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....

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Monsters Eat Whiny Children by Bruce Eric Kaplan

My new job keeps me very busy that I hadn't realized it is over a month since I posted last.  We are getting ready for our big season which is Halloween.  The next month and a half will be lots of late nights and busy days. Lot of Halloween and scary products are in our shops which includes lots of books.  My favorite book that came into the shop, although not a new book,  is today's pick.

Monsters Eat Whiny Children written and illustrated by Bruce Eric Kaplan is the story of some monsters who capture some children but then can't decide how best to "prepare" them for a monster meal.  This is supposed to be a cautionary tale for children but I have sold quite a few to grown ups giving who were going to give it  to other grown ups. I love how the monster's are even whinier than the children. I also love the illustrations which are quirky and fun.  I wouldn't give this to really young children as they might take the monster part to heart but I know a few teenagers I could give this too....

Sunday, August 3, 2014

A Boy and a Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz illustrated by Catie Chien

Found this wonderful book that was so sweet I wanted to write about it.  It wasn't until researching the title did I realize it is true story about a real little boy.  This little boy grew up to be the champion of animals and a major conservationist.

A Boy and a Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz and illustrated so wonderfully by Catie Chien is great new autobiographical picture book.  Mr Rabinowitz tells the story of his childhood and how he became interested in helping the big cats and other animals of the world.  It is the story of a little boy who stutters but who becomes so passionate about helping animals that he overcomes his affliction to become their voice.  This is a great book to teach children that they can grow up and overcome any difficulty to help those in need.  This truly inspiring story that is beautifully written and illustrated. It is  a must have for any classroom.  It is also a great book for the child who loves animals that could encourage them and show them how they too can be helpful.  It is a great read aloud too.....

Friday, June 13, 2014

RIP Eric Hill author of Where's Spot?

I just read that Eric Hill the creator of one my favorite series of books for children has died.  His character of Spot the dog will always hold a warm place in my heart.  When I started working in my first bookstore---a Doubleday Bookshop----our children's section was very small.  Which is why I remember almost all the books we carried. Where's Spot?  was a true novelty when I first encountered it.  It was one of the first books that really changed the interactive landscape of children's books.  I also remember the the original plush puppy based on the book.  I loved to recommend it to customers because of it's simplicity.  I always sold the book with plush boxed set to customers shopping for a new baby.

When I moved on to run the children's department of Barnes and Noble my favorite thing to do was merchandise the big picture windows in the front of the store.  This was in the days before all stores had to have the same displays.  For Mothers Day one year I decorated the window with all Mother's Day type books.   Central to the display was the over sized Spot doll with little plush spot dolls around it.  I put a hat on and necklace on the bigger one so that it represented his mother.  It was really a fun display to create with all the books and other kinds of gifts for Mom in the window.

After awhile I moved into the buying office of B&N to buy Preschool books for all the stores.  I loved seeing how Spot never went out of fashion and how his books became one of the best series to be adapted into a board book.

Today I still love to recommend a Spot book to customers. Partly because they are timeless but mostly because I know that whatever title it is will be read again and again.  Mr Hill has given the world an iconic little character that will never be forgotten.

Here are some of my favorite Spot titles:

Where's Spot?  ---which comes a great board book too.....

Spot Goes to School --- great back to school title

Spot Loves His Mommy and Spot Loves His Daddy  --- perfect for new parents

Spot's Birthday Party  -- always fun to get read before a child's special day....

There are many more....not just lift the flap but other concepts as well.  These books are definitely a must have for every child's bookshelf.  Thank you Eric Hill for creating such an iconic character.  You will be missed.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

I'm Bored by Michael Ian Black illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

It is a rainy kind of a day here in New Jersey. I have been spending the day with my "nephew" Little Bear a very cute Yorkie Poo.  Beyond that  it has been a bit of a lazy day sitting and reading with him on my lap.  Just now though I thought to myself---I'm a bit bored.  I am also waiting for my actual nephews to come home.  Being bored I reminded myself of a book we have at the bookstore....when I saw it and read it the other day it reminded me of  my niece and nephews when they were little.  This was a common phrase for them.

I'm Bored written by Ian Michael Black and illustrated perfectly by Debbie Ridpath Ohi it is the best book to read to children  when they say they are "bored".  When I first read it I didn't realize it was by the comedian Ian Michael Black.  I didn't even know he wrote children's books. All I knew was that it was a great book to read at story time or at bedtime.  He has really captured the essence of childhood in the most entertaining and quirky way.  I dare anyone to read this book and not identify with any child they might know.  This is a must have book for today's child.  Oh and I love how a potato is central to the plot....with the surprise addition of a flamingo.  Love it!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Have You Seen My Dragon? written and illustrated by Steve Light

Have You Seen My Dragon? by Steve Light is one of my favorite new books of this year.  I love the pen and ink drawings with he spots of colors. It reminds me of my childhood books with it's retro look. It also reminds me of walking in the city with my father....we would walk so fast my feet didn't seem to touch the ground.  I remember so well the steam coming from the manhole covers....I sort of wish my Dad had the thought to tell me it was "dragon's breath. I do so love a good "dragon" story.  This is one of the cleverer counting books that I have seen lately that is just as much a story book as it is a "learning" book.  It is the kind of book that parents and children can read together over and over again. It is a must have book for the adventurous and inquisitive child in your life.