Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

I know today's book is not necessarily a new title but I just finished reading it and wanted to share my thoughts.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs is considered a Teen Novel.  I think it is much more than that.  I had heard about it but never read it.  Most recently learned that there is a sequel which I hope to read soon.  There is also a film being made with Tim Burton directing.  I stumbled across it in the library and at the last minute added it to my stack of books to check out.

I loved this book.  This is the kind of book I would have read and loved when I was a child/teenager.  The story starts out like any other teenage angst kind of story but quickly develops into the best kind fantasy story.  The kind that makes a reader feel that it could be true.  The characters are wonderful, I really loved the main character Jacob because he sounded like a typical teenage boy.

A long time ago I was part of a panel for the Children's Book Council called Not Just For Children Anymore.  As part of the panel we had to read a selection of children's books ~mostly young readers and Teen novels.  Once we were finished we then set out to decide whether or not "grown-ups" would enjoy them as well as children.  This book would have been on top of my list.  I really loved how Mr Riggs wove his story around an array of old photographs.  The photographs themselves are so interesting to look at that I  too would have wondered how they were made and if they were real.

I used to know someone who loved to take photographs.  He had rigged his own darkroom in a small bathroom in the house.  He also liked to experiment with his photos.  I remember one photo of what appeared to be  a young girl with a small person standing on her hand.  To create this illusion he said was all in the development. When I saw the photos in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children I was reminded of the photos I saw when I was young.  Like I said I have always been fascinated by old photos.....they are glimpse into the past.  I wish this book had been around when I was young because it would have been one of my favorites.  I can't wait to read the sequel Hollow City.  These are must have books for anyone who loves a bit of fantasy tinged with spookiness....

Thursday, March 5, 2015

If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson

Today is another really snowy day in the North East.  Personally the white stuff lost it's appeal for me in February.  I thought since we are all longing for good weather I would recommend a new book about the hope of spring.


If You Plant a Seed written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson, a two time Caldecott Honor Award recipient, that is the perfect book for another snowy day.  I am a big fan of Mr Nelson's illustrations and books.  This new book which was published this week is a perfect way to teach children what happens when they plant a little tiny seed.  The sparse text and beautiful paintings make this book a joy to read aloud.  What is also wonderful is that it isn't just about planting a carrot seed or a tomato seed but it is about planting the seeds of kindness and compassion.  While the carrot seed becomes a carrot,  Mr Nelson is also  teaching the youngest among that planting a seed of kindness begets something even sweeter.  Of course the animals (or children) don't learn this at first.  At first the little gardeners are selfish and won't share with the other animals who come begging.  Only after an enormous fight that nearly destroys everything does one small act of final kindness and sharing that in the end produces the biggest reward.  This book has many lessons to teach the young and the old.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Olive and the Great Flood by Connie Arnold and illustrated by Kathleen Bullock

A few years ago I met through my blog the author of today's book.  Well I didn't actually meet her but through the years we have had a nice correspondence  through our blogs.  I really liked her first book Animal Sound Mix-up because I thought it had a great concept and cute illustrations.  She recently asked me to be part of her blog tour for her most recent book.  I was so happy to say yes to her request.  Her newest book is the kind of book I always like.  A new version of an old story.  In this case it is a clever take on Noah's Ark.

Olive and the Great Flood by Connie Arnold and illustrated perfectly by Kathleen Bullock tells the story of Noah's Ark from the perspective of the Dove (aptly named Olive) who is sent from the ark to see if the waters have receded.   I love the beautiful way Ms Arnold tells the story.  It makes a great read aloud that is engaging and sweet.  It is a faith based book that would make a great read aloud for a Sunday School classroom.  When reading about Noah's Ark as a child I always wondered about the Dove....which was my favorite part of the story.  This makes a great addition to any child's bookshelf....

Friday, February 13, 2015

Planting a Kiss by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Peter H Reynolds




Planting a Kiss by Amy Krouse Rosenthal with lovely illustrations by Peter H Reynolds is the perfect book for Valentines Day.  I love the whimsical nature of the text and the sweet spare illustrations.  This book is really about sharing love and goodness with the world.  I love how it takes a literally the age old expression "to plant a kiss" on someone.  I also love how this book can teach children how to be kind and loving without being preachy.  This is a Valentines Day book that can be read at any time of year.  


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Flashback Tuesday: Bunny Hopwell's First Spring by Jean Fritz

It might seem weird to write about a book for spring in February; but I thought it would be nice to think about spring while waiting for the next snow storm.  At this point I am tired of winter and shoveling. Although I am not as tired as my friends in Massachusetts.

One of the books we will be selling this spring at my new job at the Historic Hudson Valley Gift Shop is today's selection.  I remember this book growing up.  I think it was my sister's originally or was it my cousins....I am not sure I just know that I remember reading it as a child.  Reading it again I realized it is a perfect book to help with the winter blues.



Bunny Hopwell's First Spring by Jean Fritz (this beloved author's very first book) tells the story of a little bunny who can't understand what the hype is about spring. Bunny has only known the cold winter  and can't imagine anything different.  This is such a sweet story. I am so happy that it is being reissued.  This is a story that brings the joy and beauty of spring alive for the youngest reader.  A must have book that is perfect to read on a cold a blustery winter's day.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Leontyne Price: Voice of a Century by Carole Boston Weatherford illustrated by Raul Colon

I am thinking of my Dad today because it is the anniversary of his death.  He was a great Dad who loved his family very much.  It is only now after so many years that I realize how much he taught me.

I always tell people I get my love of music from my parents.  My Mom was always singing and my Dad loved anything to do with music.  While they never really liked "popular" music they did appreciate all kinds.  That being said they both loved classical music the best.  I have written about this before when I wrote about the book Aida.  Coincidentally that book was written by Leontyne Price so today's book seemed like an extension of that recommendation.  Like I said in that posting my Dad and I would sit and listen to the opera on a Saturday afternoon.  It is one of my most cherished memories of my Dad.  Even after all this time whenever I hear certain strains of music it reminds me of him.


So today in his honor I am recommending a lovely book about one of his favorite opera singers.  He would have appreciated it.....



Leontyne Price: Voice of a Century by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by one of my favorite illustrators Raul Colon is a wonderful biographical picture book. I don't usually recommend books that are not published yet but as it is coming out next month I think I can make an exception. It can be pre-ordered~I have attached a link.    It would make a great gift for the youngest musician in your life.  It highlights Leontyne's love of music and how she was drawn to opera from listening to the radio.  This book shows how perseverance and talent gave the world a beautiful gift~the gift of her voice.  Raul Colon's illustrations are beautiful too and match Carol Boston Weatherford's text perfectly.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Itsy Bitsy Pumpkin by Sonali Fry illustrated by Sanja Rescek

I have been working for Museum Shop of the Historic Hudson Valley for a few months now.  Since it is a gift shop it sells many things.  While we sell lots of Sleepy Hollow and Washington Irving memorabilia including all of his books, especially the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, we also sell other other things.  Among those "things" are other books.  We have books about slavery because of Philipsburg Manor.  We sell lots of books about the Rockefeller's because of Kykuit (the Rockefeller Estate) plus books about the Hudson Valley etc.  At this time of year (our busy season) we sell lots and lots of Halloween books.  I am always happy to sell anything but whenever customers or visitors buy a children's book I still get a special thrill.

One of our most popular books for the littlest among us is The Itsy Bitsy Pumpkin by Sonali Fry and illustrated sweetly by Sanja Rescek.  It is a small board book that tells the story of a little pumpkin to the tune of "The Itsy Bitsy Spider".  This re-imagining of a beloved nursery rhyme is great fun.

Here is the beginning:

The itsy bitsy pumpkin 
rolled down the spooky street. 
He passed a ghoulish ghost 
and some stinky goblin’s feet. 


So perfect for little hands this Halloween.   The author and artist's have also collaborated  on  I'm a Little Vampire to the tune of I'm a Little Teapot----another  very cute idea.  These are great reads on a Halloween night after a long day of trick or treating....