Saturday, March 31, 2012

all caught up

It seems as though it is a vicious cycle: I read a ton of books and then pile them up to be blogged. They move from the toppling TBR stack to the even more dangerous TBB stack. So, today (which is really February 15 since I am scheduling posts now), I will catch up for the moment with the TBB stack. The TBR? That will never happen. Soooo many books...

ZACHARY'S BALL by Matt Tavares (Candlewick 2012) combines a bit of fantasy with fan in a story in which Zachary's dad catches a foul ball at Fenway Park. He hands ti to Zachary who is transported to the pitching mound in an actual game. The ball's magic combined with Tavares' magical illustrations in black and white make this a sort of "field of dreams" or "Polar Express" of baseball books for young readers.

PATH OF STARS by Anne Sibley O'Brien (Charlesbridge 2012) is the story of a multi-generational family. Grandmother, Lok Yeay, comes from Cambodia. She tells her granddaughter, Daya, about her life there and her flight along with her brother to America. Lush illustrations accompany the rhythmic text that helps Daya see the world through her grandmother's eyes. <160>

LOLA READS TO LEO by Anna McQuinn with illustrations by Rosalind Beardshaw (Charlesbridge 2012) pretty much tells the story: Lola and her family love to read. When Baby Leo comes, Lola helps to entertain him including reading aloud to him. <161>

And, of course, there is FANCY NANCY AND THE MERMAID BALLET by Jane O'Connor with illustrations by Robin Glasser (Harper 2012). Nancy loves ballet and hopes for a terrific part in their performance. When she is given the part of a tree, she is less than thrilled. However, knowing Nancy as we do, she will own this part. <162>

Friday, March 30, 2012

all sorts of nonfiction

Maira Kalman's LOOKING AT LINCOLN (Penguin 2012) is a moving tribute to the man. Kalman's distinctive illustrations somehow fit this larger than life historic figure who did not always fit in neatly. Colors range from quiet and somber to bright and festive as readers meet the young man and later the President who would change history. End papers contain the text of the Gettysburg Address. <156>

RALPH MASIELLO'S FARM DRAWING BOOK (Charlesbridge 2012) is another in his series of how to draw books for young readers. Here you can learn how to draw farm animals and buildings and equipment in step by step processes that are reminiscent of Lee J. Ames' books. <157>

CRAZY CONCOCTIONS: A MAD SCIENTIST'S GUIDE TO MESSY MIXTURES by Jordan Brown with illustrations by Anthony Owsley (and some assistance from Dr. Viskus von Fickleschmutz) (Imagine 2012) is a fun experiment book for making all sorts of messes including a form of Silly Putty, some slime, and even some edible creations. Team this with SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS YOU CAN EAT by Vicki Cobb. <158>

Thursday, March 29, 2012


DINO PET (Imagine 2012) by Marc Sedaka is based on his father's song, "Calendar Girl." The books comes with a CD with three songs including the one in the title. A boy watches as his young dino grows and grows all to the refrain of "I love I love I love my little dinosaur pet" (and now I apologize for putting this lyric in your head for the day). Kids will love reading the book and then listening to the music that accompanies it. <154>

DANCING WITH DINOSAURS by Jane Clarke with illustrations by Lee Wildish (Imagine 2012) takes dinosaurs and puts them on a Dancing with the Stars sort of show. They all hope to wow the judges who seem to be disappearing one at a time. I wonder where the judges will end up? Tie this to the lovely poetry collection by Jane Yolen DINOSAUR DANCES. <155>

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Nat Love or is it Deadwood Dick?

THE BEST SHOT IN THE WEST (Chronicle Books 2012) is a GN format biography of Nat Love AKA Deadwood Dick, one of the heroic cowboys of the Old West. Born into slavery, Love became a thing of legend. Patricia and Fred McKissack have teamed up with GN illustrator Randy Duburke (YUMMY) to tell Nat Love's story with a few embellishments. The Old West and the lot of the Black cowboys come to life in this GN biography. Stampedes, raids, rustlers, and outlaws make for an action packed tale that is part truth and part tall tale. <151>

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Earwig and the witch

EARWIG AND THE WITCH by Diana Wynne Jones (Greenwillow 2012) gives readers a heroine who can stand up to all manner of beasts. Earwig has been happy growing up in the orphanage. When she is selected by a couple who want to adopt her, she is, quite frankly, disappointed to be leaving a place where she is firmly in charge. That is most certainly NOT the case with her new home at 13 Lime Avenue. Bella Yaga and the Mandrake are not really in the market for a child. Yaga wants a slave, and Mandrake just wants some peace and quiet. With the assistance of the witch's familiar, Earwig manages to wrest control and take back her life. <150>

Monday, March 26, 2012

Easy reading

Here are three books in the I Like to Read series from Holiday House. All are 2012 copyright dates.

LATE NATE IN A RACE by Emily Arnold McCully gives readers a little mouse named Nate who is always late. He does come through, though, when it is necessary. <146>

I WILL TRY by Marilyn Janovitz is about a budding gymnast who must try and try again despite having a few setbacks at the outset. <147>

in FISH HAD A WISH, Fish wishes to be lots of different animals. <148>

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pushing the Boundaries

Glory is a piano prodigy and Frank is a talented artist. These two teens' lives intersect in CHOPSTICKS, A NOVEL by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral (Razorbill 2012). How do we come to know about Glory? newspaper articles describe her meteoric rise to prominence. We get to know more about Frank from his notes to Glory and from his art as well. And now it is up to readers to fill in the blanks and tell the story of this romance, perhaps an ill-fated one, from the photos, drawings, news articles, and other pieces of text and illustration that comprise the narrative of the story. Do the two end up together? There are intentionally unclear references so that readers can follow their own trails through the myriad of paths the author/illustrator provide. <145>

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Getting Graphic

JINX by J Torres (Archie Comics, April 2012) is the first GN series to be launched by Archie Comics. Its pedigree is clear as readers meet Jinx as she prepares for the dreaded high school years. Dreaded only after the first day when Jinx discovers a world of changes have taken place in the people she has known best throughout middle school. Romance, friendship, and other negotiations of high school are humorously explored in this GN. <142>

CHICK AND CHICKIE PLAY ALL DAY by Claude Ponti (Toon Books 2012) is another GN for very young readers. Follow Chick and Chickie as they play tickle fight, make monster masks that scare one another, and just generally have fun all day long.

ZIG AND WIKKI are back again, this time back on Earth. In ZIG AND WIKKI IN THE COW by Nadja Spiegelman and Trade Loeffler (Toon Books 2012), the two aliens visit Earth because Zig's fly appears to be homesick. The two end up losing their spaceship (in the stomach of a cow) and have interesting adventures on the farm. A bit of science with some goofy alien comedy. <144>

Friday, March 23, 2012

Catching up with more winning titles

National Book Award winner and Newbery Honor Medal winner INSIDE OUT AND BACK AGAIN by Thanhha Lai (Harper 2011) is the story of ten year old Ha who must leave her beloved Saigon for America. It is no longer safe to live in the place of her birth, so the family is just one of thousands who flee Vietnam and come to America. This novel in verse tells of Ha experiences in America, especially in her neighborhood and school, two places where Ha and her family are truly considered "foreign." The story is fast moving and powerful. <141>

One note: is it not interesting that all 3 Newbery books are historical fiction this year?

The Miseducation of America

Yesterday, I included in the workshop I did for librarians and teachers in North Texas, a snapshot of the "top books for readers" in 2011. The information came from a publication I had seen before. it is from Reading Renaissance, the folks who bring you Accelerated Reader. They claim this publication as "research" of over 2 million kids from K-12 and provide lists of the 40 most read books at each grade level. Now, I think that they are basing their "research" on the tests that are taken most frequently at each grade (and that bothers me on a whole other level, big brother-wise). I showed the participants the top 5 titles at each grade 4-12. In grades 4-7, the top titles were mostly one of the DIARY OF A WIMPY KID series. Grade 7-8 saw some invasion by HUNGER GAMES. High school titles ranged a bit more but were mostly canonical: TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, NIGHT.

Today, The Huffington Post ran a story with this headline: AMERICAN HIGH SCHOOLERS ARE READING BOOKS AT THE FIRTH GRADE LEVEL. Cue threatening background music, add basso voice over. Ready? Set! Here is one more thing wrong with education and falling test scores. Here is the link to the actual story, so you can read it and weep yourself:

Where to begin?

1. This publication is not "research" beyond the customers of the company.
2. Many canonical texts have low reading levels.
3. Many canonical texts cannot be plugged into a readability formula.
4. Formulae are "science" trying to apply to a literary work or "art." They do not fit comfortably together.
5. Even lexiles do not provide an accurate assessment of the complexity of a text.
6. What is the readability of the typical adult bestseller? Newspaper (like maybe the HuffPo?)
7. The quotes from one of the contributors of CCS makes matters worse.

I need to stop and take some more aspirin.

8. What makes a text complex?
9. There are no pieces of nonfiction in the RR "report" of research. Wonder why?
10. Did anyone think to ask some teachers and librarians about the books kids are reading?
11. Why does the fact that kids are reading THE HUNGER GAMES spell gloom and doom for our future? (and anyone else get the irony there?)
12. Readability does not equate with interest level or age appropriateness. (NIGHT is 4th grade RL and, yet, I would hesitate to give it to 4th graders)
13. Why is someone not pointing out that there is little diversity in the canon or in the list of books kids are reading for AR tests? (does that not bother anyone else?)
14. What other factors might be at work here?

I need to stop before I blow a blood vessel.

I think it is more than syllables and sentence length. As a matter of fact, I would suggest that it is more about IDEAS and how the text makes the reader think and react and respond. If we want NAEP scores to show readers are more proficient (and please can we include other indicators than test scores?), then we need to support readers. That means we accept their interests, honor them. We read what they are reading, too. After someone from HuffPo or another of the hand-wringing complainers about education reads WHERE THINGS COME BACK or THE ASTONISHING LIFE OF OCTAVIAN NOTHING or THEY CALLED THEMSELVES THE KKK or SUGAR CHANGED THE WORLD (or fill-in-the-blank with any number of fine novels) then you can write something a bit more reasoned and less sensational (I hope).

Ranting over for now.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


EMILY AND CARLO by Marty Rhodes Figley with illustrations by Catherine Stock (Charlesbridge 2012) is the story of Emily Dickinson and her beloved dog, Carlo. The two were often found walking on the grounds of her home each day. Emily hated to be separated from him and even wrote some poems about their relationship. Tie this to a study of her poetry and also to other picture books about the poet. <139?

BAMBINO AND MR. TWAIN by P. I. Maltbie with illustrations by Daniel Miyares (Charlesbridge 2012) celebrates another close pet/human relationship, this time Mark Twain's wife's cat Bambino. After the death of his wife, Twain became a recluse, nearly bedridden. It was only after Bambino was lost after darting after a bird, that Twain seemed to come to his senses and return to the world outside of his own grief. <140>

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

quick takes and short tales

CAN I BRING WOOLLY TO THE LIBRARY MS. REEDER? by Lois Grambling with illustrations by Judy Love (Charlesbridge 2012) shows an energetic young boy who wants to bring his woolly mammoth to the library. Woolly can help with so many things at the library. But maybe there is a down side, too? <135>

PIG PIG MEETS THE LION by David McPhail (Charlesbridge 2012) is a comic story about an escaped lion and the pig whose house he breaks into. The story begins and ends on textless end papers. <136>

PERCY LISTENS UP by Stuart Murphy (Charlesbridge 2012)is part of the I SEE I LEARN SERIES. This one deals with social skills, especially the importance of listening. We need to listen for understanding, learning, and safety reasons. <137>

LEFT, RIGHT, EMMA! is also by Stuart Murphy and a part of the I SEE I LEARN SERIES from Charlesbridge. This time the focus is on cognitive skills, specifically telling left from right. <138>

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Board books, flap books, fun books

TRAINS GO by Steve Light is a board book (Chronicle 2012) that features long stretches of different trains and cars clacking and chugging and tooting along a track. Lots of onomatopoeia will delight young listeners as this one begs to be read aloud. <130>

ANIMAL SPOTS AND STRIPES by Britta Teckentrup (Chronicle 2012) is a lift the flap book. On each double page spread, readers will find one animal with either stripes or spots. Then, they lift the flap and uncover the same species now with stripes if the other had spots and vice versa. This is a sturdy board book, perfect for sharing with a child one-on-one. <131>

CHLOE, INSTEAD by Micah Player (Chronicle 2012) features Molly talking about how she wanted a little sister, but the one she got was not exactly what she had in mind. She wanted a little sister just like her, but "I got Chloe, instead." This refrain will be familiar as we learn how Molly must deal with having a sister who is not quite what she had hoped for. As it turns out, though, Chloe is a terrific sister. <132>

AOKI is one of the books in the Kokeshi series from Chronicle Books. Each book features a different kokeshi doll and her "adventures." There are flaps to lift as Aoki who is traveling to Tokyo to visit a friend. Train rides, shopping, and other activities all include some looking for detail behind flaps that are horizontal and vertical, wide and narrow. Exploration of the lift the flap format is fascinating in these books. <133>

ANIMAL 1 2 3 by Britta Teckentrup (Chronicle 2012) is a nice companion to the ANIMAL SPOTS AND STRIPES (see above). Here the lift the flap reveals the next number of objects in sequence. So, if the left side of the double page spread reads "1 wriggly snake," when the flap is lifted, there are now "2 wriggly snakes." Great for counting. <134>

Monday, March 19, 2012

Twisting the tale

CINDER by Marissa Meyer (Macmillan Audio 2011) has been my driving companion for a few weeks. As the cover not to subtly suggests, this is no ordinary retelling of the Cinderella story. What you get here is a futuristic story with cyborgs, aliens, plagues, and so much more. Cinder is a mechanic and a darned good one. That comes in handy as she has a prosthetic foot and hand, the result of a horrific accident that she does not recall. She lives with her stepmother and two stepsisters. One stepsister adores Cinder, the other sister and stepmother, not so much. And have we mentioned the handsome Prince, soon-to-be-emperor, who comes to Cinder for a repair on his faithful android? a prince, a ball, palace espionage, and a deadly plague all play pivotal roles in this first book in a planned 4 book series. Lots of clever references to Cinderella will amuse readers familiar with the tale's origin, but the story will rivet any reader interested in the twists and turns of Cinder's fortunes. <119>

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Uniquely Individual

Let me add my voice to the others praising THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN by Katherine Applegate (Harper 2012). Ivan, a silverback gorilla, has been a part of the roadside mini-circus for 9855 days (gorillas keep count of these things). His best friend is an elephant who also performs in the show when people come to see the animals. Stella, the elephant and a stray dog named Bob who sleeps curled on Ivan's stomach, are his constant companions. They almost make living in his glass enclosure bearable. In short chapters told in verse, Applegate lets Ivan tell his story. This is first and foremost a story of survival, of hope. That hope shines forth in the spare words of Ivan and his companions. THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN is indeed as singular as Ivan himself. <207>

Bleakly beautiful

There is absolutely no way mere words can do justice to THE CHILDREN AND THE WOLVES by Adam Rapp (Candlewick Press 2012). Rapp, a Printz Honor Medalist for PUNKZILLA, once again mines the dark side of life for children and teens. Bounce, Wiggins, and Orange have taken Frog captive. She is being held in the basement of Orange's apartment house. Bounce is a genius, a wealthy one with access to endless supp;lies of drugs thanks to her parents (who are, of course, absent even when they are present). She uses her incredible mind and the drugs to control Wiggins and Orange, to make them dance to her tune. Amoral and reckless, Bounce is in control. Only Wiggins begins to question her actions and her expectations for her compadres. This landscape is riddled with violence and seemingly with hopelessness as well. However, it is also horribly real for too many children and teens who lack adults to care for them, to love them, to guide them. Spare text, lots of interior access to the thoughts of the characters (particularly Wiggins), and brutal honesty are all trademarks of Rapp's writing. never have these three come together as they do here. This slim novel is one that demands reading more than once. There are layers here to be peeled back and inspected, clues about the culture which permits throw away children to exist, and much much more. <206>

Carking Good Read: Order it Now!

One way to guarantee that you will get the flight attendant's attention on a long plane trip is to be reading a book like INVISIBLE SUN by David Macinnis Gill (Greenwillow, April 2012). No one that saw me reading the ARC passed by without a comment on the hunky guy and gal who glare from the cover. However, we all know better than to judge a book by its cover, right? This companion to BLACK HOLE SUN delivers on the promise of the cover beautifully. Jacob, aka Durango, is back. So are Mimi and Vienne. Durango's father has died; Durango is determined to discover secrets his father kept even from him. So, the dauntless duo plan to tap into some of the files kept hidden. It seems a rather simple plan, but it sets into motion something that neither could have anticipated fully. Non-stop action and some seriously funny moments amid the explosions, gunfire, and narrow escapes are certainly emblematic of Gill's novel (and its predecessors including SOUL ENCHILADA). However, this is not simply an romp on Mars. Carefully crafted characters and a well designed universe are also present. This is sci-fi (not Syfy) with bite. Be sure to look for the homages to other works as Durango pursues Vienne and his own (sometimes uncertain) future. <205>

wealthy readers

What a wonderful time to be a child. There are so many books to welcome young readers into the world of words and books and pictures and magic. My colleague and friend (and often co-conspirator) Rosemary Chance designed a community outreach project for us to use in our children's lit classes. Project B.E.T.H. stands for Books Entering Texas Homes. Our grad students will identify families in their communities and send books home to start fledgling libraries in homes. All of the books I weed are going to Project B.E.T.H. for now. Since Krashen and other researchers tell us that having books in the home is key and we know that there are many kids who do not have access to books at home, we thought this was a natural fit. Some of the books I have been blogging about are already in bags set to go to B.E.T.H. soon. Books float on...

Mo Willems' continues to delight readers with his Elephant and Piggie books in LISTEN TO MY TRUMPET (Hyperion/Disney 2012). Piggie comes to elephant in a state of quivering excitement to share his new trumpet and the, um, noise it can make. Elephant searches for just the right words to tell his friend that the noises are not music. As it turns out, that is OK with Piggie. Find out why. <127>

OTTO THE BOOK BEAR by Katie Cleminson (Disney/Hyperion 2012) is the story of a bear who lives in the pages of a book. Little do his owners know that Otto can leave his book at night and explore the world around him. One day, though, Otto is left behind. How Otto solves his problem might seem a natural to adult readers, but kids will love watching Otto's efforts to find his home. <128>

Eileen Spinelli along with illustrator Megan Lloyd give readers A BIG BOY NOW (Harper 2012). A young rabbit declares he is a big boy now (should sound familiar to any parent). He can stay up later and do more now that he is older. However, taking the training wheels off his bike might be another matter. Needing comfort no matter how big we get is a lovely theme in this book. <129>

Friday, March 16, 2012

sleuthing around

Rig (Dad has called him Big Rig for years) lives with his mother. His sister, Karma (yes, their mother is a bit of a hippie), lived with his father after their parents divorced. Now, she is away at college. Rig has not heard from her for a long time. it seems Karma is just too busy with campus life. And then one night, Rig finds a web site devoted to his sister. it is full of photos, some from her teen years at the local high school, but also with photos apparently taken from outside her dorm room window. Rig feels as though something is wrong. He heads to see his Dad unannounced, convinced that someone is stalking his sister. Springer knows how to tell a good story and MY SISTER'S STALKER is no exception (Holiday House, May 2012). Reluctant readers who appreciate this book might also be directed to BLOOD TRAIL and other books by Nancy Springer. <126>

Thursday, March 15, 2012

two for tweens

The twins Kasey and Kelly are back in DOUBLE TROUBLE 2: APRIL FOOL'S SURPRISE by Abby Klein with illustrations by John McKinley (Scholastic 2012). As April Fool's Day approaches, the girls plan the tricks they will play on their parents and their friends at school. Short chapters with plenty of humor make this an ideal read for readers who are just feeling confident with chapter books. <124>

Another second book in a series is THE LEGEND OF DIAMOND LIL, A JJ TULLY MYSTERY by Doreen Cronin with illustrations by Kevin Cornell (Balzer and Bray 2012). JJ is a former rescue dog who lives on a farm with his owner. He is in charge of taking care of the chickens, of preventing predators from harming his charges. Into the neighborhood comes Diamond Lil, the most lustrous and beautiful dog JJ has ever seen. However, there is something a little strange about Lil. There is also something "off" in the henhouse. Can JJ solve the mystery? Will Lil be a help or a hindrance? <125>

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

spare and lovely

KINDRED SOULS by Patricia MacLachlan (Katherine Tegen Books 2012)is simply a beautiful story of the love between a grandfather and his grandson. Our narrator, Jake, is 10. He adores Billy (no one calls grandfather anything other than Bill) who is 88 years old and will live forever (according to Jake). Each day during the summer, Jake and Billy walk the farm. They visit with the cows, put food in the hummingbird feeder, and enjoy each other's company. Billy's old sod house still has a tiny remnant left up by the slough. When Billy falls ill, Jake is determined with the help of his family, to rebuild that sod house for his beloved grandfather. MacLachlan's story celebrates all that is warm and wonderful about a close knit multi-generation family in this spare and moving novel. <123>

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

picture books for classroom use

WILL PRINCESS ISABEL EVER SAY PLEASE? by Steve Metzger with illustrations by Amanda Haley (Holiday House 2012) combines stories from familiar tales with a new twist. Princess Isabel never says please. Because of this, she misses her chance with Prince Charming and with other suitors. Will she ever learn to be polite? <120>

FOX TAILS: FOUR TALES FROM AESOP by Amy Lowry (Holiday House 2012) links four separate Aesop's fables featuring the fox into one story. The author references all four stories in her back matter. Might make for an interesting mentor text. <121>

COCK A DOODLE DOO. CREAK POP POP MOO by Jim Aylesworth with illustrations by Brad Sneed (Holiday House 2012) is terrific for teaching onomatopoeia. A day on the farm has tons of examples of words that make the sounds they describe. <122>

Monday, March 12, 2012

another Printz winner

Since I had focused so much on debut novels this past year while serving as chair of the 2012 Morris Committee, I made a pledge to read some of the award books I wanted to read but could not. With every title, my respect for the 2012 Printz Committee grows (not that I did not already LOVE them for selecting WHERE THINGS COME BACK as their winner). So, now we come to THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic 2011). I had read LINGER and SHIVER but was not prepared at all for this story. Sean is the 4 time winner of the Scorpio races; Puck is the first girl to enter the races. They seem an unlikely pair for an alliance. After all, the Scorpio races end in bloodshed. For the horses are not the usual variety: they are the man-eating capaill uisce, horses that come from the turbulent waters surrounding the town of Thisby. These horses would as soon kill a rider as carry them to victory. Why then do Sean and Puck wish to enter this race? Stiefvater keeps readers at the corners of their seats in a narrative that races, much like the capaill uisce, headlong into danger. <118>

Sunday, March 11, 2012

All you could ever want to know about BLOOD...

Narrative nonfiction is in demand, and here is a topic sure to appeal to the bloodthirsty readers in your school/library. THE BOOK OF BLOOD: FROM LEGENDS AND LEECHES TO VAMPIRES AND VEINS by HP Newquist (Houghton Mifflin, August 2012) walks readers through how we learned about the circulatory system to how blood travels through our bodies to how hard blood works (no wonder I am tired). Adding in some of the myth and lore about vampires and other bloodsuckers makes for interesting and informative reading. Science teachers will find this invaluable. <117>

Saturday, March 10, 2012

silly time

Randall announces he is a big boy now and does not need to have Mr. Pigglesworth accompany him to bed. However, when he cannot sleep, Randall wanders downstairs to retrieve his stuffed pig. And that is when he spies the burglar. In STOP THIEF Adam J.B. Lane (roaring Brook, May 2012) sends us along as Randall chases the thief under the stars, through an amusement park and a museum, and headlong into danger. Of course, it is all in fun as the illustrations contain some clues to how the story will unfold. <115>

KNUCKLE AND POTTY DESTROY HAPPY WORLD by James Proimos (Holt, May 2012) is not only loads of fun to read, there is much to mine here as well in terms of metafiction. Knuckle and Potty are tired of being wimpy characters in an insipid series of books written by Deli Cruz. They are just too precious and they want a word, especially with the illustrator, that we want to look a bit less cuddly and a tad more dangerous. They discover a way to travel out of the book world where they are shocked to learn the truth about their author and illustrator. <116>

Friday, March 9, 2012

seasons change

SUMMER DAYS AND NIGHTS by Wong Herber Yee (Holt, April 2012) uses a question and answer format to follow a young girl and her family through the course of one glorious summer day. Soft colors sometimes blare to bold depending on the action within each frame of the story. Simple text, perfect to be shared aloud. <111>

Hurray for the Fourth of July and RED, WHITE, AND BOOM! by Lee Wardlaw with illustrations by Huy Voun Lee (Holt, May 2012). Collage illustrations invite readers to sip, slurp, and splash as we travel across the United States and celebrate America's Independence Day. There are many festivities planned including a fireworks display. How each group celebrates the Fourth gives testament to the melting pot we were born to become. <112>

PLANT A LITTLE SEED by Bonnie Christensen (Roaring Brook, May 2012) is a colorful celebration of planting, then watering, and (the hard part) waiting for the seed to sprout. Two children tend a garden until it is time to harvest the fruits of their labors and enjoy a family meal. <113>

AWESOME AUTUMN is subtitled FALL FACTS AND FUN. Author and illustrator Bruce Goldstone (Holt, August 2012) presents all of the changes that come with this change of season: days get shorter and nights get longer, clothes get warmer, leaves change color. Along the way, he sprinkles in facts like why leaves change color.