Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Reading Roundup: November 2015

By the Numbers
Picture Books: 28
Early Readers: 1

Library: 29

Writing: This is a Moose by Richard T. Morris, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
You'd think filming a nature documentary about moose woudln't lend itself to drama, hijinks, and laughter, but you would be wrong. The titular animal decides that he wants to do anything but moosey things, and ends up dragging the rest of the production along with him.
Illustration: Beautiful Hands by Kathryn Otoshi and Bret Baumgarten
With art made up completely of fingerprints and handprints, this is a feast for the eyes that might inspire some little artists. Though hopefully not on their walls.
Overall: Please, Open This Book! by Adam Lehrhaupt, illustrated by Matthew Forsythe
Poor little monkeys! When the last person closed the book, everything went splat. Finally you've come along to open it so tehy can set things right. But - uhoh. What happens when YOU come to the end? This one rises to the top of my mental list of interactive books.

Because I Want To Awards
I Never Would Have Thought of Making a Picture Book About This: What in the World? Numbers in Nature by Nancy Raines Day, illustrated by Kurt Cyrus
More than just numbers, this is about number sets, groups of distinct objects that are all similar. With the focus on early math literacy, it's an introduction to a concept that also works as a lovely picture books.
For That One Kid, You Know That One Kid: Steve, Raised by Wolves by Jared Chapman
Awww, poor Steve! He makes a great wolf, but a less-successful student. He crashes and burns at school until he finds a way to make his wolfy instincts work for his classmates. It's pretty funny, but it's also about finding a balance between fitting in and being yourself.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Reading Roundup: October 2015

By the Numbers
Picture Books: 28
Early Readers: 1

Library: 29

Writing: Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads by Bob Shea and Lane Smith
When the outlaws come riding into town, you really need a sheriff. On a tortoise. Who knows his paleontology. I roared with laughter all the way through this sideways, quirky romp of a book.
Illustration: A Perfectly Messed Up Story by Patrick McDonnell
In media ranging from peanut butter to crayon, McDonnell tells the story of this perfectly imperfect book and makes us love it for its imperfections.
Overall: Pirate, Viking, and Scientist by Jared Chapman
Life in general, and your birthday party in particular, is tough when your two best friends (the pirate and the viking) don't get along. But luckily, you have the scientific method to figure out how to bring them together.

Because I Want To Awards
Oh Please Please Let This Be a Series: Shark Detective! by Jessica Olien
Because I really just need more Shark Detective and his feline pal. I just do.
Almost the Writing Standout: My Teacher is a Monster! (No I am not) by Peter Brown
Is there anything more disconcerting than meeting a despised teacher in public? Maybe becoming friends with them. Yikes.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Reading Roundup: September 2015

By the Numbers
Picture Books: 37

Library: all

Writing: The Adventures of Beekle, the Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat
Oh, the pain of never being picked! An imaginary friend gets tired of waiting to be dreamed into existence and goes to find his child. I really enjoyed that she wasn't precisely what he imagined in the beginning but wound up being perfect.
Illustration: Following Papa's Song by Gianna Marino
Luminous underwater scenes, with glowing fish and graceful whales, make this a book that I'd love to see as a mural.
Overall: The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach
The unseen narrator spins a long and ever-more-unlikely story of a sandwich stealing bear. This would stand out just for the incredibly expressive bear, but lucky us, the story is delightful as well.

Because I Want To Awards
Best Parents Ever: Jacob's New Dress by Sarah and Ian Hoffman, illustrated by Chris Case
Even better because they're not entirely sure about this business of their son wearing a dress to school, but they come through with support and love for their non-conforming son.
The Glamorous Creative Life: The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
A kid struggles to bring her notions to life, but finds it's not so easy. Plus, maybe what she ends up with isn't precisely what she imagined but it's wonderful anyway.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Reading Roundup: August 2015

By the Numbers
Picture Books: 28
Early Readers: 2

Library: 30

Writing: The New Small Person by Lauren Child
Has it been done before? Yes, of course. Is it still relevant? Totally. Lauren Child brings her sympathetic realism to the timeless story of a big brother who really would rather NOT be a big brother, thank you very much, until he starts to see some of the advantages of having another small person around.
Illustration: Help! We Need a Title! by Herve Tullet
Another wildly imaginative story with interactive illustrations from my favorite French picture-book author.
Overall: One Family by George Shannon
With a multiplicity of races, ages, and genders shown in the pictures and a repeating refrain that we are all one family, this is a book I'm going to keep on display.

Because I Want To Awards
Brought Me to Tears: I'm New Here by Anne Sibley O'Brien
Three kids from different parts of the world all arrive in the same classroom, feeling silenced and lonely with the language barrier. Sharp eyes will catch Fatima's sorrowful backstory in the illustrations, but you needn't share it with kids who aren't quite ready.
It's Not All Satin: I Want to Be a Ballerina by Anna Membrino, illustrated by Smiljana Coh
Longing to be just like big sis, a little girl learns that you have to master certain skills in order to do the tutu justice. I loved that she is shown struggling to master these skills in order to be ready for class, a familiar feeling for many young kids trying to master their bodies.
Just Made Me Laugh Out Loud: Nuts in Space by Elys Dolan
This may become my go-to guy for sly, kooky, tongue-in-cheek picture books.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Reading Roundup: July 2015

By the Numbers
Picture Books: 16
Early Readers: 1

Library: 17

Writing: Building Our House by Jonathan Bean
A family builds their house together, in the process making it a home. Based on the author's own childhood experience of the same.
Illustration: Henri's Scissors by Jeannette Winter
This story of Henri Matisse creating art right up until the end of his life made me tear up.
Overall: Blue on Blue by Dianne White, illustrated by Beth Krommes
A summer thunderstorm, illuminated by Krommes' woodcuts, makes this a delicious and evocative story for one or a group.

Because I Want To Awards

Here, Have a Little Taxonomy with Your Zoo Animals: Xander's Panda Party by Linda Sue Park, illustrated by Matt Phelan
It's a tough choice, deciding who to invite to your birthday. Should you invite all the mammals? All the invertebrates?  Decisions, decisions.
Some Things Can't Be Tamed: Wild by Emily Hughes
A wild little girl gets brought to civilization, but civilization isn't going to succeed in coming to her. The end is tremendously satisfying.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Reading Roundup: June 2015

By the Numbers
Picture Books: 21
Early Readers: 2

Library: 23

Writing: Penny and Her Marble by Kevin Henkes
Penny finds a marble in a neighbor's yard and steals it, but the guilt proves too much. I love a book that respects a child's capacity for sheer inner turmoil, and Kevin Henkes always delivers, particularly with his "Penny" series.
Illustration: Don't Spill the Milk!, illustrated by Christopher Corr, written by Stephen Davies
More than just the bright and colorful pictures, this compelled me because it's a glimpse into a very different world than mine. Penda's journey through the landscape of Burkina Faso (a small country along the Niger River) will take kids away.
Overall: Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote by Duncan Tonatiuh
This book pulls no punches when it comes to the experience of migration to El Norte. From riding on top of trains to having to bribe border guards, this little bunny has to do it all in order to find his Papa and bring him home.

Because I Want To Awards
Man, I Always Knew They Were Up to Something: Weasels by Elys Dolan
It would be the most adorable world domination ever, if they can figure out what's wrong with the machine. The readout that stated, "Machine Status: Broken" made me howl with laughter.
Perfect for Little Hands: Tap to Play by Salina Yoon
Like "Press Here" and "Don't Push the Button," you should use this one with kids who want to put their hands all over the book anyway. Which, to be fair, is all of them.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Book Review: Open Very Carefully by Nicola O'Byrne, illustrated by Nick Bromley

Book: Open Very Carefully
Author: Nicola Byrne
Illustrator: Nick Bromley
Published: 2013
Source: Local Library

Are you all ready to hear the story of the Ugly Duckling? You'll have to avoid that crocodile first, though! He likes to chomp things, like letters, and whole sentences. How will you ever get this crocodile out of the book?

There's been a spate of books lately that encourage interaction and engagement with the book as an object, playing with characters that tear pages, eat words, etc. Open This Book Very Carefully shows why that can be such fun.