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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Picture Books, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 7,601
26. Sesame Street: I Love You Just Like This! | Book Review

I Love You Just Like This! is an adorable story about love and all the ways parents feel it for their children.

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27. A Moment with Melissa

“In the morning, Mommy gives us wake-up kisses and says,‘Good morning, little one. Can you hear the sounds of our world?’ Listen! …”(Click to enlarge spread)   I’ve got a review here over at BookPage of Bill Martin Jr and Michael Sampson’s Listen to Our World (Paula Wiseman Books, March 2016), illustrated by Melissa Sweet. […]

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28. Picture Book Monday with a review of the Night Gardener

Many people think that 'art' has to fit into one of three categories. It has to be a piece of music, a painting or a drawing, or a sculpture. However, there are other forms of art that might not fit into one of these pigeon holes. What about a piece of furniture or a quilt? What about a basket or a glass vase? What about a wrought iron gate or a musical instrument? What about a tree or shrub that has been clipped and clipped until it looks like an animal or some lovely shape? All of these things are also works of art, and all of them can, and do, enrich out lives.
   In this picture book we see how a topiary artist manages, one topiary at a time, to bring beauty to the lives of people who so desperately need something in their world that will uplift them.


The Night GardenerThe Night Gardener
Terry and Eric Fan
Picture Book
For ages 6 and up
Simon and Schuster, 2016, 978-1-4814-3978-7
Grimloch Lane is a rather sad place. The homes are ramshackle, weeds grow up through cracks in the sidewalk, and the people who live there don’t really connect with one another. One night, while everyone in the lane is asleep, a man gets to work on one of the trees that stands outside the Grimloch Orphanage.
   When William looks out his window in the morning he sees that something is going on outside so he goes to investigate. What he discovers is that someone has clipped a tree next to the orphanage so that it looks like a beautiful owl. William is entranced by the topiary owl and he gazes at it all day long. When he goes to sleep that night he does so “with a sense of excitement.”
   The following morning another tree on Grimoloch Lane has been turned into a work of art. This time the topiary makes the tree look like a cat at rest.
   Each day a new topiary appears, and now the people living in Grimloch Lane have something to look forward to. They gather to admire their beautiful topiaries and “Something good” starts to happen to everyone who sees the special trees.
   We tend to think that real change can only happen when something really big happens, but sometimes change can come about when a little piece of magic is added to our lives. As the story in this book unfolds, we see how the introduction of beauty affects the people who live in a place that has so little beauty and happiness to offer. Best of all, the instrument of change is not someone who is rich and powerful, instead he is a humble person who just happens to have a gift for turning already lovely trees into gorgeous works of art.

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29. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #479: Featuring Akiko Miyakoshi

“I wonder how fast the wind blows. I wish I had a ship with big propellers that would spin stronger winds to drive the storm away. The ship sails into the black clouds.I keep watch.”(Click to enlarge)   Hi, dear kickers! I’m back from my research trip and happy to be kickin’ again. I write […]

3 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #479: Featuring Akiko Miyakoshi, last added: 4/17/2016
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30. Two May Residencies

Iceland, 2015 Being invited for an artist or author residency is such an honor. Last May I went to northern Iceland for a week long artist residency to help seventy kids in grades one to ten paint murals. The school was Valsárskóli in Svalbarðsströnd, which is across the fjord from where my son Eric and […]

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31. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Hervé Tullet

“Eeeek! We better leave on tiptoe . . .”(Click to enlarge spread)   In honor of National Poetry Month, I have my favorite new poetry title over at Kirkus today. That will be here soon. * * * At the end of March, I talked here with Hervé Tullet over at Kirkus, and I’m just […]

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32. Pirates in the Library


It's National Library Week.

How glad I am for libraries this week and always.

How rich it is to have a place to borrow books,
 to load up on research, art, music, words, and stories!

How glad I am for the staff at my library, 
gracious souls who do not even sniff
when the wildebeests and I emerge
with a mountain of books to take home. 

How patient they are with the noise and flamboyance 
of kid-ruckus and story hour, 
even when small bears and dragons and pirates
weave and wail beyond their story circles.

How perfectly like a matchmaker 
is our children's librarian, 
always hunting down treasure 
to help her patrons fall in love with reading.
Happy Library Week! 

Our latest librarian-found treasures: 

When Mischief Came To Town by Katrina Nannestad
Hector and Hummingbird by Nicholas John Frith
Tea Party In the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi
Detective Gordon: the First Case by Ulf Nilsson
Love that Dog by Sharon Creech



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33. A Baby Sister for Frances

A Baby Sister for Frances. Russell Hoban. Illustrated by Lillian Hoban. 1964/1992. HarperCollins. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: It was a quiet evening. Father was reading his newspaper. Mother was feeding Gloria, the new baby. Frances was sitting under the kitchen sink. She was singing a little song: Plinketty, plinketty, plinketty, plink, Here is the dishrag that's under the sink. Here are the buckets and brushes and me, Plinketty, plinketty, plinketty, plee. She stopped the song and listened. Nobody said anything.

Premise/plot: Frances is having a hard time adjusting to her new baby sister, Gloria. She's still Frances, an imaginative badger that loves to make up her own songs, but she's finding it harder and harder to be noticed by her busy parents. And her parents don't have as much time to devote to keeping things in the house flowing smoothly. Frances decides it may be best to run away.
After dinner that evening Frances packed her little knapsack very carefully. She put in her tiny special blanket and her alligator doll. She took all of the nickels and pennies out of her bank, for travel money, and she took her good luck coin for good luck. Then she took a box of prunes from the kitchen and five chocolate sandwich cookies.
"Well," said Frances, "it is time to say goodbye. I am on my way. Good bye."
"Where are you running away to?" said Father.
"I think that under the dining-room table is the best place," said Frances. "It's cozy and the kitchen is near if I run out of cookies."
"That is a good place to run away to," said Mother, "but I'll miss you."
"I'll miss you too," said Father.
"Well, said Frances, "good-bye," and she ran away. (12-13)
My thoughts: Essentially this one is like Noisy Nora, but, I think I like this one better because I like Frances so much. I enjoy this one. It's not my favorite Frances story--in fact, it's probably my least favorite--but that has more to do with the others being so great, so memorable.

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

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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34. Tell Me a Tattoo Story by Alison McGhee, illustrated by Eliza Wheeler




It was bound to happen, with the prevalence of tattooed folks in America these days. Tell Me a Tattoo Story, thoughtfully written by Alison McGhee and gently, lovingly illustrated by Eliza Wheeler is a sweet story that, based on the many tattoos I have seen on people in my community and on the internet and in magazines, is an idealization of this current cultural trend. Tell Me a Tattoo story posits that there is intention, thought and meaning behind a father's tattoos, which I am sure is the case in many instances. That said, I have a hard time reading this book and not thinking about some of the tattoos I have seen, tattoos that shouldn't be seen by kids or explained to them...


The plot of Tell Me a Tattoo Story revolves around a father telling his son the impetus behind his tattoos. From a dragon to remind him of the book his mother used to read over and over to him (not mentioned by name, but the illustration makes it clear it is The Hobbit) to words his father often said to him, to memories of falling in love with his wife, he explains his ink to his young son. 





McGhee's words sometimes tell a different story from Wheeler's illustrations. A tattoo on his stomach marks the "longest trip" he ever took. A page turn reveals the father in army gear, marching with his troop across a desert, gazing a photo of his wife in his hand, his "Be Kind" tattoo showing on his arm. Dad also has a tattoo over his heart, showing the birthdate of his son. The whole text is told in the father's voice, with him answering questions asked by the son that do not appear on the page. It can feel odd at times, but I think it was a smart choice on McGhee's part. It keeps Tell Me a Tattoo Story from being too cheeky or winky, although it teeters on the border of hipsterdom. As someone who believes that there is a book for everything that comes up in life, I wholeheartedly support Tell Me a Tattoo Story

Source: Reveiw Copy



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35. Two Things on This Thursday

  Today over at Kirkus, I’ve got a Q&A with former Simon & Schuster editor Emma D. Dryden, who now runs her own editorial consulting firm and who talks to me about her new picture book. That chat will be here soon. * * * Last week at Chapter 16, I talked to author and […]

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36. #AtoZChallenge, K is for Kid-Lit


Today's post celebrates Kid-Lit, all the wonderful children's books in the world and what a fantastic subject they make for art journaling. Besides the hundreds of fairy tales I read as a child: The Blue Fairy Tale Book, The Red Fairy Tale Book and on and on through the entire rainbow, some of my favorite titles were: 
  • Lona
  • The Diamond in the Window
  • The Door in the Wall
  • Little Bear
  • Little Women
Authors:
  • Zilpha Keatley Snyder
  • Edgar Eager
  • Lloyd Alexander
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder
Characters:
  • Trixie Belden
  • Donna Parker
  • Madeline
  • Babar
Of course there are hundreds more, far too many to list here, but I'm convinced that my early reading and love of picture books is what led me to become a writer, and what then later encouraged my deep interest in art. How about you? What were some of your favorites, and how did they help you become who you are today? Drop a line!
    Tip of the Day: For today's journal page I started with a doodle of a frog, as in The Princess and the Frog. I'm a little rushed at the moment so I had to leave out the princess, as well as the kissing part, but it made me think how neat it would be to create an art journal based solely on fairy tales, myths, legends, or perhaps a children's story of your own. Who knows, it might even turn into a publishable picture book!

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    37. Bedtime for Frances

    Bedtime for Frances. Russell Hoban. Illustrated by Garth Williams. 1960/1996. HarperCollins. 32 pages.

    First sentence: The big hand of the clock is at 12. The little hand is at 7. It is seven o'clock. It is bedtime for Frances. Mother said, "It is time for bed." Father said, "It is time for bed." Frances said, "I want a glass of milk." "All right," said Father. "All right," said Mother. "You may have a glass of milk." Frances drank the milk.

    Premise/plot: Bedtime for Frances is a classic picture book, a bedtime book too. It is the first book in a series starring Frances. Will she have an easy time going to bed?!

    My thoughts: I love, love, love Bedtime for Frances. Frances is a badger that is finding it very difficult to sleep. She's had her glass of water. She's been kissed and hugged. She's got her teddy bear and her doll. But Frances imagination is too active to allow her to fall asleep quickly. She thinks there is a tiger in her room. No, a giant in her room. Oh no! There's a crack in the ceiling. What if something scary were to crawl out?! And what is that tapping on her window?! Her parents are kind and gentle--at least at first. But when these interruptions persist, well, her father gets a little grumpy. Frances finally embraces her father's message: every one has a job. It may be the wind's job to make noise; it may be the moth's job to bump into things; but her job is to sleep.

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

    © 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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    38. Mosnter & Son by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Joey Chou


    Monster & Son, written by David LaRochelle and marvelously illustrated by Joey Chou, is a treat to read. LaRochelle's sweet rhyming text suggests the rowdy playfulness between father and son while Chou's illustrations evoke the midcentury work of Mary Blair, in influential artist with Walt Disney who left her imprint on everything from movies like Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan to the character designs for the Disneyland ride, It's a Small World. Together, a parade of movie-monster father and son cryptids cavort across the pages of Monster & Son.




    Monster & Son begins, "You woke me with a monstrous roar, my brave and fearless son." The San Francisco Bay becomes the playground for a frolicking little monster plucking busses and cars off the Golden Gate Bridge. A day filled with "rough and rowdy fun" unfolds as fathers and sons, from Loch Ness Monsters to Frankensteins, Swamp Creatures, Yetis, Sasquatches, dragons, werewolves, mummys and more have fun together. LaRochelle's rhymes are perfectly pitched  and, while he uses words that work with the monster theme, they are perfectly suited to human fathers and sons. 




    Monster & Son nears and end with King Kong cuddling his yawning son, helicopter and shrieking pilot in his hand, saying, "Your fearsome yawns won't frighten me. I'll hug you strong and tight." Dracula kisses his son goodnight, ending with these words, "then gently tuck you into bed while whispering . . . good night."




    Monster & Son makes for a perfect Father's Day or baby shower gift that will be read over and over.

    Source: Review Copy


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    39. Bedtime Bliss: Jane Smiley’sand Lauren Castillo’s Twenty Yawns

    Sketch and final art: “She spread her blankie over them and kissed them good night. Now they looked sleepy and happy.”   Hello, Imps. I was out of town, and I missed blogging. But I’m back. And today I’ve got a review over at BookPage of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley’s debut picture book, Twenty […]

    1 Comments on Bedtime Bliss: Jane Smiley’sand Lauren Castillo’s Twenty Yawns, last added: 4/14/2016
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    40. #844 – Bartholomew Quill by Thor Hanson and Dana Arnim

    April is Poetry Month. Here is a story about finding yourself/your identity and your place in the world – all in nicely written verse. (Images to post very soon.) Bartholomew Quill: A Crow’s Quest to Know Who’s Who Written by Thor Hanson Illustrated by Dana Arnim Little Bigfoot    4/05/2016 978-1-63217-046-0 32 pages     …

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    41. Soon by Timothy Knapman, illustrated by Patrick Benson




    Soon by Timothy Knapman, marvelously illustrated by Patrick Benson is my new favorite book to read out loud and to myself. Sadly, this fine picture book sat on my shelf for a year before I got around to reading it and reviewing it. I knew that Soon had to be a great book - a mother and baby elephant, the word "soon" and Patrick Benson's gentle illustrations, but I didn't know how truly great Soon is until I read it to a class of first graders. Before I began reading, I asked them if they knew how many minutes are in "soon." The answers were hilarious. The pacing and plot of Soon are ideal for reading out loud. Soon can be a quiet book and a loud book and the suspense is perfectly balanced, keeping even the wiggliest listener still and focused on the story. I can't believe that I lost a whole year of reading Soon out loud, but now that I have found it, Soon will be a story time staple in my library and a book I give as a gift often.


    Soon begins on the endpapers. It is just before dawn and in the early grey light, a mother and baby elephant can be seen walking toward the hills in the distance. They have set out on a great adventure. It is cold and dark and they walk for a long time with little Raju asking, "When can we go home again?" and his mother answering, "Soon." This is a question and answer that is repeated over and over: as they try to pass quietly by the sleeping crocodiles, the slithering snake and the prowling tiger. Each danger brings a powerful response from Raju's mother, and this is where the story can get loud - if you want it to. Finally, the pair come to a mountain and Raju's mother tells him to hold tight to her tail as they climb to the top.At the top, Raju can see "all his world spread out before him." "It's beautiful, isn't it?" says his mother, to which Raju replies simply, "Yes."



    The pair begin the long walk back to their "cozy little home." Raju is tired and his feet hurt and he had never been up so late. But, on the final pages of the book, he says to his mother, "When can we do it all again?" I have no doubt you know his mother's answer. The endpapers show a starry night sky, his mother's trunk resting on Raju's back.



    It is such a joy to take listeners on this journey every time I read Soon out loud.


    Source: Review Copy


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    42. I Didn't Do It

    I Didn't Do It. Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest. Illustrated by Katy Schneider. 2010. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

    I Didn't Do It is a picture book collection of dog-themed poems. Or perhaps I should say puppy-themed poems. If you're thinking it's adorable, you're right. It is. Now, I love cats more than dogs. But the illustrations and poems combined got to me, I must admit!

    The poems include:
    • "Shhh...I'm Here"
    • "No Name"
    • "Rules"
    • "What I Don't Like"
    • "What I Like"
    • "I Didn't Do It"
    • "Rain"
    • "What Did I Do??"
    • "Big"
    • "Pretty Puppy"
    • "She Flies"
    • "One Thing, One Time"
    • "Puppy Dreams"
    • "Every Night"
    If you've got a reluctant poetry reader who happens to love dogs, this may be an excellent 'exception' to the rule. I love it when books surprise you. I do think there are plenty of exceptions when it comes to books.

    The poems are written by a mother-daughter team. Patricia MacLachlan you've heard of most likely. I've read a lot of her books for younger readers. Though I didn't know she wrote poetry. Plenty of MacLachlan's books reveal a love of animals.

    I really enjoyed the illustrations. Some spreads I love more than others. But overall, a very cute book.

    © 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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    43. Raybot by Adam F. Watkins



    Raybot is Adam F. Watkins's second picture book and his second book featuring robots. The story and text of Raybot don't offer much. But bear in mind that this is my adult opinion. Having read this book out loud to a couple of classes of kindergartners, I can tell you that they all gave Raybot a big thumbs up. That said, Watkins's lavish illustrations come very close to making you forget the weak story. His painterly illustrations are rich with color and depth and his characterization of animals blends a gentle cartoonishness with largely realistic representations that are a delight.

    Raybot is a robot who lives all alone in a junkyard. One day he discovers part of an advertisement for a best friend that shows a boy with a bone. The recipient of the bone is a mystery, as the corner of the page has been ripped off, but Raybot knows one thing: the friend who loves bones says, "Bark!" Raybot fashions a metal bone them heads off into the world looking for the creature that says, "Bark!"


    As you might guess from the lovely back cover illustration, Raybot travels the world looking for this friend. His journey ends when he meets a parrot who answers Raybot's "Bark?" with a "BARK!" Even better, this parrot seems to have a friend of his own, a puppy. Raybot ends with a trite realization about friends coming in all shapes and sizes, the trio walking home together.




    Robot lovers should not miss 
    Watkins's debut picture book:




    Source: Review Copy


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    44. Beatrix Potter and the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig

    Beatrix Potter and the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig. Deborah Hopkinson. Illustrated by Charlotte Voake. 2016. Random House. 44 pages. [Source: Library]

    First sentence: My dear reader, this is a story about a girl named Beatrix Potter and what happened when she borrowed her neighbor's guinea pig.

    Premise/plot: As an adult, Beatrix Potter borrowed a guinea pig from one of her neighbors. She wanted, of course, to draw it. Unfortunately, it died while in her care. In this picture book, Beatrix Potter is a child when she borrows it. Instead of returning a live guinea pig, she "returns" a sketch, a drawing of it to the neighbor. The book concludes with the "fun" fact that one of Beatrix Potter's sketches--one of a guinea pig, possibly done around the same time as this story--recently sold at auction for a lot of money.

    My thoughts: Is this a children's book, really?! I would make the distinction that this picture book is best shared with older readers, perhaps mid-to-upper elementary students. I don't think it would work for younger audiences. "Gather round, everybody, let's read a story about a guinea pig that dies!!!" I am fond of Beatrix Potter's own books. Some I love. Some I like. One or two genuinely puzzle me. The contents of this one would make a great author's note. When I was reading The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter, each story had a biographical sketch about when it was written, and what was going on in the author's life and such. This story would be great in a book like that. Or in a book for adults perhaps showcasing sketches, drawings, illustrations that never quite made it into a published book.

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

    © 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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    45. Poetry for the Birds: Woodpecker Wham and Every Day Birds (ages 3-8)

    Poetry can be a terrific way to explore different topics kids might want to learn more about. In particular, poetry and science make a great pair. Above all else, poets and scientists ask us to stop and notice the world around us.  I love these two picture books that celebrate our fine feathered friends, and do it with terrific word play and illustrations.

    Woodpecker Wham
    by April Pulley Sayre
    illustrated by Steve Jenkins
    Henry Holt / Macmillan, 2015
    Your local library
    Amazon
    ages 4-8
    Sayre’s dynamic verse brings alive the sound and movement of six different woodpecker species as they chop, bonk, tap, and slam, doing serious work.
    "Swoop and land.
    Hitch and hop.
    Shred a tree stump.
    Chop, chip, chop!"
    The bouncing, rhythmic verse and the bold illustrations make this a great read-aloud. As you read, ask kids which words they think have real pizzaz--notice Sayre's word choices. Whether she's showing how the birds fly or how their tapping sounds, Sayre chooses dramatic words. Encourage your kids to try using words like this on your next walk outside.
    Every Day Birds
    by  Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
    illustrated by Dylan Metrano
    Orchard/Scholastic, 2016
    Your local library
    Amazon
    ages 3-6
    Short simple verses and cut-paper collage illustrations introduce young readers to common North American birds. Choosing birds that preschoolers like to notice, VanDerwater displays one bird on each page, highlighting a memorable characteristic for each.
    "Chickadee wears a wee black cap."
    "Owl swoops soundlessly late at night."
    The bold illustrations focus young readers on each bird, setting each bird against a simple background helps highlight the species and the poetry. I especially like how VanDerwater focuses on one key feature of each bird, highlighting it with strong language. The endnotes provide more detail on each species for adults to share, as kids as more quesitons.

    Together, the cumulative effect leads to a rhythm and rhyming scheme that makes for a lovely read-aloud for preschoolers. "Heron fishes with his bill./ Sparrow hops in brown./ Mockingbird has many voices./ Pigeon lives in town." Perfect for budding naturalists.

    Illustrations from Woodpecker Wham copyright ©2015 Steve Jenkins, used with permission of the publisher. Text from Every Day Birds written by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater. Illustrations copyright 2016 by Dylan Metrano. Used with permission from Orchard Books/Scholastic. The review copies were kindly sent by the publishers, Macmillan and 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.

    ©2016 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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    46. We're There

    I read hundreds of new picture books every year. Some are dreadful. Most are good. A few are great. And occasionally, a very special book or two makes you want to grab people on the street and tell them about the amazing new book you just read.

    Like this one.

    Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat accomplishes so much between the covers of a picture book.

    It's daring, dynamic and filled with a multitude of meanings. The art blends several styles simultaneously. The colors are bold, brilliant and constantly surprising. It's beautiful, fun, silly, and touching all at the same time.

    The constant change from gorgeous full page spreads to small graphic novel panels is arresting. The devices used to keep the reader going in the right direction are creative and well-employed. It's very fun to hand this book to other people and watch the book turn around and around as they figure out how to read it for the first time.

    And the details! How I love all the tiny, little creative details hidden in nearly every page. The color contrasts. The facial expressions. The endpapers. The outfits the parents wear. What is hidden underneath the dust jacket. On and on and on. Every time I read it, I find so many more fantastic details.

    I don't want to call it a follow-up to Beekle, because I don't want to compare it to Beekle at all. It feels like every time a successful author has a new book, it is inevitably compared to their past achievements. I thought it might be refreshing to talk about the new book without the comparisons.

    Disclaimer: I've probably read and studied Beekle far more than the average bear (or human) since I was a member of the committee that awarded Beekle the Caldecott Medal, so truly, this isn't about a lack of familiarity with Beekle.

    Try reading this one aloud. There's so much brilliance in the text. The overarching words about the road and where life may lead you could almost be taken out and read separately from the pictures and still be poignant. And the speech bubbles are in the language that children speak and and are funny on another level.

    Give this book a try. Take your time.

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    47. Helping the Helpless Animals

    Spring is here, and it’s a time of year when many baby animals are emerging from their winter hiding place. Some of those babies may be a little different.

    Recently, Antler Ridge Sanctuary in New Jersey rescued a litter of eastern gray squirrels, but one of those squirrels had a pure white coat. The rare white fur means that the squirrel has a form of albinism.

    A white coat with red eyes mIMG_0833 (1)eans that the animal is an albino. Some animals are leucistic;
    these white-coated animals have their natural colored eyes but their lack of color makes them stand out from the other animals of the same species. Other animals are piebald; they have patches of albino white mixed with patches of their natural color.

    The lack of color puts these special babies at risk. In a world of browns, greens, and greys the pure white is very hard to disguise from predators. Often albino animals, especially small prey animals such as squirrels are targeted by larger animals and don’t make it in the wild for very long.

    Of course not all white animals have albinism, for example arctic animals such as polar bears and arctic foxes are white to blend with their surroundings.

    However, without the help of rescuers many albino animals would have been lost in the wild, some of these animals are rehabilitated and then live out their days in zoos or aquariums.

    To learn more read about the albino squirrel read the article here!

    And…find out more about animal rehabilitators and the work zookeepers and aquarist in these books by author Jennifer Keats Curtis with the help of organizations around the country.

    AnimalHelpersRehab_187Animal Helpers: Wildlife Rehabilitators

    Like humans, animals can get sick or hurt. People see doctors. Pets have veterinarians. What happens to wild animals when they are injured, become ill, or are orphaned? Often, wildlife rehabilitators are called to their rescue. This photographic journal takes readers “behind the scenes” at four different wildlife rehabilitation centers. Fall in love with these animals as they are nursed back to health and released back to the wild when possible. This is the first of a photographic series introducing the different ways and the many people who care for a wide variety of animals.

    AH_Zoos_187Animal Helpers: Zoos

    Zoos are amazing places to see and learn about the many native and exotic of animals that inhabit this world. Some animals are plentiful while others are threatened or in danger of extinction. Zookeepers not only feed and care for these animals, they may also be helping to conserve and protect whole species through breeding and “head start” programs. Follow the extraordinary duties of these unusual animal helpers in this behind-the-scenes photographic journal.

    AH_Aquariums_187Animal Helpers: Aquariums

    Where else could you stay dry while visiting aquatic animals from around the world? Only in an aquarium can you visit and learn about all these different local and exotic animals. Aquarium staff care for and teach about these animals, as well as work to conserve and protect threatened and endangered species. Follow this behind-the-scenes photographic journal as it leads you into the wondrous world of aquariums and the animal helpers who work there.

     


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    48. Picture Book Monday with a review of Over-scheduled Andrew

    I think it is fair to say that these days many people have lives that are perhaps a little too full. They feel as if they are running on a treadmill, desperately trying to keep up, and to do all the things that are written on their to do lists. Adults are not the only ones who have this problem. Sometimes children find themselves struggling with a schedule that asks just too much of them.


    Over-Scheduled AndrewOver-scheduled Andrew
    Ashley Spires
    Picture Book
    For ages 5 to 7
    Tundra Press, 2016, 978-177049-484-8
    Andrew loves to perform in plays, and so he decides to join the school drama club so that he can “wear costumes and perform on a real stage.” Andrew’s best friend, Edie, helps him learn his lines as they walk home from school together. Sometimes they end up climbing a tree or playing a game along the way and that’s always fun.
       Though Andrew is a natural when it comes to acting, his drama teacher suggests that he try public speaking so that he can learn how to project his voice more. Andrew joins the debating team so that he can work on making his voice stronger. It turns out that Andrew is so good at debating that his friend Calvin suggests that he join the chess club.
       When Andrew has a hard time keeping up during the dance routines when he is rehearsing, he decides that what he needs to do is to “improve his coordination,” so he attends ballet and karate classes.
       Somehow Andrew then finds himself joining the tennis team, working on the school paper, and learning how to play the bagpipes. He joins the French film club, takes singing lessons, and signs up for Spanish lessons because knowing another language is “just plain useful.” Up until now Andrew has been able to manage his extremely full schedule, but now he hits a wall. Andrew is just doing too many things.
       Many people over-schedule their lives. They fill every spare minute with an activity of some kind until they barely have time to eat or sleep. They cannot have a social life and are constantly running from activity to activity.
       With humor and sensitivity Ashley Spires (who brought us the graphic novels about Binky the cat) shows us how a young owl’s life turns into a nightmare when he takes on too many activities. Everything Andrew does is important and interesting, but together they are just too much. Children, and their grownups, will enjoy seeing how Andrew solves his problem and how he finds a schedule that works for him.


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    49. War Dogs

    War Dogs. Kathryn Selbert. 2016. [April 2016] Charlesbridge. 48 pages. [Source: Library]

    First sentence: Rufus's best friend, Winston Churchill, is a busy man, but most days Rufus and Winston share a walk.

    Premise/plot: Essentially, War Dogs is a picture book biography of Winston Churchill during the Second World War told from the point of view of his poodle, Rufus. The book has plenty of Churchill quotes throughout. These are set apart from the main text, and are easily identifiable. One of the quotes is:
    The road to victory may not be so long as we we expect. But we have no right to count upon this. Be it long or short, rough or smooth, we mean to reach our journey's end. August 1940
    My thoughts: I loved, loved, loved, LOVED this one. War Dogs would definitely be more of a picture book for older readers than a story you'd share aloud with preschoolers. But. I think picture books for older readers are important and necessary, and can be quite LOVELY. I do think that picture books can be for everyone--people for all ages. So I'd definitely recommend this one. It would be a great introduction--picture book introduction--to the Second World War, and to Winston Churchill in particular. So if you're a history lover or a dog lover, you should definitely consider picking this one up!!!

    I love the text. I love the illustrations. I love how each quote is sourced. Not all picture book biographies show their work when it comes to research. This one does! (Can you tell that I tend to love research myself!)

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

    © 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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    50. 2016 SCBWI Bologna Illustrator Interview: Lisa Anchin

    By Angela Cerrito
    for SCBWI Bologna 2016
    and Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

    Lisa Anchin has been drawing since she could hold a pencil and making up stories since she could speak. 

    She grew up just outside of New York City, passing briefly through Massachusetts where she picked up a B.A. from Smith College, and then she returned to New York to work and to later pursue additional graduate degrees—an MA at Columbia and an MFA at the School of Visual Arts. 

    Lisa now freelances full time as an illustrator and designer. She is the illustrator of A Penguin Named Patience by Suzanne Lewis (Sleeping Bear, 2015). Her second illustrated book, I Will Love You, by Alyssa Satin Capucilli will be released in spring 2017 (Scholastic). 

    When not in her studio, she can be found haunting one of the many cafes of the five boroughs, sitting with a bucket of tea and scribbling in her sketchbook. She lives in Brooklyn with her partner in crime and a not-so-little black cat.

    Congratulations on your work "Happy Birthday Fox," being selected as a finalist for SCBWI’s Bologna Illustrators’ Gallery. It's on display at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. What was the inspiration behind Happy Birthday Fox?

    I’ve been trying to expand my palette, so as an exercise, I’ve started picking colors that I don’t generally use then planning an illustration based on those colors.

    "Happy Birthday Fox" was one of these painting exercises.

    The mustard, aqua, orange, bright magenta, and lime green felt like party colors.

    But rather than the moment of the party itself, I wanted to illustrate that contented, happy sigh moment that comes after the party has ended.

    You are the illustrator of A Penguin Named Patience (Sleeping Bear, 2015). What was it like illustrating your first children’s book? Were there any unexpected developments?

    A Penguin Named Patience was my first illustrated book and an interesting challenge.

    Serendipitously, I actually received the offer only a few days before I left for a trip to New Orleans for an illustrator’s weekend. While I was there, my fellow illustrators generously agreed to accompany me on a visit the Audubon Aquarium, so I could take reference photos.

    I was able to photograph the penguin enclosure and the South African penguins featured in in the book. That was a really luck coincidence, and then the publisher also sent additional images of Tom, the penguins’ keeper, and videos of the penguins’ triumphant return to New Orleans.

    I had never made such a large body of work on a single subject before. That in and of itself was an experience. Before I began work on the final pieces, I did quite a few character studies and color tests. I wanted to make sure that everything would be consistent throughout the book.

    Overall it was a really wonderful experience. Not to mention, drawing penguins is a pretty great way to spend your workday.

    Tell us about your school visits? I imagine students are excited to learn about Patience and the other penguins who were rescued after hurricane Katrina.

    My school visits have been really rewarding. The first one I did was actually at my old elementary school. The kids I’ve spoken with are always excited that the book is based on a true story, and that Patience was a real penguin living at the aquarium at the time of the storm.

    After reading the story together and answering their questions about the reality of what happened and the making of the book, I like to draw with the kids. I usually start by talking about South African penguins before taking them through the basic steps to draw Patience.

    With older kids, I can also talk about storytelling, character development, and how to visually emphasize your protagonist, especially when all of your characters are a single type of animal and all look very similar. I love watching the kids draw and seeing the characters they imagine and create.

    What is a typical work day like for you?

    On studio days—I also freelance at a publisher doing book design during the week—I’m usually at my desk by nine. I set aside some time in the morning to take care of business related things—emails, invoices, etc.—and then I begin with warm-up sketches.

    Sometimes these are drawings of the characters for the project I’m currently working on, but usually I use it as free drawing time. Often these open, sketch-anything moments lead to nuggets of ideas for future stories.

    After my warm-ups, I dive into work, which ranges from writing, thumbnailing images for a new dummy, sketching, working on color studies, or painting a final piece.

    The actual work of the day depends on where I am in a project. I try to take small breaks as I work—for a new cup of tea, to play with my cat, or just to stand up and stretch—and I always take a long walk in the middle of the day, which inevitably includes a stop at the library three blocks from my apartment on my way home.

    What are you working on now?

    As of this week, I just finished the art for a new book called I Will Love You, written by Alyssa Satin Capucilli and being published by Scholastic in the spring of 2017. It’s a lovely story, told from a parent/care-giver to a child. The text uses beautiful, lyrical language, and is a non-linear narrative, which allowed me to stretch my imagination. It was a joy to illustrate.

    I’m also working on a number of my own stories, and I often have a few in progress.

    If I get stuck on one project, I can put it aside and work on another until I’m ready to return to the first.

    Right now I’m juggling work on an entirely new manuscript with revisions on two book dummies—one is a story about a precocious little plant and her garden and the second features a character that I’ve been calling Little Viking.

    Do you have advice for artists who are just getting started in the field of children’s illustration?

    Childhood Painter
    First and foremost, join SCBWI. Between the conferences, the technical and professional information, and the community, the organization provides an unparalleled wealth of resources for someone new to the field. I owe much of my career to SCBWI, and I specifically want to emphasize the importance of the community generated by SCBWI.

    As illustrators and writers, our work is largely solitary, and it’s so important to find a group of like-minded folks. They can both provide moral support on those hard-to-work-through days of doubt, and also honest feedback on your work.

    If you don’t yet have an agent, editor, or art director to turn to for creative feedback, it’s helpful to have critiques from peers. I still look to my illustration critique group for a first round of editing and feedback well before I pitch a new story or dummy to my agent.

    Cynsational Notes

    Angela Cerrito is a pediatric physical therapist by day and a writer by night. She thinks she has the two best jobs in the world.

    Her latest novel, The Safest Lie (Holiday House), was named a finalist for the 2015 Jewish Book Award, a Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Older Readers and a Notable Social Studies Book for Young People.

    Angela coordinates the SCBWI Bologna Interview series, volunteers as SCBWI’s Assistant International Advisor and is a Cynsational reporter in Europe and beyond.

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