Sunday, March 15, 2015

February Round-Up

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A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat by Emily Jenkins, Illustrated by Sophie Blackall.
Schwartz & Wade, 2015
Starting in 1710 in England and moving through to California in 2010, this book looks at the way blackberry fool has been prepared and eaten over the years. Although the ingredients and the joy of licking the bowl stays the same, the kitchen tools used and the way the ingredients are harvested or bought changes over time. Readers will love the details in this book, from the meticulously researched fashions, to the dinners eaten by each family (Mushroom ketchup! Turtle soup!). The illustrations, rendered in Chinese ink, watercolor, and blackberry juice on paper, evoke the time period of each family, while also showing the similarities through composition and line. Back matter includes a recipe for blackberry fool, as well as fascinating notes from the author and the illustrator on the process of creating this book. Don’t miss the endpapers, stained with blackberry juice!

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Roger is Reading a Book by Koen Van Beisen
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2015
Roger is reading a book. That is until Emily starts playing a game, “BOING BOING.” And singing a song. And playing the drum. How will Roger be able to read with all this noise? First published in Belgium, this distinctive book features playful mixed media illustrations that utilize photographs and bright line work. The repetitive text paired with illustrations that reinforce the vocabulary make this a great book for beginning readers.

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This Book Just Ate My Dog by Richard Byrne
Henry Holt and Company, 2014
At first, everything was fine on Bella’s stroll across the page with her dog. Suddenly--POOF!--her dog disappears into the gutter of the book! Bella calls for help, but everyone who arrives also disappears. Finally, Bella decides to take matters into her own hands. This interactive book is wonderful for a preschool storytime. It can be used to demonstrate print motivation. The bright and cartoonish illustrations are playful and the text is bold and easy to read. As one kid told me after storytime, “That book is tricky!”

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The Queen’s Shadow: A Story About How Animals See by Cybele Young
Kids Can Press, 2015
There are many illustrious guests at the Queen’s Ball including Captain Shark, Colossal Squid, Dr. Pigeon, and Sir Chameleon. All is going well until the moment the Queen realizes her shadow has gone missing. It’s up to Mantis Shrimp, the Royal Detective to interview the suspects and deduce the criminal. Within this mystery structure, information about how each animal sees is provided within the text, as well as in sidebar. The colorful and bold pen and ink, plus Photoshop illustrations not only tell the story, but also represent how each animal might view their world. The length of the text and the depth of information make this a wonderful story to share with an elementary aged group.


Friday, February 13, 2015

January Round-Up

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Ernest, the Moose Who Doesn’t Fit by Catherine Rayner
Farrar Straus Giroux, 2009
“Ernest was a rather large moose.” So large that no matter what he does he can’t fit inside this book! He shimmies and squeezes, squidges and shuffles, but to no avail. What’s a moose to do? The mixed media illustrations in this short, but humorous book feature eager Ernest and his silent, but helpful chipmunk friend. Add this book to a size themed storytime and enjoy the oohs and ahhs when the final page unfolds...and unfolds...and unfolds!

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Jump! by Scott M. Fischer
Simon and Schuster, 2010
Starting with a small frog sitting on a log and moving along to a gigantic whale ready to set sail, this rhyming book is great for a toddler or preschool storytime. The cartoonish watercolor illustrations use saturated colors and bold lines, making the animals seem to jump off the page. The rhythmic text is easy to sing or chant. Kids will love to shout, “Jump!” as each animal tries to escape. Pair this book with your favorite version of the song, “Slippery Fish” (I like to use a flannel with this song. You can also play Charlotte Diamond’s version.).

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Little Elliot Big City by Mike Curato
Henry Holt, 2014
Little Elliot loves living in the big city, but he doesn’t like being so small. He finds himself being trampled and overlooked. But one day he meets a mouse that’s even smaller than he is! The cartoonish, yet softly diffused illustrations make great use of light and shading. Short sentences and a linear plot make this a good choice for a toddler storytime. Kids will relate to Elliot’s powerlessness and cheer when he finds a way to be seen and heard. If you like Little Elliot, get ready for Little Elliot Big Family (Available Oct. 6, 2015).

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Wind by Carol Thompson
Child’s Play (International), 2014
This board book features a multicultural cast of toddlers as they experience a windy day. Part of the Whatever the Weather series (the other titles are Rain, Sun, Snow), the text includes sensory descriptions of wind from the way it feels to the way it sounds. The short, rhyming text and mixed media illustrations make this a wonderful choice for a baby storytime.


Friday, January 16, 2015

December Round-Up

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The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat
Little, Brown and Company, 2014
Beekle was born on an island of imaginary friends. He waits and waits to be chosen by a child and to be given a special name, but it never happens. So Beekle decides to do the unimaginable--he leaves the island to seek the child who will be his friend. This satisfying story of friendship and hope combines narrative text with Santat’s signature slick and whimsical cartoonish illustrations. The vibrant, saturated colors add to the magical atmosphere. Don’t miss the fun endpapers showing a variety of kids and their imaginary friends. This is a wonderful read aloud for preschool or lower elementary kids.

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Grandfather Gandhi by Arun Gandhi & Bethany Hegedus, Illustrated by Evan Turk
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2014
When young Arun comes to live with his Grandfather Gandhi at Sevagram in India, he has a difficult time trying to live up to the Gandhi name, which leads to his anger and frustration. Through discussions with his grandfather, Arun comes to understand his anger and how he can use it in a positive, rather than a negative, way. The bright sun and intense heat of India are wonderfully depicted in the mixed medium illustrations, which use yarn, cotton fabric, pencil, tin foil, and even tea. Turk deftly manipulates shadows and proportions to convey Arun's emotions and perceptions. The text uses words deliberately, allowing this quiet story to speak volumes about anger, emotions, confidence, and peace. Although this book is not a biography of Mahatma Gandhi, it is a beautiful tribute to the man and his message for his grandson and the world. This book is an excellent choice for independent readers, as well as sharing with upper elementary classes.

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Happy Birthday, Madame Chapeau by Andrea Beaty, Illustrated by David Roberts
Abrams, 2014
Madame Chapeau is a milliner known for making whimsically fantastic hats for people of all shapes, sizes, colors, and walks of life. Every year on her birthday she dresses up in her best frock and hat and treats herself to a luxurious dinner. But this year, on her way to dinner her hat tumbles off and is stolen by a mischievous crow. Many people offer to give Madame Chapeau their hats, but none of them hits the right note. At the last moment, Madame’s special day is saved by a little girl who creates the perfect hat. Inspired by the fashion editor Isabella Blow, the rhyming text of this sartorial romp features many a clever turn of phrase. The stylized illustrations feature intricate line work and details galore. This is a fantastic book to share with a lower elementary aged group.

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Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads by Bob Shea, Illustrated by Lane Smith
Roaring Brook Press, 2014
The terrible Toads, three vile and disgusting criminals, have descended on the spicy town of Drywater Gulch. Thankfully, Kid Sheriff rides into town to save the day with his expert knowledge of dinosaurs. The terrible Toads might be gold stealin’, cattle kissin’, chili insultin’ vermits, but they’re no match for the clever and quick thinking Kid Sheriff. This tall tale uses cartoonish illustrations featuring a palette of browns, reds, and yellows. With humor as dry and crisp as Drywater Gulch, cinematic pacing and angles, and a Wild West font, this story evokes a classic western movie. Use this laugh out loud book for riotously funny read aloud for elementary aged kids.


Friday, December 12, 2014

November Round-Up

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Goodnight Already! by Jory John, Illustrated by Benji Davies
HarperCollins, 2014
Bear is sleepy, incredibly sleepy. He could sleep for months! He's just about to settle into bed when his neighbor Duck knocks on the door. Duck is definitely not sleepy. Will Bear ever get to sleep? The humorous all dialogue text has a distinctive font for Bear and another for Duck, making this a fun preschool read aloud. The cartoonish illustrations are animated with exaggerated facial and body expressions that heighten the humor.

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The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse by Patricia MacLachlan, Illustrated by Hadley Hooper
Roaring Brook Press, 2014
 This vividly colored book invites the reader to imagine what it would be like to grow up like the painter Henri Matisse did. He grew up in a small, grey industrial town in France, but that didn't mean he wasn't surrounded by color. The simple "what if?" text combined with the relief printmaking and digital illustrations create a wonderful introduction and tribute to an important artist. An author's/illustrator's note at the end of the book include more information about Matisse, the inspirations for this book, and further reading suggestions. 

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The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant, Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
 Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2014
 Beginning with his birth in 1779, this picture book biography looks at the life of Peter Mark Roget-better known as the man who created Roget's thesaurus. The mixed media illustrations incorporate Roget's notebooks and original thesaurus. Synonyms seem to sprout all over the pages and the endpapers are especially intriguing. The straight forward text provides just enough -- but not an overwhelming amount -- of detail for young readers. Excellent back matter includes, a timeline of important events, an author's and illustrator's notes, as well as a selected bibliography, further reading, and sources. This is a great title for elementary aged kids, who will want to start a few lists of their own after reading this book. 

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The World According to Musk Ox by Erin Cabatingan, Illustrated by Matthew Myers 
Roaring Press Books, 2014
 The dynamic duo of zebra and musk ox from "A is for Musk Ox" and "Musk Ox Counts" are back for their third installment. This time their hilarious, pun-tastic adventures take them globe-trotting to all seven continents. The painterly illustrations match the humor of the back-and-forth banter between the two friends. Facts about each continents climate, landmarks, animals, and geography are woven into the story. Fun for independent or group reading, especially for elementary aged kids who are learning about their continents.

Friday, November 7, 2014

October Round-Up

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The Crocodile Who Didn’t Like Water by Gemma Merino
NorthSouth Books, 2014

“Once upon a time, there was a little crocodile. And this little crocodile didn’t like water.” And that makes him so sad because his brothers and sisters love water so much. He tries really hard to like it, but each attempt is a failure. What’s a little crocodile to do? The soft colors and cartoonish lines of the illustrations compliment the concise, yet compelling text. Several sets of sequential panels allow for more detail and expression and the page turns are strategically placed for maximum effect. Read this book for a preschool storytime and enjoy the moment when the kids figure out the plot twist. 

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Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin by Chieri Uegaki, Illustrated by Qin Ling
Kids Can Press, 2014

Little Hana Hashimoto longs to play the violin like her Ojiichan (grandfather). Hana is just a beginner, but she practices and practices for the upcoming school talent show. Her brother’s worry she will be an embarrassment, but Hana surprises them. Instead of playing classical music, she plucks out the sound of rain on a paper umbrella, lowing cows, squeaking mice, and croaking frogs. Set in Japan, the soft pencil and digital illustrations quietly compliment the descriptive, humble text. Use this book with elementary aged students to start a discussion about the musical sounds we hear in our everyday world.

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Rex Wrecks It by Ben Clanton
Candlewick, 2014

Gizmo, Sprinkles, and Wild love to build towers out of blocks, but their friend Rex just loves to wreck them! No matter how big, strong or awesomerific the towers, Rex wrecks them all. What are the friends to do? With colorful and dynamic illustrations done in ink, pencil, watercolor, and “digital magic”, this story is great for a preschool or toddler storytime. The concise text is just the right length for a read aloud and it’s fun to get the audience to “RAWR!” along with Rex.

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Telephone by Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Jen Corace
Chronicle Books, 2014

Peter’s mom wants him to come home for dinner. So she passes the message down the bird covered telephone wire. Unfortunately, the birds get the message a little confused. Will Peter understand it when it finally gets to him? The playfully humorous all dialogue text is perfect for an elementary aged audience. Corace’s watercolor, ink, gouache, and pencil illustrations feature soft colors, precise edges, and visual humor galore. Follow up with your own game of telephone.