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1. Seuss on Saturday #27

The Foot Book. Dr. Seuss. 1968. Random House. 36 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence:
Left foot
Left foot
Right foot
Right
Feet in the morning
Feet at night
Left foot
Left foot
Left foot
Right
Premise/plot: Does The Foot Book have an actual plot? Probably not. It's a rhyming celebration of all sorts of feet, I suppose.

My thoughts: Probably not my favorite Seuss title. Not that I actively dislike it, mind you. It's just not going to make my top thirty.

Have you read The Foot Book? 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 I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today and Other Stories.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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2. Gingerbread for Liberty (2015)

Gingerbread for Liberty: How A German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution. Mara Rockliff. Illustrated by Vincent X. Kirsch. 2015. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Everyone in Philadelphia knew the gingerbread baker. His honest face...his booming laugh...And, of course, his gingerbread--the best in all the thirteen colonies. His big, floury hands turned out castles and queens, horses and cows and hens--each detail drawn in sweet, buttery icing with the greatest skill and care. And yet, despite his care, there always seemed to be some broken pieces for the hungry children who followed their noses to the spicy-smelling shop. "No empty bellies here!" the baker bellowed. "Not in my America!"

Premise/plot: Gingerbread for Liberty is the untold, near-forgotten story of Christopher Ludwick, a German-born American who loved and served his country during the American Revolution in the best way he knew how: by baking.

My thoughts: I loved, loved, loved, LOVED this one. I loved the end papers which feature a recipe for "Simple Gingerbread." I loved the illustrations. Never has a book's illustrations gone so perfectly-perfectly well with the text. The illustration style is very gingerbread-y. It works more than you think it might. At least in my opinion! I loved the author's note. I did. I loved learning a few more facts about Christopher Ludwick. It left me wanting to know even more. Which I think is a good thing. The book highlights his generosity and compassion as well as his baking talents.

But most of all, I loved the text itself, the writing style. The narrative voice in this one is super-strong. And I love the refrain: Not in MY America!  

Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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3. Out and About (2015)

Out and About: A First Book of Poems. Shirley Hughes. 1988/2015. Candlewick Press. 56 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I really enjoyed reading Shirley Hughes Out and About: A First Book of Poems. These poems reminded me that I do like poetry, good children's poetry, about subjects that are easy to relate to. These poems celebrating living life in all four seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. These poems celebrate spending time outdoors. Best of all, these poems are kid-friendly.

For example, "Mudlarks"

I like mud.
The slippy, sloppy, squelchy kind,
The slap-it-into-pies kind.
Stir it up in puddles,
Slither and slide.
I do like mud.
and "Water"
I like water.
The shallow, splashy, paddly kind,
The hold-on-tight-it's-deep-kind.
Shlosh it out of buckets,
Spray it all around.
I do like water.
I like this poetry collection because it's joyful. These poems capture joyous moments. Well, for the most part! I suppose the poem about being stuck in bed SICK isn't capturing joy, it's capturing frustration. But still. These poems are easy to relate to. 


© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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4. A Walk in Paris by Salvatore Rubbino

If, like me, you and your family are enjoying a stay-cation yet again this summer, you might enjoy a little armchair traveling, which is what A Walk in Paris by Salvatore Rubbino is perfect for. Of course,  A Walk in Paris is also a superb book to read to any little listeners who just might be visiting the City of Lights themselves. If your travels take you elsewhere, Rubbino is also

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5. Picture of Grace, by Josh Armstrong | Dedicated Review

Picture of Grace, by Josh Armstrong, is certainly moving and will be well received by families who are suffering or have suffered from loss.

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6. How To Catch A Mouse (2015)

How To Catch a Mouse. Philippa Leathers. 2015. Candlewick. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: This is Clemmie. Clemmie is a brave, fearsome mouse catcher. She is excellent at stalking and chasing. She is patient and alert. She knows everything about how to catch a mouse. In fact, Clemmie is such a fearsome mouse catcher that she has never even seen a mouse. All the mice are afraid of me, thinks Clemmie. 

Premise/plot: Clemmie is confident that she knows everything about how to catch a mouse. But does she know as much as she thinks she does? Could a mouse be right in plain sight and Clemmie not know about it? Perhaps! Hint: The illustrations are EVERYTHING to the story.

My thoughts: I loved the story. I did. I thought it was wonderful. I loved how the illustrations tell so much of the story. The illustrations communicate a lot to the reader. In addition, the illustrations are just so precious and adorable. I loved Clemmie as a character as well. And I loved the "new trick" that she learned towards the end of the book.

Definitely recommended to cat lovers!

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations 5 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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7. Funny Face, Sunny Face (2015)

Funny Face, Sunny Face. Sally Symes. Illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw. 2015. Candlewick. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

 First sentence:
Bunny face, sunny face, wake up...
with a funny face!
Bear hair, fair hair,
hardly any there hair.

Premise/plot: A day full of rhymes: morning to evening. This one is all about the rhyme. Also the rhythm, I suppose. But essentially it's a feel-good-to-read-aloud rhyming book for young children. Probably toddlers and preschoolers more than older ones.

My thoughts: This one is a cute book. I liked the rhymes for the most part. There weren't any that didn't work for me. And there were a handful that I just LOVED, LOVED, LOVED. For example:
Sticky lips, licky lips
love-you
kiss-me-quickly lips.
and
new teeth,
chew teeth,
only one or
two teeth.
I didn't just love the text of , however. I loved many things about this one. It started charming me from the start. I really LOVE the endpapers of this one. It's a beautiful design. And the illustrations are precious as well.

This one would pair well with the sadly out-of-print Grump which I reviewed earlier this week.

Text: 4.5 out of 5
Illustrations: 4.5 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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8. Best Selling Picture Books | July 2015

This month, our best selling picture book from our affiliate store is the gorgeously illustrated Gaston, written by Kelly DiPucchio and pictures by Christian Robinson.

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9. Review: The Magic Formula by Ibrahima Ndiaye and Capucine Mazille

Dear Baobab, written by Cheryl Foggo, illustrated by Qin Leng (Second Story Press, 2011)

The Magic Formula
written by Ibrahima Ndiaye, illustrated by Capucine Mazille, translated by Rebecca Page
(Bakame Editions (Rwanda), 2011)


The Magic Formula is a … Continue reading ...

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10. Beach Fun! Beach theme picture books and printables

Beach Fun! Beach theme picture books and printables | Storytime Standouts

Beach Picture Book Fun from StorytimeStandouts.com

Whether planning a day at the beach or just back from some fun in the sun, these beach-theme picture books will be a wonderful addition to your summertime fun. Suitable for toddlers, preschool age children, kindergarten and older, these stories address important themes like fear of the water and getting outside one’s comfort zone. Whenever possible, it is very valuable to have children read books that match their experiences. These stories are perfect for introducing new concepts and extending learning. Have fun!









All You Need for a Beach written by Alice Shertle and illustrated by Barbara LavalleeAll You Need for a Beach written by Alice Shertle and illustrated by Barbara Lavallee
Picture book about a day at the beach published by Harcourt, Inc.

A companion book to All You Need for a Snowman, this is an exuberant celebration of a group of children, playing together in sand and water. Bright, cheerful colours and a happy theme of exploration and cooperation highlight this picture book for toddlers and preschool-age children. Illustrations depict a racially diverse group of children.

All You Need for a Beach at Amazon.com

All You Need for a Beach at Amazon.ca



At the Beach by Anne and Harlow RockwellAt the Beach by Anne and Harlow Rockwell
Toddler book about a day at the beach published by Aladdin

Best suited to very young children, At the Beach is a lovely introduction to the joys of spending a day picnicking, playing in the sand, looking for treasures and swimming. Simple, clear text matches the colorful illustrations and creates an opportunity for learning new vocabulary.

The main characters are a Caucasian girl and her mother however the illustrations depict diverse skin tones among those playing at the shoreline.

At the Beach at Amazon.com

At the Beach at Amazon.ca

Curious George Goes to the BeachCurious George Goes to the Beach based on the original character created by Margaret and H.A. Rey, illustrated in the style of H.A. Rey by Vipah Interactive
Picture book about a day at the beach published by HMH Books for Young Readers

Fans of Curious George will not be disappointed with this fun story about a day at the beach. George and his friend Betsy enjoy playing at the sandy beach, making friends and feeding the sea gulls. Betsy’s reluctance to go into the water could be an opportunity to talk about fear of new experiences.

Betsy, her grandmother and the man with the yellow hat Caucasian however the illustrations depict diverse skin tones among those at the beach.

Curious George Goes to the Beach at Amazon.com

Curious George Goes to the Beach at Amazon.ca

Duck and Goose Go to the Beach written and illustrated by Tad HillsDuck and Goose Go to the Beach written and illustrated by Tad Hills
Picture book about friends who visit the beach published by Schwartz & Wade Books

Duck is keen for adventure while Goose would much rather stay in familiar surroundings so it is only not surprising that Goose is not keen to go for a hike. The two friends leave their familiar meadow and eventually arrive at the beach. It is loud and wet and very, very sandy. Vibrant illustrations are a highlight of this engaging story about two friends leaving their comfort zone, enjoying a day out together and then returning to the comfort of home. Duck and Goose Go to the Beach is highly recommended for preschool- age children.

Duck & Goose Go to the Beach at Amazon.com

Duck & Goose Go to the Beach at Amazon.ca

Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach by Melanie WattScaredy Squirrel at the Beach written and illustrated by Melanie Watt
Beach theme picture book published by Kids Can Press

Scaredy Orville Squirrel whose initials are S.O.S. is an immensely popular character in an equally popular series of picture books.

In Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach Scaredy the worrywart is very careful to avoid any sort of real or imagined danger. Rather than encounter pirates, jellyfish, seagulls and sea monsters, he decides to create his very own private backyard beach paradise. After carefully constructing his safe haven, Scaredy realizes that, although his beach “look” is great – his backyard just doesn’t sound like the real thing. The only solution is “Operation Seashell” – a carefully planned and executed mission in search of a seashell that will provide crystal clear ocean sound. Featuring detailed descriptions of Scaredy’s beachware and plans for his mission, Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach will be enjoyed best independently or in a small group or one-on-one read-aloud setting. Best-suited to children five and up.

Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach at Amazon.com

Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach at Amazon.ca

Stella Star of the Sea written and illustrated by Marie-Louise GayStella Star of the Sea written and illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay
Picture book about a summer day at the seashore published by Groundwood Books

In this endearing series of picture books, we meet confident and worldly Stella and her much less self-assured younger brother Sam. When the two children visit the seaside on a shimmery summer day, Sam is filled with questions that suggest not only curiosity but also a bit of fear,

Do you think there are sharks in the sea?” asked Sam.
“Have you ever seen one?”
“Just a little one,” said Stella, “with an eyepatch.
Are you coming, Sam?”
“Not just this minute,” said Sam.



Gorgeous illustrations together with text that beautifully depicts the two siblings will have young children longing to visit the seashore and discover all the wonders of a leisurely summer day filled with digging in the sand, fishing, beach combing and, eventually, a swim.

Winner of the 2000 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award

Stella, Star of the Sea at Amazon.com

Stella, Star of the Sea at Amazon.ca

Tip Tap Went the Crab written and illustrated by Tim HopgoodTip Tap Went the Crab written and illustrated by Tim Hopgood
Counting book about sea creatures

Tip Tap Went the Crab features bright and colorful illustrations along with repetitious text that includes alliteration and onomatopoeia. When a crab decides to leave her small rock pool to explore the ocean she encounters one seagull, two sea lions and three starfish.

A great choice for toddlers and preschoolers, Tip Tap Went the Crab provides a great reminder that books for this age group can (and should) include rich language and fun, detailed and appealing illustrations. It is well-suited for a classroom or library read-aloud session.

Nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal 2010

Tip Tap Went the Crab at Amazon.com

Tip Tap Went The Crab at Amazon.ca

Beach Theme Picture Dictionary and Sight Words

Free Beach Theme Printables for Preschool and Kindergarten

Note: There is a file embedded within this post, please visit this post to download the file.

Storytime Standouts - Raising Children Who Love to Read


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11. Loads of Headbutting Before Breakfast


“This is my rock.”
(Click to enlarge slightly)


 

British author and illustrator David Lucas has a new book out, This Is My Rock (Flying Eye, May 2015), and I’ve got some art from it today. I always like to check out Lucas’ books, and this one has a poignant back story to its dedication.

This is a story of power and ultimately, friendship, as a domineering goat atop a mountain claims it for himself but in the end discovers his own loneliness. It invites, as the Kirkus review notes, “a broader consideration of the ins and outs of ownership than the usual toy-oriented run of ‘sharing’ titles.” Lucas’ geometric designs and angular speech bubbles give the book a distinctive look. Keep your eye on the sky here to note his shooting stars and zooming clouds and rising suns (note the one on the first spread, featured above). These are visually pleasing spreads, ones evoking the Southwest in color palette and border design (though it’s never specifically noted where the story takes place).

Here’s some more art from the book. Enjoy!


“Not your rock.”
(Click to enlarge slightly)


 


“This my rock. Not your rock.”
(Click to enlarge slightly)


 


“This my rock. Not your rock.”
(Click to enlarge slightly)


 

* * * * * * *

THIS IS MY ROCK. Copyright © 2015 by David Lucas. Published by Flying Eye Books, London. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher.

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12. Interview: Illustrator Proiti Roy

MWD Interview - Proiti Roy

Indian artist Proiti Roy has illustrated many picture books for children, as well as text books, book covers and magazine articles. Before ‘settling down to become an illustrator’, Proiti worked as a graphic designer in advertising and manufacturing, … Continue reading ...

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13. Grump (2001)

Grump. Janet Wong. Illustrated by John Wallace. 2001. Simon & Schuster. 32 pages. [Book I Bought]

Look how tired this Mommy is
Tired and frumpy
Grouchy chumpy
Oh, what a grump!


Look at Baby
Smart, good Baby
Happy Baby
Making gravy
Applesauce and ketchup gravy
Not too lumpy
Not too bumpy
Squish squish
DUMP!

Grump is one of my favorite, favorite, favorite books. I almost don't even need to make the qualification of favorite picture book. It's a book that begs to be read aloud again and again and again. The rhythm of it is almost magical--at least to me! I love the use of language, I do. I love the way it sounds, the way it feels on my tongue. It's real life. It's poetry. It just works.

The story of this one is simple. It's been a LONG, LONG, LONG day for this Mom and her Baby. And even if the Baby doesn't think he needs a nap, he needs a nap. But will this baby go down for a nap? Not without an all-too-familiar-struggle!

Baby's going to take a nap now
Baby's going to take a nap now
Baby's going to take a nap now
Take a nap now
Little lump.

She puts him in his crib and...

And oh of course that baby cries
Cries and whimpers
Cries and whimpers
Cries and whimpers
Play with me!
So Mommy sits 
And reads to Baby
Reads so pretty
Reads so softly
Reads and reads and reads until--

Can you guess what happened to the oh-so-tired, oh-so-grumpy Mommy?

This one is such a GREAT book. I loved how true-to-life it was. Not only for the baby, not only for the mommy--but it captures the ups and downs of the whole relationship.

This one has been a favorite going on ten years. Today I was looking to review some board books, hoping to find something great to share with you, when I thought again of Grump. Why isn't Grump still in print? Why hasn't it been reprinted? Why??? It's just a WONDERFUL book. And it would be a great board book!!! The combination of this story with that format would be just perfect!!!!

Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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14. Picture Book Monday with a review of Ninja Bunny

Sometimes, when we take on a new cause, hobby, or interest, we have to make compromises to accommodate this new pursuit in our lives. If you want to play the piano, for example, you cannot have long finger nails. If you want to be a long distance runner, you have to work hard to keep keep your body lean and strong. In today's picture book you will meet a young bunny who wants to be a ninja. He has to work incredibly hard to attain his goal, and he makes rather significant changes in his life to do so.

Ninja BunnyNinja Bunny
Picture Book
Jennifer Gray Olson
For ages 5 to 7
Random House, 2015, 978-0-385-75493-4
Many of us have dreams of being something different, something heroic even. One young bunny is just such a dreamer, but he is not willing to just dream, he wants to really become “A Super Awesome Ninja.” He dons the clothing that is suitable for his new role in life, reads a book about how to become a ninja, and then he does his best to follow the ten rules of ninjadom.
   Rule one says that “A super awesome ninja must always work alone,” and so the ninja bunny distances himself from his bunny friends. The second rule states that he must be “super sneaky.” Of course, there are times when being sneaky is not easy. For example, if you are being sneaky while you steal some carrots in the dark of night, you should not step on a rake that is lying on the ground and clock yourself in the face.
   Rule two is not the only rule that can at times be problematical. Being very strong, creating ninja weapons, being able to climb things, maintaining perfect balance, being able to fly and being able to escape are all skills that have to be acquired. Over time. With care. As you learn to acquire these skills you might have setbacks.
    Diligently the young ninja bunny works hard to learn the rules of his craft, only to discover that there is one rule that he cannot live by.
    In this delightfully funny picture book we watch (sometimes wincing) as a young bunny does his best to become a ninja, and we see that the path to ninjahood is not an easy one. What we come to appreciate most of all is that even great ninjas cannot always follow every rule in the book. Sometimes rules need to be bent so that ninjas can have something that is even more precious than ninja skills.


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15. Guest Post by Maria Gianferrari, Author of Penny & Jelly The School Show

To follow on from my review of Penny & Jelly: The School Show last Friday, I am very happy to have the author, Maria Gianferrari on the blog today to share about the inspiration for her debut picture book and offer … Continue reading

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16. Peppa's Chalk ABCs

Peppa's Chalk ABCs. Scholastic. 16 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Premise/plot: Peppa's Chalk ABCs is an activity book for young children who are ready or nearly ready to learn to write their letters. This is a practice book. There is space to practice each letter of the alphabet. Two letters per page. (Four letters per spread.) The illustrations feature characters from the Peppa Pig show. For example, "D is for Dinosaur" shows George playing with his dinosaur. Also, this is for learning lowercase letters.

My thoughts: Cute novelty book. It isn't really a book with a story.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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17. The Fabulous Flying Machines of Alberto Santos-Dumont

If I didn't know that The Fabulous Flying Machines of Alberto Santos-Dumont, wonderfully written by Victoria Griffith with gorgeous pictures by Eva Montanari, was a work of non-fiction, I would have thought I was reading a fascinating story about two very creative, inventive friends set in turn of the century Paris. That would be a great book. Even better than that? Finding out that these

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18. Seuss on Saturday #26

I Had Trouble In Getting to Solla Sollew. Dr. Seuss. 1965. Random House. 59 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence:
I was real happy and carefree and young
And I lived in a place called the Valley of Vung
And nothing, not anything every went wrong
Until...well, one day I was walking along
And I guess I got careless. I guess I got gawking
At daisies and not looking where I was walking...
And that's how it started.

Premise/plot: The narrator tries and tries to avoid having trouble in his life. That is one reason why he is trying to get to Solla Sollew in the first place. He's heard that in the City of Solla Sollew 'they never have troubles, at least very few.' But can he ever get there? He faces one challenge after another in his attempts to get there... If he gets there, will he truly find a trouble-free existence awaits him?

My thoughts: I don't remember ever having read I Had Trouble In Getting to Solla Sollew before. I liked it, I did. It was oh-so-easy to relate to the narrator. And the narrator makes some good observations. For example, "And I learned there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind." The illustration of our poor narrator trying to look out for trouble in back and in front is something. Did I like the ending? Yes and no. I agree that you do have to face the troubles that come your way, but, the narrator's solution is that all you need to face those troubles is a big bat. (I think it works in his situation especially.)

This one might pair well with Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst which was first published in 1972.   

Have you read I Had Trouble In Getting to Solla Sollew. 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 Foot Book.
 
© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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19. Pride Month: Fifteen LGBTQ-Themed Books for Readers of Every Age

June is Pride Month!  Pride Month commemorates the Stonewall Riots, which happened June 1969, and was a starting summer deals!point for the Gay Rights movement. The Stonewall Inn, where the riots took place, in New York City recently gained landmark status.

To celebrate, we’ve put together a list of fifteen books that celebrate different gender identities, sexual orientations, families, and ways to be!

Picture Books

Antonio’s Card by Rigoberto Gonzalez – Mother’s Day is coming up. Antonio searches for the right words to express his love for his mother, and Leslie, his mother’s partner.

Call Me Tree by Maya Christina Gonzalez – In this completely gender-neutral story, Maya Christina Gonzalez empowers readers to reach … and be as unique and free as trees.

I am Jazz by Jazz Jennings and Jessica Herthel – Based on the life of transgender activist Jazz Jennings. Jazz has known she was a girl since the age of two, even if everyone around her doesn’t know it yet.

Heather Has Two Mommies by Lesléa Newman – This classic is one of the first lesbian-themed picture books. Heather is being raised by her mother, Jane and her mother’s partner, Kate.

Middle Grade

George  by Alex Gino – Everyone thinks George is a boy, but George knows that she’s a girl. After her teacher announces that the class play is Charlotte’s Web, George hatches a plan with her best Kelly, so that everyone can know who she is once and for all.

Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle – Nate has always wanted to be in a Broadway show. But how is he supposed to make his dreams come true when he’s stuck in a small town in Pennsylvania?

Wandering Son by Takako Shimura – Shuichi Nitori and Yoshino Takatsuki are two friends at the start of puberty sharing a big secret: Shuichi is a boy who wants to be a girl and Yoshino is a girl who wants to be a boy. First graphic novel in a series.

 

Young Adult

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin – Six transgender and gender-neutral teens share their stories.

Ash by Malinda Lo – In this retelling of Cinderella, Ash must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.

None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio– In this debut novel, Kristen, has a seemingly ideal life. She’s just been voted homecoming queen and is a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college. Everything unravels when Kristen and her boyfriend decide to take it to the next level, and Kristen finds out she’s intersex. Somehow her secret is leaked to the whole school.

Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez – Sanchez’s debut novel follows three boys, Jason Carrillo, Kyle Meeks, and Nelson Glassman, as they struggle with their sexualities and their friendships.

 

Books for Adults

Autobiography of My Hungers by Rigoberto Gonzalez – Rigoberto Gonzalez takes a look at his life through the lens of hunger.

Confessions of a Mask by Yukio Mishima – Kochan is unlike other men; he is homosexual. In post-war Japanese society, Kochan must keep this fact hidden under a mask of propriety.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker – This book focuses on the lives of several poor African American women in rural Georgia.

Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson – The rich and privileged have left Toronto for the suburbs. Now, the people with money need bodies, so they prey upon the helpless people on the street.

 

 

 

 

 

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20. Minette's Feast, written by Susanna Reich and illustrated by Amy June Bates

Minette's Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat, written by Susanna Reich and illustrated by Amy June Bates is scrumptious! Susanna Reich clearly knows and loves her subject matter (both Julia Child and cats) and her author's note reveals a wonderful personal connection while the afterword, notes, glossary and pronunciation guide offer substance for readers who want to know more

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21. Penny & Jelly: The School Show – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: Penny & Jelly: The School Show Written by: Maria Gianferrari Illustrated by: Thyra Heder Published by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015 Themes/Topics: school show, talent, being a good friend Suitable for ages: 3-6 Opening: The Peabody Elementary Talent Show was an annual tradition.     … Continue reading

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22. The Bus is For Us (2015)

The Bus Is For Us. Michael Rosen. Illustrated by Gillian Tyler. 2015. Candlewick. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: I really like to ride my bike. I like going far in our car. When it starts to rain, I like the train. But the best is the bus. The bus is for us. 

Premise/plot: The Bus is For Us is a rhyming picture book about transportation. Most of the book focuses on actual types of transportation, however, by the end, things get slightly more imaginative. The book has a chorus of sorts, everything always comes back to the fact that THE BUS IS FOR US.

My thoughts: I'm not sure why this one didn't work better for me. It just didn't. Perhaps it was because for me it didn't feel like a proper story, just rhyming phrases strung loosely together.

Text: 2.5 out of 5
Illustrations: 3.5 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10


© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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23. Grandma in Blue with Red Hat (2015)

Grandma in Blue with Red Hat. Scott Menchin. Illustrated by Harry Bliss. 2015. Abrams. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Saturday is the best day. Because that's the day I go to art class at the museum. I have been coming here forever.

Premise/plot: The narrator of Grandma in Blue with Red Hat comes to an important realization about art and about his Grandma. He listens to his classmates describe art, what makes art, well, ART. He realizes that his Grandma has all the attributes of a GREAT museum-worthy piece of art. Should he donate his Grandma to the museum?! Or can he honor both his love of art and his love of his Grandma in his own special way?

My thoughts: I liked this one very much! I thought it was very sweet. It gets big and little details just right. I love his relationship with his grandma. I appreciate the focus on art. I also noticed that the narrator has two pet cats, and, that he LOVES to draw them!

Note: Not every teacher *appreciates* illustrated underwear. This one does have a LARGE pair of underwear on display at a museum...in the boy's imagination!

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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24. Hippu (2015)

Hippu. Oili Tanninen. 2015. Tate Publishing (Abrams) 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Hippu looks out of the window and sees a dog.

Premise/plot: Hippu is a small, square picture book originally published in Finland in 1967. Hippu, a mouse, meets Heppu, a dog, and they become good friends. The book is about what the two do together. The text is very matter-of-fact. For example, "Hippu sleeps. Heppu sleeps. Good night."

My thoughts: Hippu is a strange little book, in a way, certainly different from what is currently being published. But just because it's strange doesn't mean it lacks charm. The illustrations are simple, yet bold and striking. (The only colors in the book are red, white, and black.)

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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25. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week,Featuring Sergio Ruzzier and Paul Schmid


Preliminary art from My Dog Is the Best


 


Preliminary art from Whose Shoe?


 

Today over at Kirkus, I write about Daniel Miyares’ newest picture book, Float. That link will be here soon.

Last week, I wrote (here) about Eve Bunting’s Whose Shoe? (Clarion, June 2015), illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier, and Laurie Ann Thompson’s My Dog Is the Best (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, June 2015), illustrated by Paul Schmid. Today, I follow up with some early and final art from each book, thanks to Sergio and Paul.


 

From Eve Bunting’s
Whose Shoe?,
illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier:


 


Early character work


 


Early dummy sketch
(Click to enlarge)


 


Spider sketch


 



“There’s one thing I find hard to take
when I’m standing in my lake:
I hate that mud between my toes.
(I’m rather fussy, I suppose.) …”

– Early rough and final art
(Click final art to enlarge)


 



“Hello! I’ve found a lonesome shoe.
Someone lost it. Was it you?”

– Early rough and final art
(Click each to enlarge)


 



“Who says that shoes are just for feet?
I’m glad my search is now complete.
The stars are shining overhead. …
I’m happy in my king-size bed!”


 




 

From Laurie Ann Thompson’s
My Dog Is the Best,
illustrated by Paul Schmid:


 


Early dog


 


Dog poses


 


Early design
(Click to enlarge)


 


Final art: Title page spread (without text)
(Click to enlarge)


 


Final art (without text): “My dog is the best. He is strong and brave.
He helps the firemen.”

(Click to enlarge)


 


Final art (without text): “My dog is the best. He makes me smile.”
(Click to enlarge)


 



 

* * * * * * *

MY DOG IS THE BEST. Copyright © 2015 by Laurie Ann Thompson. Illustrations © 2015 by Paul Schmid. Published by Farrar Straus Giroux, New York. Preliminary and final art reproduced by permission of Paul Schmid.

WHOSE SHOE? Copyright © 2015 by Eve Bunting. Illustrations © 2015 by Sergio Ruzzier. Published by Clarion Books, Boston. Preliminary and final art reproduced by permission of Sergio Ruzzier.

1 Comments on What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week,Featuring Sergio Ruzzier and Paul Schmid, last added: 6/26/2015
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