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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Greenwillow Books, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Five Family Favorites with Sue Fliess, Author of Calling All Cars

Author Sue Fliess selects "Five Family Favorites" to share with readers ... Read the rest of this post

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2. Best New Kids Books | February 2016

Our selection of hot new releases and popular kids' books has a lot to offer!

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3. Best New Kids Stories | April 2015

We have selected three picture books, a middle grade novel and two young adult books to highlight for this month's new release kids books. Enjoy perusing our picks for kids and teen books that we feel represent some of the best new kids stories ... Read the rest of this post

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4. Five Family Favorites with Kim T. Griswell, Author of Rufus Goes to the Sea

My five kids are grown now (four boys and one girl), and most of them have children of their own. ... The list got longer and longer and soon it was tough to choose, but these five came out on top.

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5. Best New Kids Stories | September 2015

Our list of the best new kids books for September highlights some amazing books from many different genres: non-fiction, reality fiction, fantasy, and even a beautiful picture book that addresses gender identity. Take a gander and let us know which titles and covers catch your eye ... Read the rest of this post

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6. Best Selling Picture Books | January 2016

Our best selling picture book from our affiliate store is one of our all-time favorite books: Dear Zoo, by Rod Campbell!

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Wow– we have some really fantastic books to wish a Happy Book Birthday to today! They’re ALMOST Leap Year book babies, but not quite…

PANDEMONIUM, by Lauren Oliver. In the highly anticipated sequel to DELIRIUM, Lena completely transforms herself into a warrior for the resistance in order to push Alex and her old life far from her mind and heart.  Epic and yet heart-breakingly close, you’ll savor every minute of this one.

PENNY AND HER SONG, by Kevin Henkes.  Meet Penny– Kevin Henkes’ newest mouse, and his first foray into the world of beginning readers!

PARTIALS, by Dan Wells.  Humanity’s only hope… may not be human at all.  In this exciting thriller, a small group living on what used to be Long Island may be the only humans left after a devastating robot revolution, and Kira finds herself unexpectedly at the forefront of their survival.

Z IS FOR MOOSE, by Kelly Bingham, illustrations by Paul O. Zelinsky.  Fiesty but well-meaning Moose inserts himself into every page of this ABC book that’s already garnering multiple terrific starred reviews!

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This Wednesday, we plied our local librarian friends with coffee and treats to meet us very very very early in the morning to hear about our Fall 2012 titles, straight from the mouths of our truly masterful editors. Our attendees live-tweeted under the hashtag #harperfallpreview and it was really exciting for us to see those enthusiastic tweets roll in. Thanks, guys!

Everyone with their listening caps on.

Greenwillow Editor Martha Mihalick (follow her on Twitter @MarthaMihalick) and VP/Publisher Virginia Duncan holding up the f&g of Michael Hall’s September 2012 title, CAT TALE, one that prompted a lot of great discussion. We always learn something new from librarians!

Balzer + Bray Editor Kristin Rens and VP/Publisher Alessandra Balzer holding books from their fall list: DEFIANCE, by C.J. Redwine, and THE OTHER NORMALS, by Ned Vizzini.

Now, for some great This Meets That’s:

  • “Dan Brown for 10 year olds” — THE SECRET PROPHECY, by Herbie Brennan.
  • “Scott Westerfeld meets Lauren Oliver” — THE LOST GIRL, by Sangu Mandanna.
  • “The Goonies meets The Walking Dead” — GRAVEDIGGERS: MOUNTAIN OF BONES, by Christopher Krovatin.
  • “My So-Called Life meets Twilight” — DRAIN YOU, by M. Beth Bloom. (full disclosure… this one killed me!)

Can you believe that in a little more than a month, we’ll be at the ALA Annual meeting in Anaheim, California?  Because we sure can’t (cue folders flying, frantic packing).  But if you’ll be there too, please make sure to stop by, say hello, and grab galleys of the titles above.  Booth #2558– see you there!

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I’m not sure I know anyone as knowledgeable about children’s books as my colleague, National Accounts Manager Heather Doss.  She’s our human encyclopedia at meetings, a whiz in the booth at conferences, and an all-around terrific lady.  And today you are the lucky recipient of her genius!  Heather pulled together a round up of Classics, Redone:

“I’ll admit it: I’m a fan of the twisted classic genre. Whether it’s a retelling of a fairytale, myth or novel from the past, I love when authors take something you think you know and turn it on its head to give it a new perspective. While I think there will always be a place in curriculum for those classics we all read in high school and college, a remake can bring a fresh audience to them, and help to create a new fan base. Lucky for me, our Harper lists are chock full of titles that have a classic background:

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Bethany Griffin has reimagined Edgar Allan Poe’s gothic horror story “The Masque of the Red Death,” creating a breathtakingly real city that’s coming apart at the seams, a riveting romantic triangle, and a heroine faced with heartbreaking choices. Hauntingly dark & romantic at the same time!

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

TIGER LILY combines the rich mythology of Peter Pan and the lush setting of Neverland to create a truly unique teen romance; told from the point of view of Tinkerbell & focusing on the Indian Princess whose backstory is vague in the original story.

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS is a breathtaking romance about the choice between protecting your heart and opening yourself to the one person who could break it; inspired by Jane Austen’s PERSUASION.

Entwined by Heather Dixon

In this retelling of the classic tale “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” the eldest princess must fight to save her family—and her heart—from an ancient dark magic within the palace walls; a romantic fantasy with a darker edge.

Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitm

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10. Anna Was Here, by Jane Kurtz

Anna is a worrier.  But she is also a planner, which helps to alleviate some of those worries.  Her weekly Safety Club meetings also help.  She doesn't let the fact that the only other member left is Jericho - Anna's Sunday school teacher and part of her minister father's college group.  But it is in one of these very meetings, that Jericho lets some news slip.  News that Anna hadn't heard.

Anna's family is moving to Kansas.

This unleashes a whole new set of worries for Anna.  She's prepared for weather emergencies in Colorado, not Kansas.  She is going to have to sleep in a house that belongs to a church!  She is going to have to deal with cousins.

Little does Anna know that there will be emergencies that will change her family and make her look at the big picture instead of focusing on her own private worries.

Anna Was Here is a charming book that explores family and faith in equal measure.  Anna's family is Christian and their faith truly does drive their actions and their interactions.  Even if readers are not religious they will be able to identify with the themes of moving, getting past oneself and shifting allegiances.  Anna's relationships with her cousins and her conflict with her dad are perfectly age appropriate and it's refreshing to see her grow out of behaviors and into herself.  A perfect read for those kids who are fighting the change of growing up, and for those families who are looking for Christian books for kids.

0 Comments on Anna Was Here, by Jane Kurtz as of 8/28/2013 1:36:00 PM
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11. Best Selling Middle Grade Books | July 2014

Seriously, there are some VERY good books on this list of best selling middle grade books; including Kevin Henkes' The Year of Billy Miller and Sharon M. Draper's Out of My Mind.

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12. Tap The Magic Tree, by Christie Matheson | Book Review

Tap The Magic Tree, by Christie Matheson, is a beautiful story about the changing seasons centered on a single tree that children are asked to interact with on the page.

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13. 12 Kids’ Books on Showing Thankfulness & Being Grateful

As we begin a season of reflection and celebration, we are pleased to share some of our favorite books on thankfulness and being grateful that will help young readers on their journey to understanding gratitude.

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14. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Finding Spring

Look at that!  It's Perfect Picture Book Friday again!

And just in time, too!

In keeping with my theme for this week (you know, the one where I insist that spring is coming in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary :)) I have the perfect book!

Title: Finding Spring
Written & Illustrated By: Carin Berger
Greenwillow Books, January 2015, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8 (though I think a lot of 3 year olds would love it too :))

Themes/Topics: seasons (Spring), animals (bears), perseverance, patience

Opening: "The forest was growing cold.  Mama said that soon it would be time to sleep, but all Maurice could think about was his first spring."

Brief Synopsis: Mama bear says it's time to sleep, but all Maurice can think about is spring.  So when Mama goes to sleep, Maurice sets out to find it.  He has never seen spring, however, so he's not really sure where to look or even what he's looking for!

Links To Resources: take a nature walk and look for signs of spring; make up a list of signs of spring and check them off as they appear - is spring here yet?; How To Make A Diorama (video); Diorama Crafts For Kids; try making your own diorama about spring; make paper flowers; how to make tissue paper flowers (video)

Why I Like This Book: Every child on earth understands impatience - how hard waiting is, and how much more fun to take action!  Maurice is not deterred in the slightest by the fact that he doesn't actually know what spring is.  He just looks until he knows he's found it.  And he can tell he's found it because it's the most magical thing he's ever seen!  Just wait until you see what it is (and no, I'm not telling! :))  The book is illustrated with dioramas and cut-paper collages and is just gorgeous - a feast for the eyes of kids and grown-ups alike.  A perfect choice for those of us currently longing for spring :)

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you and see what delights you've chosen for us this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!  It will be March by the time it's over! :)

0 Comments on Perfect Picture Book Friday - Finding Spring as of 2/27/2015 4:17:00 AM
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15. Writer in Bloom: Interview with Author Amy Brecount White

I’m incredibly excited about fellow 2010 author Amy Brecount White’s book, FORGET-HER-NOTS because I love love love flowers. The idea of using a flower's secret power to change behavior is fascinating to me—cannot wait to read this one!

Here’s Amy’s deal report from Publishers Marketplace:

Virginia Duncan of Greenwillow Books has acquired FLOWERSPEAK by Amy Brecount White, in a pre-emptive offer. In the novel, a girl discovers that she can use flowers and their magical potency to make people change their behavior – even fall in love. The novel is tentatively scheduled for a spring 2009 release. Steven Chudney of the Chudney Agency did the deal.
[We didn’t make the spring 2009 release, and Greenwillow really wanted a spring release. The title was also changed to the more fun and catchy FORGET-HER-NOTS.]

Hi Amy, can you tell us how you met your agent?
I had heard good things about Steven Chudney from several people and checked out his website. Our taste in books seemed very similar. At that point, his website asked for the first three chapters. He loved them so much he said he was tempted to offer representation just based on those! He did read the whole novel, though, before I signed.

Can you tell us how your book deal happened?
Over the years, I had lots of agents and editors express interest in my novel mostly at SCBWI conferences, because I have such a great premise, imho. It took a few years, though, for me to get the story exactly right and to find the perfect house—Greenwillow. Once we did, Virginia Duncan made an offer within two weeks and right before Christmas. It was the best present ever!

What was the inspiration for FORGET-HER-NOTS and how long did it take you to write?
I used to write a lot of articles for newspapers and magazine—mostly lifestyle and travel pieces—so I was always on the lookout for new ideas. I found out about the language of flowers from a book called, TUSSIE-MUSSIES, which is the Victorian name for symbolic flower bouquets. Once I knew about it, I started seeing the language everywhere. I also gave several friends symbolic bouquets, and I definitely wished that the messages I was sending to them came true. So it was an easy jump from wishing to imagining real magic in the blooms. And I do believe there is a special magic any time anyone gives flowers.

How long did it take you to write it?
Hmm, how long was it? From conception to an offer, about 8 years. I was working on lots of other projects, too, and taking care of my three kids. (I like to say it had the longest gestation period of all my children.) But, I must admit, my learning curve on the craft of novel writing was a little steeper than I expected. It’s a lot different from writing an article, but I think–I’m hopin’—I’ve got it now.

What's your publication date and where in the process are you now?
Right now they’re saying February 2010, and I’m on copy edits.

If you could have any magical power, what would it be?
Flower magic, of course! I’d love to be able to awaken emotions and transform lives with a few lovely blooms. Actually, there are several scientific/psychological studies showing how receiving flowers elevates your mood and feelings of happiness for several days. And patients who have flowers in their room generally have shorter stays and respond better to medications, according to another study.

Soooo… what are you waiting for? Go give someone some flowers!

What are you working on now?
I’m writing a YA novel tentatively called, STRING THEORY. It’s about relationships, growing up fast, and taking care of the earth. I’ve described it as HOOT meets STORY OF A GIRL. No magic, but a few flowers sprinkled in.

Do you have any words of wisdom for writers trying to get published?
Read everything you admire in your genre and then read it again. I was a very good prose writer, but it took me awhile to get a novel right. Even if you can string words together, it’s a real craft and skill to be able to tell a story well, so people want to keep reading. I still go back and read some of my favorite novels – GRACELING, WICKED LOVELY, and THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND – to see exactly how they’re sewn together. It takes also practice and dedication to learn to read like a writer.

Where can we find out more about you and your book?
If you want to learn more about me, FORGET-HER-NOTS and the language of flowers, or read my blog, check out my website.

(There’s a really cool list of flowers and their meanings on Amy’s website – just found out that my favorite flower means fantastic extravagance! Love it.)

Thanks for the interview, Amy! What flowers should we send for congratulations?

13 Comments on Writer in Bloom: Interview with Author Amy Brecount White, last added: 5/17/2009
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16. If Not for the Cat by Prelutsky / Our Own Groundhog Day Haiku

Want to play an animal guessing game? Try reading If Not for the Cat by Jack Prelustsky. But, if you really want to solve the puzzles yourself without cheating, have someone else read the book out loud, hiding the illustrations. Then take a peek after you make your guess. Prelustsky composed seventeen animal haiku for this masterfully written puzzle book of poetry filled with stunning illustrations by Ted Rand. Even those that typically don't enjoy poetry will most likely find the book entertaining. Seventeen syllables each haiku and seventeen different animals -- it's pure brilliance with lines like, "I, the hoverer, / Sip the nasturtium's nectar / And sing with my wings." Hum a happy tune whilst you try to figure that one out.

We won our copy of If Not for the Cat from Playing by the Book last month and have enjoyed the book immensely. For the last few months, I've been discussing syllables with my daughter and clapping words out, so she enjoyed learning the 5-7-5 structure. This is one of those books that appeals to all ages, and it is a perfect book for teachers to use while teaching the haiku format.

If Not for the Cat by Jack Prelustsky, illustrated by Ted Rand. Greenwillow Books (September 2004); ISBN 9780060596774; 40 pages

My daughter wanted to write a few of her own, based on a couple of the bird illustrations in the book. She came up with the main words and I filled in the rest to create each poem. (We are by no means as talented as Prelutsky, and the first really isn't a riddle, but we tried. The "stay out of the corn" bit is entirely my daughter's own words. I'm impressed.)

Fly, hummingbird, fly
Come close to me, wings beating
In a flash you're gone

You're black as the night
Sneaking through the farmer's field
Stay out of the corn

Here's one last "riddle haiku" for you that we wrote. (It holds true for those of us in Wisconsin. Those in Pennsylvania may not agree):

One cold February day
Predicts early spring

I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. View my full

4 Comments on If Not for the Cat by Prelutsky / Our Own Groundhog Day Haiku, last added: 2/2/2010
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17. My Garden by Kevin Henkes - Book Review and stART

The sun managed to shine a few beams down this past week. Such a welcome sight considering that the snowman we built early last December still has not completely melted! It's been a long winter here and we are ready for some warmer, spring weather. Pretty soon those spring garden flowers will add color to the landscape, spreading cheer and happiness. We got a jump on the season with a brand new spring garden themed picture book, just released this week.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, move over. There's a new girl in the garden -- a happy, little daydreamer who envisions chocolate rabbits and jelly bean bushes, and seashell fields. Kevin Henkes sows the seeds of imagination and illustrates with colors of spring in his newest picture book, My Garden. A barefoot little girl helps her mother in a cheery garden by watering and weeding the plants. All the while, she fantasies about her ideal garden.

"In my garden, the flowers could change color just by my thinking about it -- pink, blue, green purple. Even patterns."
The little girl's vast imagination takes readers beyond the restraints of the world, into a extraordinary place where the flowers never die and where umbrellas conveniently pop out of the ground just as the spring rain begins. Kevin Henkes adds another feather to his brimming hat with this beautiful book. His spectacular, watercolor illustrations overflow the pages with creative page layout. Fanciful images appear as full bleeds and then he takes readers back to reality with smaller spot illustrations. His book presents endless possibilities as a read aloud and spurs the imagination.

When I finished reading My Garden to my daughter, I asked her what her garden would contain. First she would grow all the toys she wants so that she wouldn't have to visit the store. Her plants would keep growing even in the snow. The garden would be filled with kittens, puppies, and balloons. And one last thing - the garden would take all the garbage away by grabbing it so it would disappear and you wouldn't see it anymore. The imagination truly is a garden where anything is possible.
My Garden by Kevin Henkes. Greenwillow Books (February 2010); 40 pages; ISBN 9780061715174
Book S

8 Comments on My Garden by Kevin Henkes - Book Review and stART, last added: 2/28/2010
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18. Higgledy-Piggledy Chicks by Barbara M. Joosse - Book Review & stART

Last summer we visited the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. My daughter loved many of the exhibits but one of her very favorites was the Baby Chick Hatchery. She witnessed a baby chick peck out of its shell and she's had a special fondness for chicks ever since that experience. Chick and chicken books appeal to her greatly so you can imagine her excitement when we read Barbara Joosse's latest book, Higgledy-Piggledy Chicks.

"What can a fuzzy chick do? Little chicks have legs to run. But sometimes ... claws and teeth are out, and Mama can't be everywhere at once. Aunties?" - Higgledy-Piggledy Chicks by Barbara M. Joosse, illustrated by Rick Chrustowski

Bucka-buk! Bucka-buk! Barbara Joosse puts readers right in the middle of the barnyard with a story about a protective Banty Hen and her seven baby chicks. Seven eggs hatch into seven adorable and multicolored chicks. Those little chicks soon leave the nest to explore the vast barnyard and run higgledy-piggledy in every direction. Danger lurks hidden nearby but mama hen and the aunties do their best to keep the curious little chicks safe day and night from the cat, raccoon and snake predators.

Higgledy-Piggledy Chicks is a lively read-aloud for all young children, even toddlers. Joosse does a marvelous job capturing the sounds and sights near a hen house. There are plenty of peeps, clucks, kuks and kaaks sprinkled throughout the expressive text. Both my kids listened to the story intently, felt deep concern for the little chicks as they wandered around the barnyard and tried to guess what kind of predators lurked on the pages by using clues from the illustrations. Chrustowski's colorful collage illustrations have a certain depth to them - he used colored pencils to draw shadows and details on the cut figures. Both kids loved the page where the chicks hatch. They counted the chicks and picked out their favorites from the multicolored bunch. My daughter said that one of the little chicks looks like it is sleeping in a little egg shell crib. Chrustowski used actual chick models for his illustrations and at the end of the story provides pictures of the real chicks running around his studio. Joosse provides an educational description of how little chicks grow in the back of the book and tells a little bit about the Bantam hen breed.

One last reason why we simply adore the book -- both the author and illustrator live in our wonderful state of Wisconsin!

Higgledy-Piggledy Chicks
11 Comments on Higgledy-Piggledy Chicks by Barbara M. Joosse - Book Review & stART, last added: 4/3/2010
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19. A Wish for You by Matt Novak - Book Review

One of my high school friends is pregnant for the first time, and I'm so excited to attend her baby shower this weekend. Both she and her husband have been through some rough times and have been wishing for a child for awhile now, so that makes this pregnancy even more special. I'm so glad that she has been able to experience the joy of carrying a child, and I pray that her delivery goes well. I know that they both will cherish and love that little boy growing inside and that they will be wonderful, caring parents.

"You and Me. Me and You. We're not just two. We're three."

A Wish for You by Mark Novak. Greenwillow Books (March 2010); ISBN 9780061552021; 32 pages
(Book Source: Review copy provided by publisher)
We all love oohing over little babies and here's a newly released picture book to ooh over as well. Matt Novak wrote and illustrated a book that's perfect to give to first-time parents titled A Wish for You. It's about the joy of waiting for a child to arrive and the journey of becoming a family. The book begins with two people that meet, get married and then spend some time traveling. They want children, but their wish at first isn't coming true, so they feel a little blue. Then the wife becomes pregnant, her belly expands and they begin their preparations that include buying a cartload of toys. Eventually their wish becomes a reality and the baby is born to a chorus of Oooos. The three, a family complete, sail off on new and exciting adventures together.

Though simply written, Novak obviously took great care in choosing the perfect words and the rhyme that results is marvelous. All the verses end with the "ooo" sound, except the very last phrases. He captures all the emotions that a pregnancy and subsequent birth brings and even manages to add a little stinky diaper humor. The illustrations have an impressionistic, fuzzy-wuzzy quality. I love how hats bring the two characters together and that they continue to wear hats throughout the book (though not during the birth). It's such a joyful book and it provides a delightful way to show a child just how much they are treasured and wished for! I'll certainly give a copy to my friend for her baby shower.

Related links:
Matt Novak - Author/Illustrator Website
Matt Novak's Blog

I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links.
2 Comments on A Wish for You by Matt Novak - Book Review, last added: 5/15/2010
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20. Little White Rabbit by Kevin Henkes - Book Review & Folded Bunny Craft

If Mary Poppins measured author Kevin Henkes, her ruler would likely say "practically perfect children's author in every way." Time after time again, Henkes releases wonderful, thought-provoking books for kids. His latest string of picture books speak of gentle, seasonal days outdoors, with beautiful illustrations set in square or circular borders alternating with full page bleeds. First there was Old Bear, the story of hibernating bear that has vivid dreams and awakens to a gorgeous spring day. Then, last year came My Garden, a magical book about all the things a little girl would love to plant in her garden. Just last week, he released another lush, imaginative springtime book, Little White Rabbit.

Little White Rabbit by Kevin Henkes. Greenwillow Books (January 2011); ISBN 9780062006424; 40 pages
Book Source: F & G provided by publisher

Hippity-hoppity! An inquisitive little white rabbit hops around the forest one gorgeous spring day and wonders about all sorts of things. What would it be like to be green, or tall, or not be able to move at all? The rabbit imagines all sorts of scenarios until he hops past a cat. Scared, he heads straight home. Back safe and sound, he knows there's one thing he never has to wonder about. LOVE! ♥ He knows without question that he is loved!

With so many books about bunnies already in print, it's hard to believe that Henkes' new book could stand out. But it does. His simple story stirs the imagination, and the adorable little bunny practically bounces off the page with a fluffy cuteness kids will adore. The colorful springtime illustrations of flowers, green grass, lush trees and colorful butterflies exude happiness and help melt away the winter blues. I wonder if it is a coincidence that Henkes chose to illustrate his rabbit under a green Willow tree for the cover picture? A tribute to his publisher, perhaps?

The text along with the vivid illustrations provide food for thought and help facilitate discussion. What do you wonder about? My daughter said she wonders what it would be like to be a cat. She also loves when the rabbit "wondered what it would be like to flutter through the air" and thinks it would be fun to fly with the butterflies like the rabbit. The book is short enough to keep a toddler's attention and beginning readers will find plenty to love about the story, too, including a repetitive, easy to read text.

Little White Rabbit is such a sweet story for both kids and parents. The image of parent and little bunny touching noses is so very heartwarming, it makes me want to give both my kids a great big hug and let them know how much they are loved as well! (Note to Easter Bunny - This book belongs in all Easter bas

12 Comments on Little White Rabbit by Kevin Henkes - Book Review & Folded Bunny Craft, last added: 2/5/2011
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21. Buzz Alert: PERFECT SQUARE by Michael Hall

Who knew that a perfect square could be transformed into so many things?  In his stunning follow-up to last year’s MY HEART IS LIKE A ZOO, Michael Hall creates rivers, mountains, and parks out of a single square of paper.  The storytime possibilities are limitless: give kids a square of paper and scissors and see what they can create.  So often as a librarian, I would create elaborate artwork for the kids to do during storytime but, sometimes, all you need is a single piece of paper.

What’s buzzy about PERFECT SQUARE?  It has received FOUR STARRED REVIEWS!  Here’s what they’re saying:

“A smart lesson in thinking outside the box (or the square).” ~ Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Memorable for reading aloud and terrific for inspiring creative play with the simplest materials.”  ~ Booklist (starred review)

“As its week progresses, the narrative turn of events in the square’s world encourages page-turning to discover the results. What will the square do next? This is a not-to-be-missed adventure for all young readers.” ~ School Library Journal (starred review)

“Young readers will absorb the visual lessons effortlessly and with delight.”  ~ Kirkus (starred review)

Here are some more wonderful links for you:

PERFECT SQUARE (ISBN 9780061915130) is available now.

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22. Perfect Square by Michael Hall - Book Review and Transformed Square Art

What is a square? A square is a shape with four equal sides and four right angles. But what happens when a square is forced to break out of its boxy, confining shape? Though it starts out as a perfect square it can transform into something else entirely, something perfectly amazing.

Perfect Square by Michael Hall. Greenwillow Books (March 2011); ISBN 9780061915130; 40 pages
Book Source: F&G provided by publisher

"It was a perfect square. It had four matching corners and four equal sides. And it was perfectly happy."

One square. Unlimited possibilities. One bright red square starts out perfectly happy. But then something happens. On Monday, the square gets cut up and punched with holes. Though no longer a perfect square, it transforms into something just as wonderful...a babbling, giggling, clapping fountain. On Tuesday, the square (now yellow), gets torn into pieces and turns into a garden. Each day of the week something different and extraordinary happens to the square. All the square's colorful adventures cleverly tie together into a perfect and inspiring story.

Colors, shapes, days of the week, but with a sophisticated theme that appeals to all ages, I can honestly say that this is one of the best books out this spring. With every page turn my kids wanted to know what was next for the ever changing square. And, inspired by the story, they wanted to have a try at transforming their own square. The book screams for an art project. I love how the story sort of comes around full circle, or rather, in this case, full square with a twist. The "rise to the occasion when forced to break out of your mold" message is probably, for the most part, lost on the youngest crowd but if you know a recent graduate, Hall's book with an adventurous, out of the box message, would make a thoughtful gift for all those ready to embark on a new path in life.

❖ ❖ ❖ ❖ Story + Art Craft: Transformed Square Art Project ❖ ❖ ❖ ❖

I love projects that allow my children to think for themselves and create something new. Hall's book provides the perfect art challenge. What can you make out of a perfect square? I provided both kids with a square in the color of their choice, cut to the same size as the square in the book. They set to the task, cutting up their perfect squares with scissors and pasting the pieces together to make something different.

Here are the results. My son originally wanted to make a lamp but in the end decided the pieces made a better lighthouse (all his own ideas, I might add)! My daughter wishes she could add her hat to the book. Maybe her hat could land on the head of someone standing by the fountain?

8 Comments on Perfect Square by Michael Hall - Book Review and Transformed Square Art, last added: 5/20/2011
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23. Blogs We’re Reading

It’s Vacation Time around the office lately, especially now that ALA is over.  But one of the delights of being offline is getting to catch up once you’re back online: it’s always fun to see that the electronic world has continued to spin even in your absence.  Here are some of the posts I’ve read and loved since being back in the office:

24. Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Release Date: September 20, 2011
Series: Fire and Thorns #1
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Elisa is barely sixteen, but already she is the secret wife of a king whose country is on the brink of war and the latest in a long line of God's chosen ones -- it's a lot for a teenage princess to handle. The Godstone she bears brings her comfort and warning in times of danger, but it also places a heavy burden on her young shoulders -- a burden she's not sure she's fit to bear. As Elisa is drawn into a secret revolution, where traitors lurk at every turn and no one can be trusted, she must learn to embrace her destiny and face her fate -- even if that means an early death.

In The Girl of Fire and Thorns, the starkly different realms come to life through Rae Carson's vivid descriptions. Both the language and the landscape are influenced by Spanish culture, with the sandstone walls of Brisadulce seeming to grow organically from the vast desert of Joya d'Arena. The Spanish phrases enrich the text without confusing readers, and the lilt and rhythm of the prose is mesmerizing. This world features a rich history, mythology and religion, with only the barest echoes of our own. The mythology of the Godstones is fascinating, a history reaching back for generations and usually boding ill for the bearer. Elisa has been kept in the dark for much of her life, and readers will delight in discovering the enigmatic powers of the Godstone, and the ominous fate of God's chosen, alongside the young heroine.

Though God and the Godstone are at the heart of this story, it is not a sermon. Carson takes a thoughtful and honest look at the religion of her world, drawing insightful parallels to our own. Every faction of the war believes they are doing "God's will," and what that means depends entirely on which side of the line they stand on. Elisa is honest about her own doubts and utter lack of understanding of this inscrutable God, despite being the bearer, which prevents her from seeming self-righteous and makes it easy to cheer for her success. Though she's a princess and a chosen one, she's utterly relatable -- just the sweet and sensitive girl-next-door.

This is truly Elisa's story, and her growth is the highlight of this epic tale. The secondary cast is large, and the characters are vibrant and unique, not mere plot devices but a network of confidantes and enemies, friends and family for Elisa to depend on, who carry her to the brink of destiny. It's clear from the start that Elisa has the potential for greatness, saving the life of a king even before her journey of self-discovery -- she need only recognize it. When the novel opens, she is very young, both in age (16) and in experience. She is timid and self-conscious, always treated like

4 Comments on Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, last added: 9/19/2011
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