome contains enough ambiguity that sensitive listeners can believe that the robber has more options than becoming a fish dinner. Irish narrator John Keating does a great job with a title that relies heavily on sight gags. Appropriately, his impudent robber is not particularly likable. Nevertheless, the listener empathizes with the brash little chap. A string ensemble, in a manner similar to Peter and the Wolf, accompanies the narration. A cello represents the larger fish, who never speaks, while a violin characterizes the smaller fish. The music ebbs and flows to match the story. Two versions are included on the CD. A gentle marimba riff signals page turns on the first version. The accompanying hardcover book is a "must" to truly enjoy this Caldecott Medal winner. Humor fans will love it.
Copyright © 2014Library Journals, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. Reprinted with permission.
Stein, David Ezra. 2014. I'm My Own Dog. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
I've got a few deadlines to meet so this will be short, but I couldn't let another day go by without shouting out to the virtual world, "I love this book!"
Funny, inventive, clever and touching, this book will work its way into your heart even as it has you laughing out loud.
This is no ordinary dog. No one owns him, no sir!
Every morning when I look
in the mirror, I lick my own
face because I am so happy
to see me.
I say, "GOOD DOG.
I AM A GOOD DOG."
You'll think so, too!
Don't just take my word for it. See more great reviews at
From the end papers,
The illustrations' line work was created using pen as well as a kids' marker hacked to dispense India Ink; it was then photocopied onto watercolor paper. The painting was done in liquid watercolor, with a hint of crayon on the dog's muzzle.
Ingeniously childish - a perfect presentation of a delightfully independent dog with a soft spot as big as his heart.Click here to see an inside spread from I'm My Own Dog.
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September, National Library Card Sign-Up Month, is almost over, but if you're still looking for a good book to share, here are two new ones:
- Kohara, Kazuno. 2014. The Midnight Library. New York: Roaring Brook.
By the time this month is over, I will have visited thirteen kindergarten and four preschool classrooms to promote Library Card Sign-Up Month
It doesn't matter what other books I have in my bag. When kids see The Midnight Library
, it's the one they want to hear! Apart from Kazuno Kohara's eye-catching linocut illustrations in three colors, here's why I like it:
- It features a library that's open all night long. I wouldn't want to work there, but it makes for a really good story!
- It highlights the fact that libraries are adaptable. The squirrel band needs to practice some new songs for an upcoming concert? No problem! The library has an activity room they can use.
- It features one of a librarian's favorite activities - reading stories. Wolf is crying because her book is sad? No worries! The librarian reads it with her. It has a happy ending!
- It's absolutely perfect for Library Card Sign-Up Month! Tortoise can't finish that 500-page book before the library closes at sunrise? A library card is what he needs!
- Becker, Bonny. 2014. A Library Book for Bear. Somerville, MA: Candlewick. Illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton.
I've loved the Bear and Mouse
series ever since it came out, and while this one is not my favorite (I still love A Visitor for Bear
best!), it's a good addition to your collection of library-themed books. You really can't go wrong with Bear and Mouse.
If you're looking for a way to inspire very young people to wonder about math and science, look no further than Infinity and Me
. 2012. Infinity and Me
. Minneapolis, MN: Carolrhoda. (Illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska)Infinity and Me
will open up (dare I say it?) infinite possibilities and questions!
A small girl, Uma, ponders infinity while gazing at stars,
How many stars were in the sky? A million? A billion? Maybe the number was as big as infinity. I started to feel very, very small. How could I even think about something as big as infinity?
Uma proceeds to ask others how they
conceive of infinity, and hears it defined in quantities of numbers, time, music, ancestors - even spaghetti! Finally, she settles on her own measure of infinity, quantified in something that is both personal and boundless. Full-bleed painted illustrations by Gabi Swiatkowska capture the magical sense of the endless immensity of infinity that at first perplexes Uma, and finally envelops her in understanding.
In the end, it doesn't matter how one envisions infinity; what does
matter is kindling an interest in something broader, wider, more infinite
This is an intriguing introduction to a mathematical concept.
For Teachers:A curriculum guide for Infinity and Me is available on the author's website
Book details from the publisher's website:
Pages: 32Trim Size: 9 1/4 x 11Dewey: [E]Reading Level: 3Interest Level: K-4Ages: 5-10ATOS Quiz #: 0.5ATOS AR Points: 3.40ATOS: 151611.00Lexile Level: 670It's STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)
Villa, Alvaro F. 2013. Flood. North Mankato, MN: Capstone.
(Advance Reader Copy provided by NetGalley)
If you read my blog regularly or read my monthly posts on the ALSC Blog, you'll know that my family was one of the tens of thousands affected by Hurricane Sandy. It is for that reason, that I requested a copy of Flood for review. I now have first-hand knowledge of the devastation caused by a hurricane, but more importantly in my area of the Jersey Shore, by flooding; I feel that I have a certain sad connection with the topic. While I say that, I am also mindful of the fact that though thousands may be affected by the same natural disaster, no two personal disasters are the same. There is a commonality, but yet, each town, each neighborhood, each family, each individual, must deal with a different set of difficulties. Because of this, I approached Flood with trepidation and apprehension. It was obviously not written in response to Superstorm Sandy, but nevertheless, it arrives at a time when people are particularly vulnerable. To date, more than half a million disaster assistance claims have been filed with FEMA, with much of the damage caused by flooding.
Forgive me if I reveal the entire story, but this one I must follow through to the end.
Alvaro F. Villa's Flood appears to be the story of a flood more typical to the Midwest than along the nation's coastlines. In this wordless picture book, a family's modest home stands alone in the middle of a beautiful, grassy, rolling countryside, a river flowing behind. Two children and a dog play alongside a weathered picket fence. Only the lone dark bird flying overhead hints at danger to come. In the evening, the family spends a relaxing evening indoors. Dawn brings the first hint of trouble as bad weather moves in. The next days are spent in anxious discussion, preparation, and finally, evacuation. A violent and raging storm arrives, the river rises, wreaking destruction on the idyllic landscape. In an eerie depiction of the storm's aftermath, the lone bird now sits upon the stump of a broken tree - looming large and black against the reddish hues of the dawning sky and the browns of the sandbags and silt left in the yard. The family's muddied SUV returns. From a distance the house can be seen, damaged but still standing. The hopelessness of the family, the agonized tears of the young daughter are palpable as they survey the wreckage. But of course, that is not the end. It can never be. No matter one's sense of hopelessness, helplessness - a start must be made. There is no other choice. And so the rebuilding begins. As the family paints and replants, the palette brightens and smiles return. The house, in its new coat of paint looks better than ever. It's not the same. It will never be. But the family is together and they have survived.
I passed this book along to my husband and children. Of course, they are not librarians or book reviewers or educators. I asked them only because the experience is fresh in their minds. My daughter had a keen observation. There is a scene in which the family is spending the night in another location, having evacuated their home; the children are shown sleeping on the floor (as so many children, including mine, have recently done for days, weeks and months on end) while the parents and dog huddle in bed watching the television, presumably for news about the flood. In a powerful use of symbolism, Villa shows their calm refuge surrounded by dark and raging flood waters - a powerful reminder of what is occurring elsewhere; but as my daughter pointed out, also easily misinterpreted by young readers who may be frightened by the water that appears to be menacingly approaching their makeshift beds. Although beautiful and moving, and ultimately uplifting, this is not a picture book for preschoolers. Appropriately, the publisher suggests Flood for Grades 1-3.
hopeful? Cautionary? Bibliotherapeutic? Empathetic? Preparatory? I suspect Alviro F. Villa intended to offer hope. I also suspect that much depends upon who reads it and when.
Due on shelves February 1, 2013.
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"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring."
Baseball Hall of Fame baseball player, Rogers Hornsby
|Jay Schyler Raadt CC-BY-SA-3.0|
Source: Baseball Almanac
Yes, it's January and the temperatures have been in the teens, but soon catchers and pitchers will report to spring training, and on February 21, Spring Training
games will begin.
Here are two new books for the littlest of fans:
- Kawa, Katie. 2013. My First Trip to a Baseball Game. New York: Gareth Stevens. (part of the My First Adventures series)
In three very simple chapters, this little book introduces children to a baseball game, offering information on the park, the food and the game. From the chapter, "At the Baseball Park,"
My dad holds our tickets. They tell us where to sit. We get food to eat. My mom and dad get hot dogs.
The illustrations are simple cartoon-style depictions of a family's trip to the game with a heavy focus on the family's activities. If just a little bit of baseball is what you're seeking, this will do fine.
A Table of Contents, Index, and Words to Know make this one perfect for school use, however, it's also suitable for adding a little nonfiction to storytime.Reading Level: Grade K Fountas & Pinell: C Dewey: 796.357 Specifications: 7 5/8" x 7 1/8", 24 pages Lexile Level: 130
Less perfunctory and more enjoyable is Goodnight Baseball
- Dahl, Michael. 2013. Goodnight Baseball. N. Mankato, MN: Capstone. (Illustrated by Christina Forshay)
Beginning with a sing-song rhythm,
The great big stadium is outside of town.
Fans and friends come from miles around.
and ending with a nod to Margaret Wise Brown's Goodnight Moon
Goodnight, popcorn boxes under the stands Goodnight Baseball
Goodnight, mascot and goodnight, fans!
Goodnight, friends. Goodnight, cars.
Goodnight, stadium, under the stars ...
takes the reader on a baseball outing with a small boy and his father. Snacks, caps, and even a foul ball are part of a winning day. Brightly colored full-bleed illustrations offer a broad view of the game, the fans, and the park with a focus not on the boy and his dad, but rather, on their place in the larger context of the day. Expressive faces show the myriad expressions seen during a day at the park - excitement, determination, surprise (no sadness here - the home town wins). Creative endpapers evoke the Green Monster
, the boy's favorite team, and tickets stuffed in the pocket of denim jeans. Goodnight Baseball
is a hit.(Due on shelves March 1, 2013)
Despite what John Lennon urged, as adults, it's hard for us to imagine peace. As a global community, we've never had it; we've never seen it. It's more the stuff of imagination than possibility. Heck, even the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) for Wendy Anderson Halperin's new book, Peace
, is 172.42, translation - "political ethics." Pragmatic, yes - but lacking in idealism to be sure.
But to talk to children (even teenagers) and many can
envision peace - and
they have ideas on how to achieve it. That's one of the many things that make children so wonderful. They haven't lost the ability to hope and dream and imagine the to-date unachievable.Wendy Anderson Halperin
's new book, Peace
(Atheneum, 2013), seizes on that idealism, reflects it, and feeds it with new possibility.
Groupings of Halperin's delicate and peaceful, pencil and watercolor illustrations decorate each page in this circular story of peace which begins,
For there to be peace in the world ...
there must be peace in nations.
Accompanying each line is a collection of quotes from the likes of Walt Whitman, Dalai Lama, Kofi A. Annon, and other lesser-known individuals. The quotes serve as borders between the many illustrations on each page, each one, a story in itself.
The circular narrative leads inward, with the continuing theme of
For there to be ...
there must be ...
until the "heart" of the book is reached,
For there to be peace in homes,
there must be peace in our hearts.
Here the double-spread layout features the art of schoolchildren from Michigan, Ohio, and New York, and moving then outward, the refrain changes to
When there is ...
there will be ... .
Culminating in the elusive,
There will be peace in our nations.Peace
And we will have peace in our world.
is a beautiful and inspiring piece of work, or perhaps more aptly, a work of peace.
Much thought went into the design and concept for the book, as evidenced by its companion website, "Drawing Children Into PEACE
." The page with suggested Peace Projects
has some great ideas. As a matter of fact, I have an old chair that would make a fine "peace chair." It may not turn out as well as the one below, but I'm inspired to give it a try.
See several pages of Peace at the author's website.
Whether or not you buy MLB's position that Opening Day is March 22, 2014 in Australia (Sorry Australia, baseball "down under" just doesn't feel right), baseball season, will soon be here. Opening Day for the US and Canada is March 31.
If you are a baseball fan, are raising a young baseball fan, or are trying to connect with a young baseball fan, here's the book for you - a marriage of baseball and animals!
Jordan, Christopher. 2014. Baseball Animals. Plattsburgh, NY: Fenn/Tundra.
Which MLB team shares its name with a songbird that loves acorns?
This blue, black and white bird is thought to be responsible for spreading the oak tree across North America.
If the beautiful photograph of my favorite bird on a stark white background doesn't give you the answer, just turn the page to reveal a full-page action shot of a Toronto Blue Jays batter. (Sorry that I don't know which one. Since they beat the Phillies in the 1993 World Series, I refuse to pay attention to the Blue Jays. We fans have long memories.)
Each baseball page features the team's logo, a full-page action photo taken at the ballpark, and some team uniform trivia. Did you know that the Cardinals (often called the Redbirds) were not named for the beautiful bird, but rather for the color of their original uniforms? Their uniforms were cardinal red. So, presumably they are named after the traditional color of a Catholic cardinal's cassock. Now that's a great baseball trivia question!
Fun and informative, this is a must-have for little baseball fans. I don't know why someone didn't think of it earlier! An Appendix of MLB Teams and Logos rounds out the book - featuring all of the teams - even those sans animals on their logos.Advance Reader Copy supplied by LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program.
In addition to being St. Patrick's Day
, today is Nonfiction Monday. Be sure to stop by the Nonfiction Monday
blog for all of today's featured books.
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It's been ages since I've done a picture book roundup! Here are two wordless masterpieces.
- Becker, Aaron. 2013. Journey. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
A Harold and the Purple Crayon
for a new generation. Beautiful!
- Kim, Patti. 2014. Here I Am. North Mankato, MN: Capstone Press.
An insightful story of a young boy's experience in emigrating from Asia to the United States.
(My review of The Cat with Seven Names, as it appeared in the April, 2014, edition of School Library Journal.)
Johnson, Tony. The Cat with Seven Names. 1 CD. 15 min. Recorded
Books. 2014. $15.75. ISBN 9781490602479. digital
PreS-Gr 2— A plump, seemingly stray cat wanders occasionally into the home of an older librarian. She names her visitor Stuart Little. At an elderly neighbor's home, he receives the moniker Kitty-boy, while a lonely Mexican man names him Placido for his "singing" voice. A homeless vet calls him Dove, for the peace he brings. Only the cat is lacking his own voice in this heartwarming story of a busy neighborhood, full of unconnected adults. Each character has his or her own first-person narrator, each distinctly different. The Hispanic man peppers his speech with Spanish words, as he first meets "Placido" on a day when it rains gatos y perros. Humorous wordplay abounds throughout, in which the cat is the common fixture in the lives of seven adults and a young girl. When the cat has a near accident, the full cast calls out seven different names, as each rushes to save the feline that has befriended them all; and through the cat, they befriend each other. The Cat with Seven Names will be sold with and without its corresponding picture book. Consider purchasing the set. Absent illustrations, the steady stream of elderly and adult voices may not be enough to hold a child's attention.
Copyright © 2014 Library Journals, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. Reprinted with permission.
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Here are two fiction picture books that feature days gone by. Both books should tickle your fancy and make fun read-alouds for school-aged children, K-2.
- Kulling, Monica. 2014. The Tweedles Go Electric. Ontario, Canada: Groundwood. Ill. by Marie Lafrance.
The year is 1903, and the Tweedles are "a bunch of fuddy-duddies," according to their neighbors. Even when they finally decide to purchase a car, neighbors still tease them,
"People don't want that. They want noise. They want smoke." ... "They want a car to sound and smell like a car."
But rather than the latest in gas-powered autos, the Tweedles purchase a smart, green, electric car.
With a wink and a nod to the future of "green" transportation and women's empowerment, it is the youngest of the Tweedles, Frances, and the "green" car that save the day when an emergency arises. Marie Lafrance's illustrations accurately evoke the era and are reminiscent of the style of Hergés Tin Tin
With an illuminated capital I
and leafy, gold flourishes, Brother Hugo and the Bear
begins firmly planted in the monastical world of the Middle Ages,
It befell that on the first day of Lent, Brother Hugo could not return his library book.
As the reader soon discovers, a bear has eaten the monastery's beautifully illuminated copy of St. Augustine's letters. It becomes Brother Hugo's job to painstakingly recreate the massive, illustrated tome —a job that "would have been full easy to endure if it had not been for the snuffling." The source of the snuffling, we soon discover, is the bear, who has not yet had his fill of letters. Written and illustrated with great reverence for the early art of book-making, Brother Hugo
is humorous as well. Both the monk and the bear are earnest and joyful.
Based loosely upon a true story, Brother Hugo,
in combination with its included Historical Note, Glossary, Author's Note, and Illustrator's Note is illuminating for both children and adults. A Discussion Guide for Brother Hugo and the Bear.
- It's Nonfiction Monday again. Please be sure to visit host, Wendie's Wanderings to read today's posts. I've got no reviews to offer today, however, I did read this book yesterday and loved it for its beautiful photos, sweet story, and simple sentence structure (perfect for sharing with little ones at storytime):
(Be assured that the quality of the book's photos exceeds the quality of the book trailer video.) A curiosity about this decidedly non
fiction book - the copyright page lists the classifying subject headings as the following:
1. Orangutan – Juvenile fiction. 2. Dogs – Juvenile fiction. [1. Orangutan – Fiction. 2. Dogs – Fiction. 3. Wildlife refuges – Fiction. 4. South Carolina – Fiction.]
I sent a note to the publisher to inquire if this is an error or a choice, but haven't had a response yet. This is not the first time that I've seen erroneous cataloging information in print. Can someone who is familiar with publishing enlighten me as to the source of the classifications? I'm a curious sort. Next
- After many, many tries, I was finally successful in logging in to my White House account and signing the petition to
Ensure that every child in America has access to an effective school library program.
If you haven't signed the petition, please do. (You must create a White House account before signing.) The log in process seems to be temperamental. Please keep trying! As I'm writing, 4411 signatures are still needed by February 4, to ensure a response from the President. Do yourself, your children, your students, your school, and your community a favor and support strong school library programs.Finally
Ms. Vaughan's visit here is part of the larger Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour 2012.
The tour kicks off on February 5 with the following:
Susan Campbell Bartoletti, author of Naamah and the Ark at Night
Sydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at Ima On & Off the BimaHolly Meade, illustrator of Naamah and the Ark at NightSydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Younger Readers Category
at Into the WardrobeShelley Sommer, author of Hammerin' Hank Greenberg, Baseball PioneerSydney Taylor Honor Award winner in the Older Readers Category
1 Comments on Monday Morning Miscellany, last added: 1/30/2012
As the co-organizer of the KidLit Celebrates Women's History Month blog, I've been very busy formatting, posting, and reading all of the great guest posts this month. (If you haven't checked it out, you're missing some great essays and reviews.) As a consequence, I've been neglecting to post often this month, but today I have a quick rundown of three titles that grabbed my attention this past week:
- Fogliano, Julie. 2012. And then it's spring. Illustrated by Erin E. Stead. New York: Roaring Brook.
I loved this book from the minute I saw the cover staring at me from my book delivery bag. It's simply perfect. Betsy Bird, of Fuse #8, named it to her early Caldecott predictions list yesterday.
Get yourself a copy if you can.
- Sutton, Sally. 2012. Demolition. Illustrated by Brian Lovelock. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
Bright colors, realistic trucks, repeated refrains, rhymes with perfect rhythm - a storytime book doesn't get much better than this. If you know any small children at all, you know one who will like Demolition
And finally, a curious addition to my bag 'o books,
- Bunting, Eve. 2011. Ballywhinney Girl. Illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
The hauntingly beautiful cover art caught my eye, and with St. Patrick's Day approaching, I was on the lookout for anything Irish to add to a display of Irish-themed books. Ballywhinney Girl
, however, was not what I was expecting. It's the story of Maeve, a young Irish girl, and her grandfather, who accidentally uncover a body while digging in the peat bogs near their home. After they report the find to the local authorities, it draws the attention of news reporters, archaeologists, and scientists, who determine that the body is that of a thousand-year-old mummified girl - a girl much like Maeve, herself. Maeve naturally find the whole process unsettling. Elegantly told in verse, this is a fictional story that, according to the Author's Note, happens more often than one might think. It clearly, and rightfully, is unsettling to author, Eve Bunting, as well. Whether your young listener will find it unsettling as well,
So many great picture books have passed my desk lately. Here are a few:
- Joose, Barbara. 2012. Old Robert and the Sea-Silly Cats. Ill. by Jan Jutte. New York: Philomel.
Each night, Old Robert counts "his regular things in their regular place"
my ship in the slip at the dock.
a slice of the silver moon.
Things are always the same until the night a cat asks to come in. There was no room for a cat on Old Robert's boat,
And yet ...
and yet ...
Old Robert said yes ...
... and the cat came in.
This is a delightfully, quirky story about Old Robert, his boat, and how one small decision can change a life (or two, or three, or ...). Illustrations by the Netherlands' Jan Jutte, give Old Robert and the Sea-Silly Cats
a salty and silly air reminiscent of old comics (think Popeye or original Tin Tin) touched with whimsy. Comforting, repetitive refrains make this a great read aloud.
There is just something irresistible about Old Robert and the Sea-Silly Cats
And there's apparently a song available, too, "Old Roberts Jig" by the Happy Racers
- Elya, Susan Middleton. 2012. Fire! ¡Fuego! Brave Bomberos. Ill. by Dan Santat. New York: Bloomsbury.
My husband has had a long and wonderful career in the fire department, so I'll admit some partiality to firefighter books, even ones that feature firefighters rescuing cats from trees. For the record, professional firefighters don't rescue cats from trees. They will, however, rescue animals from fires, and in Fire! ¡Fuego! Brave Bomberos, a house fire traps a poor kitty on an upper floor,
Climbing up la escalera,
Coaxed by food in small pedazos,
kitten jumps to outstretched brazos.
See how easy that was? You're speaking Spanish. Even without the brightly colored double spread illustration of a firefighter on a ladder, hand extended with cat treats, you knew what it meant, and kids will too! The story rhymes, the meter's fine, and if you need help with pronunciation, it's all in the Glossary. All bias aside, I like it!
- Kohuth, Jane. 2012. Duck Sock Hop. Ill. by Jane Porter. New York: Pen
McReynolds, Linda. 2012. Eight Days Gone.
Illustrated by Ryan O'Rourke. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge.
In simple, four-line rhymes, Linda McReynolds has captured for a new generation the eight breathtaking, breath-holding days of the Apollo 11 mission. Eight Days Gone
recounts the July 1969, launch, orbit, landing and return of the spaceship Columbia and the lunar module Eagle.
It begins on a cheerful, sunny, colorful day in Florida,
Spaceship ready -
set to fly.
McReynolds skillfully distills this immense project, this watershed accomplishment into its most basic elements, yet she disregards no aspect of the mission, giving recognition to Aldrin and Armstrong, the nation, the command center, Collins (who stayed aboard the Columbia), even the Navy - remember the days of "splashdowns?"
The words are not always simple, but O'Rourke's stunning oil paintings fill in the necessary details. The font is either black or white and appears in a corner, never obscuring the double-spread, full-bleed illustrations. Because of the subject matter, much of the artwork is in the creamy colors of the lunar surface, the spacecraft, and the astronauts' clothing. Against the black of the universe, the colors of the American flag, the striped parachutes, the faces of the astronauts, and the dazzling blue and green of the earth, demand the reader's attention.
Most striking is the painting of the "earthrise" on the black lunar horizon, a small astronaut placed in the lower left corner,
Our tiny place within the cosmos is illustrated, but is boldly followed by the illustration on the following page where the astronaut fills a third of the page, confidently setting forth across the lunar landscape,
May we always be reminded of both our infinetesimal status and our immense capacity to overcome it. A stunning book. Highly recommended.
A photo, bilbiography, author's note and websites are included.
This is Linda McReynolds' first children's book.
Other Eight Days Gone
reviews @NASA offers a K-4 student website
as well as a
4 Comments on Eight Days Gone - a review, last added: 7/23/2012