Monday, February 13, 2017

If I Had a Little Dream by Nina Laden illustrated by Melissa Castrillon

It is a cold and blustery February kind of day.  Today is the kind of day that is for getting cozy with a good book while drinking hot chocolate.  Today is the kind of day for a comforting book that will soothe the mind, body and spirit.

If I Had a Little Dream by Nina Laden and illustrated so sweetly by Melissa Castrillon is just the right kind of soothing book to sit and snuggle with on this blustery day. Nina Laden walks us through a world that is filled with Love, Wonder, Wings, Treasure and so many other little things to see and feel.  It is a book to calm the soul in a not so calm world. Melissa Castrillon's thoughtful and detailed illustrations present a magical world that will make anyone want to live there.  The illustrations remind me a bit of Holly Hobbie's little girl in the bonnet....just as sweet.

This is the kind of book to be read---as I said---on a snuggly kind of a day or as a relaxing bedtime story for little ones.  But I also see it as a book to be given to friends ---young or old---because of it's tranquil message of dreams and love. It is a love letter to be read all year long but especially appropriate today because tomorrow is Valentine's Day.

Wishing peace and love to all!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

One City, Two Brothers by Chris Smith illustrated by Aurélia Fronty

Happy New Years!  It has been quite awhile since I have posted.  This is mainly due to the fact that my new job has kept me very busy.  I love working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  It has been a very enriching experience.  One of the exhibits that I have had the privilege to be working with on the retail side was called Jerusalem 1000-1400: Every People Under Heaven.  It was a beautiful exhibit with some wonderful pieces of art. I say "was" because sadly it is closing today and most of the art work will go back to their original owners.  It was quite breathtaking.  In the exhibits shop we sold many beautiful things.....some even delicious---the chocolate is so good.  Of course there were many beautiful and interesting books to accompany the exhibition.  There were a few children's books but today's book stood out the most for me because of the message it sends.

One City, Two Brothers by Chris Smith and illustrated by AurĂ©lia Fronty is a wonderful children's version of a traditional story.  It tells the story of two bickering brothers who are fighting over their inheritance in front of King Solomon.  The king  in turn tells the story of the beginnings of Jerusalem and two similar brothers who love each other so much that they secretly want to share their wealth with the other.  It is a beautiful story that demonstrates how caring, sharing, kindness and love for others is more important than who deserves something more....I loved the way this story is told.  It is written simply so that even a young child can understand the meaning. The illustrations are wonderful too...colorful and enchanting.  This is an "all ages" type of book... perfect to read aloud. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Bear Who Couldn't Sleep by Caroline Nastro illustrated by Vanya Nastanlieva

It has been many years since I have been a children's book buyer but I am lucky enough to still be friends with some of my old sales reps.  Just a few weeks ago I started a new dream job at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  One of my sales rep friends realized that a book she is selling was having it's book launch right across the street from The Met.  She very nicely invited me to come.  I was thrilled to go especially after I looked the book up and thought it was really cute.

I went and had a wonderful time... the author Caroline Nastro was so sweet and lovely.

The Bear who Couldn't Sleep by Caroline Nastro and illustrated by Vanya Nastanlieva is a sweet book about a little bear who goes on an adventure instead of hibernating with his family.  His adventure takes him to the "big city" of New York.  All the iconic sights are there....the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Times Square and even my new place of employment---The Met.  In the end the "city that never sleeps" is too much for this sweet little bear....and well you get the picture.  The story is a great bedtime story with wonderful illustrations.  This is also a perfect way to introduce NYC to the youngest among us....
It is also a wonderful story time book---I can see it being read at a pajama party too....

Here is a photo of the author, Caroline Nastro (on the left) and my friend Heather at the book launch....

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Ollie's Odyssey by William Joyce

It has been a long time since I have been enthralled with a book.  I have always loved William Joyce, he is one of my favorite author/illustrators.  His range is amazing.  When I stumbled across today's book I was ---as I said above---enthralled.  This is the type of book that would have excited me as a child.  It has familiarity, adventure and excitement all wrapped up with great illustrations.  I loved the idea of this book.  I am sure others have seen the similarities to another childhood classic--The Velveteen Rabbit....but this book goes beyond making a "toy real" type takes that sentiment to a whole new level.  In this day and age children like more of an adventure.  So Mr Joyce gives them the same time giving validity to a child's love of a favorite toy.

Ollie's Odyssey by William Joyce is the charming and exciting tale of a child's connection to a beloved toy.  The magic of that one toy to foster a child's imagination.  This is a beginning chapter book for young readers.  It would also make a wonderful read aloud.  I can see it being read in school one chapter at a time.  I loved Ollie and I loved Billy....I also loved the villains...scary but not too scary. William Joyce has done it again.  He has brought us wonderful new characters to spend time with again and again....

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Moon's Almost Here by Patricia McLachlan and illustrated by Tomie dePaola

I can't believe it is over a month since I last posted.  It has been a crazy summer.  I did enjoy some time down the Jersey Shore with my family but other than that work has kept me busy.

I have many lists of books I want to talk about but as always a book jumps to the top of the list in an instant.  Last night I was at the library picking up a book I requested.  More on that later after I read it~~suffice to say I am looking forward to reading a book by one of my favorite authors.  Anyway while I was there I perused their new picture books on display.  I was bowled over by today's selection.

Oh and also while I was there I got the best compliment ever.  As I was putting the book back a patron asked me a question.  He thought I worked there.  That to me is an honor to behold.

The Moon's Almost Here written by Patricia McLachlan and illustrated by Tomie dePaola is my new favorite good night story.  It's soothing and lyrical text match perfectly with Tomie's sweet illustrations of his mime character Pierrot and his child.  I love how each page depicts a different animal going to sleep.
 Here is a taste:

The moon’s almost here.
Robin sings in her nest.
Babies fly back to her,
ready to rest

This simple text and wondrous illustrations beg to be read night after night.  I look forward to reading it soon to my little Benjamin.  He will love Tomie dePaola as much as my niece, his mother, did when she was little.  

This is a perfect new baby gift or birthday gift for all children.  A must have new book and instant classic.  

Saturday, June 25, 2016

A Dog Wearing Shoes by Sangmi Ko

This past weekend I was visiting my brother and family when he suggested we go for a ride.  We ended up one town over from him, Madison NJ.  I have always loved is a quaint town with cute shops and lots of restaurants.  Now my brother knows I love books so he showed me the newest Independent bookseller Short Stories Community Book Hub...I loved it.  It is in a great location and has great space.  It is more than just a bookseller it also hosts community events and music.  After we left he then brought me to another store a few doors down---the Chatham Bookseller (it used to be the Madison Public Library)...I was in heaven.  This is a wonderful used bookshop with shelves and shelves of books---some really old.  I just took in the sight and the smells...there is nothing like the smell of a bookstore.

Little did my brother know that he gave me the best birthday present ever by introducing me to not one but two of my favorite places to visit.

This past Wednesday I again was in downtown Madison.  I was waiting for a friend so that we could go to see the production of The Complete Works of Shakespeare (abridged)(revised)  that was being performed by the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey.  While I was waiting for in the Short Stories Community Book Hub I read today's book selection.

A Dog Wearing Shoes by Sangmi Ko is the sweetest book about a little girl who falls in love with a lost dog who happens to be wearing shoes.  She becomes very attached to the puppy but then realizes it must belong to someone else.  This is the perfect book for anyone who loves a good animal story that also teaches about empathy and caring.  It is also a perfect way to explain why getting a pet from an animal shelter can be very rewarding.  I loved the illustrations too....they are whimsical and sensitive at the same time.  I highly recommend it!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott

Back in February I was part of the Cybils Award panel for Poetry.  I have written about a few of the books but not all.  This week I was reminded of one of the finalists....Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott.

Like many people this week I was intrigued by the story of the Auschwitz mug that had hidden jewelry under a false bottom.

Link to the story

I am always amazed to learn a different aspect of history.  When I read Paper Hearts, which is based on a true story, I learned how some victims fought to survive in concentration camps during World War II.  The young girls in the story tried to retain who they were by doing little things. Such as wearing a silky shirt under their uniforms or sharing their food with others.  Even if it meant punishment when caught.  The title refers to an origami heart that is made in secret as a birthday card for another girl.  It is this simple act which helped these courageous girls retain their dignity and personality. It is a very powerful story that resonates even today.  It is definitely a crossover YA to adult novel.
The "paper heart" is real and can be seen in the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre.  These are real items--- the heart and the mug.....real items that stand as a testament of people who suffered and serve as a reminder of the human spirit.