New Picture Books For An Autumn Day!

October 3, 2015

Dear Picture Book Friends,

Time is whizzing by much too quickly these days! I now have 4 grandchildren, which is hard to believe since I began this book blog in honor of my 1st grandchild, who is now 3 ½. They keep this Grammy hopping but I love every minute of it! There is rarely a day that I don’t get to see them and they almost always ask me to read them a book when they are at my house! They all love books and it makes me incredibly happy!!

I have missed getting to post about some newer picture books that I have enjoyed since my last post. There have been some great ones that have been released in these last few months, so I hope you enjoy reading about them! Please check them out at your local library or bookstore.

Be watching for my SUPER HOLIDAY EDITION of new picture books you won’t want to miss this season!

Happy reading,

Lisa

BOOK 1:

9781250056269

You’re Here for a Reason

Written and Illustrated by Nancy Tillman (2015)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

Nancy Tillman has been one of my favorite picture book author/illustrators for quite some time. I was anticipating this new one for almost a whole year and counting down daily by the final month of its release! Her books touch my heart, as I am sure this one will yours.

Publishers Weekly:

Tillman (The Heaven of Animals) pairs her characteristically cheerful exhortations with layered mixed-media artwork in which startlingly real-looking children and animals play. The children dance with tigers, play soccer with kangaroos, and cuddle with pandas as Tillman assures readers that every life has a purpose: “Life works together, the good and the bad,/ the silly and awful, and happy and sad,/ to paint a big picture we can’t always see…/ a picture that needs you, most definitely.” In this interconnected world, she suggests, children’s good deeds have effects that they may never know about (“A kindness, for instance, may triple for days…/ or set things in motion in different ways”). She pictures the good deeds and the distance they travel as a boy, accompanied by a blue elephant, lets go of his colorful, long-tailed kite. A fox uses it as a sled for her kits, and the ribbons become a bridle for a moose and adorn a bird’s nest, which serves as a boat for a ferret. Polished artwork and character-building verse make this just as desirable as Tillman’s previous books. Ages 4–8. Agent: Cathy Hemming, Cathy Hemming Literary Agency (Sept.)

BOOK 2:

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The Queen’s Hat

Written and Illustrated by Steve Antony (2015)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

Who doesn’t love a good chase? When a gust of wind takes off with the Queen’s, the chase is on! Cute story and kept us giggling!

Publishers Weekly:

05/11/2015

Antony (Please, Mr. Panda) returns with a diversion as tasty as tea and scones. The Queen of England sets off from the palace on her way “to visit someone very special” (the new royal infant, readers are meant to understand). She strides along in her trademark sensible shoes and coat, a prim corgi by her side, when the wind blows “the Queen’s favorite hat right off her head.” The Coldstream Guards, in their red jackets and huge fur hats, rush to her rescue, chasing pell-mell after the hat, but the wind carries it still higher. In a series of gloriously deadpan spreads, ever-growing numbers of guards (and the Queen) clamber across one of the Trafalgar lions, pack like clowns into the London Underground, tramp across the London Bridge, swarm up Big Ben, and rise right up into the air before everyone lands as safely as Mary Poppins, under their own umbrellas. The book’s charm comes from the Keystone Kops–like effect of seeing so many dignified, uniformed figures descend into distinctly undignified chaos. It’s a trim, stylish story tailor-made for Anglophiles. Ages 3–5. (Aug.)

BOOK 3:

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A B See

Written and Illustrated by Elizabeth Doyle (2015)

Available in Board Book and eReader Editions

It’s not often that I review a Picture Board Book, but this one was too beautiful to not be included. My grandchildren are all loving ABC books right now. This one has each letter made up of little hidden pictures of items that begin with its letter. You have to see it to really get it, but we have spent many afternoons after naptime reading this one!

School Library Journal:

07/01/2015

PreS—This handsome and rich abecedarian has a single alliterative line of text for each letter, which boldly appears center stage on the page. Each uppercase letter is formed by an assemblage of stamps, woodcuts, and marginalia showcasing words that begin with the featured letter. For example, “Bear bounces a basketball” appears on the “B” page, which is comprised of images for 39 “B” words to identify (they are all listed at the back). This search-and-find vocabulary-builder will provide hours of fun poring over images and possibly inspire young makers to craft assemblages of their own.

BOOK 4:

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Ask Me

Written by Bernard Waber; Illustrated by Suzy Lee (2015)

Available in Hardcover

A heartwarming father/daughter story with beautiful illustrations! I will be reading this one with my little ones again and again!

Publishers Weekly:

★ 04/27/2015

In this posthumously published tale by Waber, best known for his Lyle the Crocodile books, a girl directs a conversation with her father. “Ask me what I like,” she says. “What do you like?” he asks. Lee (Open This Little Book) pictures the duo on a park outing, and the girl delights in falling leaves as she admires the natural surroundings (“I like geese in the sky. No, in the water. I like both”). After naming many favorite things, she gets more specific: “How come birds build nests?” Her father warmly responds, “All right, how come birds build nests?” sustaining the give-and-take. The girl’s words appear in black type and the father’s in dark blue, so readers know who is speaking despite the untagged dialogue and lack of quotation marks. Taking advantage of negative space to emphasize a bright sky, people’s faces, and the girl’s swingy dress, Lee lines the characters in charcoal-gray pencil and frames the pages in scribbles of maple-leaf red, autumnal gold, and denim blue. The easygoing verbal exchange and affectionate visuals celebrate a close father-daughter relationship while recognizing beauty in everyday simplicity. Ages 4–8. (July)

BOOK 5:

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Miss Todd and Her Wonderful Flying Machine

Written by Frances Poletti; Illustrated by Kristina Yee (2015)

Available in Hardcover

Miss Todd and Her Wonderful Flying Machine was inspired by the Student Academy Award®-winning animated short film Miss Todd and the real life story of Miss Lily Todd—the first woman in the world to build and design an airplane. This is more suited for older, school-aged children.

Publishers Weekly:

05/25/2015

Based on the authors’ stop-motion animated short film, this story about Lily Todd, the first woman to design and build a plane, is illustrated with photographs of paper puppets in model sets. Growing up at the turn of the 20th century, Todd developed an early fascination with flight and, at her Grandpa Joe’s urging, learned everything she could through books and model-making. After Todd was rejected from universities because of her gender, philanthropist Olivia Sage gave her space to build a full-size flying machine. The photographed scenes dominate, sometimes divided into panels to graphic-novel-like effect. Skillful use of shadow and lighting gives the scenes theatricality, while the puppets themselves evoke powerful emotions. Despite the restrictions Todd faced, the collaborators emphasize her passion and perseverance: “When she was soaring high above the clouds, flying free with the wind in her hair, she knew that nothing could hold her down—not even gravity.” An invented scene in which Todd sneaks onto her plane after being denied the chance to fly it, which the book fails to identify as fiction, is the only strike against this richly imagined tribute. Ages 4–up. (June)

BOOK 6:

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The Whisper

Written and Illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski (2015)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

The theme of this book is the magic of reading! And the illustrations are just beautiful works of art! What could be better?

Kirkus Reviews:

★ 2015-07-15

A “magical book” on loan from her teacher loses its words on the trip home, so a little girl spins her own stories for each enchanting picture. Seeing the letters tumble from the binding, a fox encourages her, whispering, “Remember: beginnings, middles, and ends of stories can always be changed and imagined differently.” Readers join in, captivated by a series of spellbinding illustrations whose strangeness, recurring imagery (crowns, rabbits, wheels, bees, honeycombs, stars, suns, moons, teacups), expansiveness, and downright beauty beg for unbridled storytelling. The little girl sits crouched in the lower corner of each page, chin in hand, her eyes scanning the very same spreads that dazzle readers. A conversation emerges, in which the girl and readers volley narration, with increasing confidence and intensifying specificity. The girl submits, “As instructed, we arrived at exactly 3:33. One four-leaf clover and a large pot of hot, steeping tea had been purposely placed near the entrance of the woods,” and then trails off with ellipses….Readers’ cerebral wheels will continue to spin, providing a resolution of their own—perhaps aloud to a caregiver or maybe just inside their own heads. Surreal, staggering mixed-media paintings make traveling across such beautifully varied and bizarre storyscapes exhilarating. (Picture book. 4-8)

BOOK 7:

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Waiting

Written and Illustrated by Kevin Henkes (2015)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

This is sure to be another classic by Kevin Henkes! It is a perfect tale of patience for the young set!

Publishers Weekly:

★ 06/08/2015

Waiting can make anyone feel helpless and frustrated, so the five toylike knickknacks in Henkes’s (Penny and Her Marble) story should be at their collective wits’ end. Perched on a windowsill, this odd, diminutive crew—a pig with an umbrella, a bear with a kite, a puppy attached to a sled, a rabbit on an accordion spring, and an owl—have little volition of their own (“Sometimes one or the other of them went away, but he or she always came back”). But while their lives are spent waiting, their existence seems full and rich with meaning. Waiting reinforces their sense of identity: the pig waits for the rain and when it comes, “the pig was happy. The umbrella kept her dry.” Waiting also connects them to each other: looking out the window together, “they saw many wonderful, interesting things,” like frost on the windowpane or a sky lit up with fireworks. Henkes never tells readers explicitly what he’s up to, and several incidents are wide open to interpretation—and that’s what makes this enigmatic, lovely book intriguing and inimitable. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)

BOOK 8:

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Imaginary Fred

Written by Eoin Colfer; Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers (2015)

Available in Hardcover

A new picture book by a pair of the finest picture book collaborators of our time! This is a quirky book about having an imaginary friend.

Publishers Weekly:

★ 07/06/2015

In this smart collaboration, Colfer and Jeffers introduce Fred, a seasoned imaginary friend. Fred knows the drill: he keeps lonely children company until a human friend appears, then clears out (“Usually by lunchtime on the second day, Fred would be mostly invisible”). Jeffers’s spidery vignettes are perfectly synced to Colfer’s bubbly, confiding narrative, and he underscores Fred’s evanescent nature by giving him a body of half-tone aqua dots that deepen and fade. Secretly, Fred pines for a forever friend; his current human assignee, Sam, shares all of his interests—reading, music, playacting. When Sam meets a girl named Sammi, Fred is downcast, especially when Sam leaves a note that says he and Sammi are working on a comic book. “Comic book? thought Fred. That was our idea. Me and Sam.” But Sammi has her own imaginary friend, Frieda (her half-tone mesh is yellow), and the four thrive. There’s always anguish when a close friend finds someone new, but Colfer and Jeffers show that shuffling allegiances can sometimes multiply the fun. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Sophie Hicks, Sophie Hicks Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Paul Moreton, Bell, Lomax, Moreton Agency. (Sept.)

BOOK 9:

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Sparky

Written by Jenny Offill; Illustrated by Appelhans (2015)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

This is a picture book that I initially missed, thus didn’t get a chance to review it. When I drag my best friend around with me to read picture books in bookshops, she is happy to help me even though she isn’t a Grammy yet. This is one we laughed over and still talk about. I don’t know how I missed it before but I am glad I found it!

Kirkus Reviews:

★ 2014-01-04

Quietly dry humor marks this story about a most unusual pet. An unassuming girl looks straight out at readers and explains her desire for a pet. She’s not fussy, but she can’t make it happen: “My mother said no to the bird. / No to the bunny. / No, no, no to the trained seal.” Finally her mother consents—sort of: She agrees to any pet “as long as it doesn’t need to be walked or bathed or fed.” After some library research, “[m]y sloth arrived by Express Mail.” Here it gets really funny. The girl waits two days, standing in moonlight and rain next to Sparky’s backyard tree, before he even awakens. She teaches him games: “We played King of the Mountain / and I won. // We played Hide-and-Seek / and I won.” Sparky never moves a muscle. Sitting on the grass, he’s stock-still; on his tree branch, he lies motionless (atop the branch, inexplicably but adorably, not hanging down in sloth fashion). Even his expression’s comically immobile. Training sessions and a performance proceed—um—at Sparky’s pace, but a beautiful closing illustration of girl and sloth together on his branch shows how close they’ve grown. Appelhans uses blue and pinky-brown watercolors and pencil on creamy background to create understated humor and affection with a light touch. A serene, funny addition to the new-pet genre. (Picture book. 3-6)

BOOK 10:

Ninja Babies

photo-original

Written and Illustrated by Matt Vincent (2015)

A friend and former bookseller, Matt is an extremely talented artist/illustrator. He started a Kickstarter campaign to get funds to publish his book. Matt enjoys teaching children to draw, so a unique feature of his book is a tutorial at the end on how to draw a Ninja. It is a super cute book that I wish him the best in getting published and an audience! Please watch the book trailer below and consider helping get this published! Thank you!!

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MARCH 2015 PICTURE BOOK LOOK !!

Dear Picture Book Friends,

Hello! I have missed writing about picture books this past year. My life has been busy, busy, with another new grandchild (our first boy!) and now we are up to three little blessings. We have another on the way, as our daughter will be having her second girl at the beginning of June. We are beyond thrilled and I LOVE being a Grammy!

One of the best things I love about being Grammy is reading to my little ones! This past year I was a bit disappointed, never exactly finding new picture books that took my breath away. I admit that I have been a bit out of the loop, but in the things that I did see, nothing exactly had me super excited. There have been several new ones that have come out since the beginning of 2015 that I have truly enjoyed reading to the “Grands” and that I am excited to share with you.

Happy Spring and Happy Reading, friends!

Lisa

 

Book 1:

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Spring Walk

Written and Illustrated by Virginia Brimhall Snow (2015)

Available in Hardcover

In companion to her earlier releases Fall Walk and Winter Walk, Virginia Brimhall Snow has added this beautiful addition. I absolutely love these books and anticipate her next one, Summer Walk!

BN.com:

After a long winter’s sleep, the soil is springing to life. Spring flowers break through the ground to welcome warmer days. Come with Grammy and her grandchildren as they explore and learn all about 24 different flowers. Once home, she teaches them how to plant their own flowers from seeds and make beautiful bouquets.

Book 2:

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If You Plant a Seed

Written and Illustrated by Kadir Nelson (2015)

Available in Hardcover

This is such a beautiful book! You will want to read this one aloud and then display it as a reminder to your little ones about kindness.

Kirkus Reviews:

Nelson spins a gardening metaphor about kindness. “If you plant a tomato seed, a carrot seed, and a cabbage seed,” that’s what will grow. A rabbit and a mouse garden together and delight in their harvest—but a mourning dove, crow, blue jay, cardinal and sparrow come begging. “If you plant a seed of selfishness”—here Nelson depicts the gardeners refusing to share—”it will grow, and grow, and grow // into a heap of trouble.” A monumental food fight leaves all the combatants splattered with tomato. Amid the debris, the mouse offers possibly the last intact fruit—and the birds respond with an airlift of seeds that sprout into an astonishing garden, proving that “the fruits of kindness // …are very, very sweet.” To this spare, fablelike text Nelson pairs stunningly cinematic oils, modulating palette and perspective to astonishing effect. The tomatoes gleam red against blue sky and green leaves, and it’s easy to see why the circling birds descend in hopes of a meal. Wordless spreads convey drama and humor; a double-page close-up of all five birds depicted from the front, each head a-tilt and silhouetted against blue sky, is hysterical. The animals are slightly anthropomorphized; they read books but wear no clothes, communicating joy, dejection, anger and contentment in every bone. Though the message is as old as time, its delivery here is fresh and sweet as August corn. (Picture book. 4-8)

Book 3:

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The House That’s Your Home

Written by Sally Lloyd-Jones; Illustrated by Jane Dyer (2015)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

Jane Dyer has been a favorite illustrator of mine for many years. Her style is immediately recognizable, in its softness and beauty. This is a lovely story also, although received some criticism about a middle class version of what makes a home.

School Library Journal:

PreS-Gr 1—A house is just a building, but a home is made up of all the pieces on the inside. Lloyd-Jones tells the tale of a young girl and the parts that make up her home in rhythmic, hand-lettered text. The story builds on repetition and travels through a day with the main character, inside her home and further into her community. “And your Swing is to swing you./Right up to the sky/Up over the wall/Up, up till you see/Swallows and cornfields/And tractors and sheep/And the world that is waiting below.” Dyer’s gouache and pencil pictures include a balanced variation of spreads and closer images with greater white space behind them. The images reveal the finer details of a young child’s life and draw together the broad story line. Although the words are charming and the pictures are captivating, the book does paint a very privileged, middle-class version of what constitutes a home. According to this title, it means having a full family, a large house, a yard with a swings- et, a bike, lots of toys, and much more. For communities that can relate to this standard of living, this selection will be well received as a read aloud.—Megan Egbert, Meridian Library District, ID

Book 4:

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The Bear Ate Your Sandwich

Written and Illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach (2015)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

Publishers Weekly:

“By now I think you know what happened to your sandwich,” begins the unseen narrator of Sarcone-Roach’s (Subway Story) sly tale. “But you may not know how it happened…. It all started with the bear.” The narrator spins a long, involved story about how a bear found its way to the city (and the sandwich), while warm, painterly acrylics show what’s really going on. The bear finds himself a stowaway on a berry truck that passes “high cliffs” (readers see tall buildings) and arrives in “a new forest” (a lively city street). He makes the city his own, shinnying up fire escapes and riffling ruinously through the papers outside a newsstand, then arrives in the park: “There it was. Your beautiful and delicious sandwich. All alone.” The bear gobbles it down and returns to bear country by boat. Or so the storyteller says—he’s revealed to be the young sandwich owner’s dog, and he might not be entirely trustworthy. The fabricated story and accompanying artwork stand nicely on their own, while the narrative frame delivers an extra comic kick in the pants. Ages 3–7. Agent: Paul Rodeen, Rodeeen Literary Management. (Jan.)

Book 5:

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Special Delivery

Written by Phillip Stead; Illustrated by Matthew Cordell (2015)

Available in Hardcover

Another favorite Author/Illustrator duo reteams up for a delightful, silly story. They won a Caldecott Medal for A Sick Day for Amos in 2011. Be sure to check this one out!

School Library Journal:

PreS-Gr 2—How exactly does one deliver an elephant to a dear aunt “who lives almost completely alone and could really use the company”? Spunky young Sadie plans to send the pachyderm through the mail, but the wheelbarrow full of stamps required for the transaction makes her realize she needs another game plan. Undaunted, Sadie and the elephant travel by biplane, train, alligator and ice-cream truck to get to Great-Aunt Josephine, who as it turns out, doesn’t really live almost completely alone thanks to Sadie. Watercolor and ink illustrations have a scratchy cartoonish quality reminiscent of James Stevenson that infuses the story with energy. From the “uh, oh” speech bubble hovering over the sputtering plane as Sadie realizes she’s running out of gas to a train full of monkey bandits chowing down on bananas and canned beans, these two-page spreads are a comic delight, resulting in an engaging blend of perfectly paced adventure and visual humor. Add in a liberal use of exaggerated sound effects, and the outcome is a read-aloud winner sure to deliver laughs to young readers.—Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library

Book 6:

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Home

Written and Illustrated by Carson Ellis (2015)

Available in Hardcover

There is beauty on every page of this lovely picture book, depicting different kinds of homes. I love it!

Kirkus Reviews:

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home. “Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon. Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Book 7:

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Henry Finds His Word

Written and Illustrated by Lindsay Ward (2015)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

New moms will love this sweet book of baby talk and the learning of the first word! The illustrations will bring a smile to your face.

School Library Journal:

PreS-K—Henry talks a lot, saying things like “Rah Rah Rah Rah Rah!” and “bbbghsh.” Unfortunately, while he thinks what he says makes perfect sense, his parents don’t understand him. The toddler decides to go searching for the right word, looking in his crib and in his toy box and even asking some of the animals in his backyard for help, albeit unsuccessfully. But when he loses sight of his mother, his first word finally comes to him, as he calls out, “Mama!” and his mother appears right by his side. Like adorable Henry, the writing is warm but also sensitive, particularly when he cannot find his mother: “Henry began to cry. Where was she? He needed her!” Ward also adds a touch of humor both with Henry’s gibberish and at the end, when Henry uses his newfound word whenever he wants something. Ward’s illustrations are created using pencil and pastel, making for soft colors and lines, which match the sweet, gentle tone of the story and young Henry himself. Like the title character of Robert Kraus’s classic Leo the Late Bloomer (HarperCollins, 1979), Henry finds his first word in his own good time.—Laura J. Giunta, Garden City Public Library, NY

Book 8:

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Fetch

Written and Illustrated by Jorey Hurley (2015)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

If you have read my blog much, then you already know that picture books featuring dogs are my absolute favorite! This one has ranked at the top of my list for it’s cute protagonist pup!

School Library Journal:

01/01/2015

PreS-Gr 1—From the author of Nest (S. & S., 2014) comes another spare and beautiful outdoor adventure. One day at the beach, a big dog’s red ball is thrown into the water. “Splash!” And he’s off to “swim,” “dive,” and “seek” that ball. Using only 15 words in total, Hurley takes the canine and readers on a delightful and fanciful romp. Children watch as the waves “crash” over him, see his playful stance when he meets some curious seagulls, and on one of two vertical spreads, are captivated as the dog floats at the water’s surface while down near the ocean floor a shark gains on his fishy prey. Returning triumphantly to his owner with the ball, the eager pup is ready to do it all “again?” An author’s note explains that all of the creatures and plants the dog encounters may be found off the West coast of North America. The palette of blues, greens, grays, browns, and white masterfully evokes the ocean and beach. Occasional use of red adds impact and vitality to the full-page illustrations. Whether this book is enjoyed one-on-one or with a group, requests for repeated readings are sure to follow. Recommended for all, but a must where Hurley’s previous book is popular.—Sara-Jo Lupo Sites, George F. Johnson Memorial Library, Endicott, NY

Here are a few more to that I enjoyed, so be sure to check them out at your local library or favorite bookstore!

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March Madness – Picture Book Style!

March 27, 2014

MARCH MADNESS – PICTURE BOOK STYLE!!

Dear Picture Book Friends,

Hello, hello!  It has been a very rough Winter for us, here in Indiana!  We are ready for Spring and reading picture books out in the sunshine on the porch!

Here are some new picture books that I have come across recently. There are some really beauties in this group and I know there are a few that you will want to add to your collection!

I have added several book trailer videos in this post. They are pretty cute and really enhance the books, so be sure to check them out!

Happy reading and happy Spring!

Lisa

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BOOK 1:

Let There Be Light

Written by Desmond Tutu; Illustrated by Nancy Tillman (2014)

Available in Hardcover

Nancy Tillman has another hit in illustrating this gorgeous picture book!  Let There Be Light is a retelling of the Genesis creation, told in beautiful words by Bishop Tutu. You are going to want to add this one to your picture book collection!!  Check out this video trailer:

School Library Journal:

03/01/2014

PreS-Gr 4—Archbishop Tutu’s version of the creation story first appeared in his Children of God Storybook Bible (Zonderkids, 2010). The retelling of the first chapter of Genesis is both accessible and poetic, with the emphasis being on God’s love. Tillman, best known for her “You Are Loved” trilogy (Feiwel and Friends), brings her signature style to the digitally rendered illustrations. The colors are bright yet misty, with no sharp edges or lines to be found, resulting in a dream-like atmosphere. Her renderings of wild animals are particularly well executed, and a keen observer will find images hiding in clouds. When people appear, they all wear crowns, a conceit that Tillman employed in The Crown on Your Head (Feiwel & Friends, 2011) that may prove puzzling to those unfamiliar with the earlier work. It’s a lovely book, suitable for larger collections where religious material is in high demand.—Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ

 

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BOOK 2:

I Hatched

Written by Jill Esbaum; Illustrated by Jen Corace (2014)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

A baby Killdeer bird hatches from an egg with hilarious enthusiasm!  I love the romping, rhyming text and the illustrations could not be more delightful! This is a perfect springtime read-aloud that is sure to give you a giggle!

Publishers Weekly:

“CRACK!” Using its cute little head as a battering ram, a killdeer chick emerges from its egg, and on long spindly legs asserts its bubbly personality: “I’ve studied me, and oh, my word,” writes Esbaum, “I am one amazing bird!” With a “Kil-DEE!/ Kil-DEE!/ Kil-DEE-DEE-DEE!” the bird scoots around its idyllic habitat, literally grabbing lunch with Mama—“Snails and beetles,/ worms (a bunch!)”— and meeting with an even newer-born sister (“Don’t worry, I know EVERYTHING!”). Although the singsong rhyming can veer toward cutesiness, Esbaum (Tom’s Tweet) captures the egocentric worldview and inexhaustible energy of a bird toddler while presenting a refreshingly species-specific narrative. But the real attraction is Corace’s (The Steadfast Tin Soldier) ink, watercolor, and pencil drawings, a nicely calibrated mix of cheery spot illustrations and more theatrical spreads. The hand-drawn lines and appliqué-like use of colors create a rustic, stylized playfulness that invigorates the rural setting, while conveying the sense of a charismatic young hero-in-the-making. Ages 2–4. Author’s agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Jan.)

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BOOK 3:

Yellow Is My Color Star

Written and Illustrated by Judy Horacek  (2014)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

This picture book is a color celebration for the youngest of picture book readers.  The brilliant color hues will capture their attention and help them learn about colors. I love the rhyming text, lending itself well to the preschool-aged child.  My friend and fellow Grandma, Jill, was so happy to find this sweet book that she bought it for her sweet, little granddaughter!

School Library Journal:

01/01/2014

PreS-K—This rhyming picture book about colors encourages children to choose their favorite. After a child explains how the colors pink, blue, green, purple, red, and orange make him feel, he reveals why he likes yellow best. During the first half of the book, children can search for a bird on each page. In the second half, youngsters will enjoy naming all seven colors as they appear on frogs, butterflies, cars, and fish. The naïve-style watercolor illustrations depict a diverse group of boys and girls. On two spreads, the color of the text matches the word it spells, helping to reinforce the connection between words and pictures. This cheerful story will teach toddlers and preschoolers about a key concept.—Tanya Boudreau, Cold Lake Public Library, AB, Canada

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BOOK 4:

Nest

Written and Illustrated by Jorey Hurley  (2014)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

I fell in love with the illustrations in this simple story of the natural world.

School Library Journal:

★ 01/01/2014

PreS-Gr 1—In this stunning debut, we meet a pair of robins and their egg. We watch the parents incubate and hatch the egg and teach the baby bird to survive and fly. Seasons change, colors change. The family faces danger, but ultimately finds safety and comfort. This story is told primarily through the crisp illustrations that have a light, airy quality. The narrative includes only fifteen words, one on each spread, which adds to the dramatic impact: “Nest…warm…hatch….grow…jump….” The conceptual space between each page turn invites readers to thread together the story and imagine each step in the bird’s journey. The illustrations evoke the eloquent simplicity of a Japanese woodblock print while the frontispiece depicts clusters of robin’s eggs, reminiscent of clouds in a Georgia O’Keefe painting. Every page resonates with a vision that is both ethereal and quotidian. The birds are depicted naturalistically and an author’s note includes factual information about robins and their nests. Nest’s beauty and originality will stand up to countless re-readings.—Jess deCourcy Hinds, Bard High School Early College, Queens, NY

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BOOK 5:

The Pigeon Needs a Bath!

Written and Illustrated by Mo Willems  (2014)

Available in Hardcover

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a deep love for Mo Willem’s picture books.  Pigeon is at it again in this child relatable drama of needing a bath!

B&N.com Overview:

Pigeons (like certain little boys and girls who will here remain nameless) don’t like to take baths, but as time passes and grime builds, the cries become intense for our fine-feathered friends and little ones to take the big dive. In this LOL picture book, master storyteller and illustrator Mo Willems (Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!) provides everything except the soap.

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BOOK 6:

Hi, Koo:  A Year of Seasons

Written and Illustrated by Jon J. Muth  (2014)

Available in Hardcover

My, oh my, do I ever love this blend of Jon Muth and haiku poetry.  Muth takes on the seasons, with the perfect blend of poems within the beautiful muted watercolor illustrations.

Kirkus Reviews:

★ 2013-12-18

Long before photography, poets took to haiku, the poetic equivalent of a snapshot, and painters, to the suggestive medium of watercolor to capture the essence of moments in nature. Caldecott Honoree Muth (Zen Shorts, 2005) employs both, with the help of his playful panda Koo, to present 26 moments through the seasons. Though light in tone and geared toward pre-reader eyes and interests, the mostly outdoor scenes Muth depicts command serious attention from all. The first page simultaneously demonstrates both Muth’s adherence to haiku’s three-line form rather than its traditional five-seven-five syllabic sequence and his exquisite use of white space. “Autumn, / are you dreaming / of new clothes?” reads the text as Koo reaches up to try to catch a handful of falling leaves. One of the few scenes referencing indoor living hilariously comes in early spring: “too much TV this winter / my eyes are square / let’s go Out and play.” Two children and Koo stand in front of a large television, the whites of the children’s eyes boxed and zombielike and Koo’s, two solid black squares. A more reflective, deeply moving spring moment finds the children alone with a book in the woods, Muth’s delicate watercolor and subtle inking deftly suggesting the forest’s shifting scope. Throughout, condensed poetic image coupled with spare illustration yields huge effect; in a word, magical. (Picture book/poetry. 3 & up)

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BOOK 7:

Two Hands to Love You

Written by Diane Adams; Illustrated by Paige Kaiser (2014)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

This is one of those picture books that tugs at your heartstrings and you have to try to keep your emotions together not to cry when you read it to your children.  Beautiful!

B&N.com Overview:

I’ll bathe you in bubbles and soak you in sun,

then wrap you up tightly when bath time is done.

With two loving hands, an adoring mother cradles her baby after bath time and a devoted father lifts his newborn to look into a nest. Sister, brother, grandma, and grandpa all can’t wait to share what they love best with their newest family member. And when it is time to step out into the world, this caring family is right there alongside their littlest one. In simple, heartfelt language, this soothing picture book for the very young will tug at the heartstrings and remind us all of the caring hands that helped us along our way.

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BOOK 8:

Peggy: A Brave Chicken on a Big Adventure

Written and Illustrated by Anna Walker  (2014)

Available in Hardcover

Peggy the Hen has quite an adventure, making new friends along the way.  Lovely paintings enhance this picture book, also with an undertone to teaching children resourcefulness.

Kirkus Reviews:

★ 2014-01-29

A charmer of a chicken has a big adventure in this import from Australia. Peggy is a hen contented with her life in a sweet, small (hen) house that occupies the sunflower-bedecked yard of a suburban home. Understated text reveals her daily routine of breakfast, play in the backyard and pigeon watching, and accompanying ink-and–photo-collage illustrations humorously depict her eating from a bowl, jumping on a trampoline and gazing at pigeons. The little hen meets a challenge when a gust of wind sends her sailing off the trampoline, out of the safety of her yard and into a bustling city. A stunning wordless spread that doubles as cover art then shows her walking amid a crowd of pedestrians, umbrellas aloft. “Peggy watched, hopped, jumped, twirled, and tasted,” and droll art expands on these simple verbs with delightful vignettes. In keeping with the classic home-away-home plot arc, Peggy grows homesick and hopefully follows a city dweller carrying sunflowers like those from her yard. Forlorn when this plan fails, she is heartened by the appearance of pigeons that helpfully shepherd her home. In a pitch-perfect resolution, Peggy resumes her routine, but instead of just watching the pigeons, she now chats with them, and the final page turn assures readers that she sometimes catches “the train to the city.” Here’s hoping that Peggy has many more big adventures. (Picture book. 3-7)

 

 

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BOOK 9:

You Were The First

Written by Patricia MacLachlan; Illustrated by Stephanie Graegin (2014)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

This picture book is a touching tribute to those unforgettable milestones of your baby’s “firsts”.  This would make a memorable new baby gift.  I purchased a copy to give to my firstborn son, who is now the father of my two-year old granddaughter, Danielle.

Children’s Literature –

First-borns can feel a little insecure when they learn that a new brother or sister is on the way. This picture book is designed to help them overcome that feeling, and to reassure them of their parent’s love. The story reminds the child about all the “firsts” that he experienced: the first smile, the first laugh, the first step, the first snow-angel, and many more. But by far, the most important “first” was that he taught his mom and dad how to be parents. There are two or three short sentences on every other page. The text is accompanied by full-page illustrations done in pastel colors with dashes of bright colors here and there. The pictures of the mother, father, and son are charming, and the portrayal of the dog is quite endearing. A simple, comforting book, it should be a favorite in households preparing to welcome another child. Reviewer: Leona Illig

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BOOK 10:

The Odd One Out

A Spotting Book

Written and Illustrated by Britta Teckentrup  (2014)

Available in Hardcover

My children loved “seek & find” books as they were growing up.  They will still enjoy this little treasure, even as adults!  I greatly enjoy the art of this picture book!

Kirkus Reviews:

2014-01-22

In this classic take on a hunt for the odd one out, Teckentrup creates elegant Escher-like wallpapers of prints depicting a varied selection of interesting animals. Creatures depicted include bats, camels, seals, tortoises, ostriches, pandas, rhinos, monkeys, flamingos, fish, lemurs, penguins and butterflies. Rhyming verses on the left-hand page of each spread challenge readers to spot the difference in the full-page repeating patterns of animal prints on each right-hand page. The final spread conceals a new animal among all the by-now familiar ones. Subtle coloration and textures and thoughtfully chosen background colors give the pages a hand-printed feel, in spite of the repetitive nature of the illustrations. Trying to spot the odd one out will keep children busy for quite a while, as some of the puzzles are hard to spot. (Even grown-ups may have a hard time finding the “silly lemur” looking at his own nose!) The wallpaper-pattern format determines the size of the illustrations, thus limiting readership to individuals or smaller groups. Although the verses tend toward doggerel rather than fine poetry, and are at times grammatically questionable, the very young and their adult readers will improve their differentiation skills while having fun spotting the odd ones out. (Picture book. 2-5)

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BOOK 11:

How To Babysit Grandma

Written by Jean Reagan; Illustrated by Lee Wildish (2014)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

I have been anxiously waiting for the release of this picture book since I reviewed “How To Babysit Grandpa” last year!  This is another hit and a good heartwarming look at the modern day Grandma/Grandchild relationship.  I love it and it has been immediately added to my picture book library collection!

School Library Journal:

02/01/2014

PreS-Gr 2—In a companion to Reagan’s How to Babysit a Grandpa (Knopf, 2012), a young girl heads over to her grandma’s house for a sleepover babysitting session-with the child providing clear and humorous instructions to readers on how to care for a grandma. The to-do list contains many choices for Grandma to select from, including a walk to the park, reading, taking photos, playing dress-up, and adding sugary sprinkles to her meal items. The child wisely allows plenty of time for Grandma to look at the pages while reading a book, peek at the stars, and choose the best spot to sleep. Any grown-up who has calmly been the object of a child’s flights of fancy will chuckle at the scenarios, as Grandma, never mugging or rolling her eyes, participates fully and patiently in all of her granddaughter’s ideas. The full-color digital art is bright, and sharp-eyed children will delight in the details, including the silly antics of Grandma’s dog. While this book breaks no new ground, the charm of its premise and the clear bond between the generations will have kids and grandparents giggling together.—Marge Loch-Wouters, La Crosse Public Library, WI

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BOOK 12:

Aviary Wonders Inc. Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual

Written and Illustrated by Kate Samsworth  (2014)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

I have saved my favorite new picture book for last!

When my fellow bookseller and friend, Liza, placed this in my hands, my whole spine began to tingle with that feeling… it is that thrill of knowing you are about to open a book that is simply going to blow you away! I cannot express how brilliantly illustrated this picture book’s oil painted spreads truly are. While the illustrations are breathtaking, you are also learning wonderful facts about different types of birds.  This picture book would be more appropriate for older children, or adults, like me, who truly appreciate picture book art as a true art form!

Kirkus Reviews:

02/01/2014

PreS-Gr 2—In a companion to Reagan’s How to Babysit a Grandpa (Knopf, 2012), a young girl heads over to her grandma’s house for a sleepover babysitting session-with the child providing clear and humorous instructions to readers on how to care for a grandma. The to-do list contains many choices for Grandma to select from, including a walk to the park, reading, taking photos, playing dress-up, and adding sugary sprinkles to her meal items. The child wisely allows plenty of time for Grandma to look at the pages while reading a book, peek at the stars, and choose the best spot to sleep. Any grown-up who has calmly been the object of a child’s flights of fancy will chuckle at the scenarios, as Grandma, never mugging or rolling her eyes, participates fully and patiently in all of her granddaughter’s ideas. The full-color digital art is bright, and sharp-eyed children will delight in the details, including the silly antics of Grandma’s dog. While this book breaks no new ground, the charm of its premise and the clear bond between the generations will have kids and grandparents giggling together.—Marge Loch-Wouters, La Crosse Public Library, WI

 

 

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2014 American Library Association Caldecott Award Winner!

WINNER:

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HONORS:

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Happy New Year! Happy New Picture Books!

 

Happy New Year and Happy New Picture Books!

January 6, 2014

Dear Picture Book Friends,

I am sorry to have been absent for the past few months!  It has been a bit of a whirlwind, first with the birth of my beautiful, new, tiny granddaughter, London.  And then shortly after her birth I broke my ankle in a silly fall and struggled a bit to get through the holidays.  I am mending well and should be out of my boot cast in the next few weeks. 

I was able, recently, to head up to my bookstore and check out some of the newly released picture books.  Here are a few my daughter, Cait, and I, thought blog worthy!  There is nothing cozier during winter days than a stack of picture books, a blanket and some hot cocoa!!  Your children will remember those days, my friends!  I loaded up both of my sweet granddaughters with some wonderful picture books for their moms & dads to read to them on wintery days just like we are having here today in Indiana!

Also, don’t forget the big upcoming Caldecott announcement on January 27!   This is a day that always excites me and I live stream the ceremony on my computer.  I will post a special blog note when I hear the announcement so be looking for it!

Thank you reading my blog and for your support!  It means a lot to me!

Happy reading!

Lisa

BOOK 1:

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The Runaway Hug

Written by Nick Bland; Illustrated by Freya Blackwood (2013)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

The cover of this adorable book grabbed my attention right away!  The picture drawings are whimsical and sweet!  As a Grammy of a granddaughter that enjoys passing her hugs around, I know she’s going to love this story and you will too!!

Overview on www.bn.com :

“Mommy,” said Lucy. “Can I have a hug before I go to bed?” 

When Mommy jokes that she only has one hug left, Lucy decides she must keep Mommy’s last hug safe. As Lucy shares the hug with everyone in her large and loving family, she is always careful to get it back . . . until the canine member of the family refuses to play along!

Highly acclaimed, internationally bestselling picture-book creators Nick Bland and Freya Blackwood collaborate for the first time on this charming story, which celebrates the imaginative powers of children and the extraordinary love to be found in ordinary bedtime routines.

BOOK 2:

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Paul Meets Bernadette

Written and Illustrated by Rosy Lamb (2013)

Available in Hardcover

This story is about a fish who sees things in a different way.  It is imaginative and the pictures are stunning.  This lends itself well to a beginning discussion of “everything is not always as it seems”.

Publishers Weekly:

Two goldfish admire the view from their bowl in Lamb’s promising debut. At first, orange juice–hued Paul spends all his time circling “from left to right and from right to left,” without much emotion or variety. “And then one day, Bernadette dropped in.” The newcomer, a saucy tomato-red fish, makes imaginative observations about their kitchen-table surroundings, pronouncing a banana “a boat” and a teapot “an elephant.” As the fish watch the “elephant” filling teacups (courtesy of an offstage human hand), Berna-dette cautions, “you must not disturb her when she is feeding her babies.” Amused children will protest as Paul falls under Bernadette’s spell, especially when Paul correctly identifies a pair of fried eggs and Bernadette contradicts him: “That is the sun and the moon!” Lamb’s delectable painting technique recalls that of confection-master Wayne Thiebaud; her backdrops resemble buttercream frosting in turquoise, sky blue, and lichen green, and she limns the fishes’ domain with impasto brushstrokes of white, yellow, and marine blue. Her sly approach to the way that love and friendship can alter one’s very view of life welcomes repeat visits. Ages 4–8. (Dec.)

BOOK 3:

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Trouper

Written by Meg Kearney; Illustrated by E.B. Lewis (2013)

Based on a true story, Trouper is a moving story of a three-legged stray dog who finds a loving boy to call his own.  I am a huge advocate of pet rescue adoptions and I love this story!  The watercolor painted illustrations are muted and realistic.  This is a perfect group read-aloud book, lending itself to discussions of compassion, differences, and love of our pets.

Publishers Weekly:

The premise of Kearney’s (The Girl in the Mirror) story of canine adoption is moving in itself; that it’s based on her own rescue of a black Lab only amplifies its poignancy. An introductory note explains the story of the real Trouper, a Puerto Rican street dog rescued by the owners of an animal shelter, who arranged to have his mangled leg amputated and then put him up for adoption. The fictional Trouper (who already has only three legs) narrates his version of events in verse, telling his young owner about “the before time” when he “ran with a mob of mutts.” After a dogcatcher captures the strays and locks them in cages at the pound, Trouper’s pals are adopted one by one, until he is the only dog left (“My heart was a cold, starless night—/ until your face/ shone through the bars/ like a mini sun”). Caldecott Honor illustrator Lewis (Coming on Home Soon) used Kearney’s pet as a model for his lifelike watercolor portraits, which provide a sure sense of the dog’s indefatigable spirit. Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: Dwyer & O’Grady. (Nov.)

BOOK 4:

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Friends

Written and Illustrated by Eric Carle (2013)

Available in Hardcover

This is a sweet story about the power of friendship.  Sure to become a classic, Eric Carle illustrates this beautifully in his “chunky” style.  A deeply personal story for Eric, this story is dedicated to his longtime wife, Bobbie, and it is their bond that inspired the book. For anyone who has ever scaled mountains to be with the one he loves, or for anyone who has simply known the love and joy of a great friendship, this book will touch your heart.

School Library Journal:

PreS-Gr 2—A boy describes his devoted affection for a friend with whom he plays, dances, and shares secrets. Then she moves away, and he is all alone. He misses her terribly and vows to find her. Readers will cheer his bravery as he crosses a swift river, climbs over a steep mountain, and travels through a dewy meadow and shadowy forest to find her. Ultimately, he stumbles across a flower garden. With a bouquet in hand, he finds his friend, reunites with her and (playfully) marries her. Both are humorously shown in oversize adult apparel, holding hands. The concluding page shows a scanned photograph, taken in 1932, of the author and a long-lost friend at age three. This story of love and determination is illustrated with Carle’s extraordinary signature artwork. Layers of tissue paper and acrylic paint create a unique blend of colorful images. For anyone who would cross rivers and scale mountains for a beloved friend, this warmhearted story will create an emotional response. Young readers will learn the value of friendship and its many challenges.—Krista Welz, The North Bergen Public Library, NJ

BOOK 5:

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Bits & Pieces

Written and Illustrated by Judy Schnacher (2013)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

If you are a fan of the Skippy Jon Jones picture books, then the illustrations in this one will look very familiar.  Judy Schnacher is one of my favorite author/illustrators! The theme in this one is a warmly affectionate portrait of a family’s devotion to their beloved cat.  Tink has everything he ever wanted – delicious treats, hugs and kisses, and even to raise her own kitten. The only thing missing is wild outdoor adventure. So when the opportunity arises, Tink sneaks out and becomes an outdoor cat for one unforgettable night!  Judy Schnacher’s books are always perfect for reading aloud and this one is a puuuurrrfect picture book!

Kirkus Reviews:

Another charming slice-of-(real)-life story from veteran author/illustrator Schachner that will particularly please fans of The Grannyman (1999). Readers learn immediately that Tink, the feline main character who’s loved to “bits and pieces” by his human family, is the kitten that was raised by Simon, the elderly Siamese cat in the earlier book. The narrator speculates that perhaps this unorthodox upbringing is the source of Tink’s quirky habits. But really, his behavior seems completely catlike. Combining mixed-media illustrations and a conversational tone with a healthy dollop of humor, Schachner describes how Tink digs in the plants, sits on the newspaper, jumps into the middle of board games, stalks the bathtub and generally makes a beloved pest of himself. Breezy, colorful full-page paintings and multiple smaller vignettes are created with charcoal, pastel, watercolor and cut-paper collage to show these and other adventures, including a memorable trip to the vet. Though Schachner doesn’t explicitly identify Tink’s family, fans will likely recognize the two adorable girls who are his “sisters” as well as their parents, and they may even have some suspicions about the big-eared Siamese kitten that eventually joins the household. Their cozy home life contrasts effectively with the mild adventure Tink manages to tuck into his old age. Fellow cat fanciers will appreciate Schachner’s low-key tale and share her unabashed love for her furry friend. (Picture book. 4-7)

BOOK 6:

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Never Too Little to Love

Written by Jeanne Willis; Illustrated by Jan Fearnley (2013)

Available in Hardcover

My daughter, Cait, and I fell in love with this little book!  I had to include it in my post this month!

Overview on www.bn.com :

Whimsical watercolors illustrate a comical, cumulative tale of an amorous mouse who aims impossibly high — and learns that you’re never too little (or too big) to love.  Tiny Too-Little loves someone who’s very, very tall, and Tiny wants a kiss. What if he stands on his tiptoes on top of a thimble? What if he stands on his tiptoes on top of a matchbox on top of a thimble? Clever cut-away pages show Tiny’s precarious pile growing higher and higher, while the object of his affection stays just out of reach. When the teetering stack finally falls with a crash, will his hopes be dashed? How can a tiny mouse get the kiss he needs?

BOOK 7:

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Dinosaur Kisses

Written and Illustrated by David Ezra Stein (2013)

Available in Hardcover

This cute dinosaur, Dinah, made me laugh out loud!  This is a romp of a story sure to bring a giggle to you too!

Publishers Weekly:

Chomp! Stomp! Whomp! Dinah is a wide-eyed, speckled baby dinosaur who wants to try everything, but finesse is not her strong point. She has stubby legs, an eager smile, and a matchless set of jaws. When two tiny creatures kiss each other at Dinah’s feet, Dinah wants to try, too. Her first victim gets a bite on the rear, the next one is flattened by her big dinosaur stompers, and the third gets… eaten. “Whoops,” says Dinah. “Not good.” Only when another baby dinosaur appears does Dinah find a playmate whose life she won’t endanger. “What’s kiss?” the other dinosaur asks, and the two explore affection—rather violently. Stein (Ol’ Mama Squirrel) draws Dinah with a simple, cookie-cutter outline, but her stricken expressions and forthright pursuit of love are plenty complex. Dinah’s swampy world features a sulfurous yellow sky and pint-size volcanoes that explode quietly in the distance. Kids will plunge into the whomping and chomping with glee, and they’ll understand a hero who means to be careful, but who ends up stomping all over things anyway. Ages 2–5. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Aug.)

BOOK 8:

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Snowflakes Fall

Written by Patricia MacLachlan; Illustrated by Steven Kellogg (2013)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

Moved to collaborate on a message of hope, MacLachlan and Kellogg weave a story of renewal and life’s natural cycle.  The book is a tribute to the lives lost in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. I think it will especially strike a chord with adults.

School Library Journal:

PreS-Gr 3—A gentle picture book created as tribute to the victims of the 2012 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. In his dedication, Kellogg expresses his hope that this book “celebrates the laughter, the playful high spirits, and the uniqueness of the children of Sandy Hook and of children everywhere.” And indeed, the image of falling snowflakes-“Flake/After flake/After flake/Each one a pattern/All its own-/No two the same-/All beautiful”-makes an affecting metaphor. MacLachlan’s lyrical and understated poem describes snowflakes swirling “together/Like the voices of children” to blanket backyards and sleeping gardens, rolling countryside, and the town’s familiar sites. Though a nighttime storm may bring shadows that “darken dreams,” morning always comes again, revealing a shining world and the opportunity to play outdoors. In springtime, “when the flowers bloom/The children remember the snowflakes/And we remember the children-/No two the same-/All beautiful.” Throughout, Kellogg’s paintings dazzle with brightly clad kids joyfully romping through winter scenes. As flowers bloom, some of the youngsters dance into a still-snowy sky, and the back endpaper shows a row of 20 snow angels taking flight from a moonlit hillside and soaring into the heavens. Accentuating the rebirth found in nature’s cycle, text and images depict the process of healing and renewal, the comfort of memory, and the power of hope. Adults can share this book to address tragic events, discuss grief and the recovery process, and remind children of the precious beauty of life.—Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal

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Yahoo for New Picture Books!!

September 9, 2013

Yahoo for New Picture Books!!

Dear Picture Book friends,

As I write, I cannot believe that the summer of 2013 has come to an end!  It seemed to fly by… as it seems each year is now flying faster than the last.  The best part of summer was spending time with my sweet granddaughter!  She turns 18 months old today and is full of wonder and fun!  My next granddaughter will be arriving in November and that is going to be here before we know it!  I am beyond excited!!  The other fun part of my summer was reading… I read some great books over the summer!  If you need a recommend that isn’t a picture book, please message me for some ideas.  And if you need picture book recommendations, well, you know where to come!

Happy reading!

Love,

Lisa

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BOOK 1:

Journey

Written and Illustrated by Aaron Becker  (2013)

Available in Hardcover

I love wordless picture books.  They lend themselves to imagining and storytelling of our own.  This one is a beauty!  The muted tones are calming, while the girl protagonist uses her imagination with bright red marker in hand to create the story.

Kirkus Reviews:

Ignored by her digitally distracted family, a girl draws a red door on her bedroom wall and steps through. A lush green forest twinkles with lanterns and strung lights; a dizzying castle towers, its gates, turrets and halls linked by complicated waterways; a hovering aircraft festooned with propellers and wheels holds an imprisoned purple-plumed bird. Amid these marvels, the girl appears markedly ordinary with her common pageboy haircut, minimal facial features and simple clothes. She could be anyone, really, and readers will easily appropriate her journey as their own. Putty-colored grays and flat, boxy city shapes defined the girl’s urban reality, but here, color rules, modulating from mossy greens to slate blues to dusky purple–all punctuated with her crayon’s brilliant red and the yellow of a golden bird cage. White pages highlight action (the girl’s crayon whips up a boat, a hot air balloon and a magic carpet when needed), but most spreads deliver fantastically intricate pen, ink and watercolor architectural illustrations that remain playfully engrossing. They conjure contextual questions with no clear answers, or perhaps with so many answers one’s imagination finds itself opening door upon door and crossing thresholds, just as the girl did to escape loneliness. After freeing the bird, she needs its help for a quick escape through a small purple door back to her everyday street and back to a boy who wields an equally powerful purple crayon (an obvious and moving homage). An imaginative adventure story whose elaborate illustrations inspire wonder, careful examination and multiple reads. (Picture book. 2-6)

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BOOK 2:

The Blessing Cup

Written and Illustrated by Patricia Polacco  (2013)

Available in Hardcover

I am a huge fan of Patricia Polacco!  This book is a prequel to Polacco’s The Keeping Quilt.  Her beautiful books always leave me with something to think about.  This one is a generational family story and more sophisticated than most picture books.  I would suggest it for older children and adults.

Kirkus Reviews:

Polacco has a gift for turning her own family stories into picture books that can touch the hearts of all. The Keeping Quilt is now 25 years old. In this brand-new companion, Polacco turns to her great-grandmother Anna’s story of how she came to America. The pictures, vibrant and brilliantly suggestive of movement, are mostly black-and-white, shaded with her signature use of color to highlight certain details. Devotees of The Keeping Quilt will recognize Anna’s babushka, which became the border of the quilt, on the young Anna when the czar’s soldiers come to their Russian town to burn the temple and expel all the Jews. The family packs up its most precious possessions, including her papa’s sewing machine and the beautiful china teapot and cups that were a wedding present. Even as they travel, they continue the ritual of drinking from the cups for God’s blessing, breaking bread so they will never know hunger and using salt so that their lives will have flavor. When Anna’s papa’s health breaks down from hauling the cart with all their possessions, a widowed doctor takes the family in and cares for them until, once again, they are forced to leave. In gratitude for the doctor’s care and for his supplying them with passage to America, they leave him the tea set, save for one cup. Polacco closes with the journey of that particular cup to the present day. History, religious persecution, immigration, and the skeins of faith and love that connect a family are all knit together in this powerful, accessible and deeply affecting story. (Picture book. 6-10)

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BOOK 3:

I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love

Written and Illustrated by Nancy Tillman  (2013)

Nancy Tillman is a favorite picture book author/illustrator of mine.  Her newest installment in her “love” series does not disappoint!  This book would make a lovely gift for a newborn or just celebrating a family’s love.  Simply beautiful!

Barnes & Noble:

There are things about you quite unlike any other.

Things always known by your father or mother.

So if you decide to be different one day,

no worries… I’d know you anyway.

Every child is special and unique, but every child also loves to dream of being something different. In I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love, bestselling author and artist Nancy Tillman has created another heartfelt masterpiece celebrating the joys of imagination, and the comfort of always knowing that “you are loved.”

Ask any roomful of children what animals they would like to be and barrages of answers will greet you almost instantly. On the Night You Were Born author/illustrator Nancy Tillman takes that core connection and turns it into a cute, sweet book about parental love so deep that it can penetrate any disguise. Bound to be a gift.

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BOOK 4:

Fall Walk

Written and Illustrated by Virginia Brimhall Snow  (2013)

Available in Hardcover

I cannot wait to share this gorgeous book with my little granddaughter!  She loves being outside and touching leaves and flowers.  I also love that the Grandmother in the book is called “Grammy” which is what she calls me!

Leaves rustle, crunch, twirl, scatter, and dance in the wind as “Grammy” takes some of her favorite grandkids on an autumn stroll.

Beautifully illustrated and with rhyming narrative, the storybook teaches children to identify 24 different kinds of leaves by their shapes and fall colors. From maple to mulberry and peach to pecan, kids will have fun learning about common and fascinating trees and their leaves. And at the end of the day, they learn how to press the gathered leaves in a book and make a leaf rubbing.

Trees include:

Aspen

Birch

Canada Red

Chokecherry

Cottonwood

Elm

Flowering Pear

Flowering Plum

Ginkgo

Golden Rain

Hawthorn

Honey Locust

Linden

Maple

Mulberry

Oak

Peach

Pecan

Poplar

Russian Olive

Sassafras

Sweet Gum

Sycamore

Tree

Walnut

Willow

READ AN EXERP:

I went for a walk in the leaves today. They rustled and crunched as I kicked them away.

Red, orange, yellow, purple and brown, They flew into the air and then fluttered down.

My grammy told me the name of each one, Remembering was hard, but I still had fun.

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BOOK 5:

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild

Written and Illustrated by Peter Brown  (2013)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

Do you want to have more fun?  Are you bored with being proper?  Yes?  Then this book is for you!  Mr. Tiger knows how you feel and decides to go wild!  This would be perfect for a small group story time event and keep little ones engaged in the story!

Kirkus Reviews:

There’s a lot to go wild for in this picture-book celebration of individuality and self-expression. Mr. Tiger lives a peaceable, if repressed, life alongside other anthropomorphic animals in a monochromatic, dreadfully formal little town. All the other animals seem content with their stiff, dull lives, except for Mr. Tiger, whose bright coloring is a visual metaphor for his dissatisfaction. When child (animal) characters scamper by, a bipedal horse admonishes them, “Now, children, please do not act like wild animals.” This plants a seed in Mr. Tiger’s mind, and a few pages later, he embraces a quadruped stance. The spread following this wordless one makes great use of the gutter, positioning aghast townsfolk on the verso as Mr. Tiger proudly marches off the recto on all fours. This is just the beginning of his adoption of wild ways, however: He sheds his clothing, runs away to the wilderness, roars and generally runs amok. But, much like that other Wild Thing, Max, Mr. Tiger comes to miss his friends, his city and his home, and so he returns to find “that things were beginning to change.” Ensuing pages show animals in various states of (un)dress, sometimes on all fours, sometimes on two feet, cavorting about in colorful settings, and (to paraphrase the closing lines) all feeling free to be themselves. Hooray for Mr. Tiger and his wild ways! (Picture book. 3-7)

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BOOK 6:

Peck, Peck, Peck

Written and Illustrated by Lucy Cousins  (2013)

Available in Hardcover

This is a fun, new book from the creator of the “Maisy” books.  I enjoy her bold, black outlined drawings.  I also enjoy a picture book for younger children with a sing-song rhyme to them.  There are little cut-out holes that baby bird “pecked” into the book.  So cute!

Publishers Weekly:

Cousins’s black outlines and cozy colors (which will be instantly recognizable to Maisy fans) tell the story of a young woodpecker learning to peck. “Now hold on tight. That’s very good,” says the woodpecker father to his offspring. “Then peck, peck, peck, peck, peck the wood.” The junior woodpecker’s first efforts are revealed with a small, die-cut hole: “Peck peck peck ‘Oh, look, yippee!/ I’ve pecked a hole right through this tree.’ ” Eagerly, the bird ventures closer to a house and then inside it, turning successive pages into something that comes close to Swiss cheese. “I peck, peck, peck a magazine,/ a picture of Aunt Geraldine,/ an armchair, a teddy bear,/ and a book called Jane Eyre,” boasts the small bird. Exhausted, the pecking student heads home to bed. The father woodpecker appears to be a single father, and the sex of the young woodpecker is unstated. The story is stripped-down and expertly paced, and the idea of receiving warm praise from a parent for poking holes in a bunch of random objects stays funny all the way through. Ages 2–5. (Aug.)

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BOOK 7:

Warning:  Do Not Open This Book!

Written by Adam Lehrhaupt; Illustrated by Matthew Forsythe  (2013)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

This monkey-infested romp of a book will have you laughing out loud as you are warned time and time again to not continue reading it.  Children love this kind of silly humor and will definitely enjoy this book!

Kirkus Reviews:

Debut author Lehrhaupt and New York Times Notable Children’s Book illustrator Forsythe (My Name Is Elizabeth!, 2011) team up for a laugh-out-loud romp through monkey-infested pages. From the title and the endpapers’ warning signs (“I guess you don’t mind being mauled by mo___s”) to the opening pages’ admonishments not to venture further, the narrator repeatedly warns readers not to open this book. Those who do not heed these pleas release a troop of artistic monkeys that wreak havoc on the book itself. Nothing is safe from these wild invaders–not the art and not the text. When the narrator again urges readers to turn back, toucans join the fracas. Forsythe uses the same warm palette for the toucans as the monkeys, adding a nice continuity to an otherwise strange addition that slows down this well-paced story. Before the toucans can do much, an alligator shows up, frightening everyone. With chaos reigning supreme, the narrator turns to readers for help in laying out a plan to snare the animals inside the book. Forsythe’s digitally rendered art is hilariously expressive and laugh-worthy in its own right, and it is well-paired with Lehrhaupt’s spare comic text, successfully creating a book that is enjoyable both to read and behold. In the tradition of humorous metafictive offerings of the past, this celebration of chaos is a veritable festival of fun. (Picture book. 3-7)

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BOOK 8:

Hello, My Name is Ruby

Written and Illustrated by Phillip C. Stead  (2013)

Available in Hardcover

Oh my GOSH!!  This is one of the cutest picture books I have seen in a while!  This is perfect for reading aloud to your little ones, offering up a great opportunity for them to join in with silly sounds.  I love it!!

School Library Journal:

09/01/2013

PreS-Gr 1—This deceptively simple tale eloquently explores the universal theme of making friends. “Hello, my name is Ruby,” says a small yellow bird as she encounters a variety of avian counterparts and discovers the shared pleasures of flying and walking. Another bird shows her that she need not feel small when she is among friends. But then one of her overtures, “Would you like to be my friend?” is met with rejection when a large bird with striking plumage says, “No, thank you.” In a poignant wordless illustration, Ruby stands in the rain, singing a sad song. After the sun dries her feathers, she meets a “curious bird” who peers at her from a great height. Ruby explains that a name “is a sound that is all yours,” and the pair exchange names: “ROOO-beee, ROOO-beee-OOO-beee-OOO-beee./SKEEP-wock, replied the bird. SKEEEEEP-wock-wock-wock.” Skeepwock is glad to meet her and tells her that he’s heard her name before, leading her to a tree full of yellow birds just like her. Stead pairs a minimal amount of text with ingeniously crafted, mixed-media illustrations. Varying perspectives and brilliant use of color and line give voice to Ruby’s emotions: from shy wonderment to abject rejection and, finally, infectious delight. This irresistible read-aloud, with its recognizable and much-loved theme, will resonate with children.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA

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Back to School Picture Books!

August 12, 2013

Back To School Picture Books!

Dear Picture Book Friends,

Happy August!  I am always shocked at how quickly the summer months fly by!  Here we are already, with most children heading back to school this week. 

Generally I feature brand new released picture books on my blog, but this month, I decided to mix it up a bit and suggest some books that I recommend for going back to school. 

Stay tuned for September, though… I plan on having many brand spanking NEW picture books to delight you and your little ones!

Love and peace,

Lisa

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BOOK 1:

How Do Dinosaurs Go to School?

Written by Jane Yolen; Illustrated by Mark Teague  (2007)

Available in Hardcover

Jane Yolen’s “Dinosaurs” books are among some of my favorite for reading out loud.  They are simply delightful and kids (and parents) love them!  This one is particularly cute in dealing with social behavior in the classroom.  I love these illustrations… the looks on the Dino faces make me laugh.

 School Library Journal:

PreS-Gr 2
A new cast of brightly colored dinosaurs appears in this charming back-to-school story. The text’s easy rhyme and rhythm will be familiar to those who have read other books in this series, and Teague’s charismatic and naughty dinosaurs will continue to delight readers with their antics and exuberance. The illustration accompanying “DOES A DINOSAUR YELL?” is sure to elicit smiles as an excited Herrerasaurus leaps out of his chair proudly holding up a newly lost tooth. His teacher looks annoyed, but his classmates all turn toward him with their own gap-toothed grins. The 10 dinosaurs that appear are identified on the endpapers where each is hard at work or play. Stygimoloch using one arm to prop up his raised hand as he blurts out is also likely to draw a smile from veteran teachers. A fun read-aloud for the first day of school.-Neala Arnold, St. Francis Elementary School, MN

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BOOK 2:

If You Take a Mouse to School

Written by Laura Numeroff; Illustrated by Felicia Bond  (2002)

Available in Hardcover

Laura Numeroff’s Mouse is one of my favorite picture book characters!  I read these to my own children years ago, and they never tired of hearing them.  This school edition is entertaining and another perfect one for reading aloud the week before school begins.

Publishers Weekly:

In a rollicking romp, Numeroff and Bond send the energetic, exuberant star of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and If You Take a Mouse to the Movies (and his boy sidekick) into the classroom. After pulling on his overalls, the diminutive character makes his first request (“He’ll ask you for your lunchbox”) and then demands a snack, notebook and pencils before climbing into the boy’s backpack. Once at school, the mercurial mouse happily bounds from one activity to the next: he spells “a word or two” on the blackboard (Bond shows these as an impressive list headed by “onomatopoeia”), conducts a science experiment (purple matter erupts from his beaker), builds “a little mouse house” out of blocks (the edifice looks quite elaborate) and fashions furniture for it with clay. Realizing he needs something on his new bookshelf, the ambitious critter collects paper and pencils and creates his own book, which he then wants to take home, in “your” lunch box. As animated as the whiskered student it depicts, Bond’s art lives up to expectation, featuring her customary crisp colors and kid-pleasing details. Its school setting, tried-and-true tone and popular protagonist mark this title as a winner. Ages 3-7. (July) FYI: Numeroff will donate a portion of her royalties to First Book, a national nonprofit organization that promotes children’s literacy. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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BOOK 3:

The Kissing Hand

Written by Audrey Penn; Illustrated by Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leek  (2006)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

This is a book that I would highly recommend to read to children who are somewhat anxious about going to school for the very first time.  Chester Raccoon is worried about missing his Momma while he goes off to school for the first time.  Mrs. Raccoon comes up with the perfect idea of placing her kiss in Chester’s hand so that he can take it with him and feel comforted any time he feels he misses Momma.  The words and pictures are perfect for parents searching for a book to help their children through this common anxiety.

Publishers Weekly:

In her foreword to Penn’s sugary tale about Chester, a young raccoon who would rather stay at home than go to school, Jean Kennedy Smith notes that the story is “for any child who confronts a difficult situation, and for the child within each of us who sometimes needs reassurance.” Its obvious message is delivered by Mrs. Raccoon, who tells her son that “I know a wonderful secret that will make your nights at school seem as warm and cozy as your days at home.” She then kisses his palm, and Chester feels the kiss “rush from his hand, up his arm, and into his heart.” Whenever he gets lonely, she advises, he is to press his hand to his cheek and “that very kiss will jump to your face and fill you with toasty warm thoughts.” As it may for youngsters in comparable situations, this “secret” works for Chester, who in turn kisses his mother’s palm so that she, too, will be reassured. Sprinkled with hearts and flowers, Harper and Leak’s paintings of the raccoons and their woodland habitat are pleasant if sentimental. Ages 3-8. (Mar.)

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BOOK 4:

First Day Jitters

Written by Julie Danneberg; Illustrated by Judith Dufour Love  (2000)

Available in Hardcover, Paperback, and eReader Editions

Sarah Jane is worried about her first day at a new school.  She imagines all the things that could go wrong and it is easy to understand her feelings.  You will get a laugh at the surprise ending to this funny story!

School Library Journal:

K-Gr 3-Sarah is hiding under her covers as Mr. Hartwell asks, “You don’t want to miss the first day at your new school do you?” From under the blanket she replies, “I’m not going.” When he reminds her how much she liked her other school and asks her to think of all the new friends she’ll meet, she imagines a classroom where a paper airplane is flying, a boy is pulling his neighbor’s pigtail, and another is blowing a gigantic bubble. Mr. Hartwell finally gets Sarah to stumble out of bed, eat a bit of toast, and get into the car where she slumps down into her seat. At school, the principal cheerfully welcomes her and takes her to the classroom where she is introduced as “Mrs. Sarah Jane Hartwell,” the new teacher. There is a bit of foreshadowing that Sarah is an adult, but as she is always partially hidden, the ending will come as a surprise to most readers. The ink-and-watercolor illustrations are full of action and maintain the lighthearted tone. A little subplot in the paintings shows the family cat and dog having their own contest of wills while their owner is trying to get his wife up and out. The joke provides a good laugh and children may find it reassuring that they are not alone in their anxieties about new situations.-Adele Greenlee, Bethel College, St. Paul, MN Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|

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BOOK 5:

Chamelia and the New Kid in Class

Written and Illustrated by Ethan Long  (2013)

Available in Hardcover and eReader Editions

Chamelia the Chameleon loves to stand out in a crowd!  In this second installation of her story, a new girl comes to school taking attention away from Chamelia.  This is a great story to talk about friendship and what it means to be friend to others.

Kirkus Reviews:

The unique Chamelia is back, but this time her antics and loud outfits aren’t enough to make her the center of attention, a position that has been stolen by the new kid in school, Cooper. The chameleon diva is singing and dancing through her rendition of her summer vacation for her enraptured classmates when Mrs. Knight introduces the interloper. Not only is this the end of her show, it is the end of Chamelia as the standout in class. His portraits have the other kids clamoring to be drawn in art, his team wins at soccer, and his after-school games enthrall everyone–except Chamelia, who’s not used to coming in second place in anything. Finally, Chamelia decides that his run needs to end: She sabotages his show-and-tell presentation. But when her plan works too well, “[s]uddenly, being the best felt the worst,” and she changes her attitude and actions to “show the class what it really meant to be a star.” As in her eponymous first outing (2011), Long makes Chamelia, and now Cooper as well, pop off the pages with collaged, fabric-patterned clothing, in contrast to the other chameleons’ solid, pastel outfits. His characters are expressive to the nth degree, their eyes (and eyelids) and mouths showing emotion, while their body language leaves no doubt as to their feelings–Chamelia’s upturned snout speaks volumes. Giving up the starring role isn’t easy, but readers may appreciate Chamelia’s example. (Picture book. 4-7)

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BOOK 6:

Hooway for Wodney Wat

Written by Helen Lester; Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger  (2002)

Available in Hardcover, Paperback, and eReader Editions

This is a great book to read to children about teasing other children.  Poor Rodney Rat cannot pronounce his R’s.  The other rodents tease him because of his speech impediment but shy Rodney surprises himself when he finds his voice and stands up for his rodent classmates to a bully.  This book lends itself very well in teaching young children about empathy and bullying.

School Library Journal:

PreS-Gr 3-An underdog who can’t say his “r”s suffers unmerciful teasing until he saves his classmates from Camilla Capybara, who announces and then proves that she is bigger, meaner, and smarter than anyone else in the class. However, when Camilla is not quite observant enough to detect Rodney’s speech impediment, a game of Simon Says becomes her downfall. As leader, the young rat squeaks “Wodney says go west,” and instead of resting, Camilla stomps off to the west never to return, making Rodney an instant hero. Munsinger’s watercolor with pen-and-ink illustrations positively bristle with humor and each rat, mouse, hamster, and capybara is fully realized as both rodent and child. Children will empathize with Rodney as he hides his head in his jacket and eats lunch all alone. Bullies may not want to recognize themselves in Camilla but the battle cry “bigger…meaner…smarter” is hard to deny. Hooway is wight…er, right. Wodney Wat is wonderful.-Jody McCoy, The Bush School, Seattle, WA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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