Monday, December 31, 2012

Reading Roundup: December 2012

By the Numbers
Picture Books: 15

Library: all

Writing: Lester's Dreadful Sweaters by K.G. Campbell
Anybody who's ever had a terrible-gift-giving relative will recognize Lester's angst. But Lester himself is a quirky treat, a control-freak of a kid who keeps lists of things to be afraid of and yet ultimately finds his own unique way to solve the Cousin Clara problem.
Illustration: Hippopposites by Janik Coat
Super-simple drawings of a hippo illustrate the concepts on the page to pull this boardbook together. Everyone I've showed it to has said, "Hey, this is great!"
Overall: Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems
Ahahahaha! Not just another repackaging of the classic story, this plays with narrative and reader's expectations for a fun and witty ride. And plus, dinosaurs! (Bonus: watch out for the wall art. It will crack you up.)

Because I Want To Awards
Made Me Want to Crank Up My iPod: Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald by Roxane Orgill, illustrated by Sean Qualls
This picture-book biography of one of the greats of vocal jazz made me want to bring up everything she ever recorded and play it as I read.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Book: Chalk by Bill Thomson

Book: Chalk
Author: Bill Thomson
Illustrator: Bill Thomson
Published: 2010
Source: Local Library

Three kids find a bag of sidewalk chalk in the playground one rainy day. To their astonishment, whatever they draw comes to life. A scrawled sun banishes the rain. Scribbled butterflies flutter up out of the pavement. And when one mayhem-prone kid sketches a dinosaur? Uhoh.

Wordless books are always fun to read in storytime, because they give you even more of a chance than usual to start a discussion about what’s going on in the pages. This one led to lit-up faces in my storytime group, as they delighted in the fulfillment of a common fantasy, and the kids’ quick thinking that got them out of a dangerous situation.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Book Review: Up Above and Down Below by Paloma Valdivia

Book: Up Above and Down Below
Author: Paloma Valdivia
Illustrator: Paloma Valdivia
Translator: Susan Ouriou
Published: 2012
Source: Local Library

In this trippy little book, there are two kinds of people: those who live up above and those who live down below. The ones down below look very much like the ones up above, except for being upside down. There are differences: when spring comes up above, it’s fall down below, for example. But people everywhere are just about the same.

I call this trippy because the art is downright surreal. You can get a taste of it up there. But of course, behind the surrealism there’s a very simple point about tolerance and universalism. And kids will have a great deal of fun twirling the book around and studying “up above and down below” in different ways.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Reading Roundup: November 2012

By the Numbers
Picture Books: 18
Early Readers: 1

Library: all

Writing: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce, illustrated by Joe Bluehm
Yeah, it's kind of an obvious pick for a librarian, but what the heck. I'll be obvious today. A young man acquires a job caring for books, and shares his love of words with as many people as possible.
Illustration: The Book With a Hole by Herve Tullet
I admit it; I was hoping for another storytime hit. This ain't it, but I'd give this imaginative and imagination-prompting book to every kid with plenty of time on his hands.
Overall: A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea by Michael Ian Black, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
It's an absolutely awful idea, and here's why, in exhaustive and drily hilarious detail. Review soon.

Because I Want To Awards
Perfect Thanksgiving Book!: The Thankful Book by Todd Parr
What are you thankful for? Todd Parr offers suggestions, in his inimitable way. Review soon.
Unexpected Storytime Success: Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salimieri
When I first picked this up, I thought it was pretty keen, but a little long for my purposes. Then I tried it on a group, and they adored it.
Darkest: Bear Despair by Gaëtan Dorémus
This wordless story of a bear who eats all the animals who keep him from his beloved teddy bear will cause some kids to squirm and whimper, and some to lap it up.
D'Awww: A Home for Bird by Philip C Stead
A toad is determined to return his new friend Bird home, even though Bird can't seem to tell him where that is. Who's going to tell him that Bird is a wooden toy? Not me, that's for sure. And, this being a Stead book, the toad succeeds in the end.