Monday, September 30, 2013

September Round-Up


Image from HachetteBookGroup.com
The First Drawing by Mordicai Gerstein
In 1994 cave drawings more than thirty thousand years old were discovered in southern France. And in the same cave the footprint of a small boy was also found. In this book Gerstein imagines what it might be like if an 8 year old boy invented drawing. Detailed acrylic, pen, and ink illustrations vividly bring to life a world where mammoths and bears, lions and elk roam free. Written from the perspective of an unseen narrator the text encourages readers to imagine they are the boy discovering the magic of art and self-expression. An author’s note at the back of the book provides more information on the actual cave drawings that inspired the story.

Image from PenguinChaCha.com
Penguin Cha-Cha by Kristi Valient
Julia loves to visit the Romping Chomping Park and Zoo. She climbs a tall tree and watches a group of dancers perform on the outdoor stage. At first she is mesmerized by the dancing, but soon she notices some sneaky flippers! Penguins were making off with hats and clothes, fans and bows! Julia knows those fishy penguins are up to something! Whimsical and sketchy, the colorful illustrations are full of movement. The text moves the story along quickly and there’s a fun rhythmic sequence as Julia teaches the toe-tapping penguins to cha-cha-cha. Check out the free storytime kit provided by Penguin.

Image from US.PenguinGroup.com
Secret Pizza Party by Adam Rubin, Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri
Pizza is all Raccoon wants in life. He loves everything about pizza, it’s “gooey chessy-ness, salty pepperoni-ness, sweet, sweet tomato-ness, and crispity, crunchity crust.” Of course, most people won’t share their pizza with Raccoon, instead they’ll chase him off with brooms. That’s why Raccoon plans a secret pizza party! This hilarious story, driven by a mischievous unseen narrator, has a twist of an ending. A great read aloud for elementary age children who will eat up the idea of a pizza loving raccoon.

Image from Scholastic.com
Tanka Tanka Skunk by Steve Webb
Tanka, an elephant, and his friend Skunk love to beat out a crazy rhythm using the names of all their friends, from llama to lemur, bear to cat-er-pil-lar. This is a great addition to a storytime about phonological awareness or vocabulary. Rhythmic text and a fun refrain make this a rollicking read aloud.





-Amy

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

August Round-Up

Image from ChronicleBooks.com
Inside Outside by Lizi  Boyd
This wordless book focuses on the adventures of a young boy inside and outside his house over the course of one year (winter to winter). Along with his dog, cat, turtle, and numerous birds, the black-haired boy revels in exploring his indoor and outdoor worlds. Inside he paints pictures, puts on puppet shows, reads, and does crafts. Outside he makes snowmen, plants seeds, splashes in puddles, and flies his homemade kite. Although there isn’t a plot, the changing of the seasons provides a through line. Additionally, die-cuts of different shapes and sizes tie elements from one scene into the next creating a continuous flow. The illustrations, gouache on brown kraft paper, use simple lines and shapes with just the right amount of color to bring life to the pages. A great one-on-one book that supports the Every Child Ready to Read practice of playing.

Image from SimonandSchuster.com
Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett
In this movement oriented story a young girl and her stuffed monkey toy imitate their favorite zoo animals from elephants to kangaroos, penguins to bats, and of course, monkeys. The short, playful text uses a repeated chorus, “Monkey and me / Monkey and me / Monkey and me / we went to see / we went to see…” A great addition to a toddler storytime because Gravett’s text and realistic illustrations invite interaction. It would also be fun to use this for a yoga storytime. Pick out a few more books by Gravett for an author themed storytime. A few of my favorites, Orange Pear Apple Bear and Blue Chameleon.

Image from RandomHouse.com
Ribbit! By Rodrigo Folgueira, Illustrated by Poly Bernatene
One day the quiet of the pond is disturbed by a surprise visitor who announces his arrival with a loud, “Ribbit!” But the visitor isn’t a frog, it’s a pink pig! The frogs are outraged and soon all the other animals hurry to the pond. None of them can figure out what this strange pig is doing, so they consult the wise old beetle who says, “Maybe…he just wanted to make new friends.” And all of the animals are speechless, until they see the pig up in the trees talking with the birds! “Tweet!” The mixed-media illustrations are lively and humorous. Bernatene is especially adept at creating expressive facial features for the animals. This fable-like story is a fun read aloud for a preschoolers-early elementary aged kids, who will love to shout “Ribbit!” along with the pig. The message, that friends come in all shapes and sizes, is delivered with a touch of humor.

Image from HelenFrost.net
Step Gently Out by Helen Frost, Photographs by Rick Lieder
In this beautiful poem Frost urges the reader to observe more closely as she points out the wonder of the insect world. Lieder’s stunning close-up photography complements Frost’s quiet poem by capturing not only resting insects, but insects in motion, from the cricket that “leaps /and lands, / then sits back / and sings” to the moth that “flies / in and comes / to rest with / open wings.” Brief information about the featured insects (habitat, life cycle, etc.) is included at the back of the book. This ALA Notable Children’s Book is a nice poetry and non-fiction title for a preschool storytime. If you have the time, follow up by going on a nature walk.

-Amy