Sunday, February 27, 2011

You Are My Sunshine by Jimmie Davis illus by Caroline Jayne Church

Today is my nephew Michael's 13th birthday.   I can't believe he is a teenager.   I remember exactly what I was doing thirteen years ago today.   I was on store visits with my boss in Florida.   It was our last day there and I wanted to come home because I knew my nephew's arrival was imminent.   Although at that point I didn't know he was to be a "nephew".   For some reason every time I traveled with my boss we had some sort of car issue.   In this case it was running out of gas on a major Florida highway and accepting a ride from a stranger to a gas station.   Needless to say I was glad to get home.   I wasn't home for 10 minutes when we got the call that my nephew had been born.   He was such a sweet little baby, I used to love to sit and rock him.   He has always loved music and the one song that I considered "our" song was "You Are my Sunshine"....I would sing it to him over and over again as I rocked him to sleep.   This is why I am suggesting today's book.

You Are My Sunshine

You Are My Sunshine by Jimmie Davis and illustrated so sweetly by Caroline Jayne Church is wonderful little board book to share with a child.   It is the perfect new baby gift that will be read over and over again,(or should I say "sung" over and over again)....a must have new baby book that will never go out of style.

Happy Birthday Michael V....may there always be sunshine in your life.....

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ladybug Girl by Jacky Davis illus by David Soman

Today I had an interesting conversation with one of my oldest friends.   I had called her for her birthday and we while we talking she mentioned the newest addition to her household.   It was a captured ladybug that she found on a head of lettuce.    She didn't want to release it into the wild because it is cold so she put it into a little container and is keeping it as a pet.   She said it is doing well and that she hope it makes it to spring so she can set it free.   My friend Kathleen has always been one to bring home strays....she has always had lots of pets that she either found or was given.   For instance her daughters teacher was moving and couldn't keep the class guinea pigs, so she called Kathleen to see if she would take them.   Kathleen was her first call.   She now has 4 cats, 2 guinea pigs, a mouse and of course a ladybug......who has many names  including Lulu,  which reminded me of today's book.

Ladybug Girl

Ladybug Girl by Jacky Davis and illustrated by David Soman is the story of a little girl named Lulu who likes to dress up like a Ladybug.  Well she likes to dress up as many things but her ladybug costume seems to be her favorite.   I like this book because it shows a child trying to amuse herself when she is bored and succeeding.   This is a great new character for little girls to relate to.  It is a refreshing story with great illustrations.   I love her dog too!  Perfect book for any little girl in your life.

Thanks Kathleen for reminding me of this really fun book!  Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Helen G. Marotta 1922-2010

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavour by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.
Washington Irving

This pretty much sums up who my Mother is/was to me....I love her and miss her so much~

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Reference Sunday: Marching for Freedom: Walk Together Children and Don't You Grow Weary by Elizabeth Partridge

Marching For Freedom: Walk Together Children and Don't You Grow Weary

Marching for Freedom: Walk Together Children and Don't You Grow Weary by Elizabeth Partridge is a wonderful book and photographic history of the civil rights era.   What I like about it is that it is shown from a child's perspective.    I never knew how involved children were during this time.   The photos and interviews with those who were there are incredibly  moving.  This is a great book for an older child to help them understand this important period in American History.   Elizabeth Partridge has done a wonderful job of bringing to life a little known part of the Civil Rights Movement.   While this is written for ages 9-12,  I think many an adult would appreciate this book.   I know I do!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Little Hoot by Amy Krouse Rosenthal illus by Jen Corace

There has been so much talk lately about the demise of bookstores that sometimes we forget that they aren't the only place to buy books.   I have always loved going to some stores that are  eclectic in the products they sell.   The other day I was in an Anthropologie store "window shopping" when I spotted a whole table display of children's books.   On that table was one of the cutest picture books I had ever seen.   The fact that is was a surprise find thrilled me to pieces.

Little Hoot

Little Hoot by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Jen Corace is the perfect bedtime book.   While all his friends complain because they need to go to bed early, Little Hoot is expected to stay up late because that is what Owl's do.   His begging to go to bed early and his bedtime routine is so cute.   This is the perfect bedtime story with really easy text and the most adorable illustrations.   I have recommended Amy Krouse Rosenthal before and I am sure I will again.   This is a great example of writer and illustrator matching perfectly.   This is a must have book for any child's library!

As for finding this through non traditional channels....a total delight!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Flashback Tuesday: The Starry Messenger by Peter Sis

Today is the birth anniversary of the great astronomer Galileo.  
Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei

The Starry Messenger by Peter Sis is a great way to introduce this historic figure to a child.   While the book is a picture book and is supposedly geared towards ages 4-8 year olds, I think it is more for an older child.   The story of Galileo is fascinating, he led a complicated life but Mr Sis is able to write this biography in a way that brings it down to a child's level.   The illustrations are also wonderful, it wasn't surprising that Peter Sis got the Caldecott Honor for them.   I have always said that there are different kinds of picture books.   There are picture books meant to be read to the very young and then there books like The Starry Messenger that are for older kids.   These picture books for older children are meant to help children really visualize a subject.   They are just as important as a chapter book.   All kids are different in the way they learn so there should be something for everyone.    Like I said earlier this book is the perfect way to introduce a complicated subject to a is a beautiful stepping stone for the starry eyed child in your life....  

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics by Norton Juster

Normally I don't like to suggest a book that is technically out of print.  I want to be able to recommend titles that anyone can get anywhere they choose.   Today I am going to make an exception because it is a holiday.  Not only am I going to recommend an out of print title but it is also a title that more a picture book for grown ups. 
The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics

The Dot & the Line: a romance in lower mathematics by Norton Juster is truly a classic story of how a silly girl meets nice boy but who would rather date a rebel.   The straight line loves the dot but she has fallen for a squiggle.   The straight line tries so hard to be more interesting to the dot that he develops  a talent for making beautiful designs, ultimately winning over the dot who realizes that squiggles are just messy. At least that is how see it.  I love the quirkiness of this book and how fun it is to read.      While I think the plot is a bit sophisticated for little children they can still learn something from it....

A perfect gift on this special day, Happy Valentines Day!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chocolate Moose by Maggie Kneen

Chocolate Moose
Chocolate Moose by Maggie Kneen is a charming new book about a Moose who loves chocolate.   The first thing that drew me to this book was the sweet face of the Moose on the cover.  Secondly  it is about chocolate, which is a favorite of mine---especially "chocolate mousse".   While I was reading it I found it sweet and funny, in a silly kind of way.   While it is a bit predictable, it is still a children's book and kids like predictable.  If I was still working in a store I would use it as the center of a themed story time about chocolate....especially with Valentine's Day just around the corner.  

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Forsythia & Me by Vincent X. Kirsch

Just in time for Valentines Day is  a really sweet new book by Vincent X. Kirsch.   I  was immediately drawn to this book because of the cover art and the fact that I love forsythia flowers.   I have a large forsythia bush on my lawn and my favorite part of early spring is when it starts to bloom.   My Dad never liked to prune it too much....he hated when he saw forsythia bushes that are trimmed and neat.  He loved them wild and natural, like I do.   Which brings me back to today's book.  
Forsythia & Me

Forsythia & Me by Vincent X. Kirsch is a wonderful tale of friendship.  It is about a boy who is great friends with Forsythia, a girl who can do anything.  I like how they are two opposites but that they get along so well.   I like how the roles eventually get reversed and Chester amazes Forsythia....all in the name of friendship.   I also love the illustrations, they are sort of retro but not old fashioned.   A very special story that can really be read all year round.  

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Before There Was Mozart: The Story of Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-George by Lesa Cline-Ransome illus by James Ransome

Before There Was Mozart: The Story of Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-George

Before There Was Mozart written by Lesa Cline-Ransome and illustrated by James Ransome is the kind of book I like to find.   I love to discover a story I have never heard before.   It is the story of a man born of a slave mother and plantation owning father who mesmerizes Europe with his incredible gift of music.  I have always admired James Ransome's illustrations and this is a great example of his work.   The writing too is beautifully done, I love how how each section is titled as a "movement" to bring out the music aspect of the book.   This has also made me want to listen to some of this unknown artist's musical compositions ----as much as I love to find a new story I also love to discover new music.    

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Flashback Tuesday: The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne

Today is the birth anniversary of the iconic and classic author Jules Verne.   He has written so many famous books I thought I would recommend my favorite.
The Mysterious Island (Wordsworth Classics)

The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne is a classic castaway story with loads of adventure.   What I liked about this book was how the characters were able to survive and create a new world for themselves.   I also loved the mystery that surrounded the island---the twist at the end was a great surprise but a pleasant "ah ha" kind of surprise that I love.   I loved this book so much and knew my nephew would like it to----he liked science----that I gave it to him for his birthday (he was even nice about it the second time I gave it to him--aunts have a tendency to forget).   Anyway this would be great gift for an older child who likes mystery and science.   I look it at as a precursor to "Lost"----a wonderful classic that never gets old.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Year of the Rabbit: Tales from the Chinese Zodiac by Oliver Chin

Happy Chinese New Year!  I am very glad the Year of the Tiger is over and hope we have some calm that can come with the Year of the Rabbit.    Here is the link to my post of last year ....the books are still quite relevant:   Chinese New Year 2010!
The Year of the Rabbit: Tales from the Chinese Zodiac
The Year of the Rabbit: Tales from the Zodiac by Oliver Chin is part of a series of books that highlights each animal of the Chinese Zodiac. This is a sweet story of a little Rabbit and her adventures (her name is Rosie which of course makes me very partial).   My nephew JoJo is a "Rabbit" so it will be interesting to see if he has a "calm" kind of year, I wish it had been around when he was born.       Mr Chin is doing one for each of the twelve animals of the zodiac----can't wait til he gets to mine....

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Flashback Tuesday: Coming Home: From the Life of Langston Hughes by Floyd Cooper

Since today is not only the start of African American History month but also the birth anniversary of the wonderful poet Langston Hughes I thought I could write about an old favorite of mine.
Coming Home: From the Life of Langston Hughes

Coming Home: From the Life of Langston Hughes by Floyd Cooper is, as I said, an old favorite.   I have always been a fan of Floyd Coopers wonderful illusrations.   What I loved about this book is how I learned about a great poet ....not as a grown up but as a little boy.   This is a great introduction to an American Treasure.   This book is not only written beautifully but the illustrations are incredible.  I was drawn to the cover immediately .....the little boys face and how he is sitting there with his books made me want to know more about him.  I love how Mr Cooper paints faces that are instantly recognizable to us.   Coming Home  is a great tribute to wonderful poet and artist....a must have book for anyone's bookshelf.