Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Looking at Lincoln by Maira Kalman

I have been wanting to see the new movie from Spielberg about Lincoln but haven't gotten around to it.   My sister saw it and did nothing but rave about it.   It is amazing how Daniel Day Lewis really becomes his characters, my sister said he is fantastic in the role.   As with so many people Abraham Lincoln is one of my favorite Presidents.   I think I started to like him because my Mother loved him.   She used to tell me how she loved his face, that he always looked a bit sad but kind.   I was constantly bringing her books about him and by him.   One of the last books I ever got for her was a compilation of his speeches.  

Looking at Lincoln written and illustrated by the wonderful Maira Kalman is the perfect book for young children to help explain who Abraham Lincoln was.  This is a must have addition to the list of the many biographies for children of our 16th President.   Ms Kalman not only simply and succinctly tells the story of his life, she is also able to convey a more human figure.   I think because the narrator is a child who wants to know more about President Lincoln that we get a great sense of wonder.   This is a very special and fresh take on a historical figure who means so much to this country.   I would have loved to show it to my Mom.  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Flashback Tuesday: Hanukkah Moon by Deborah da Costa Illus by Gosia Mosz

Hanukkah Moon by Deborah da Costa and illustrated by Gosia Mosz is a great book to read at this special time of year.   When I initially came across this book I was thrilled because it showed a different side of the holiday.  It is a story that shows Hanukkah from a different cultural experience.  I love how the little girl Isobel is concerned that her Aunt from Mexico might not know how to celebrate Hanukkah like she is accustomed to.  Aunt Luisa proceeds to teach Isobel about the Hanukkah Moon and about the Hanukkah traditions from Mexico.   There are the usual Hanukkah elements such as latkes and chocolate coins.  I especially love the dreidel pinata filled with candy.   I great book to add anyone's holiday book shelf.

Happy Hanukkah or as "Aunt Luisa" teaches Isobel-- Feliz Januca!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Reference Sunday: One Times Square by Joe McKendry

This is the time of year that always reminds me of my Dad.   He was a wonderful man who loved his family more than anything.    Even though I grew up in NJ he was born and raised in NYC.   He was the quintessential New Yorker. He not only grew up there but he worked there too.    When I was growing up the most fun I ever had was going to work with him.   I would hold his hand as we walked the streets of New York in awe of the sights and sounds around me.   For most of his working life his office was on 49th Street and Madison Ave this only changed at the end when his studio closed and he needed to find a new space to work.  Even when he worked on Madison Ave we would walk through Times Square to get to his office. I always held on real tight because back in those days the area wasn't as safe and nice as it is now.  As I mentioned he moved into a new space to work as a freelancer at the end of his career, this new office/studio was in the heart of Times Square.   I remember visiting him there and watching the streets below amazed at how many people passed by.   I would watch the giant screen at the top of the Times Square building and see where the ball was kept for New Years Eve.  Today whenever I walk through Times Square I always think of my Dad --- I could almost feel my hand in his.....

One Times Square written and illustrated by Joe McKendry brought back all the wonderful memories I have  of visiting New York.   One of my first real jobs was in Mid Town Manhattan and I would walk through Times Square every day.   My father had shown me all the short cuts to take.   I wish I had this book back then, it would have been wonderful to know the history of this iconic area of NYC.  I had no idea that this building is "One Times Square", it never dawned on me that it is called "Times Square" because the NY Times newspaper was published from there.   I also didn't know that back when it was built it was considered one of the tallest buildings in the world. Besides being well written and not just a dry history book the illustrations are wonderful.   Mr McKendry has created images that are nostalgic and new at the same time.   This isn't a stuffy history book but a fascinating story of one of the most well known places in the world.  While it is written for the middle grade reader it is definitely something I would give a grown up ---- especially if they love New York like I do.   It would make a great gift!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Flashback Tuesday: Flotsam written and illustrated by David Wiesner

This past week has been a trying one because of Hurricane Sandy.   I live in NJ and while I was lucky not to have any damage other friends and family were not.   On top of everything else my beloved Jersey Shore is in ruins.   I am sure we will recover and that rebuilding won't take too long.  

Flotsam written and illustrated by David Wiesner is a Caldecott winning book that is the perfect tribute to summer vacations down at the Shore.   When I first saw this book I thought it was amazing.  Even though it is a wordless book it "tells" a wonderfully magical tale of magic and discovery.   I loved it even more when I realized the images are of the Jersey Shore.   I was thrilled to see the LBI (Long Beach Island) beach tag in one of the images.   LBI has been my sole vacation spot for many years.   I love the ocean and the beaches --- to me there is nothing better to do than sit on the beach and read a book. David Wiesner talked about his summers on NJ beaches growing up in interviews when the book was first published---he is after all a native son.   I think this book is a great reminder of the magic of the ocean and thrill of simple discoveries.   Hopefully the New Jersey coastline will rebound even better than before so that future generations can uncover the magic  that is "the Shore"!

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Boo! Book by Nathaniel Lachenmeyer illustrated by Nicoletta Ceccoli

Autumn has officially arrived and Halloween is just around the corner.   I came across today's book and loved it immediately.   It is not necessarily a Halloween book and it really isn't scary but I like the sweetness of the story.

The Boo! Book by Nathaniel Lachenmeyer and illustrated beautifully by Nicoletta Ceccoli is a charming little story with illustrations that I love.   It is about a book that is haunted and the mischief that follows.  It has a  fun mixture of playful words and a surprise ending.  This is the kind of book to read with a child on blustery fall evening.  Perfect for bedtime since it really isn't scary at all.  A cozy kind of book that helps make imagination soar.   It is not a boisterous story but a mellow one even if it is about ghosts.   This is a classic storybook that will really can be read any time of the year.   A must have book for the bookshelf!

Monday, October 8, 2012

One Beastly Beast: Two Aliens, Three Inventors, Four Fantastic Tales by Garth Nix

One Beastly Beast: Two Aliens, Three inventors, Four Fantastic Tales by Garth Nix and illustrated by Brian Biggs was a wonderful thing to find while perusing the library bookshelves.   I was amazed I hadn't heard of it before since I am a huge Garth Nix fan.   These are great fantasy stories for younger readers.   These four stories have something for every child --- pirates, princess, aliens and incredible creatures.   The stories are filled with magic and adventure with lots of humor built in.   This is a great book for the reluctant reader because they are short stories that are quick reads.   So many children today love fantasy that this would be a great start to any child's collection.   Perfect too for this time of year!

Friday, October 5, 2012

The 13 Nights of Halloween by Guy Vasilovich

It is Halloween time yet again.   My neighbor has yet to put up his decorations but I have been told that this weekend our neighborhood will once again be Halloween Central.   I am also excited because for the first time I will get to see what he does to the inside of his house.   Apparently I will be truly amazed.   In preparation I thought I would show case a great countdown book to Halloween.

The 13 Nights of Halloween written and illustrated by Guy Vasilovich is a wonderful book to help prepare for the big night.  I love how it is basically the 12 Days of Christmas but instead for Halloween .   It reads (or should I say "sings") so well that it makes a great story time book.  It is a bit different than the Christmas song since rather than starting with the  actual holiday  it starts before the holiday and ends with the 13th day -- Halloween---which of course is perfect!   I love the how each day we are "given" all kinds of spooky and creepy sorts of things like "5 singing skulls or 4 icky eyeballs" ending with "1 Skeleton Key".   This is a great story time book that has a potential for a  myriad of craft ideas that would be fun.  I would have loved to read this at a Halloween story time or party.   The perfect way to start the season off right!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Stat: Home Court and Stat: Double Team by Amar'e Stoudmire

I was catching up on last weeks The Daily Show with Jon Stewart when I was pleasantly surprised that he was going to do an interview about a children's book series.   One of the reasons I love watching Jon Stewart is because he interviews so many authors on his show.   Mostly he does political or history books and of course some celebrity books.   What always amazes me is that I really thinks he reads most of them.   Today's books are basically a celebrity book series.   I am not knocking this but just being up front about it.  I can't remember the last time Jon Stewart talked about a children's book.   What I liked about the interview was that Jon was really impressed with the books.   I am thinking he got the books for his son who is just the right age to be reading them.   It is so wonderful to see a guy really excited about books and that he is apparently trying to get his son to love them too.   I am not into basketball so I had never heard of this player.   After watching the interview I was very impressed and happy that he should use his celebrity to get kids to read.   Never a bad thing in my eyes.

Stat: Home Court and Stat: Double Team by Amar'e Stoudmire and illustrated by Tim Jessell is a new series for young readers ages 8-12.   Scholastic who publishes the series calls it "realistic fiction".   I like that.   It is the fictionalized account of Mr Stoudmire's childhood and how he discovered that playing basketball was his dream.  It is a great series for the reluctant boy reader who loves sports.   Anything to get a child to read is a positive thing in my mind.   I knew nothing about Amar'e Stoudmire before I saw his interview.  He is an all-star NBA player for the NY Knicks who wants to be a positive influence on children.  Here's hoping this influence brings a love of reading to children everywhere.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Flashback Tuesday: A Giraffe and a Half by Shel Silverstein

Today is Shel Silverstein's birth anniversary.  He was such a talented writer who wrote such iconic books.   In his honor I give you one of my favorite Shel Silverstein books.

A Giraffe and a Half by Shel Silverstein is one book that I always loved to read to children.   It is a fun rhyming book that always has it's audience laughing with it's silliness.   Shel Silverstein wrote so many fun books for kids that sometimes this book gets lost in the shuffle.   ( I am also partial to giraffe's).  I like it because it is the kind of story that builds and builds with repetition that is a great story for a group during story time.   If your child love books like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie , which has a similar structure but id not quite as elaborate.   They will love this wonderful classic picture book.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Goldilocks and Just One Bear by Leigh Hodgkinson

Who doesn't like sequels?   Sometimes sequels are not as good as the original but sometimes they can be a pleasant surprise as in today's book:

Goldilocks and the Just One Bear written and illustrated by Leigh Hodkinson is a sequel that totally surprised me.   I have mentioned before and will probably mention again that I love fractured fairy tales.    This takes that idea to a new level.  When I saw this book in the library I was intrigued by the title and the cover art.   I knew it was going to be a "new" version of the fairy tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  As I was reading it I realized it wasn't just a new version but the story of what happened to Goldilocks when she grew up. I also recognized the illustrations as being similar to  the Boris books I like so much and was to discover it is the same author. I love the expression's on the bear's face--priceless.  This is a really fun story to read aloud.   I think this is the perfect story time book or bedtime book.   It is the kind of book that is just read straight through but discussed as it is read.   I like all the comparisons to the original fairy tale and the little twist at the end.   Not a surprising twist but one a child would understand.   It really is a clever book.   A must have for the classroom or child's library.   

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Flashback Tuesday: Edward and the Pirates by David McPhail

Tomorrow is the 10th Anniversary of the International Talk Like A Pirate Day! In honor of such an auspicious day I would like to recommend one of my all time favorite pirate books.

Edward and the Pirates by David McPhail has always been one of my favorite stories.  This is the story of a little boy who discovers the joy of reading.   He reads everything he can get his hands on.  One day he discovers a book about pirates which comes to life around him.   I loved this book because it fosters a child's imagination.   The pirates who "invade" his room are searching for treasure, they think that Edward's book will tell them where it is.  After a huge ruckus Edward gives them the book only to realize they can't read.   I love that part---I love when children like to become teachers.   The illustrations are rich and colorful.   David McPhail is not only a great writer but an incredible illustrator.   This is great book for story time and perfect to read on International Talk Like a Pirate Day!  It also makes a great gift for a child who has a great imagination.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Flashback Tuesday: Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson

I don’t often write about Young Reader Books but during a Labor Day barbecue, a friend’s daughter mentioned she still had to complete her summer reading project. My little friend is one heck of a soccer goalie and like many kids, would rather play sports than read. I teased her because she only had a few days left - but  I also began thinking about the Newbery Award winning book my little friend had just read.

Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson is a book about sibling rivalry. The narrator of the story, Sara Louise, is jealous of her twin sister, Caroline. If Sara Louise is ever to grow up and become her own person, she must must break free and let go of her resentment towards Caroline.  
I know a few siblings in a similar situation.  The older sibling has always been the favored one while the younger sibling struggled to make her way in the world. Although the parents loved each child equally, the older one was more talented, more accomplished. 
 My little friend doesn’t understand sibling rivalry.  She has a great sense of self and seems to get along with her siblings. I too never felt that way. I have always loved my siblings and have been proud of their accomplishments. I knew my parents loved us all equally.  In fact my Mother always said we were all her favorites....  
In the book  Jacob Have I Loved, Sara Louise learns to find her way without burning bridges or becoming selfish.   She breaks free of her sister's shadow and becomes a better person in the end.  
My young friend is still in the process of growing up and perhaps, the final revelations may be lost on her.   Jacob Have I Loved is the kind of children's book that isn't just for children. Young Reader books such as this one are sometimes best understood when shared with a caring adult!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Flashback Tuesday: How to Behave and Why by Munro Leaf

I was so excited to see today's book in a store that couldn't wait to write about it.   I used to love Munro Leaf's "teaching" books for kids.  They were always so much fun to read....and of course I am a big fan of The Story of Ferdinand.

How to Behave and Why by Munro Leaf is a great book to read to children as they begin a new school year.    It is a great book to help children how they should act towards other people.  I love the life lesson it brings to not just children but to anyone.

"No matter where you are or who you are, there are four main things that you have to do if you want to make good friends and keep them.

You have to be HONEST
You have to be FAIR
You have to be STRONG
and you have to be WISE
And there is no good in trying to fool yourself. All that isn't so easy." 

It is a great way to teach etiquette and manners without being preachy.   These are wonderful life lessons for any age.   This book would make a great graduation present it is good to read at the beginning of school and at the end.   I even know some grown ups who need to be reminded about how to treat the people around them.   

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dog in Charge by K.L Going illustrated by Dan Santat

Just the other day I was having a discussion about the differences between dogs and cats.   I think I have mentioned before that I prefer dogs over cats but sometimes cats can be cute (sometimes).

Dog in Charge by K.L. Going and illustrated by Dan Santat is great new book that is a wonderful read aloud.   I love how this book reads.   It is funny and sweet.   Dan Santat's illustrations perfecly match the whimsical  text.  The expressions on "Dog's" face are priceless.   I think this is a great story time book to read with a group of children.   It has phrases to repeat with a little bit of counting too!  A must have new picture book!

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore by William Joyce

Today's post marks a milestone.   I have finally reached 500 posts and it only took me 3 years to do it.  I wanted to write about something special but was having some trouble settling on a title to talk about.   That is when I came across a note I had written to myself after this year's Academy Award Ceremony.   As I watched the Oscar telecast I was thrilled beyond belief when William Joyce had won the Award for Best Animated Short.   To say it was the highlight (for me) of the telecast would be an understatement.   I was thrilled and couldn't wait for the book to come out so that I could talk about it.   But as it happens I forgot....until I needed a book and saw my note.   I also felt it was meant to be when I realized it had a very special publishing date----(my birthday).

The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore by William Joyce (and designed by Joe Bluhm) is a book lover's dream.   As you might know I am a huge fan of Mr Joyce.   I have loved his books since I first read Santa Calls many years ago.   I have already talked about how I finally got to meet him and have lunch with him.   At that time I remember him telling  a story of when the ALA had their annual meeting in New Orleans....he made me laugh when he said how "those librarians" really know how to have a good time.   At first when I read about his new book I thought he was pandering to Librarians and teachers but then I realized that I was just being too cynical.  In actuality he was pandering to people like me.   People who have loved books their whole lives.   People who feel that books are some of their very best friends.   When I finally sat down, in the library no less, to read the book I was enthralled.   He has captured the magic of my childhood.   Reading as a child was my safe haven.  It fostered my imagination and made me dream big things.   This book reminds me of that.  This wonderful book should be read by everyone.    It is the kind of book that can be given to a child who loves to read but it should also be given to any grown up who grew up knowing the joy of reading. 

Thank you Mr Joyce for showing me  there is still magic in the world....even if it is only in a book.   

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Flashback Tuesday: Running the Road to ABC by Denize Lauture illustrated by Reynold Ruffins

I can't believe July is over.   It always makes me a bit sad to see the back to school commercials starting and the store shelves filled with school supplies.   I was recently reminded of today's book by a friend.  

Running the Road of ABC by Denize Lauture and illustrated by Reynold Ruffins was always a perennial favorite for me to put on my Back to School displays.  I love the lyrical words that describes children racing to get to school. I could always sense the enthusiasm of the characters.  The illustrations--which I love-- really match the much so that it received a Coretta Scott King honor in 1997.     I also like the multicultural aspect of the book.   It makes a great read aloud that teaches children about children in other parts of the world.  In this case it shows a child's life in Haiti...a country that is still reeling from the devastating earthquake of 2010.   A must have book~

Friday, July 27, 2012

My Friend Fred by Hiawyn Oram illustrated by Rosie Reeve

I think I have mentioned that I dog sit every year for a week.   When Little Bear goes home I always miss him so much.   It makes me really yearn to get a dog of my own.

My Friend Fred by Hiawyn Oram and sweetly illustrated by Rosie Reeve  caught my eye just after I took Little Bear home.   I could so relate to wanting a dog to have all to myself.   I would have loved to read this aloud to a group of children...there are cute little side commentaries that are fun to read.   The expressions that "Fred" has are priceless....such a fun story.   This is a must have new book for all the little dog lover's of the world....

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Reference Sunday: Let's Go to the Farmer's Market from Chronicle Books

Wow I hadn't realized it has been so long since I last posted.   It has been a busy few weeks....I went away on a wonderful vacation down the Jersey Shore then puppy sat for a week.   Of course I had to get back to work which after a great vacation is always hard to do.   The next few weeks are also going to be busy but I am hoping to get back into some sort of blogging routine....there are so many great new books to talk about.

Normally I don't like to write about toys or kits but I couldn't pass up today's title.   I have mentioned before that I have a side business selling homemade Veggie burgers with my sister in law.   It has been a seasonal business because we usually only sell them at her local farmer's market.   This year we haven't participated yet because I got a full time job and the place we had been making the burgers has limited  availability.   That being said I am still very much a supporter of farmer's market in general.   I love buying fresh locally grown vegetables in the summer.  It always makes me feel healthier.  One of my favorite things to see while selling at the farmer's market were all the families that wandered the area.   I loved how the children would be eating "pickles on a stick"...or carrying baskets of fruit.

Let's Go the to the Farmer's Market by Chronicle Books is a cute little kit and while there isn't an actual book there is a booklet that talks about what a Farmer's Market is all about.  It also has activity cards and a shopping list.  The best part is the tote bag just the right size for little hands to help carry their produce.  It a great way to introduce healthy living to the youngest among us.

Oh and because I must recommend some sort of book Chronicle Books also publishes a great cookbook and activity book called:

At the Farmer's Market with Kids by Leslie Jonah & Ethel Brennan with Photographs by Sheri Giblin is also a wonderful way to talk about the value of the eating healthy and shopping at Farmer's Markets with children.   It teaches children (and grownups) how to pick the freshest fruits and vegetables.  The book also has recipes and other activities geared to specific age groups.   A great companion piece to today's highlighted title.  

So I hope everyone enjoys the rest of the summer and that today's selections inspire some to try their local Farmer's Market....Happy Summer!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Flashback Tuesday: The Quiet Lady by Charlotte Zolotow illus by Anita Lobel

In honor of Charlotte Zolotow's birthday I thought I would recommend one of my favorite books of hers.  It was actually very hard to do as I have always loved her books.   This one holds a very special meaning to me.

The Quiet Lady by Charlotte Zolotow and illustrated by Anita Lobel was always a favorite book to me because it reminded me  of my Mom.   Part of that are the beautiful illustrations by Anita Lobel but mostly because I could relate to the story by Ms Zolotow.   When I was  little girl I loved to listen to my Mother's stories of her childhood.   I loved looking at photos of her as a baby and thinking she was so cute.   I also loved to hear her stories about growing up with her sisters in Brooklyn.   This is a great book for Mom's to read with their children.  It would make a wonderful new baby gift or a first Mother's Day gift too.

Happy Birthday Charlotte Zolotow!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Reference Sunday: Through Time: Olympics by Richard Platt

Last night while flipping channels on the TV I stopped to watch some Olympic qualifying Diving competitions.  I felt so bad for the team who came in second...they missed winning by a literal hair.   This is why I am not much into sports....I always feel sorry for those who lose.   Anyway I realized that the Summer Olympics in London were fast approaching so I thought I would recommend a book that would be a great way for kids to prepare for the fun.  

Through Time: Olympics by Richard Platt and published by Kingfisher is a great illustrated history of the Olympic games.   It starts with the history of the games all the way back to ancient times. It  concludes with the London 2012 games.  The book talks about each host city and nation giving the reader information about the cultural and social impact the games had on their cities.   There are details about the events themselves with listings of records that were broken as well as the major highlights of each game. I especially liked the illustrations and the wonderful cross-sections that show with meticulous detail the stadiums and cities throughout time.  A perfect way to introduce the Olympics to a child and to help them enjoy them more.   This also makes a great gift for the young sportsperson in your life.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Lonely Book by Kate Bernheimer illustrated by Chris Sheban

Sometimes I come across books that at first glance seems to be catering to a specific audience.   I read books that scream ----library or teacher books.  What I mean by that is sometimes an author, consciously or unconsciously writes a book that speaks to librarians or teachers sometimes to parents more than children.   When I first saw today's book  that is what I first thought.....but I was soooo WRONG.

The Lonely Book by Kate Bernheimer and illustrated so sweetly by Chris Seban brought me back to the books of my childhood.   I loved books just like the little girl in the story does.   As I read it I realized that it isn't a story time book but a "read by yourself in a quiet corner"  book....

It reminded me of two of my favorite books:  The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton (which I apparently have talked about before but have never written about it.) and The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. I love how it is the little girl's father who brings her to the library.   I love how the story and pictures flow.   This is a book that has a classic feel but at the same time seems new and refreshing.   I would give this book to any child who loves to read.  I think this is the perfect book for grown ups too....the ones who always felt that books were their best friends...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

the little pea by Éric Battut

I usually write about a reference type of book on Sundays I felt that I couldn't make it work for today's book.   Part of me thought that  because it is about a seed and how it plants itself and grows into something wonderful,   it could fit within a nonfiction parameter....but I couldn't even make myself believe that.   I do think it is a really sweet book that should be recommended.   

the little pea by Eric Battut and  translated by Sophie Pouze is the story of a little pea who thinks it can be anything it wants to be.   Even when he is laughed at by his friends he believes in himself.   I love the illustrations ----simple but powerful.   I love how it reads, sometimes translated stories losing something in translation but Ms Pouze does a marvelous job that, I think conveys the author's message clearly.   This is a great book to read at story time at bedtime.   It subtly shows a child that it is OK to be different even if others don't agree.   A great little gem of a book that will be read again and again.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Flashback Tuesday: Rap a Tap Tap: Here's Bojangles, Think of That by Leo & Diane Dillon

Last week we lost one of my favorite illustrators.  Much has been written about the wonderful Leo Dillon, he was an artist in the true sense of the word.   His illustrations and stories were complete works of art.  I thought today I would recommend one of my favorite books of his.

Rap a Tap Tap: Here's Bojangles, Think of That! by Leo and Diane Dillon is one of my favorite books because I am a big fan of Mr Bojangles ever since my brother and I used to listen to the song about him.   When this book came out I was thrilled because I got to introduce a favorite performer of mine to a new audience.   I loved how the book was fun to read and still convey information.   It is a great picture book biography, not wordy and cumbersome to read aloud.   I have always loved the richness of the Dillon's artwork, they were like paintings in a book.   This was a different style but no less wonderful and rich but in a simpler way.   It represents the time that is described in the book.   The Dillon's are masters because
they were able to adapt their art to the story.

 Leo Dillon may no longer be with us but his work will last forever. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Reference Sunday: Just One Bite by Lola Schaefer illustrated by Geoff Waring

Just One Bite: 11 Animals and Their Bites at Life Size by Lola Schaefer and illustrated by Geoff Waring practically jumped off the shelf at the Mahwah Public Library mainly because of its size.   It is an oversize picture book that would have driven me crazy trying to shelve it when I worked in the stores but as a consumer it is wonderful.  With simple text the author Lola Schaefer conveys to her audience what an animal eats in one bite.....this is a case where she needs the pictures to illustrate her thoughts.   She only deals with a few animals but they are an eclectic bunch.  I also like how she goes from the smallest animal, an earth worm to the largest, a sperm whale.   My favorite is the giraffe and the elephant.  Oh but the bunny is cute too. The illustrations are fantastic Mr Waring really makes them feel life size with gatefolds when the animal is just too big, like the sperm whale and the octopus.   Anyway it is a great beginning science book for the curious child who always asks "why?".....

An added feature is the more detailed glossary in the back that gives a better description of each animal. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

One Dog and His Boy by Eva Ibbotson

I am always looking for books that I know kids will love and understand.  I have many friends who are animal lovers....dogs especially so I love when I find something for them to appreciate.  Eva Ibbotson has always been on my radar as a very prolific writer who always has something for everyone.  I was so happy to see her new book but it wasn't until I finished it that I read the back flap where it says this was her last book before she died.  It is sad to think she will no longer be able to delight the world with her words, but at least she went out on a high note.

One Dog and His Boy by Eva Ibbotson is a sweet and fun book about a sad and lonely little boy who always wanted a dog of his own.   This book has everything; friendship, adventure and heart.   It is very Dahlesque with a little bit of Jean Ferris thrown in....although for a younger audience.   This is a perfect summer reading book for young children ages 8-12.....not too hard but not too easy either.

Thank you Eva Ibbotson---you will be missed.....

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Flashback Tuesday: Six Million Paper Clips: The Making of a Children's Holocaust Memorial by Peter W. Schroeder and Dagmar Schroeder-Hildebrand

Thanks to Anita Silvey at the Book- A- Day Almanac for reminding me that today is National Paper Clip Day.   When I think of paper clips I always think of today's book.  

Six Million Paper Clips: The Making of the Children's Holocaust Memorial by Peter W. Schroeder and Dagmar Schroeder-Hildebrand is a wonderful way for children to learn about the Holocaust.  It is a difficult subject to learn about but this book helps explain it.   This is true story about middle school children in TN who started a project to collect six million paperclips in order to understand the immensity of six million people dying during WW II.   The German couple who wrote the book are also journalists that helped the children and school acquire a railroad car (which is also significant) to store the paperclips.  When I first heard this story I got chills, it is such a wonderful way to teach history.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Another Brother by Matthew Cordell

My brother Michael has three boys.    When they were younger his oldest son Daniel used to hate it when his youngest brother JoJo followed him around.   JoJo always wanted to do everything Daniel did.....he was the proverbial annoying younger brother.

Another Brother by Matthew Cordell reminded me of Daniel and JoJo.   Daniel was constantly complaining that his brother was copying him or wanting to hang out with him.  Little Davy reminds me so much of my nephew although in Davy's case he gets 12 younger brothers who are constantly copying him which makes him crazy....that is until they stop....the pay off at the end is sweet....

I really liked this book because kids could relate to it and because it makes a perfect story time book.   It is a fun read that begs to be read aloud.   I also love the illustrations....the expressions Davy makes are priceless.   This is a great book for group participation in that there are repetitive stanzas and lots for children to look and and discuss.   I was always one to discuss the books as we read them.....makes for a more interesting story time....

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Reference Sunday: Step Gently Out by Helen Frost photographs by Rick Lieder

I was so happy the other day to discover the local library by my office.   It was a beautiful day and I wanted to go out.   I have been neglecting my blog and thought it was time to refresh it.   The Mahwah Public Library is beautiful.  I was not expecting such a large building with a wonderful children's section. The librarians were so nice and helpful too.  I got there just as a story time was a about to start....I really wished I could join in.  I checked out a number of books that I thought would be interesting.

Step Gently Out poems by Helen Frost and photographs by Rick Lieder, published by Candlewick Press was recommended to me by one of the librarians.   She said she loves to read it at story time because the children are fascinated by the photographs of insects and the natural world.   They like to trace the photos and touch the is so realistic and exquisite.   I am not a bug or insect person.   As a matter of fact I tend to run away from them.   That being said even I was drawn to these photographs....Rick Lieder is truly one of the best nature photographers I have ever seen.   I love Helen Frost's lyrical poems simple but expressive.   This is the perfect book for ages 2 and up....(I say "and up" because I think any age can appreciate this book).   This is a great book for a child who loves to explore the outdoors and a great way to show children the wonder and beauty of the world around them.  I would have loved to give this to my nephews, I always marveled at my sister-in-law Theresa because she never hesitated to pick up creepy crawly things to show her boys when they were little.

Oh and as far as being a "reference" book, there is a fantastic glossary in the back filled with information about each insect with an accompanying photograph.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Piggybook by Anthony Browne

When I did story times in the bookstore I always loved to read a book that the Mom's or parents would get a kick out of.   I knew they had to come and sit while their children had fun.   To that end this book was one of my favorites to read during our Mother's Day celebrations.

Piggybook by Anthony Browne is one of the funniest books to read to adults and children alike.   I included it in my last years Mother's Day roundup of books....but think it should get it's own moment in the sun.   How the Mom's would laugh because they could so relate to the story.  I think the average Mom is many Mom's do I know that this is their exact circumstance.   This is a great fun gift for any Mother out there....because they really need to laugh sometimes.   When reading it to the kids the best part was when they realized that the Dad and boys were turning into pigs and that even the wallpaper had pigs on them....this is definitely a favorite read aloud of mine.

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mom's who do just about everything!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms by Lissa Evans

The old saying goes "you can't tell a book by it's cover" which is true....but in the book world it is the cover that makes a person stop and take notice.    Sometimes I see a cover makes me stop in my tracks and I must find out what the book is about.   Many times I have been disappointed to find the cover was the best thing about the book.   Not so for today's recommendation.

Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms Magic, Mystery & a Very Strange Adventure by Lissa Evans was originally published in the UK.   I am not sure what the UK cover looked like but the US cover drew me in and made me want to take a look.   I was so happy I did.    This story of a little boy who wants to find his mysterious uncle is the kind of book I would have loved to read as a child.   I love the quirky characters that I liked as soon as they were introduced to me.  It has an old fashioned feeling even though it is a very modern book.   It will appeal to children who love magic and mystery like I did when I was young.   Heck it is the kind of book I like to read now.  This is a wonderful adventure story that keeps the reader yearning for more.   It would be a great book to read on vacation or curled up on the couch on a rainy afternoon.   I can't wait to read more adventures of Stuart and his friends.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett illustrated by Adam Rex

Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Adam Rex is probably one of my favorite new picture books.     It reminds of when in theatre, film or TV the fourth wall is broken---where the audience is brought into the story.  

I love the wordplay and how the story has two different types of illustrations. This is done  to offset what is supposed to be the story of the "picture book" and the "fight" between the author and the illustrator. It really is very clever.   It even has a subtle teachable message that doesn't become too preachy.   The collaborators really do work well together.   This is definitely on my list of must have new books.   I actually discovered this book by finding a video they did to promote the cute I just had to find out more.   They really should take their "act" on the road.   I am including their video for your enjoyment....some things need to be shared!


Vote here!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Poem Runs by Douglas Florian

Not only is April poetry month it is also the start of the baseball season.   I thought it would be appropriate to recommend a wonderful new book by Douglas Florian.   I am also excited to recommend a baseball poetry book on the day my Yankees won their home opener.....Go Yankees!

Poem Runs (Baseball Poems & Paintings) by Douglas Florian and published by Harcourt Children's Books has wonderful poems and illustrations that are sure to delight the youngest baseball fan.   I love the images and the colors not only in the actual paintings but in the way his poems are so visual in and of themselves.   I love the wordplay, so fun to read.   This is a perfect book for the classroom to introduce poetry to children.   It is also a must have book for the baseball lover in your life.


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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

IBBA: Independent Book Bloggers Award

Hi everyone,

Goodreads had a new award that hopefully you can help with.  I have submitted my blog for the IBBA, The Independent Book Bloggers Award.   I would love it if you would vote for me.



Vote Here

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It: False Apology Poems by Gail Carson Levine and illustrated by Matthew Cordell

I can't believe it is April already...spring is such a wonderful time of year.   In honor of poetry month I thought I would start out with a really fun new book by a well loved author.  I have  always liked Gail Carson Levine.  She has a way of stating things in the most sardonic way.  Her new book is no exception.

Forgive Me, I meant to Do It: False Apology Poems by Gail Carson Levine and illustrated wonderfully by Matthew Cordell is a book of poems based on the classic poem "This is Just To Say" by William Carlos Williams.   She even goes so far to credit him by including the poem with an explanation at the end of he book.

Normally I like to teach children to be nice.   I think the best thing we can teach kids today is to be kind to one another.   That being said I know that children tend to have a bit of a mean streak about them.   How many times have we demanded they apology to someone knowing full well that they may say the words....but don't really mean it.   I think this book is a great way to show them we are on to them and that we understand.

 I love how she uses fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters that all kids can recognize, since they aren't real non-apologies then there really is no harm in them.   Knowing that this is a great teachable book, Harpercollins has created a fantastic downloadable Teachers Guide for use in the classroom.

As much as this a great book for teachers to read to kids, I know quite a few adults who would get a kick out of the poems.  The illustrations remind me of Edward Gorey and his  "The Gashlycrumb Tinies"---and I know of one friend who would appreciate that.

So this is a great new book to help celebrate Poetry Month...albeit in a fun and sarcastic way....

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Cloud Spinner by Michael Catchpool; illustrated by Alison Jay - Hardcover - Random House

The Cloud Spinner by Michael Catchpool; illustrated by Alison Jay - Hardcover - Random House is a wonderful new book that teaches children  to not be greedy.   I love this story of a a little boy who weaves beautiful clothes out of clouds but never uses too many clouds until he is asked to do more.  This is a wonderful story of how excess can be destruct.  Michael Catchpool weaves (pun intended) a magical new fable that teaches without being preachy. As for the illustrations  I have  said this before but I am a huge fan of Alison Jay.   I just love her illustrations and these do not disappoint.   I really love her color palette and the way she complements the text.   This is a must have new classic ----for everyone.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Huff & Puff by Claudia Rueda

Huff & Puff by Claudia Rueda is one of those books that made me look twice.   The second I saw these cute little pigs staring at me I instantly broke out into a smile.   When I looked at it closely I was thrilled to see it was a fun retelling of a classic fairy tale.   Not only is this a sweet story but it is interactive too.  I would love to sit and read this with a child on my ask them to act like the wolf and "huff & puff"...would be so cute.   I can even see reading this at story time.   The end of the book is sure to induce claps and squeals....a great new read aloud for even the littlest one in your life.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Meet Me at the Moon by Gianna Marino

Stumbled across today's book and was immediately drawn to it.   I loved the title and the cover illustration is precious.

Meet Me at the Moon by Gianna Marino is a sweet story of a mother elephant and her baby.  When the mother leaves to "ask the sky for rain" her baby worries about being alone.   Mama Elephant tells her child in reassuring words that all will be ok....

This is a perfect story for bedtime or story time.   It has a classic feel that is timeless.   This is such a beautifully illustrated and soothing story.

(On a side note the baby elephant is called "Little One"....which is a nickname given to me by a friend...another reason I was drawn to it.)

Perfect new book that is a must have for a child's bookshelf.  It makes a great new baby gift too!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton

Came across this book that made me laugh out loud!

Oh No, George! written and illustrated by Chris Haughton is a new book being published this week about a dog named George who tells his owner that he will be "very good" while his owner is out.   The look on his face when he says it is so funny....I love how George then thinks to himself how he "hopes to be good"....but then he sees the cake....and he just LOVES cake....I can understand his dilemma as I too LOVE cake.   Anyway Chris Haughton is now a new favorite illustrator.....I love the quirkiness of his illustrations, the color schemes and the of course how he can convey emotion with just a few brushstrokes. This is a great read aloud at story....a new classic too!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

BabyLit board books.....

It seems like I haven't posted in ages.   Life certainly gets in the way.   I discovered today's books because I was looking for something different to write about.    I came across these really cute and eclectic board books.   At first I thought it was kind of silly to make board books out of classic literature....but after looking at them I find them quite charming.   Are they for everyone?  Probably not....but I know of a few parents who would think they are a hoot and fun to read to their kids.

BabyLit from Gibbs Smith publishing has four titles to date:

Alice in Wonderland ,  Jane EyrePride & PrejudiceRomeo & Juliet are written by Jennifer Adams and illustrated by Alison Oliver.   They are by no means a retelling of he classic novels but take images from the stories to teach colors and counting. When I was a buyer of toddler books I would have loved them.   I also knew that they wouldn't be something I could place in all stores.  These clever little books would be put in select stores because they are part of a niche market.   I personally love the illustrations and since I have read all four stories I would understand the images that are presented.  I think they are a great novelty gift for a new mother, especially if she is a reader and lover of literature.   I just think they are a fun way to introduce classics to kids.  

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Reference Sunday: Words Set Me Free by Lesa Cline-Ransome illutrted by James E. Ransome

A few weeks ago I wrote about a book the book Love Twelve Miles Long .  It tells the story of Frederick Douglas and how his Mother influenced his life.   When my sister read my post she introduced me to another picture book about Frederick Douglas written by her friend Lisa Cline-Ransome.   I am always amazed when two books are published at about the same time on the same subject without each taking anything away from  the other.  

Words Set Me Free by Lesa Cline-Ransome and illustrated by her husband James E. Ransome also tells the story of the great Abolitionist Frederick Douglas, only this time it encompasses more of his life  not just one part.   In this beautifully illustrated and written picture book we not only learn about where he comes from we learn how he knew from early on that by learning to read and educate himself would he ever be more than just a slave.  I have always been a fan of James Ransome's art but I am also a fan of his wife's wonderful to have such a team to bring us such wonderful books.   I recommend this book as a companion piece to Glenda Armand's book....they are meant for roughly the same age.   I also recommend it as a book to show children that education and reading are important and can truly enrich their lives.   A must have picture book.....

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Belly Book by Fran Manushkin illustrated by Dan Yaccarino

So it is a bit of stretch that today's book is non-fiction( so I didn't feel comfortable saying my usual "Reference Sunday")  but it is such a cute book I can't help but recommend it. It sorta non-fiction because it does talk about the body etc.... ;)

The Belly Book by Fran Manushkin and illustrated by Dan Yaccarino is one of the sweetest books I have seen that can also teach children about their body.   The rhymes are really cute and sweet and the illustrations make me smile.  This is a great little read aloud that would make a fun story time.   Little kids will get a kick out of it as will Moms and Dads....a must have new book that will be read over and over again.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Flashback Tuesday: The Day it Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond

Happy Valentines Day!  I know I am a little late recommending books for today but I couldn't let the day go by without suggesting something.

The Day it Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond has always been one of my favorite Valentines Day books especially because it is more about sharing and is a sweet story of a little girl who gathers hearts and gives them to the people she loves.   This is a book for all be given to anyone in your life who means something to you.....

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Love Twelve Miles Long By Glenda Armand Illustrated by Colin Bootman

Life has been busy lately so I haven't been able to write as much as I would like.   That doesn't mean I am not in constant search of some good book to suggest.

I have always been an admirer of Frederick Douglass the famous abolitionist ever since I did a report on him in school.   So I was so thrilled to find a story about him as child. A story  that helps bring a larger than life historical figures in better focus.

Love Twelve Miles Long by Glenda Armand and illustrated by Colin Bootman is a beautifully told story of a young Frederick Douglass who as a slave was sent to a plantation 12 miles away from his mother. This story tells how she would walk at night just to visit him.  He asks her how she is able to do this as it was a long way, she describes what she does during each step. She sings, prays, listens and remembers.....

As only a mother can, she is able to see her son's true potential.  Ultimately she is the driving force of his escape to freedom and the leadership path he would eventually take.   Ms Armand is a beautiful writer.  I really could feel the love between mother and son, which is a very powerful feeling.   The illustrations by Colin Bootman match the words perfectly, the cover illustration alone evokes such warmth and love that I was immediately compelled to open it up.

This is a great first biography for a child.   It gives history without being preachy.   It should be used as a stepping stone to learn about one of the greatest American historical figures who ever lived.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Reference Sunday: What Color Is My World? The Lost History of African-American Inventors by Kareem Abdul-Jabar with Raymond Obstfeld illustrated by Ben Boos & A.G. Ford

What Color is My World? The Lost History of African American Inventors by Kareem Abdul-Jabar with Raymond Obstfeld and illustrated by Ben Boos & A.G. Ford is a great new book that tells the stories of some unsung American Inventors.   It is told in a picture book format with a set of twins to guide the story along.   I had no idea that Kareem Abdul-Jabar was such a history buff. I was aware of him but I didn't really know much about him.  I did a little research and found out he loves history and is an accomplished author. So in my mind this not just another celebrity book.  I love the illustrations too....very beautiful and accessible.

   I have always been very curious and would have loved to have this book as a child.   The story follows a set of twins who banter back in forth and keep the story moving.  I like the idea of taking fiction and wrapping it around non-fiction, that way it doesn't seem like a history book.   So many inventors I never knew about which is always the best part of learning history.....discovering something new.   This is a great book for the inquisitive child in your life....a perfect way to teach without "teaching".....

(Oh and I think it might inspire some children to become engineers especially since it tells how  the Super Soaker Squirt gun was invented by Lonnie Johnson a nuclear engineer!)