Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant illus by Melissa Sweet

I love doing research for new books.  I am constantly on the look out for a new book that will excite me.   I was going through publishers online catalogs when I came across today's book.   I loved the title and the cover but had never heard of Horace Pippin.   The great thing about how online catalogs have evolved is that we can now see inside the books ----not just read the copy on the page.   What I found fascinating about Horace Pippin was that I did know him by his art,  I just never caught his name before.

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin written by Jen Bryant and illustrated beautifully by Melissa Sweet (she is a favorite of mine) is a great picture book biography of an American artist with a truly inspiring story.  When I read about this book I got curious so I looked up his art and realized I had seen his work before.   This is a great book to read to children to not only introduce them to great art but to teach them that if they persevere they can do anything.   Horace Pippin's story is inspirational because he was able to overcome serious injury just to regain what he loved to do best.  Jen Bryant weaves her words to tell us the story of a man who  loved  drawing and how after being disabled during WW I he fought to regain his abilities.   I love how Melissa Sweet's illustrations complement the words and Mr Pippin's art as well.   His paintings are distinctive, thought provoking and very diverse.   He is a true American Master.   This is a must have book for any child's library.

He was born on February 22, 1888 so tomorrow would be the anniversary of his birth ~ which makes it a perfect time to celebrate his life.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Flashback Tuesday: Abe Lincoln: The Boy Who Loved Books by Kay Winter illus by Nancy Carpenter

In honor of Abraham Lincoln's birthday I thought I would share a recent favorite of mine.   Lincoln has been in the news lately because of the wonderful new film in theaters called "Lincoln".    

Abe Lincoln: The Boy Who Loved Books by Kay Winters and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter is a great introduction of this great President to children.   I love this book because it tells the story of a little boy who learned to love reading.   It points out that his mother instilled in him the importance of reading.  In very simple prose Kay Winters explains how even after his mother's death he still yearned to learn.  I love how she explains how thrilled he was because when his step mother came into the family she brought books.   He loved books and would borrow them whenever he could. Always going out of his way to bring bring them back, which is every librarians dream.    I loved the illustrations too.  They are simple and engaging.  This makes a great read aloud for President's Day and beyond.   

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot! by Scott Magoon

I always love a book that has a moral but tells it subtly.  I also love a fractured fairy tale or at least a new spin on an old story.   Such is the case with today's book. 

The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot written and illustrated by Scott Magoon is a retelling of the The Boy Who Cried Wolf.   Ben is a boy who tries to convince his family and friends that he has seen Bigfoot.   He goes to great lengths to prove it too.   I loved the illustrations in this book.   The fact that Mr Magoon sets his story in the past is quite charming.   There is plenty of humor for both kids and adults to find enjoyment in.  I especially love his little puppy who is so expressive!  Best of all it teaches a lesson about honesty without being preachy.   The boy learns a good lesson about telling the truth, repentance and forgiveness.   I always feel parables are a great way to learn something.    A must have new book.  

Oh visit the author's website....great background on the book plus famous video of "Bigfoot"! Click below:

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Flashback Tuesday: Night of the Gargoyles by Eve Bunting illustrated by David Wiesner

Happy Birthday David Wiesner!  In honor of this Caldecott winner's birthday I thought I would reach back and recommend one that I have always loved.  It is a bit of scary and somber book that is probably not suited for the very young but I find it a great read aloud with wonderful illustrations.

Night of the Gargoyles written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by David Wiesner is a magical story of statues coming to life.   According to the publisher it is meant for ages 9 and up but there are a few younger children I know who can handle this kind of scariness.  I have always been fascinated by gargoyles.   There have been quite a few books about gargoyles for children through the years, even a series or two, but this has always been my favorite.   I think because I have always liked fantasy I loved the idea of magical creatures coming to life after the sun goes down.   Growing up and visiting NYC with my father I marveled at the statues on the uppermost floors of old buildings.   Even when I worked in the city I loved to look at the buildings across from mine with their fearsome sculptures standing watch.   I love the rhythm of Eve Buntings words which make it a great story time book.   Most of all I love the illustrations.  The mere fact they are black and white charcoal drawings makes them timeless.   The detail is amazing and wondrous.   I have always loved his artwork but this holds a special place in my heart.   This is a book for all ages and a must for anyone who loves mystery and fantasy in their lives.