Saturday, November 28, 2009

Book Review: The Bus for Us by Suzanne Bloom

If you follow my RSS feed, this is the post that showed up all wackified a few days ago, when I hit "publish" instead of "save." Oooops. Sorry 'bout that.

Book Review: The Bus for Us
Author: Suzanne Bloom
Illustrator: Suzanne Bloom
Source: Local Library

A little girl and her friend wait at the bus stop. Every time a vehicle passes by, the little girl asks, "Is this the bus for us, Gus?" But it's a taxi . . . an ice cream truck . . . even a backhoe! But never the bus. Oh, will it ever come?

This is one of those deceptively simple excellent books. The structure is repetitive but not redundant, predictable without all the negative connotations of the word. Kids will have fun guessing the next vehicle with the hint shown, and then being able to turn the page to see if they're right.

Bloom expands upon her simple story in the artwork, which shows all the little dramas and characters of a morning's wait at the bus stop. I especially enjoyed the urban setting, which will strike a chord with city-dwelling kids who are more used to taxis and sidewalks than lawns and shade trees. Also, the children who join Gus and Tess at the bus stop are a nice mix of ages, ethnicities, and sizes. Silly touches abound, like the changing "Bus Stop" sign or the garbage truck owned by the Bicker brothers.

Frankly, you guys, I can't wait to read this in storytime.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Keep Your Eye on This One

I'm easing back into this blogging thing. Stuff has been going on in my life, mainly the acquisition and moving-in-to of a condo. Yay me! But it means there's less time for blogging. Sadness. That's all going on right now, but there's no time like the present to get back in the blogging habit.

I'm linking to the start of a valuable series over at Booklights. Written by Jen Robinson from an old, popular post at her own blog, it's called Tips for Growing Bookworms, and she kicks things off by recommending ways to read aloud. Check it out, and keep an eye on this series.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Skip This Post

. . . nothing about picture books, just a little Technorati stuff. MFM4CNZNKF96

Monday, November 23, 2009

Your Monday Giggle

A few weeks back, Buzzfeed posted some Dr Seuss/Superhero mashups. Heee. And heee again.

I have to say, the artist did a pretty good job of reproducing that particular Seussian body type and the lines of the background. Kudos.

Thanks to 100 Scope Notes for the link.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Book Review: Monarch and Milkweed by Helen Frost

Book: Monarch and Milkweed
Author: Helen Frost
Illustrator: Leonid Gore
Published: 2008
Source: Local Library

Every year, the milkweed plant blooms in the spring, and the monarch butterfly comes up from Mexico to find it. Their respective life cycles twine around each other throughout the summer. Then in fall, the milkweed dies and the monarch flies away--but spring will always come again.

This is an example of a nonfiction book that could captivate children as young as four. Helen Frost starts the book out with parallel narratives for the monarch and the milkweed, which draw closer together and eventually blend before separating again at the end. Her dreamy prose is descriptive without being clinical: "Inside Monarch's egg, a caterpillar forms / and four days later pushes out / shorter than an eyelash / almost invisible against the leaf's pale green." Can't you imagine reading that aloud? She also includes an author's note in the back with a little more information on monarch butterflies.

Leonid Gore's acrylic-and-pastel art in this book is flat-out beautiful. There's a spread of a flock of butterflies over a field of flowers that I pretty much wanted to cut out and frame. The caterpillars, butterflies, and plants are displayed in a mix of careful biological detail and beautiful art. A fascinating book for kids that love nature, science, bugs, or just a really good story.

Posted for Nonfiction Monday.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Reading Roundup October 2009

By the Numbers
Picture Books: 23
Early Readers: 2

(New category! Just to let you and the FTC know where I get my books.)
Review Copies: 1
Purchased: 1
Library: 21
Other: 1 (Um. I read it standing in the bookstore. Um. Sorry.)

Writing: Bebe Goes to the Beach by Susan Middleton Elya
Illustration: This is the Stable, illustrated by Delana Bettoli
Overall: Monarch and Milkweed by Helen Frost, illustrated by Leonid Gore (review coming soon!)

Because I Want To Awards
Punniest: Boogie Knights by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Mark Siegel
Most Fun Interplay Between Text and Illustrations: Minerva Louise on Halloween by Janet Morgan Stoeke
Savviest Protagonist: The Best Pet of All by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Hanako Wakiyama