Monday, December 1, 2014

Reading Roundup: November 2014

By the Numbers
Picture Books: 9
Early Readers: 1

Sources
Library: 10

Standouts
Writing: Little Nelly's Big Book by Pippa Goodhart
Hee! And hee! And hee again! Led astray by an encyclopedia without pictures, an elephant believes that she is a mouse and tries to move into a mousehole. Luckily, she finds sympathetic hosts, but it still makes life difficult.
Illustration: Beautiful Oops! by Barney Salzberg
I noted that I could see this as inspiration for an art program. Salzberg takes common mistakes and catastrophes that plague artists (torn paper, spilled coffee, blotched paint) and turns them into more art. It's very fun trying to guess what he will make of something.
Overall: Hide and Seek by Il Sung Na
A group of animals plays the title game. Who will be the winner? I'm not saying, but here's a hint: the chameleon's on every page, but just try and find him.

Because I Want To Awards
Almost Got Marked the Overall Standout: Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle
Flora is back, and at play with a penguin! They skate and dance together until penguin gets hungry, and Flora turns up her nose at his fish dinner. Uhoh. Can this friendship be saved? It's simple, spare, and lovely.
Are We There Yet?: A Trip to the Bottom of the World with Mouse by Frank Viva
An impatient mouse, a very patient kid, and a trip to Antarctica. Because where else would you take a mouse?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Reading Roundup: October 2014


By the Numbers
Picture Books: 11
Early Readers: 2

Sources
Library: 12

Standouts
(Links tomorrow. The WorldCat site seems to be down. Boo.)
Writing: Here Comes Santa Cat! by Deborah Underwood
I'm a fan of books featuring protagonists unsure of their Christmas-morning fate, and desperately trying to tip the scales toward "nice." Blame Calvin and Hobbes. With snappy back-and-forth dialogue between the narrator and the cat (with signs), this one will be fun to read aloud.
Illustration: Up, Tall, and High by Ethan Long
Comparative measurements get the perfect visual treatment with fold-out pages that demonstrate how what's high to one bird might be low to another, and so on.
Overall: Gravity by Jason Chin
A picture book about one of the forces holding the universe together? Why yes, I've got one right here! In simple, accessible prose suitable for storytime (!), Chin explains gravity, how it works, and how it affects us, with bonus stunning visuals.

Because I Want To Awards
Oooo, the Gnashing of Teeth: Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and John Klassen
The ending is sort of like a rug pulled out from underfoot, but the more I thought about it, the more it worked for me. Bonus: except a few polysyllabic words, this would work well for early readers.
Far Fetched? As Far as It Gets: Maya Makes a Mess by Rutu Modan
What else can you call a story in which a poorly-mannered preschooler gets randomly invited to dinner with the queen, and subsequently convinces said monarch to eat like . . . well, a preschooler? Oh, I enjoyed this. Can you tell?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Reading Roundup: September 2014

By the Numbers
Picture Books: 8
Early Readers: 2

Sources
Library: 10

Standouts
Writing: Oliver and his Egg by Paul Schmid
Oliver is back, sans alligator. This time, he finds a stone and imagines a great future if it turns out to be a dinosaur egg. But playing pretend is more fun with friends!
Illustration: Firebird illustrated by Christopher Myers, written by Misty Copeland
Myers' artwork brings out the magic and power of an accomplished ballerina like Copeland, but also the uncertainty of a young girl just starting out in ballet.
Overall: If You Want to See a Whale by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin Stead, illustrated
If you want to see a whale, you have to be patient. You can't be distracted by all the other wonders of the natural world that surround you. But they're so wonderful, especially in Stead's delicate woodblock style.

Because I Want To Awards
More than Just Ribbit: Noisy Frog Sing-Along by John Himmelman
I discovered this one when doing a frog storytime. By the end, kids were making all manner of frog noises, from peeps to big booming bullfrog sounds. I can't wait to use it again.
A Sequel Doesn't Mean a Redux: Naughty Kitty! by Adam Stower
I loved last year's Silly Doggy!, in which a small child mistakes a giant bear for a doggy. This time, Lily knows a kitten is a kitten, and the hilarity comes from a tiger wandering around, causing mischief for which the hapless kitten gets blamed
.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Apologies

Um. You guys. According to my LibraryThing, I didn't read any picture books or easy readers in August. Or if I did, I didn't record them.

I know. I can't believe it either.

I'll do better next month.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Reading Roundup: July 2014

By the Numbers
Picture Books: 8

Sources
Library: all

Standouts
Writing: The Roller Coaster Kid by Mary Ann Rodman, illustrated by Roger Roth
Most of the books about death that I read focus on the child's grief. This one takes it a step further and weaves in the widowed grandfather's feelings about the loss of his wife. On the long side, so better for older kids, but lovely and sweet.
Illustration: Planet Kindergarten illustrated by Shane Prigmore, written by Sue Ganz-Schmitt
Prigmore had to walk a fine line here. His kindergarten classroom had to look as if it was populated by aliens and space paraphernalia, while simultaneously being recognizable as kids and classroom stuff. Nicely done.
Overall: If I Had a Raptor by George O'Connor
Bwaha! Vicious carnivorous dinosaur as cat. I seem to be finding a lot of these lately. With sly humor and much use of the raptor's big eyes, I can see myself using this in storytime.

Because I Want To Awards
Community Building FTW: Turtle Island by Kevin Sherry
When a crew is shipwrecked on a giant turtle, it will take everybody's efforts to make themselves a home, even the turtle's. How often do you see that?
Tale as Old as Time: Don't Copy Me! by Jonathan Allen
Anyone who has ever had, or been, an older sibling will  recognize the puffin's plight in this book.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Storytime Favorites: Way Up High in the Apple Tree

Have you got a go-to fingerplay? One that when you get the slightest opportunity to use, you do it? This is mine.

Way up high in the apple tree (stretch arms up high)
I saw two apples looking at me (hold up two fingers)
I shook that tree as hard as I could (shake your arms vigorously)
Down came the apples… (make a downward motion)
And mmm, they were good! (smile and rub stomach)

I've had it in my collection for such a long time that I forget where I got it from. For some reason, the arm-shaking thing really gets the kids grinning. Maybe it's because I really get into it, maybe it's because most of the other movements I do involve feet and legs and this is a chance to shake some wiggles out. I don't know. But I do enjoy it, and so do they.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Book Review: Found by Salina Yoon

Book: Found
Author: Salina Yoon
Illustrator: Salina Yoon
Published: 2014
Source: Local Library

One day, Bear finds a lost toy bunny. He industriously sets about finding its owner, but while waiting for that person to come forward, he spends time with the bunny and finds himself growing attached. Of course, it’s at that very moment that the original owner comes along. What’s a bear to do?

While it’s filled with quirky jokes (my favorite spread was the forest’s “lost” board, filled with requests for help finding lost puzzle pieces, teeth, and marbles), this is a sweet story about the love we have for our toys, and the point at which we have to let them go. (Although not in the way that you’d expect.)