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Video courtesy of ChronicleBooks: Vroom! Vroom! From the backseat, what do you see? Whether on a cross-country road trip or a quick jaunt across town, there’s no end to what a child can see from the backseat of a car. Using familiar road signs, this striking book introduces little ones not just to the alphabet but also to the world around them. Equally perfect for transportation-obsessed children and those just learning to read, this fresh and dynamic picture book will entertain and educate at home, in the classroom, and on the go.
Maria van Lieshout is the author-illustrator of several picture books whose “loosely drawn pen and ink illustrations…wring Oscar-winning expressions from the slenderest curves and squiggles” (Publishers Weekly). She was born and raised in Holland and now lives in San Francisco
4stars Every child needs to learn their ABC’s and what better way than a day at the circus. Patrick Hruby has captured the essence of such a day in his book ABC is for Circus. There is a lion, a tiger and a big top (sorry, no bear). Jugglers juggle, snake charmers charm, and a [...]
Personally, I'm not that into wordless books. I find myself fumbling for what to say when I 'read' them to my kids...and I write for children for fun.
However, I see great value in them for children who are not intimidated by such things. They can create their own stories and read them to us.
Our favorite wordless picture books are:
1. Chalk by Bill Thomson: This is our hands-down favorite. Some multicultural children find a bag of chalk. Everything they draw becomes real...butterflies, the sun...and then, one of the kids draws a dinosaur. The tyrannosaurus comes after the kids. They run for shelter in the playground. The dinosaur can't beat the kids' creativity, though. They draw something to destroy the dinosaur.
2. Tuesday by David Wiesner: Evening comes, and the frogs come out. They fly through the quiet sky until morning, when they wait for their next excursion.
This simple idea is to go around and name something you are thankful for, for each letter of the alphabet. It can be as serious or funny or tender or goofy. However you feel at the moment. It was a fun way to practice the ABC's, as well as spelling and writing. I think we will do this fairly often.
Is or is not "Stars" the most lugubrious song Janis Ian ever wrote? And that is saying a lot.
In either event, here are the starred books from the March/April Horn Book Magazine: Dog and Bear: Two’s Company (Porter/Roaring Brook) written and illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Rex Zero, King of Nothing (Kroupa/Farrar) by Tim Wynne-Jones
On the Farm (Candlewick) written by David Elliott, illustrated by Holly Meade
Frogs (Scholastic) written and illustrated with photos by Nic Bishop
Spiders (Scholastic) written and illustrated with photos by Nic Bishop
What To Do about Alice?: How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, and Drove Her Father Teddy Crazy (Scholastic) written by Barbara Kerley, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham
Pale Male: Citizen Hawk of New York City (Knopf) written by Janet Schulman, illustrated by Meilo So
If you're in need of a sign of spring, go with Pale Male, one of my favorite books thus far this year. It makes you want to take a walk in the park with Janet Schulman (who I never thought of as a walk-in-the-park kind of gal) and Meilo So's watercolors have never been so rich.
Feels Like Home Author: e.E. Charlton Trujillo Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers ISBN-10: 0385733321 ISBN-13: 978-0385733328
Feels Like Home is the story of Mickey, a sixteen year old girl living in a small Texas town. He dad has just died in a car accident and her brother Danny, who has been missing since a mysterious accident several years ago has suddenly reappeared. Mickey, hurt because of what she perceives as his desertion of her is grieving, angry and confused.
The story is an interesting and deeply engrossing one with a lot going on. There’s Mickey and the mystery of what happened all those years ago with Danny. There’s the dead dad, who it turns out was an alcoholic who was violent to Danny. Then there’s Danny himself who is trying so hard to live in this town that blames him for his best friends death, trying to be there for Mickey who doesn’t want him around and dealing with his own demons. He’s kind of this sweet, dark tortured character that you want to know more about. I alternated between wanting Mickey to stop being so mean to him (there’s something about Danny that makes you feel protective) and understanding why she was acting out.
Other interesting characters are Christina, Mickey’s best friend who I really like and want to know a lot more about (hint, hint write more about Christina), Johnny Lee, the rich handsome boy that likes Mickey and Uncle Jack, a relative that Mickey and Danny lived with when their father was incapable of taking care of them. Uncle Jack is the voice of reason but he’s also got his demons. There’s a heartbreaking scene in the book where Mickey sees him sitting alone crying for his dead wife. Also acting as a character almost is the classic novel The Outsiders which I thought was a great touch as it was one of my favorite books growing up.
Feels Like Home is a heartbreaking but hopeful novel. Like e.E. Charlton Trujillo’s first book Prizefighter en Mi Casa, it delves bravely into the dark underbelly of people’s lives and somehow manages to make it shine. She’s a damned fine storyteller and knows how to completely grab and keep her readers engaged and interested. The people in the book are so real and so well defined that by the end of the book, you know them and you care. You really care what’s going to happen to them all.
In addition to the satisfying spectacle of Maria Sharapova being picked off by a younger (and quieter!) player, I was also treated this past weekend to a superb exposition of teen angst, in the unlikely Broadway musical Spring Awakening. Based on Frank Wedekind's 1891 German play, the show and catchy tunes are pure YA: love, sex, death, and grades. Go see it. Take the kids!