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Results 1 - 25 of 6,951
1. Liz’s Summer Reading Pick

Squish Rabbit

by Katherine Battersby

            Squish Rabbit is a book that is a perfect read for the youngest in your family because sometimes as adults, I guess we forget how big the world can seem when we were young and small. In mind of that, I recently drove slowly down the street where I grew up. It was a revelation. As an adult everything seemed so small. Driveways I roller-skated down as a child seemed unbelievably wide and steep. But as I looked at them that day through adult eyes, the driveways seemed narrow. And as for steepness, there was barely any elevation at all!

            Well here in Katherine Battersby’s Squish Rabbit, Squish is decidedly at that same stage of life when being small and hard to see makes it seem as if life is passing you by. Everyone is busy with grown up things, so even Squish’s stories are ignored. Being lonely, Squish sews a friend literally out of blue plaid cloth but quickly finds this pretend friendship can only fill half the gap. Trees are nice too as potential friends but somehow fall short of expectations.

            How Squish in a moment of pique kicks an apple and finds a friend echoes the moment of discovery for each child when he or she finds someone to share and play with. And when the friendship starts with a rescue, so much the better. Squish is a gentle book for the shy child who longs to join the group but may have trouble getting his feet wet or making the first awkward moves towards, “Wanna be friends?” Squish can definitely help your child bridge the gap.

 

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2. If You Were Me and Lived in … China: A Child’s Introduction to Culture Around the World | Dedicated Review

If You Were Me and Lived In … China is an easy read and a fun way to introduce the People’s Republic of China to children.

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3. A Lisbeth-Zwerger Moment


“Every afternoon, as they were coming from school,
the children used to go and play in the Giant’s garden.
It was a large lovely garden, with soft green grass. …”


 

Because Lisbeth Zwerger has always been one of my favorite illustrators, including one of the artists who made me want to study children’s literature, and because seeing her artwork improves the very quality of my day (and yours, I hope), I have a bit of art today from Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant, as illustrated by Zwerger.

Zwerger originally illustrated this story back in 1984, but Minedition has released a new edition (April of this year). In fact, it’s called a “mini-Minedition,” because the book has a tiny trim size.

“The Selfish Giant” is Oscar Wilde’s classic short story, first published in 1888 in Wilde’s own collection of original fairy tales, The Happy Prince and Other Tales. The story itself is a heavily didactic Christian allegory, all about a giant whose garden is visited by neighboring children, while the giant is away. The children play in the garden, unbeknownst to the stingy man (depicted as a very tall man in Zwerger’s version), and when he discovers them, he shoos them away — only to discover afterwards that his garden is dying. It’s a curious little fairy tale, and now I can’t help but think of Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming every time I read it. In her memoir, Woodson she writes about the impact this story made on her as a girl:

The first time my teacher reads the story to the class
I cry all afternoon, and am still crying
when my mother gets home from work that evening. …

(I hope that quote is accurate, as I loaned my copy of the book to a dear friend, but I am fairly certain, thanks to the internet, that the above is correct.)

Zwerger’s illustrations are restrained and lyrical and, as always, graceful. Here are a few more.


“The only people who were pleased were the Snow and the Frost. ‘Spring has forgotten this garden,’ they cried,’ so we will live here all the year round.’ The Snow covered up the grass with her great white cloak, and the Frost painted all the tree silver.
Then they invited the North Wind to stay with them, and he came. …”


 


“And when the people were going to market at twelve o’clock they found the Giant playing with the children in the most beautiful garden they had ever seen. …”


 


“And the child smiled on the Giant, and said to him, ‘You let me play once in your garden, today you shall come with me to my garden, which is Paradise.’
And when the children ran in that afternoon, they found the Giant lying dead
under the tree, all covered with white blossoms.”


 



 

* * * * * * *

THE SELFISH GIANT. Illustrations copyright © 1984 by Lisbeth Zwerger. English edition published 2015 by Michael Neugebauer Publishing Ltd., Hong Kong. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher.

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4. A Dr. Seuss Celebration for What Pet Should I Get?

It is the release day for the newer-than-new new book from Dr. Seuss, What Pet Should I Get?

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5. Picture Books for Stubborn Kids

In typical toddler fashion, my youngest daughter (aged two and a half) has developed the “NO! I don’t like it!”, and the “Don’t want it!” approach to almost everything offered, much to the delight of her parents (that’s me). If you’re a parent or teacher of children anywhere between two and five years old, and […]

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6. Review of Playful Pigs from A to Z

lobel_playful pigsstar2 Playful Pigs from A to Z
by Anita Lobel; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary     Knopf     40 pp.
7/15     978-0-553-50832-1     $16.99
Library ed. 978-0-553-50833-8     $19.99
e-book ed. 978-0-553-50834-5     $10.99

Twenty-six pigs wake up in their pen and decide to explore the countryside, running down the road and finding a field of “magical surprises”: brightly colored, freestanding letters of the alphabet. Lobel’s soft early-morning watercolors give way to bolder pages on which each pig is now clothed and standing upright. The entire alphabet, set in a distinctive condensed typeface, runs along the top and bottom borders while each pig interacts happily with a single tall, thin letterform (all are upper-case but i). Lobel uses a name-verb-letter structure (“Amanda Pig admired an A. Billy Pig balanced on a B”), with rolling hills below and plenty of white space behind the pig and letter. Repeat readers will spot an extra object beginning with the letter in question tucked into a lower corner. Gender roles are satisfyingly relaxed: Greta, a female soldier, guards the G, while on the  opposite page Hugo tenderly hugs an H. By the time Yolanda yawns and Zeke zzzs, evening has arrived and the pigs return to their pen in a mirror image of the opening spreads, once again unclothed and running on all fours. Dinner is followed by bedtime, with all twenty-six snuggled together cozily. This playful treatment creates a humorous, easygoing book that should relieve any anxiety about learning the alphabet.

From the July/August 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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7. Picture Book Monday with a review of Stick and Stone

Stick and Stone
Friendship is a funny thing because it is unpredictable and sometimes it can develop between two people (or characters) who really are nothing alike; on the outside that is. That's the thing though, isn't it? Two characters may seem very different on the outside, but deep down a connection forms that is special. This is what happens between the characters in today's picture book.

Stick and Stone
Beth Ferry
Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 6
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015, 978-0-544-03256-9
Stick and Stone are both alone and lonely, and for both of them being alone is just “no fun. Then one day they are both at the park playing on the swings when Pinecone comes along and he makes fun of Stone when Stone falls off his swing. Stick cannot just stand by and let this just happen, so he steps in and tells Pinecone to “Vanish!”
   Pinecone walks off in a huff, and Stone is really touched that Stick “stuck up” for him. Stick explains that that is what Sticks do. It is also what friends do, and that is what Stick and Stone become: the best of friends. Together they have a grand time playing, wandering and exploring. They “laze by the shore” enjoying the sun and the sea air and watch dolphins frolicking in the water. What they never expect is that in the very near future they will be ripped apart and once again they will be alone.
   In this wonderful picture book we meet two characters who discover the joys of friendship, and who stand side by side through good times and bad. With its delightfully expressive illustrations and a minimal rhyming text, this book will charm children and their grownups and it serves as a tribute to the power of friendship.

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8. Monday Mishmash 7/27/15


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. I'm the New Acquisitions Editor For Leap Books Seek  In case you missed my announcement last week, I'm the new acquisitions editor for Leap Books' middle grade line, Seek. I'm so happy about this. I've also decided to open to unagented submissions for a brief time in August, so stay tuned for that announcement.
  2. Our Little Secret Has a Cover  I got to see the cover for Our Little Secret (releasing September 15 through Limitless Publishing). I'm SO happy with it. Can't wait to share it soon.
  3. Pepe Maurice Pierre, Poodle Extraordinaire is Now Available!  You can grab your copy of my newest picture book here
  4. Falling For You is Available and FREE!  My secret Ashelyn Drake title isn't a secret anymore, and it's doing really well on Amazon. Check this out. 
  5. Signing at Books-A-Million  I want to thank everyone who came out to see me this past Saturday for my book signing. I had an amazing time and got to see returning fans, which is always great.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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9. Mom School (2015)

Mom School. Rebecca Van Slyke. Illustrated by Priscilla Burris. 2015. Random House. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

 First sentence: When I go to school, I learn how to cut and glue paper, count to 100, and sing silly songs. My mom says she went to school, too. I think she went to Mom School.

Premise/plot: A little girl is convinced that her Mom went to Mom School to learn how to be the BEST BEST mom in the whole world. She imagines all the things her Mom might have learned at Mom School. Things such as:
  • learning how to go grocery shopping without losing any kids
  • learning how to pitch a ball slowly so a kid can actually hit it
  • learning how to go on scary rides
  • learning how to talk on the phone and do hair at the same time
  • learning how to cook and listen to silly made-up songs at the same time
  • learning how to make forts out of couch cushions
And that's just a small sampling of one little girl's imagination.

My thoughts: This one was super-sweet and adorable. Predictably so, yes. But it's irresistibly charming in some ways. If you're looking for a sweet mom-and-daughter read that celebrates family life. I really love the little girl's pigtails. I do.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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10. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #442: Featuring Beatrice Alemagna


“This morning I heard my sister says these words:
‘birthday—Mommy—fuzzy—little—squishy.’
‘Oh, no!’ I thought. ‘She’s going to give Mom the most amazing present!’
I had to do something too. But what?”

(Click to enlarge spread)


 

Today I’ve got some illustrations from Beatrice Alemagna’s The Wonderful Fluffy Little Squishy. Originally published in France last year, it’s coming to American shelves in September from Enchanted Lion Books.

Look closely on the title page spread, and you’ll see a quote from Fifi Brindacier (a.k.a. Pippi Longstocking, as she’s known in France):

It’s best for young children to live an orderly life. Especially if they order it themselves.

I love this, and it’s the perfect fit for this story, in which a five-and-a-half-year-old girl named Edith (but her friends call her Eddie) sets out to find a fuzzy little squishy.



 


(Click to enlarge cover)


 

Eddie has overheard her sister talking about their mother’s birthday, while using the words “fuzzy—little—squishy.” Not to be outdone, Eddie heads out to find a spectacular present. She asks the baker for help — and then she heads to the florist, Mimi’s clothing shop, the antique dealer, and the butcher shop. After all, each of these friends (even the very grouchy butcher) has fluffy and/or little and/or squishy items in their shops. Just when she’s about to give up, she sees it — “an adorable little creature! … A true FLUFFY LITTLE SQUISHY, at last!” She’s found the present for her mother, and as it turns out, a fluffy little squishy has “a thousand uses.” (Anyone other librarians thinking how great it would be to pair this book with Charlotte Zolotow’s Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present, illustrated by Sendak?)

There’s a lot to like here, including Alemagna’s vivid mixed-media illustrations (or what appear to be mixed-media to me), as well as the cast of characters in Eddie’s community that she visits on her quest. Eddie leaps off the page in her neon pink jacket, and she brims with character. Best of all, she manages to find precisely what she’s looking for—rather, she manages to create just the gift she wants—-and this is especially triumphant, given that she says on the book’s first spread, “I don’t know how to do anything.” This is one girl’s journey of self-discovery — and along the way she picks up a bit of self-confidence to boot.

Here are some more of the colorful illustrations to pore over. …





 


“So off I ran to Mr. John the baker.
With all of his wonderful squishy things, he had to be able to help me.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


 


“I went to every shop in the neighborhood, but nobody knew anything.
In the center of town was Theo’s butcher shop. The big grump was my last hope.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


 




 

THE WONDERFUL FLUFFY LITTLE SQUISHY. Copyright © 2015 by Enchanted Lion for the English-language translation. Illustrations reproduced by permission Enchanted Lion, Brooklyn.

* * *

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) Picture book imports like this one.

2) Invitations.

3) A bit of home decluttering that really needed to happen.

4) New tracks from Laura Marling.

5) I got a late start to the show Veep, but my God, it’s funny.

6) A crisis averted and …

7) … the kindness of strangers.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

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11. Seuss on Saturday #30

The Lorax. Dr. Seuss. 1971. Random House. 72 pages. [Library]

First sentence: At the far end of town where the Grickle-grass grows and the wind smells slow-and-sour when it blows and no birds ever sing excepting old crows...is the Street of the Lifted Lorax. 

Premise/Plot: Readers hear about the Lorax from the Once-ler. It's a story of lessons not learned in time, a story of an environment abused and wasted. It is a heavy tale for a picture book. Perhaps the heaviest of Seuss' picture books.
UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.
 My thoughts: The Lorax is my least favorite Seuss book. I won't lie and say it is the only Seuss novel with a moral or lesson, it's not. Many of Seuss's books have a moral in them. Some are subtle. Some are in-your-face obvious. I prefer the subtler moral. I do.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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12. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Julie Morstad


“…Finally, she steps onto the stage alone … and sprouts white wings, a swan.
She weaves the notes, the very air into a story. All those sitting see.
They stare—Anna is a bird in flight, a whim of wind and water.
Quiet feathers in a big loud world. Anna
is the swan.”
(Click to enlarge spread)


 

This morning over at Kirkus, I’ve got some French picture book imports. That link will be here soon.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about Laurel Snyder’s Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova, illustrated by Julie Morstad (Chronicle), coming to shelves in August 2015. Today, I’ve got some spreads from it.

Enjoy.



“…The story unfolds. A sleeping beauty opens her eyes…”
(Click to enlarge spread)


 


“…and so does Anna. Her feet wake up!
Her skin prickles. There is a song, suddenly, inside her.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


 


(Click to enlarge cover)


 

* * * * * * *

SWAN: THE LIFE AND DANCE OF ANNA PAVLOVA. Copyright © 2015 by Laurel Snyder. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Julie Morstad. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco.

1 Comments on What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Julie Morstad, last added: 7/24/2015
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13. Abby and the Really Truly Good Book

I pick up my kids every day from the school bus at 2:45, so within an already tight production schedule, I have a limited time each day to work. But that also means I have limited time to worry. When I’m working, I focus on making the best book possible for myself, my kids, and my editor. Beyond that, I don’t allow myself to think too much about how the book is going to be received, because those thoughts are so counter-productive to creative work.”

* * *

Over at Kirkus today, I talk to author-illustrator Abby Hanlon, pictured here, about her newest book, Dory and the Real True Friend (Dial, July 2015), which sees the return of one of my favorite characters. (Dory, of course.) That link will be here soon.

Last October (here), Abby and I talked about the first book, Dory Fantasmagory. It’s an art-filled post, my favorite kind of post.

Both of these books are the kind of funny that makes your sides hurt from all the laughing.

Next week, I’ll have some art from the new book, as well as some early sketches.

Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

Photo of Abby taken by Sophie Elbrick and used by her permission.

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14. Edda: A Little Valkyrie’s First Day At School, by Adam Auerbach | Book Review

This book, wonderfully written and illustrated by Adam Auerbach, provides a fun and imaginative tale, with a uniquely voiced female character at its center.

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15. There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight by Penny Parker Klosterman, illustrated by Ben Mantle

There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight is the debut picture book byPenny Parker Klostermann with fantastic illustrations by Ben Mantle. It may seem that there is no room to improve upon or add to (especially with Lucille Colandro's many variations on the cumulative rhyme) but Klostermann and Mantle had added a fantastic new twist to this old tale with There Was an Old Dragon Who

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16. “Rondo Concerns Everyone”: A Guest Post by Oksana Lushchevska



 

Back in March of this year (here), Oksana Lushchevska, a PhD student in Reading, Writing, Children’s Literature, and Digital Literacy in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at The University of Georgia, visited 7-Imp to contribute a guest post on contemporary Ukrainian children’s literature. She’s back again today to talk about a recent winner at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.

Romana Romanyshyn’s and Andriy Lesiv’s The War that Changed Rondo was given a Special Mention in the category of New Horizons. She’s here to tell us about the book, share some thoughts from the creators, and share some art from it as well. I thank her for her contribution!

* * *

Oksana (pictured left): In this post, I would like to feature The War that Changed Rondo (2015), a picturebook created by Romana Romanyshyn and Andriy Lesiv and published by the Old Lion Publishing House, Ukraine. This picturebook was listed in a section of “Special Mentions” of the Bologna New Horizons Award, 2015. Since it was originally published in Ukraine and successfully reached the global community at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in March, the picturebook also immediately crossed geographical borders right after the Fair. The War that Changed Rondo will soon be published in Slovakia by OZ BRAK Publishing House. It is my hope that this picturebook will be translated into many languages and will be added to the international body of picturebooks that stimulate fruitful dialogues about our world-mindedness, global awareness, and global interconnectedness.

 


(Click to enlarge)


 

The War that Changed Rondo addresses the complex and devastating issues of war. It represents both a valuable artistic creation and a response to the current events in Ukraine. It narrates a story of three friends—Danko, Star, and Fabian—who live peacefully in the small town of Rondo. They have their work and hobbies that always keep them busy — until the war comes. The three friends have never experienced war before, so they are unsure how to act. In the hopes of stopping the war, they talk to it and fight it, but it’s all in vain. Ultimately, they discover an effective deterrent against the darkness of war — the power of light. With the help of all the residents of Rondo, Danko, Star, and Fabian build a huge light machine that disperses the darkness and stops the war:

“So, to stop the War, it was necessary to build a huge machine of Light that would destroy the darkness and save the singing flowers!

The three friends immediately began to work. Other residents started coming to help them and soon the whole central square looked like a busy anthill. Everyone united for the common cause and did something they were best at. The town worked like well-tuned clockwork.”

[The above excerpt was translated by Oksana Lushchevska and edited by Oksana Lutsyshyna and Michelle Falter.]

 



(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


 

Literacy educators and literary scholars agree that it is tough to read about and discuss the topic of war with children (Crawford & Roberts, 2009; Kidd, 2005). Therefore, during tragic times, books often become a conduit for communication. Picturebooks offer a possibility for focusing on sophisticated and sensitive messages through their verbal and visual texts. These two narratives capture the complexities with more nuances and allow educators, adult mediators, and children to develop both coping skills and visual literacy (Crawford & Roberts, 2009). Consequently, the books of high literary quality are in high demand.

 


(Click to enlarge)


 

While readers need to find a starting point for their discussion of the books, authors and illustrators also need to find a so-called departure point for creating the book. This process is challenging and often involves multiple considerations and reconsiderations, especially while working on the books that offer deep and wide glimpses of turmoil and horrific events. To learn more about challenges on the way to creating The War that Changed Rondo, I asked the authors of the book to share some steps from their process and share what this particular picturebook means to them:

“One of the most difficult aspects was to create the appearance of the main characters. We definitely did not want them to look like humans – it is hard to choose some particular look, since today there are so many real, not mythical, heroes who live beside us and fight for us. Thus, we decided to make our characters creatures comprised of fragile materials, which highlighted the vulnerability of those touched by war in visual images.

The award at the Bologna Children’s Book fair for two years acts as a signal for us that we are moving in the right direction. Among other things, such awards provide a lot of new contacts and create new opportunities for the book to be published in other countries and languages. In part due to such events as Bologna Children’s Book Fair, the Ukrainian children’s book may create its own ‘continent’ on the literary map of the world. There is the need for consistent participation and initiative, though.”

— Romana Romanyshyn & Andriy Lesiv


 


(Click to enlarge)


 

Additionally, I learned that Romanyshyn and Lesiv often meet with kids in Ukraine to talk about The War that Changed Rondo, so I asked them to share some of their observations about children’s responses:

“To be honest, we are pleasantly surprised by the sincere and positive reaction of children on our book. The children warmly accept the main characters, empathize [with] them, understanding that Rondo is a kind of prototype of their own towns as well. We are receiving a lot of letters and drawings from children all over Ukraine, even from the children living in front-line towns. We know of many touching stories of children reading our book. Recently, a father in one of our friend’s families was mobilized into Armed Forces and his little son explained it to himself that ‘Rondo concerns everyone …’”

— Romana Romanyshyn & Andriy Lesiv


 


(Click to enlarge)


 

In summary, The War that Changed Rondo not only heightens readers’ awareness about Ukraine and the Ukrainians, but it provides a strong basis for setting up a dialogue between readers about the devastating consequences of war in general. The questions that this picturebook might help to raise are: How do people live during times of war? What do their daily routines look like? What are the major consequences of war for people? What are their inner and outer wounds? The War that Changed Rondo reflects the ambiguity of war and is definitely a tribute to peace. It is a masterfully crafted international picturebook that might significantly widen the horizons and potentially influence reading communities of many geographical areas, and I am hopeful that it will.

 



 

References

  • Crawford, P.A. & Roberts, S.K. (2009). Ain’t gonna study war no more? Explorations of war through picture books. Childhood Education, 85(6), 370-374.
  • Kidd, K. (2005). “A” is for Auschwitz: Psychoanalysis, trauma theory, and the “children’s literature of atrocity.” Children‘s Literature, 33,120-149.

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17. Seen and Not Heard by Katie May Green

Seen and Not Heard is the debut picture book from Katie May Green. On the jacket flap, Green writes that she was inspired to create this book after looking at a 16th century portrait of three children and wondering what it might "feel like to be trapped in a painting for four hundred years?" The answer is a playfully rhyming, marvelously magical, midnight romp with the occasional dash

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18. Review of The Skunk

barnett_skunkstar2 The Skunk
by Mac Barnett; illus. by Patrick McDonnell
Primary     Roaring Brook     32 pp.
4/15     978-1-59643-966-5     $17.99

A skunk shows up on the narrator’s doorstep and begins to tail him. Try as he might, our narrator just can’t seem to shake the skunk — “When I sped up, the skunk sped up. When I slowed, the skunk slowed” — despite dodging in and out of an opera house, a graveyard, and a carnival. Ultimately, however, our narrator does lose his unwelcome shadow, crawling down a manhole in an alley and establishing a new life in a new house in a new part of the city (the heretofore low-toned palette now bursting with blue and yellow). It’s not long, though, before he realizes everything’s not what it’s cracked up to be, and he leaves his own party to go off in search of the skunk, vowing to keep an eye on him to “make sure he does not follow me again.” McDonnell’s graceful and simple cartoonlike illustrations mitigate the notes of paranoia and obsession in Barnett’s deadpan text, particularly in their rendering of the posture, gestures, and expressions of the main characters. Barnett has had the good fortune to collaborate with illustrators — Rex, Santat, Klassen — who share his oftentimes offbeat sense of humor; his pairing with McDonnell seems as natural as any of them.

From the July/August 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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19. The Big Princess

The Big Princess. Taro Miura. 2015. Candlewick Press. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Once upon a time in a land far, far away, there lived a king and queen. The king and queen had no children of their own, but they had a beautiful garden, full of all kinds of flowers. It was their pride and joy, and each blossom was tended with the greatest love and care. 

Premise/plots: A childless royal couple is overjoyed when their greatest dream comes true: at last a child to call their own, a princess. But this princess is under a spell. She is tiny now, but, she'll keep growing and growing and growing until the spell is broken. And the king and queen are warned that they NEED to break the spell for the good of them all--the whole kingdom. Can they break the spell in time?

The Big Princess was originally published in Japan in 2013. 

My thoughts: I liked this one. I've read it three times now, and, I've reacted a bit differently each time. But overall, I think I do like it. It reads like a traditional fairy tale. It may not have all the expected elements--the presence of fairies, for example--but if you enjoy a good fairy tale, this original story may satisfy. Still, I have to warn you that this one is a bit odd.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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20. Seuss on Saturday #29

Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? Dr. Seuss. 1970. HarperCollins. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence:  Oh, the wonderful things Mr. Brown can do! He can go like a cow. He can go MOO MOO. Mr. Brown can do it. How about you?

Premise/plot: Mr. Brown knows so many wonderful noises. But do you? Mr. Brown shows little readers all the noises he can make, and, he challenges them to copy him.

My thoughts: I have to admit that Mr. Brown can Moo! Can You? is one of my favorite Seuss books. It is. I do have to say that the board book is very, very different from the original. I'm not saying to avoid the board book, mind you. Just be sure that you introduce little ones to the real Mr. Brown Can Moo! when they get a bit older. I don't know WHY they had to edit the board book edition so heavily. Sounds they eliminate in the board book:
  • eek eek = squeaky shoe
  • choo choo = train
  • blurp blurp = horn
  • slurp slurp = big cat drinking
  • sizzle sizzle = egg in a frying pan
  • grum grum = hippopotamus chewing gum
  • pip = goldfish kiss
Have you read Mr. Brown Can Moo? Did you like it? love it? hate it? I'd love to know what you thought of it!

If you'd like to join me in reading or rereading Dr. Seuss (chronologically) I'd love to have you join me! The next book I'll be reviewing is The Lorax.


© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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21. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #441: Featuring Cece Bell

Good morning, fellow imps. I’m highlighting a bit of artwork today from award-winning author-illustrator Cece Bell’s newest picture book, I Yam a Donkey!, published by Clarion Books in June.

There are several things I like about this book (whose story starts on the title page itself)—its humor, its memorable two main characters, its irreverence—but my favorite thing is that it is inherently subversive, if you consider the existence of prescriptive linguistics, which is concerned about the rules governing what people should or shouldn’t say (rather, how they say it). Descriptive linguistics is concerned with how language is used, instead of telling people how to use language properly.

Prescriptive linguists would shake their fist at this entertaining story, complete with a tongue-in-cheek moral, and that is part of its beauty. Or, as the Publishers Weekly review notes, “pedants who can’t adapt will be left in the dust.” And that’s because it’s all about a donkey who has a particular way of talking, though the stubborn and opinionated grammarian yam he meets keeps telling him he’s talking incorrectly. Or, as the vegetables watching it all go down (well, most of it) put it, it’s a “big fight about grammar.” The ending is delicious in more ways than one, but I’ll let you discover that for yourself.

I was just about to tell you all about Cece’s art for the book, rendered in china marker and acrylics, but you can see for yourself below.

p.s. Here’s my 2008 breakfast interview with Cece. (Was it really seven years ago?)

 



 


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(Click second image to see spread in its entirety)


 


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I YAM A DONKEY! Copyright © 2015 by Cece Bell. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston.

* * *

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) I spoke this past week in Knoxville about the best children’s books of the year (well, the best books from last Fall and this Spring) at an event I participate in yearly, and it was (as always) good fun. I always enjoy hearing my colleagues speak as well.

2) My daughters went with me, and we made a little trip out of it.

3) They don’t often get to see me work, so I hope they enjoyed hearing me talk about picture books (though they mostly sat in the back and read).

4) I got to catch up with friends, while in Knoxville and Maryville.

5) The new issue of the Horn Book.

6) Story time.

7) It’s good to be home.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

10 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #441: Featuring Cece Bell, last added: 7/20/2015
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22. Monday Mishmash 7/20/15


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Signing at Books-A-Million  I'll be at Books-A-Million in the Stroud Mall in Stroudsburg, PA on Saturday from noon to 3:00 p.m. If you're in the area, come see me. I'll be signing copies of The Monster Within and The Darkness Within.
  2. News!  I'm most likely going to have news to share with you this week. Stay tuned!
  3. Pepe Maurice Pierre, Poodle Extraordinaire  I got to see the cover and illustrations for my upcoming picture book, Pepe Maurice Pierre, Poodle Extraordinaire this past weekend. Wow! I was blown away. I can't wait to share this book with you soon. (My street team, Kelly's Coven, has already seen it.)
  4. Our Little Secret  I've been busy with edits for my upcoming Ashelyn Drake title, Our Little Secret. I love this story and can't wait for the release, which is happening in September! Tomorrow, I'll be sharing the blurb and tag line all over social media, so stay tuned for that.
  5. Hot Pink in the City Cover Reveal  Check out the cover of Medeia Sharif's upcoming YA title, Hot Pink in the City:
    HOT PINK IN THE CITY, Prizm Books, 2015
Release date: August 19, 2015

Asma Bashir wants two things: a summer fling and her favorite '80s songs. During a trip to New York City to stay with relatives, she messes up in her pursuit of both. She loses track of the hunk she met on her airplane ride, and she does the most terrible thing she could possibly do to her strict uncle…ruin his most prized possession, a rare cassette tape. A wild goose chase around Manhattan and Brooklyn to find a replacement tape yields many adventures—blackmail, theft, a chance to be a TV star, and so much more. Amid all this turmoil, Asma just might be able to find her crush in the busiest, most exciting city in the world.

Find Medeia – YA and MG Author

Blog   |   Twitter   |   Goodreads   |   Instagram   |   Amazon

That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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23. Children’s Picture Book Author Inspired by Humans Landing on the Moon

In Space Boy and his Dog, Niko and his crew (Tag, his dog, and Radar, his trusty robot copilot) search for a lost cat on the moon.

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24. Who’s Afraid of Spiders?

I’m Trying To Love Spiders

By Bethany Barton

 

Something tells me that Bethany Barton has a whole lot of love in her heart for many things – even the most loathsome, that leave some of us screaming into the night, searching for safety or a swatter.

In her latest picture book, “I’m Trying to Love Spiders,” she does her darndest to deter the arachnophobia in her reader, (fear of spiders) and herself, with a book, as the cover says, “chock-full of amazing arachnid facts.”

Let’s face it, it’s that time of year when the creepy crawlies come out of the woodwork,  perch in the safety of our homes, and scare the living daylights out of us.

It sort of does defy logic how we huge humans are super scared of these eight-eyed, multi-legged critters that are so small – most of the time.

I have seen some BIG spiders that make me scream, “DAVID!!!” After all, men were the hunter/gatherers, no? After all if they could topple a T-Rex, what’s a eight eyed, seventy-five pounds of bugs a year, eating spider? Easy peasy!

Knowledge is power and Ms. Barton takes that approach with her picture book that admits her own trepidation with spidey.

Why not take the “Official Spider Test” she offers on the inside cover to determine your comfort level with the creepers? Here it is:

 

What do you do when you see one of these? (picture a spider)

 

  1. Lay on a BIG spidey smoocheroo.
  2. Smile, but back away slowly.
  3. Grab the closest object and aim it at the spider.
  4. Run away screaming. I picture them with families, you see!

 

Kids who love the loathsome will love this spider fun fact book. I truly did not know there so many KINDS of spiders. Here are some: ST. Andrews Cross spider, the smallest in the world called the Patu Digua spider, the Happy Face spider( yes, he does have a happy face on his back), and the Peacock spider that displays a colorful fan on his tummy, waving its arms and leg to attract a mate.Trust me, kids will love the Bird-Dung Crab spider the most. He hides in plain sight by looking like bird poop! Hmmm. And interestingly enough, today, our 42nd wedding anniversary, think I will withhold from my husband this cool spider fact that the black widow usually eats its mate!

Maybe you won’t want to ask an arachnid to dinner, after reading this picture book with, and to, your young readers, but you will at last ask him to leave gently!

I am comforted knowing there is a better chance statistically of being struck by lightning, than of being bitten fatally by a spider.

My favorite was the Writing spider that draws zigzag patterns in its web. There is even a spider that can do “cartwheels”  down sand dunes to escape danger. He’s called the Golden Wheel spider.

I have to say that I have taken none of these. Over time I have gotten into the practice of scrunching up a rather large wad of tissues and gently transporting the arachnid to the front door when I see him or her skitter away.

 

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25. Picture Book Monday with a review of Pool

When I was a child, going to the pool was one of my favorite summer pastimes. I spent hours there, jumping in with the other kids, playing Marco Polo, and, diving off the diving board. When I needed a little space, I would swim to the deep end and sit on the bottom for a little while. It was always so quiet and restful down there. Today's picture book will take readers into the deep end of a swimming pool where they will encounter wonderful sights and see a friendship develop. 

PoolPool 
JiHyeon Lee
Wordless Picture Book
For ages 5 and up
Chronicle Books, 2015, 978-1-4521-4294-4
A boy arrives at the pool, which is empty and serene. Then, without warning, a pack of loud, boisterous people arrive with their balls, floating rings, and paddle boats. The pool is so full of people and their gear that the boy can barely see the water at all. Everywhere he looks there is chaos, and for a while he just watches. Then the boy dives in, going under the paddling legs of all the other people.
   Deep underwater the boy he meets a girl, and together they swim down into a magical world conjured up by their own imaginations. There, in the quiet away from the crowds, they find a place full of wonderful creatures, and in the process they find something that is priceless.
   The best thing about having an imagination is that it can take you anywhere. The sky is the limit. Better still, your imagination can brighten up a dull day and offer relief when something does not quite work out the way you hoped.
   In this wordless picture book the author takes readers into a world where anything is possible, and where something wonderful can happen that will last long after the threads of daydreams fade and drift away.


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