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1. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, FeaturingStephen Savage, Lauren Tobia, & Paul O. Zelinsky


“Anna Hibiscus starts to cry. ‘Wha’ happen?’ Papa asks.
‘Everybody is busy with Double Trouble!’ cries Anna Hibiscus.
‘Nobody has time for me.'”
– From Atinuke’s
Double Trouble for Anna Hibiscus!, illustrated by Lauren Tobia
(Click to enlarge spread)


 


“It is the first snowfall of the year.”
– From Emily Jenkins’
Toys Meet Snow, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky


 


From Stephen Savage’s Where’s Walrus? And Penguin?
(Click to enlarge spread)


 

This morning over at Kirkus, I take a look at Pamela Zagarenski’s The Whisper. That link is here.

* * *

Last week, I wrote here about new picture books that feature the happy return of some beloved picture book protagonists, including Stephen Savage’s Where’s Walrus? And Penguin? (Scholastic, August 2015); Atinuke’s Double Trouble for Anna Hibiscus!, illustrated by Lauren Tobia and whose cover is pictured here (Kane Miller, September 2015); and Emily Jenkins’ Toys Meet Snow, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky (Schwartz & Wade, September 2015).

I’ve got a bit of art from each today. Zelinsky shares some early sketches and cover sketches as well.

Also, since we’re on the subject of Lauren Tobia’s artwork, I’m adding in a couple of spreads from Fran Manushkin’s Happy in Our Skin, published by Candlewick last month.

Enjoy!


 

From Where’s Walrus? And Penguin?:


 


(Click to enlarge)


 


(Click to enlarge)


 



 

From Toys Meet Snow:


 


Final art: “‘What is a sunset?’ asks Lumphy. ‘It’s strawberry syrup pouring over the world to make it sweet before nightfall,’ explains StingRay.
Plastic doesn’t say anything. She is thinking.”

(Click to enlarge)


 







“Inside, the house is dry and warm. Outside, the tiny ballerinas have made a blanket of peace over the world. The strawberry-syrup sun has gone down.”
– The progression of a spread

(Click each to enlarge)


 


Final art: “And, yes, the world is sweet.”


 






Jacket sketches
(Click each to enlarge)


 


Final jacket


 

From Double Trouble for Anna Hibiscus!:


 


“Anna Hibiscus takes a big ripe banana. She goes to Grandmother’s mat.
Anna Hibiscus always eat breakfast with Grandmother.
But Grandmother is busy sleeping. …”

(Click to enlarge spread)


 


“Anna Hibiscus is so happy now! She is going to eat ogi with Grandmother,
splash with her aunties, and play with her uncles and cousins.
But first Anna Hibiscus runs to her mother.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


 

From Fran Manushkin’s Happy in Our Skin,
illustrated by Lauren Tobia:


 


“It’s delightful to hug and tickle and wrestle,
get a scratch when we itch, and hold hands and nestle.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


 


“What a wonderful world! Such a hullabaloo—
with all of us in it! See the splendid view:
bouquets of people, blooming and boisterous,
brawny and thin, loving each day …”

(Click to enlarge spread)


 



 

* * * * * * *

DOUBLE TROUBLE FOR ANNA HIBISCUS! Text copyright © 2015 by Atinuke. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Lauren Tobia. Illustrations reproduced by permission of Lauren Tobia and the publisher, Kane Miller, Tulsa, OK.

HAPPY IN OUR SKIN. Text copyright © 2015 by Fran Manushkin. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Lauren Tobia. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

TOYS MEET SNOW. Text copyright © 2015 by Emily Jenkins. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Paul O. Zelinsky. Images reproduced by permission of Paul O. Zelinsky and the publisher, Schartz & Wade Books, New York.

WHERE’S WALRUS? AND PENGUIN? copyright © 2015 by Stephen Savage. Images reproduced by permission of Stephen Savage and the publisher, Scholastic Press, New York.

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2. Circle Square Moose – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: CIRCLE SQUARE MOOSE Written by: Kelly Bingham Illustrated by: Paul O. Zelinsky Published by: Harper Collins Children’s Books, 2014 Themes/Topics: shapes, moose, zebra, friendship Suitable for ages: 3-7 Opening: Shapes are all around us. We see them every day. Have you ever looked … Continue reading

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3. Comic: Picture Book Restaurant

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4. Written and Drawn by Liniers


I never want to pander [to] or patronize kids. They aren’t idiots.
They’re just below eye level.”


 

This morning over at Kirkus, I talk to Argentine cartoonist Ricardo Siri, otherwise known as Liniers. We talk about a few things, including his newest book, Written and Drawn by Henrietta.

That link will be here soon.

Until tomorrow …

* * * * * * *

Photo of Liniers taken by Nora Lezano and used by his permission.

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5. Best Selling Picture Books | September 2015

This month, our best selling picture book from our affiliate store is the uber entertaining Press Here, by Herve Tullet.

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6. KidLit Author Events & Happy Book Birthday

Happy September! This is the month that always makes me want to buy boots and sweaters, even though in my part of Texas neither of those things is really necessary more than one or two weeks out of the year, and then not until January. Being the first of the month, I’ve added a slew of September book babies to the slider on my conference pages. Check it out to get a peek at all the delicious new reads!

Happy book Birthday!

Happy book Birthday!

Happy Book Birthday

this week to

Linda Joy Singelton’s Cinderella-inspired YA, NEVER BEEN TEXTED,

to Dax Varley’s YA horror novel, BLEED,

and to Josh Funk’s LADY PANCAKE & SIR FRENCH TOAST, illustrated by Brendan Kearney.

 

NEVER BEEN TEXTED by Linda Joy SingletonNEVER BEEN TEXTED: When Ashlee’s stepdad completely forgets her birthday she takes matters into her own hands to get the one thing she really wants: her own cell phone. But text messages start rolling in from a broken-hearted boy, and though Ashlee knows not all stories end happily, she’s determined to make hers the best it can be. Balancing a bit of magic, the love of a pet dog, the support of a well-meaning and meddling friend, and the dream of a sweet romance, Ashlee must decide whether or not to pursue a boy who’s been recently entangled with her high school’s most vicious girl.

BLEED by Dax VarleyBLEED: Life is a nightmare for Miranda Murphy. Without knowing when or why, blood oozes from her palms—an anomaly that makes her feel like a freak. But her abnormality is now the least of her worries. She’s just enrolled at “Suicide High.” Three deaths in three months—one occurring just days before her arrival. When she bumps into a cute boy named Jake, things don’t appear so glum. Especially since Jake’s a psychic who can predict the immediate future. But his gift of sight can’t prepare her for the horrors that await. Through Jake, Miranda meets three other extraordinary students: Topher, who can heal by touch; Sam, who eats the sins of the dead; and Xyan, who speaks and understands all languages. It’s then that Miranda learns the secret behind why she bleeds. When it becomes evident that supernatural forces are at play, the five determined friends team up. Now it’s up to them to destroy the evil infecting their school. Head over to Dax’s website to read an excerpt!

LADY PANCAKE & SIR FRENCH TOAST: A thoroughly delicious picture book about the funniest “food fight!” ever! Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast have a beautiful friendship—until they discover that there’s ONLY ONE DROP of maple syrup left. Off they go, racing past the Orange Juice Fountain, skiing through Sauerkraut Peak, and reeling down the linguini. But who will enjoy the sweet taste of victory? And could working together be better than tearing each other apart? The action-packed rhyme makes for an adrenaline-filled breakfast . . . even without a drop of coffee!

Now for this week’s Greater Houston Area events:

WritespaceSEPTEMBER 5, SATURDAY, 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Writespace
Writers’ Workshop with K.J. Russell
COST: $30 Members, $45 Non-members

Dialogue: Let Your Characters’ Words Bring Your Story to Life! Tell your exposition to take a break and let your characters do some of the talking for you! There’s no better tool to give your fiction and nonfiction a unique new voice and grounded perspective than well-crafted dialogue. Cut back on static narration and character description by letting the characters demonstrate themselves and the world around them. In this workshop, K.J. Russell will discuss the many uses of dialogue, what craft problems dialogue can solve, and how to execute it with a confidence that will lend your story the kind of life that readers are looking for.

SEPTEMBER 8, MONDAY, 7:00-9:00 PMSCBWI
SCBWI Houston
Tracy Gee Community Center, 3599 Westcenter Drive
Cost: FREE

A panel of local SCBWI members will discuss the topics covered in the recent annual SCBWI International Conference in Los Angeles.

 

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7. Captain No Beard Blog Tour 2015

Captain No Beard sets sail on 9 separate voyages of the imagination with his fearless crew aboard his pirate ship The Flying Dragon.

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8. Boo! Before Breakfast


“Later Leo would not be able to say where the idea came from. He threw the bed sheet over himself and flew at the thief, who was so frightened he dropped all the salad forks. Leo chased the man into a closet, then slammed the door shut
and locked him inside. It was very well done.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


 

Over at BookPage, I’ve got a review of Mac Barnett’s Leo: A Ghost Story (Chronicle, August 2015), illustrated by Christian Robinson. That review is here.

And I’ve got a bit of art from the book here today. The only thing these spreads today are missing is the wonderful character of Jane, but you’ll just have to find a copy yourself so you can meet her. Oh, wait! She’s in the bottom right corner of this image:

 



 

I think this is one of the year’s best picture books thus far. Definitely a favorite for me.

Enjoy.



 


“This is Leo. Most people cannot see him.”
(Click to enlarge spread)


 


“But you can. Leo is a ghost.”
(Click to enlarge spread)


 


“The family called in a scientist, a clergyman, and a psychic to get rid of the ghost.
But they should have saved their money: Leo knew he was unwanted.
He said goodbye to his home and left.”

(Click to enlarge spread –
please note the colors are a bit off in this spread)


 


“‘I have been a house ghost all my life,’ Leo thought. ‘Maybe I would like being
a roaming ghost for a while.’ So Leo roamed.”

(Click to enlarge spread –
please note the colors are a bit off in this spread)


 



 

* * * * * * *

LEO: A GHOST STORY. Copyright © 2015 by Mac Barnett. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Christian Robinson. Images reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco.

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9. Picture Book Monday with a review of The Good Little Book

This may sound strange to some of you ,but I have close relationships with a few of my books. They have become friends, companions who comfort me during hard times. The familiar words offer solace when the world feels unfriendly and confusing.

Today's picture book explores the relationship that one little boy has with a book, and readers will be intrigued to see that the story does not, perhaps, turn out the way they it would.

The Good Little BookThe good little book
Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Marion Arbona
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Tundra, 2015, 978-1-77049-451-0
There once was a good little book that rested on a shelf in a study alongside many other books. Unlike many of the other books, the good little book did not have a flashy cover, nor had it been awarded medals. It was just a modest little book.
   One day a boy came into the study, and he was not in a very good mood. He was in trouble and had been told to “think things over.” The boy did this, for the briefest of times, and then he started to look around the study. He found the good little book, opened it, and started to read. In no time at all the boy was swept up by the narrative in the book, and he barely noticed time passing. He read the book from cover to cover and then read it all over again.
   All through winter the boy went about his days with the good little book as his “loyal companion.” In spring the special connection between the book and its boy kept going, until one terrible day when the book fell out of the boy’s backpack and was lost. The boy was so worried about the book and spent hours looking for it. The boy was concerned that the book, which “did not have the skills that would help it in the dangerous wild or in the rushing streets,” would not be able to survive.
   The boy asked people for help, he put up lost book posters, and he searched the library; all to no avail. What he did not know was that the good little book was coping quite well, considering that it was small, unassuming, and helpless.
   This wonderful picture book beautifully captures the way in which a person can have a special relationship with a book. It also celebrates the way in which a book lives on within the hearts and minds of its readers, long after it has gone out into the world to find new readers.


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10. Are we there, Yeti?

Be warned.  This could be an ear-worm trailer.


Are We There, Yeti? by Ashlyn Anstee



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11. Fab Four Friends

Fab Four Friends: The Boys Who Became The Beatles. Susanna Reich. 2015. Henry Holt. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I love the Beatles, have spent several decades loving the Beatles, so I was quite excited to read Susanna Reich's picture book biography of the fab four. She introduces each Beatle individually, starting with John, of course. As each one meets John and joins the band, his story is then told in some detail. It is a partial biography, not a full one. The book concludes circa 1963 with the Beatles just beginning to become HUGE in England. (Think Love Me Do and Please, Please Me.)

The details are age-appropriate, in case you're curious. If you're familiar with the Beatles--as a group, or as individuals--then you know that there is plenty that could have been said, could have been shared, for a mature adult audience. The book captures them at their innocent best.

I've read a handful of books about the Beatles--mainly biographies--over the years, and this one did a good job with the basics. I liked the simple approach for a younger audience. Though this one would definitely be a picture book for older readers, and not a book ideal for preschool read aloud.

The Illustrations are by Adam Gustavson. I spent time looking at each spread of this picture book, absorbing the details in the text and in the illustration. I've spent plenty of time looking at photographs of the Beatles--I had a new Beatles calendar for several years in a row. So what did I think of the illustrations? I liked them for the most part. There were one or two that I thought were practically perfect. But I couldn't really say that of each and every page. Still, I liked the illustrations overall.

If used in a classroom, this one would pair well with the first Beatles Anthology album. Students could listen to "early" recordings of the Beatles.


© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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12. New Book Brings People Closer to the Intriguing Life of Dinosaurs

What is it about dinosaurs that intrigue us so much? There are lots of extinct animals, some are even stranger than the dinosaurs. Yet when it comes to capturing our imagination, dinosaurs rule.

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13. Leo: A Ghost Story, by Mac Barnett & Christian Robinson -- a story of friendship and acceptance (ages 3-7)

Even though children are surrounded by other kids at school, they often don't feel seen or acknowledged. Mac Barnett and Christian Robinson tap into this feeling in their delightful story about Leo, a little ghost who makes a friend.

Leo: A Ghost Story
by Mac Barnett
illustrated by Christian Robinson
Chronicle, 2015
Your local library
Amazon
ages 3-7
*best new book*
Leo has a hard time making friends because he’s a ghost. No one can see him. But we can. He’s pretty satisfied spending time by himself, but he is happy when a family moves into his house. It's good to have company. But the family doesn't see things the same way.

Kids will know just what it's like not to be wanted, and they will empathize with Leo as he leaves home. The cool blues of Robinson's illustrations match the soft, subdued mood. One afternoon, "Leo found himself roaming along a sidewalk covered in drawings." Jane looked right up at Leo and asked if he'd like to play. At first, Leo is stunned that she's talking right to him.
"Leo, do you want to play Knights of the Round Table?"
Leo is delighted by her imaginary play as she knights him in their game, but he's nervous that she will be scared when she finds out he’s a ghost. I love how accepting Jane is, how open she is not only to Leo but also to her own imagination. Jane is kind, direct and self-assured--definitely one of my favorite characters this year.

I won't give away the ending, but be rest assured that it will bring a smile to your face and let kids know that they can find a friend who likes them just the way they are.

Enjoy this book trailer. Just like the book, the kids' voices shine through.

Check out these other reviews & interviews:


Illustrations ©2015 Christian Robinson. The review copy was kindly sent by the publisher, Chronicle Books. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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14. Our Week in Books: August 23-30

Books We Read This Week - Here in the Bonny Glen

 

Sophie's Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller & Anne WilsdorfSophie’s Squash by  Pat Zietlow Miller & Anne Wilsdorf. Read to: my boys.

If you only pick up one new picture book for fall, let this be it. Here’s what I wrote in a Picture Book Spotlight post last year:

We first read this absolute gem of a picture book last year during the CYBILs. Fell so utterly in love with it—the lot of us—that a library copy wouldn’t do; we had to have our own. Huck and Rilla were overjoyed when I pulled it out this morning. Sophie’s instant bond with a butternut squash is utterly believable, and not just because Huck formed a similar attachment once upon a time, long before we encountered this book! “Bernice” becomes Sophie’s best friend and closest confidant, all through a bright and beautiful autumn. But as winter approaches, Bernice begins to get a bit squishy about the edges. Sophie’s parents make gentle attempts to convince Sophie it’s time to let her friend go, but since their suggestions involve treating the squash like, you know, a squash, Sophie’s having none of it. Her own solution is sweet and heartwarming, and it makes my kids sigh that contented sigh that means everything has come out exactly right.


 

How to Read a Story by Kate MessnerHow to Read a Story by Kate Messner, illustrated by Mark Siegel. Read to: my boys.

Well, I was sure I had posted a video of Huck reading this book last March. He was enchanted by the story from the first—a little step-by-step guide to enjoying a book with your best reading buddy, charmingly illustrated—and one day I caught him reading it out loud to himself, putting in all the voices. ::melt:

 

(In case the video won’t play for you, here’s a Youtube link.)


 

Charlie Parker Played Be Bop by Chris RaschkaCharlie Parker Played Be Bop by Chris Raschka. Read to: my boys.

One of our longtime family favorites. The rhythm and whimsy of the text has captivated each of our small fry in turn. And the art is bold and funny and altogether wonderful.


 

Don't Know Much About History by Kenneth C. DavisDon’t Know Much About History by Kenneth C. Davis. Read to: the teens.

Another of the texts Beanie, Rose, and I are using for our 20th-century history studies. We continue to enjoy reading history texts aloud together, which allows us all to stay on the same page (literally) and—even more important—fosters discussion and fruitful rabbit trailing. We try to reserve two 45-minute blocks a week for this, supplementing with other books (including graphic novels, historical fiction, and biographies) and videos.


 

Poetry:

Walt Whitman, selections from “Song of Myself
Gwendolyn Brooks, “kitchenette building


 

Books Continued from Last Week:

(Rillabooks in the top row)
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths Dancing Shoes by Noel Streatfeild audiobook

Best of H.P. Lovecraft An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

I’m nearing the end of To the Lighthouse and am feeling pretty well shattered. And I sort of want to start it all over from the beginning.


 

Related:

books to read with my 9yo  TEXT HERE (2)

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15. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #447: Featuring Simona Ciraolo



 

“I’d had my suspicions for a while that someone had replaced my sister with a girl who looked a lot like her. It had to be! …” Thus opens the new book from author-illustrator Simona Ciraolo (who brought us last year’s Hug Me), Whatever Happened to My Sister? This will be on shelves, come November, from Flying Eye Books. It’s the story of a young girl whose teenage sister is keeping her distance, as teenage sisters are wont to do. The girl, however, is filled with confusion and sorrow, given that they used to play together closely. “I am rather observant,” the girl notes, “yet the moment of the switch must have passed me by.”

There’s a real tender pain here as we follow the girl watching her sister, the latter fully engaged in typical teen activities (listening to music, watching television, hanging with her friends). The younger one tries to engage her sister yet can’t — and eventually she is moved to tears and hides behind the living room couch. But fear not: Her older sister finds her and they spend time together.

There’s humor here, as well as hurt feelings. The family cat brings some comic relief, for one. Ciraolo’s characters are expressive and her palette, intriguing. The colors are fairly limited, but this serves the story well. The bright oranges are fitting for the intense moments of either frustration or loneliness, and the final spread—where the two girls sit and talk on the couch—are washed in a brilliant, intense red. As always, I’ve got some spreads here to show you (sans the text, in this case) so that you can see for yourself.

Enjoy the art!



“I’d had my suspicions for a while that someone had replaced my sister
with a girl who looked a lot like her. It had to be!”

(Click bottom image to see spread in its entirety)



 


“My sister was never so tall. Did it happen overnight? I am rather observant,
yet the moment of the switch must have passed me by.”

(Click to enlarge)


 


“I suppose there were the signs. She’d been incredibly boring on several occasions
but I guess I didn’t give it much thought …”

(Click to enlarge)


 


“… at least until I noticed her sense of fashion had gone.
This new sister showed no interest in pretty things.”

(Click to enlarge)


 

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO MY SISTER? Copyright © 2015 by Simona Ciraolo. Illustrations used by permission of the publisher, Flying Eye Books, New York.

* * *

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) The care that Flying Eye Books puts into the production of their books.

2) Exploding Kittens, the card game, has arrived — and it’s like it was made EXPRESSLY for my daughters.

3) The girls and I are reading Anne of Green Gables aloud (first time for each of us), and it’s a HOOT.

4) Solutions that work.

5) Kindnesses extended to me.

6) Helping hands.

7) This has been a good listen.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

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16. The Oak Tree, by J. Steven Spires | Dedicated Review

In The Oak Tree, written by J. Steven Spires and illustrated by Jonathan Caron, the reader is given the opportunity to revisit the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the Gulf Coast 10 years ago.

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17. Seuss on Saturday #35

There's a Wocket in my Pocket! Dr. Seuss. 1974. Random House. 30 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Did you ever have the feeling there's a wasket in your basket?

Premise/plot: The narrator starts out asking a series of very silly questions. There's no doubt there's more silliness than actual plot to this one. Readers "meet" lots of fanciful creatures in, on, behind, up, and under common household objects in a special sort of house. The narrator warns: some are friendly; some are not.

My thoughts: I like this one. I do. It's one I definitely remember from childhood. And it's one I recommend parents read to their children. It's just a lot of silliness!

Have you read There's a Wocket in My Pocket! 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 Great Day for Up!

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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18. Your Hand in My Hand

Your Hand in My Hand. Mark Sperring. Illustrated by Britta Teckentrup. 2015. [November] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Your hand in my hand is where it belongs. Your hand in my hand as we walk along. The world's full of wonders. There's so much to see. I'll find them with you if you find them with me.

Premise/plot: Your Hand in My Hand celebrates families, friendship, seasons, and nature. The illustrations feature a parent and child. (They're mice, I believe.) It's a sweet and precious book. Not every reader loves sweet and precious. Not all adults and not all children. But for the right reader, or set of readers, this one is quite lovely.

My thoughts: Did I love it? Yes and no. I didn't love Your Hand in My Hand as much as his previous book, Max and the Won't Go To Bed Show. I really loved that spirited book. Your Hand is My Hand is much quieter, not as exuberant or obnoxious. There's something personal and precious about it which I can't help liking. This one was originally published in the UK.

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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19. The Elephantom by Ross Collins

Ross Collins is a prolific illustrator (and author) of picture books, chapter books and novels for kids. His newest picture book, The Elephantom, is a huge hit in the U.K. and it's been adapted into a  play by the Royal National Theater that's also a huge hit! After reading The Elephantom, I can see why. The narrator of The Elephantom, a very cute little girl - Collins has a way with

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20. Maple & Willow Apart, by Lori Nichols -- back-to-school transitions for two sisters (ages 2-6)

Back-to-school stories usually focus on what it's like to start school, but what happens to sibling's relationships when kids head off to the classroom? Lori Nichols' newest book provides a tender and charming look at how two sisters cope with the transitions when one of them heads off to school.

Maple & Willow Apart
by Lori Nichols
Nancy Paulsen Books / Penguin, 2015
Your local library
Amazon
ages 2-6
*best new book*
Maple and Willow have loved playing together all summer, but when it's time for big sister Maple to start school the transition is especially hard for Willow. "Home wasn't the same without Maple." And when she came home, Maple couldn't stop talking about her new friends. I adore how Nichols shows Willow's perspective, how she tells about her new friend Pip -- an acorn-topped sprite she finds under a tree -- how she explores and finds things to do when Maple is away.
"I had fun too," said Willow. "I played with Pip."
I especially love how Nichols uses her delightful illustrations to develop the story, keeping the language spare. Each picture focuses on the children and their world, but there's enough space to let the reader imagine themselves as being there too.
"And we have loud horns!"
Nichols develops the relationship between Maple and Willow in perfect balance, moving back and forth from each sister's perspective, helping children empathize with both sister. You can see just how excited Maple is to start school, but also how much she misses her sister. And the ending still has me smiling, as the sisters come up with just the right solution.
The next morning, Willow had a surprise for Maple.
"Maple, Pip wants to go to school with you today."
Want more back-to-school books? This week I'm reviewing these new favorites:
Illustrations ©2015 Lori Nichols; used with permission from the publisher. The review copy was kindly sent by the publisher, Nancy Paulsen Books / Penguin. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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21. Daddy's Back-to-School Shopping Adventure, by Alan Lawrence Sitomer (ages 4-7)

I have to be honest: I feel torn about back-to-school shopping. I love getting my kids organized, but I hate the pleading for useless knick-knacks or trendy decorations. But one thing's for sure: it's all part of getting ready for school. Alan Lawrence Sitomer, California's Teacher of the Year in 2007, celebrates this tradition with a silly, heart-warming story: Daddy's Back-to-School Shopping Adventure.

Daddy's Back-to-School Shopping Adventure
by Alan Lawrence Sitomer
illustrated by Abby Carter
Disney Hyperion, 2015
Your local library
Amazon
ages 4-7
It's time for back-to-school shopping, and siblings Jenny and Jake know that the number-one rule is "We only buy what's on the list." But that doesn't mean shopping can't be a little fun. This family knows how to be goofy. The illustrations are giggle-inducing, full of exaggerated movement and lots of details for kids to enjoy.
"Look at us," Jenny called out.
When Daddy finds a lunchbox that's just like the one he had when he was a boy, he just has to have it. In a humorous role reversal, now it's the kids' turn to say, "Uh daddy... Is it on the list?" I loved how the dad then turned to a softie, trying to negotiate and wheedle his way to get his coveted lunchbox. Sitomer balances the humor with a heartwarming ending.

Want more back-to-school books? This week I'm reviewing these new favorites:
Illustrations ©2015 Abby Carter; used with permission from the publisher. The review copy was kindly sent by the publisher, Disney Hyperion. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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22. Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Julie Morstad

Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova is the first work of narrative non-fiction for Laurel Snyder, author of several picture books and middle grade novels. Illustrated by Julie Morstad, the cover of Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova drew me in instantly, even though I never made it past rudimentary ballet classes as a very young child and the most I know about this Russian

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23. ABC School's For Me!, by Susan B. Katz: delightful celebration of school (ages 3-6)

As your little ones come home from their first few days of school, do they talk much about it? Or do you have to poke and prod to find out about their school day? In either case, Susan Katz's newest picture book is a delightful way to celebrate and talk about the school day for preschoolers and kindergartners.

ABC School's For Me!by Susan B. Katzillustrated by Lynn Munsinger
Scholastic, 2015
Your local libraryAmazonages 3-6
With delightful rhyming couplets, Katz celebrates playful school activities from a typical preschool or kindergarten day. She uses the alphabet to guide the story, starting each line with a different letter which is highlighted in bold block print. But the real delight comes from the adorable bears parading through their day.
"Books that are just right for me.
Crayons for coloring, in my hand,
Dump trucks, playing in the sand.”
Children will love looking at the pictures, noticing the details in each scene. Munsinger not only captures the bears' expressions but also their busy activity throughout the day. Katz moves easily from dump trucks to jumping rope, building letter block towers, playing with paper puppets and waiting in line. Her rhymes have grace and rhythm that are lovely to read aloud and never overwhelm the pictures. The best description of this book came from my 11 year old:
"It's a first-day-of-school stress reliever."
I couldn't have said it better myself. Enjoy and delight in seeing what your little one talks about or notices. Want more back-to-school books? This week I've reviewed these new favorites:

Illustrations ©2015 Lynn Munsinger; used with permission from the publisher. The review copy was kindly sent by the publisher, Scholastic. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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24. When Sophie's Feelings Are Really, Really Hurt

When Sophie's Feelings are Really, Really Hurt. Molly Bang. 2015. [September] Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Sophie loves to paint. She also loves the woods. Now Ms. Mulry is telling the class: "After school, find a tree you like a LOT. Look at it carefully--the trunk, the branches, the leaves. Tomorrow your'e going to paint that tree from memory."

Premise/plot: Sophie's feelings get hurt during art time at school. One of the boys--Andrew--teases her about her painting, telling her that her painting is all wrong. Can the teacher intervene and reassure Sophie that there isn't a right and wrong way to paint a tree?

My thoughts: I liked the text. I did. I like Sophie as a character. And I liked how expressive the story was. Did I like the illustrations? Yes and no. I actually really liked Sophie's drawing of a tree. Her art assignment was beautiful. And I liked the brightness of the colors. But overall, I didn't "love" the illustrations.

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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25. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, FeaturingJayme McGowan, Victoria Turnbull, & Phoebe Wahl


“Where I lead, Oscar follows.”
– From Victoria Turnbull’s
The Sea Tiger
(Click to enlarge)


 


“‘Shhh,’ said Sonya’s papa. ‘What might seem unfair to you
might make sense to a fox.’ And he told her a story. …”
– From Phoebe Wahl’s
Sonya’s Chickens
(Click to enlarge)


 


– From Jayme McGowna’s One Bear Extraordinaire


 

This morning over at Kirkus, I peek at some Fall 2015 picture book releases and how in many of them, you’ll be greeting old friends. That link is here.

* * *

Last week I wrote here about the picture books of three newcomers, so I’ve got art (and, in some cases, preliminary images) from each book today. Those books are Jayme McGowan’s One Bear Extraordinaire (Abrams, September 2015), Victoria Turnbull’s The Sea Tiger (Candlewick, October 2015), and Phoebe Wahl’s Sonya’s Chickens (Tundra, August 2015).

Enjoy the art!



 

From The Sea Tiger:


 


“We go to extraordinary places.”
[Text here is different from the way it appears in the final copy.]

(Click to enlarge)


 



 

From Sonya’s Chickens:


 




(Click each early sketch to enlarge)


 


Final art: “The floor of the coop was frosted with feathers, and Sonya cried out as she counted not three, but two frightened chickens cowering in the rafters above. The third was nowhere to be seen. Sonya burst into tears. Before she knew it,
strong arms scooped her up and she cried into her papa’s beard.”

(Click to enlarge)



 



 

From One Bear Extraordinaire:


 


Bear sketch


 





 


Campfire sketch
(Click to enlarge)


 



Final art
(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


 



Final art
(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


 



Final art
(Click either image to see spread in its entirety)


 


Final art: “‘We’ve got ourselves a singer!’ Bear said. …”
(Click to enlarge)


 



 

* * * * * * *

ONE BEAR EXTRAORDINAIRE. Copyright © 2015 by Jayme McGowan. Published by Abrams, New York. All images reproduced by permission of Jayme McGowan.

THE SEA TIGER. Copyright © 2014 by Victoria Turnbull. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

SONYA’S CHICKENS. Copyright © 2015 by Phoebe Wahl. Published by Tundra Books, a division of Penguin Random House, New York. All images reproduced by permission of Phoebe Wahl.

1 Comments on What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, FeaturingJayme McGowan, Victoria Turnbull, & Phoebe Wahl, last added: 8/31/2015
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