Monday, April 30, 2012

science from two perspectives

Each of these books deals with the environment in a different way. One is realistic fiction and one is nonfiction. Common Core asks us to share more nonfiction with kids. Texas skills include crossing genres. So, here is a nice text pairing.

MARTY MCGUIRE DIGS WORMS by Kate Messner (Scholastic 2012) brings back the plucky Marty McGuire. Marty's class is challenged to come with ways of being more environmentally friendly. Marty and her best friend Annie, with some help from Marty's grandmother, decide to use worms to help reduce cafeteria waste. of course, there will be some obstacles along the way. However, Messner's great gentle humor and insight into the minds of young students keeps this story on track. Read this aloud to introduce a unit on the environment. Or pair it with the following book.

FROGS, STRANGE AND WONDERFUL by Laurence Pringle with illustrations by Meryl Henderson (Boyds Mills Press 2012) is an in-depth examination of frogs: species, habitats, behavior, and more. While there is a great deal of information here, it is parsed out in meaningful chunks along with detailed illustrations to accompany the text. This nonfiction works well with the foregoing Messner chapter book in that both address concerns about the environment. <222>

Sunday, April 29, 2012


PINCH AND DASH MAKE SOUP by Michael Day with illustrations by Thomas Yezerski (Charlesbridge 2012) is about two good friends named Pinch and Dash. One day Pinch is hungry but does not want to make his own soup. So, down the block he goes to Dash's house. Dash is making soup, but it is Skinny Soup. Soon, Pinch is helping Dash make a better soup. Some readers might see a resemblance to Stone Soup and similar stories here. I am quite sure that is intentional. The friendship between Dash and Pinch is solid but at times querulous. Simple text makes this a good choice for just becoming independent readers. <219>

A new Maurice Sendak is cause for all sorts of celebration. BUMBLE-ARDY does not disappoint (MDC Books/Harpercollins 2011). I have been glancing at my copy for a long time, waiting for an extended time so I could examine the illustrations and read the story a few times, knowing the depth and delight of Sendak. And it is here, folks. Bumbleardy has not had any birthday parties until his parents are eaten and he is adopted by his aunt. After she leaves for work, Bumbleardy throws himself a party. The guest come in costume. Some costumes are tributes to characters from past Sendak work and some from other authors' books as well. Double page spreads, textless, mimic a wild rumpus of a party that is interrupted by Bumbleardy's aunt returning from work. Not for kids, this is a lovely way to spend a leisurely hour for those of us who admire Sendak's art and artistry. <220>

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Simple not simplistic

THE SHARK KING by R. Kikuo Johnson (Toon 2012) is a GN version of an Hawaiian fable. A young woman searching for food is suddenly swamped by a wave. She is rescued by a strange man who tells her of the Shark God. They fall in love and have a child who is the son of the Shark God. He must keep his identity hidden as mortals cannot comprehend how someone can be shark and man without being a danger. The tips for sharing comics at the end is something that should be shared with parents and teachers. <216>

MOO HOO by Candace Ryan with illustrations by Mike Lowery (Walker 2012) is a perfect book for beginning readers. Cow and Owl (Moo and Hoo) are friends. Along comes a kangaroo who tries to join the two. Howe3ver, Cow and Owl rebuff Roo at first. They regret their actions (boo hoo) and ask Roo to join them. <217>

THE DUNDERHEADS BEHIND BARS by Paul Flesichman with illustrations by David Roberts (Candlewick 2012) reunites the Dunderheads, this time to free Spider from jail where he is wrongfully imprisoned. A combination of Spanky and Our Gang, Hardy Boys, and more, the story is fast paced. From Miss Breakbone, the teacher to Ashley Throbb-Hart the movie star, there are absurdities galore for those who visit the Dunderheads. <218>

Friday, April 27, 2012

Blurring Boundaries

Metafiction is the technical term; blurring boundaries is a bit simpler to explain. Go back a few years and Eliza Dresang calls the same thing RADICAL CHANGE. Whatever attempt we make to label it does not matter one whit. There are new books that simply are pushing envelopes and breaking rules. That makes for some interesting reading as is the case for the following book.

CHLOE AND THE LION by Mac Barnett and Adam Rex (Disney Hyperion 2012) blurs all sorts of lines, most notably the fourth wall that separates the book world from the "real" world of the reader. Mac and Adam introduce themselves as author and illustrator of the story. Next, we meet Chloe, our heroine. Along comes a lion, and this is where the story begins to turn in on itself. Rex draws a dragon and makes the case that the dragon is a better choice for the story. Well, from there, author and illustrator (and eventually lion and Chloe and a replacement illustrator) argue, taking the story right off its tracks. Imaginative, humorous, challenging: these words are all too simple for this complex book. <215>

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Imagination at Work

THE BOY WHO CRIED ALIEN by Marilyn Singer with illustrations by Brian Biggs (Disney/Hyperion 2012) has a unique format that is part GN, part picture book. It tells the story of Larry the Liar, a boy known well for his prevarications (one of the synonyms for lies in the book). Larry introduces himself to the reader in several short verses. Meanwhile, an alien ship lands. The alien language seems inscrutable (though clever readers will figure it out and there is a key and direct translations at the back of the book). Larry tries to convince everyone about the aliens, but he has little luck. Eventually, Larry helps the aliens leave Earth and head toward home. <212>

AN AWESOME BOOK by Dallas Clayton is indeed awesome (Harper 2012). The tale is all about dreams (and tie this to Langston Hughes' poem, too) and the importance of having big, even unrealistic, dreams. It is told as it were to a child at bedtime. If no one dreams big, how will we ever make any of them come true. Love the idea of a dream-etery where dreams go to die. Here is a book that should appeal as much to adult readers as to kids. <213>

We are all familiar with the old rhyme about what girls and boys are made of. However, this book gives us a new perspective at least when it comes to boys. WHAT LITTLE BOYS ARE MADE OF by Robert Neubecker are things like wings and tails and dragon scales, rocket ship to Mars, AND sugar and spice and everything nice, too. <214>

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


One of the things we know about good readers is that they connect one book to another and another. In other words, they can see how books relate one to the other. I can hardly begin reading a book before I start to think of other books I would put in a "ladder" with this title. Or, as I am reading a handful of picture books, as I did this morning, I can see how all 5 could connect. At the end, I present my connections for you. See h ow I did. Bet you could connect them in different ways, too.

SOPHIE'S FISH by A. E. Cannon (who also writes YA fiction) (Viking 2012) is about Jake. He has promised Sophie that he will look after her fish while she is gone. As soon as he makes the promise, he begins to worry. In some ways, Jake reminds me of Alexander from the lovely Judith Viorst books in how his situation seems to grow more dire the more thought he gives it. Before long, Jake is looking for ways to escape from his promise. Quite a surprise awaits Jake and the reader at the end of the story. <207>

THE PRINCESS AND THE PACKET OF FROZEN PEAS by Tony Wilson with illustrations by Sue deGennaro (Peachtree 2012) is, of course, a variant on the familiar story of the Princess and the Pea. When it is time for Prince Henrik to find a bride, he asks his brother for advice. His brother tells him the story of how he found his wife by using a tiny pea and a stack of mattresses. However, Henrik is fairly sure he wants the opposite type of wife from his brother's who seems to be too sensitive. So, he uses a thin mattress and a packet of frozen peas with wonderful results, ultimately. <208>

MOOSHKA A QUILT STORY by Julie Paschkis (Peachtree 2012) is a story of tradition and stories. When Karla is small, she receives a special quilt from her grandmother. She calls the quilt Mooshka. At night, as Karla touches the individual squares, known as "schnitz," they whisper to her of their story. The blue square was the neckerchief worn by her grandfather when he came to ask her grandmother to marry him Other squares have different stories. And now Karla's story is about to change as her baby sister moves into her room. Mooshka stops talking to Karla until one night she covers her fussy sister with her special blanket. Then, the stories come back in a whole new way. <209>

YOU ARE A LION AND OTHER FUN YOGA POSES by Taeeun Yoo (Nancy Paulsen/Penguin 2012) is a fun rhythmic book that will invite readers to pose as lions, snakes, dogs, and other creatures. <210>

THE WIND THAT WANTED TO REST by Sheldon Oberman with illu8strations by Neil Waldman (Boyds Mills Press 2012) tells of the winter wind's search for a place to rest. Time after time, he is chased from different locations. The mountain fears that the wind will cause him to crack; trees want to be free from his presence as well. Only the kindness of a small child keeps the winter wind from destroying the entire village. Pair this one with LEGEND OF THE BLUEBONNET as a example of the small act of kindness of a child helping an entire community. <211>

OK, now how can we connect these? Well, the wind in THE WIND THAT WANTED TO REST would make someone cold. That someone might want to use a quilt like MOOSHKA to keep warm. The wind might also be welcomed by Prince Henrik who is using frozen peas to help him locate a bride. Of course, the wind would be just one more thing for Jake to worry about in SOPHIE'S FISH, but the children practicing their yoga poses in YOU ARE A LION would not be in the least concerned.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Picture Book Animals

SECRET AGENT SPLAT! by Rob Scotten (Harper 2012) brings back our erstwhile hero, Splat the cat. This time is is on the case, trying to figure out why Dad's wooden ducks go missing only to reappear without beaks the following day. Aided by his companion, Splat follows the clues to discover the culprit. <205>

NO BEARS by Meg McKinlay with illustrations by Leila Rudge (Candlewick 2012) is about Ella. Ella loves books except books with BEARS. She believes bears need to be banished from all books. And so Ella begins to compose her own story, one without bears, of course. However, when a monster appears in the story unbidden, someone will have to come to the rescue. Part of the humor in this book is, of course, in the illustrations. <206>

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hitting the Funny Bone

Too often YA is criticized for being dark and intense. Here are two books that counter that charge nicely and show there are books out there to tickle the funny bone.

MATTHEW MEETS THE MAN by Travis Nichols (Roaring Brook Press 2012)is the story of hapless high school student, Matt. Matt plays trumpet in the marching band (could he be more geeky, he wonders). What Matt wants to do is play drums. Of course, that would mean having the cash to buy a drum kit, which is so not gonna happen right now. But Matt is determined to get the drums and win the girl. The short chapters and laughs aplenty make this book a good choice for all readers, but especially for some of the more reluctant readers out there. <203>

Gary Paulsen continues the adventures of Kevin Spencer in CRUSH (Wendy Lamb Books, May 2012). You might recall Kev and his pals from LIAR, LIAR or FLAT BROKE. Kev is back for his turn at perhaps finding true love. He decides to use the scientific approach to discovering how to win the heart of Tina, a beautiful girl he can barely say HELLO to in the halls of the school. This is a stand alone book. However, once readers enter into Kev's world, they will want to read the companion novels as well. Also point them to THE SCHERNOFF DISCOVERIES and HARRIS AND ME for no-fail humor as only Paulsen can write. <204>

Sunday, April 22, 2012

worthy sequel

If all you know of Ian Fleming's CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG is the Disney movie, take some time to locate the book and give it a go. Then, dive into the sequel: CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG FLIES AGAIN by Frank Cotrell Boyce (Candlewick Press 2012). When Mr. Tooting loses his job, he takes it as a good sign (ever the optimist is Dear Old Dad Tooting). Before long, he has refashioned the family camper van with a new engine. Off go the Tooting Family to see Paris, the Sphinx, and dinosaurs (Mr. Tooting permits each family member to select a destination on their journey). However, landing atop the Eiffel Tower was certainly NOT part of the plan. Yet, that is exactly where the Tootings find themselves. Why? That is part of the mystery and the adventure and the total fun that awaits readers who head off with the Tooting Family aboard Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The first book might have become a classic thanks to the Disney film. This book will win that status because it gives readers a completely wonderful and absorbing reading experience. <202>

Saturday, April 21, 2012

hear the lions roar

Kristin Levine's THE LIONS OF LITTLE ROCK (Penguin 2012) explores some new territory in the history of the Civil Rights Movement in the South. Marlee and her older sister Judy are preparing for the start of a new school year. Marlee is apprehensive; she is painfully shy, and hates even being called on in class. Judy, though, is looking forward to high school, but her school will not open because the governor is ignoring orders to integrate the school. The Little Rock Nine are gone and Governor Faubus intends to keep the school closed to prevent anyone other than the white students from attending. Off goes Marlee, though, to junior high where she meets the new girl, Liz. Liz seems to understand Marlee's reluctance to draw attention to herself. She even teams up with Marlee for a project, one in which Marlee will have to present to the class. She has Marlee practice in front of the various animal cages at the zoo and even bestows a magic feather which will give Marlee the courage to speak up. And speaking up is something Marlee will have to do once Liz withdraws from the school beacuse someone discovered she was "passing" as white.

Levine chronicles some of the dark events of the 1950s on Arkansas through the eyes of Marlee and her family and friends. While exploring the rampant racism, Levine never loses focus on the story of Marlee and her family. This prevents the story from becoming didactic and, instead, creates a heartfelt story that will touch the hearts and minds of readers. Pair this with Melba Patillo Beal's WARRIORS DON'T CRY, the real life biography of one of the Little Rock Nine and with Christopher Paul Curtis' THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM, 1963, and Ellen Levine's FREEDOM'S CHILDREN. <201>

Friday, April 20, 2012


WHATEVER: FAIREST OF ALL by Sarah Mlynoski (Scholastic, May 2012) is more than a retelling or variant of Snow White. When Jonah takes Abby into the basement of their new house because the mirror down there is hissing, Abby is not prepared for what happens next. Jonah knocks on the mirror (three times, mind you) and the two are transported into the story of Snow White. They intervene and prevent the wicked queen from poisoning Snow. Unfortunately, as Abby soon realizes, they have also kept Snow from meeting her prince. As Abby and Jonah attempt to set things aright, the complications keep on coming. If readers have not encountered the original tale (especially the Grimm version), they will want to know more. Point them to some of the other variations as well including SNOW WHITE IN NEW YORK and this wonderful document with many others: <200>

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Revisiting an old friend

THE HUMMING ROOM by Ellen Potter (Feiwel and Friends 2012) was inspired by THE SECRET GARDEN. While the book might have its roots (pun intended) in the classic, it is wholly its own modern day classic. When Roo is sent to live with her reclusive uncle following the death of her father, she is shuttered away from almost everyone. Her uncle is not to be disturbed when he is even present; Roo is forbidden to explore parts of the old house in which she now lives. Of course Roo is quick to break all the rules. In doing so, she discovers a new friend, a nephew who has been hidden away, and a glorious garden now in ruins. Potter has created a wonderfully resilient heroine in Roo. Only Roo would be brave enough to have discovered all of the wonders lurking beneath something that appears to be lifeless. Warm, wise, witty: explore the world created in THE HUMMING ROOM. <199>

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


882 1/2 ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT THE TITANIC by Hugh Brewster and Laurie Coulter (Scholastic 1998) presents lots of information to readers in the form of questions and answers. The Titanic measured 882 1/2 feet, hence the title. Pair this with the numerous other books about the ship including Alan Wolf's THE WATCH THAT ENDS THE NIGHT and Barry Denenberg's TITANIC SINKS! <197>

ANIMAL BABIES is part of Scholastic's (2012) Discover More series. Teachers can download a free companion book of activities to go along with this book designed for very young readers. Basic information about animal babies from how they are born (egg, live birth, etc.) to their change and development is conveyed along with clear diagrams and colorful photos. <198>

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Celebrate Poetry!

I'VE LOST MY HIPPOPOTAMUS by Jack Prelutsky (Greenwillow 2012) is another welcome addition to the collection of Prelutsky's poetry books. Many of these poems involve some fun word play, a hallmark of Prelutsky. What teachers will love is the poems that include vocabulary that might not be familiar to readers but that is clearly "defined" in the context of the poem. Invented animals, skating potatoes: it is all here. One of my favorites in this new collection is about a snake that can do arithmetic; it is, of course, an adder. (Insert groan here). <196>

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pablo Picasso

JUST BEHAVE, PABLO PICASSO! by Jonah Winter with illustrations by Kevin Hawkes (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic 2012) is a perfect example of narrative nonfiction. Here is a biography of gifted artist Picasso from his childhood as a prodigy to his adulthood where he was both lauded at first and later decried when critics failed to see Picasso's vision. Hawkes' illustrations are rather cinematic, serving to draw readers into the text and the illustrations (and sometimes, the text is part of the illustration). Picasso is fresh faced and larger than life in some double page spreads. In others, he appears arrogant, determined, and ultimately serene. An afterword discusses Cubism and other aspects of Picasso's art. Hawkes manages to work some of Picasso's masterpieces into the illustrations as well. A good pairing might be one of the books in the series "WHAT MAKES A ____ A ___________?" (what makes a Van Gogh a Van Gogh?). <195>

Sunday, April 15, 2012


THE LOSER LIST: REVENGE OF THE LOSER by H. N. Kowitt (Scholastic 2012) is the hilarious follow up to THE LOSER LIST. Now that Danny Shine has moved from the loser list in the girls' bathroom, he thinks life will be supremely easier. Not so. Enter the new guy, Ty, who becomes the new heartthrob in school. Ty is a Renaissance Man, one who threatens to take over everything Danny excels at. Before long, Danny and his sidekick Jasper are trying desperately to take back the spotlight. Of course, the results are to be expected. Can Danny pull off his plan or will it fail miserably and send him right back onto the Loser List? <193>

Saturday, April 14, 2012

easy reading

THE BIG SOMETHING by Patricia Reilly Giff with illustrations by Diane Palmisciano (Scholastic, July 2012) celebrates the talented author entering into the easy reader market. Fiercely is a friendly large dog whose escapades draw his owner Jilli and her friend Jim into all manner of adventures. Simple sentences that are not simplistic, and illustrations that surround the text make this a great book for kids to read on their own. Chapters make the book seem more "grown up" as well. <191>

Fly Guy is back again in RIDE, FLY GUY, RIDE! by Tedd Arnold (Scholastic 2012). This time Fly Guy accompanies Buzz (his human owner) on a car trip. Before long, Fly Guy has flown out the window and into a non-stop series of trips aboard a truck, a plane, and other conveyances. <192>

Friday, April 13, 2012

Nonfiction in many guises

100 SCARIEST THINGS ON THE PLANET by Anna Claybourne (Scholastic 2012) is part of the series that also includes the 100 MOST DISGUSTING THINGS ON THE PLANET. You know this type of book: great for browsing for lots of gross facts to share with others. Among the scary things in this volume are snakes, pot holes (360 feet deep), roads that are crumbling and twisting and zigzagging (there are several), and haunted houses (many exist around the world). Kids will love exploring the scary facts. <187>

MY BODY by Andrea Pinnington and Penny Lampnell (Scholastic 2012) is part of the new Discover More series. Interesting nonfiction (at three separate levels ranging from elementary to high school) is presented with colorful photographs and clear graphics and visual aids. Additionally, there is a free download book that accompanies this one. The downloaded book contains lots of activities. <188>

HOW TO SURVIVE ANYTHING: BOYS ONLY by Martin Oliver with illustrations by Simon Ecob is a slim colorful exploration of disasters and what to do if faced with one of them. Presented in comic book layout and episodes, the dangers range from avalanches to croc attacks to tornadoes. Never a dull moment as the book moves from one potential disaster to the next at lightning speed. <189>

REMEMBERING THE TITANIC by Frida Wishinsky (Scholastic 2012) is a nonfiction easy reader, part of the Scholastic Reader series. The book opens with some background information about the Titanic and moves quickly through the events of that fateful encounter with the iceberg. It moves to contemporary time with mention of Bob Ballard's exploration of the wreckage in the late 1980s and some facts about the longest living survivor and other trivia. <190>

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bird and Squirrel: Friends?

BIRD AND SQUIRREL ON THE RUN! by James Burks (Scholastic Graphix, August 2012) is raucous and riotous (well at least bird is; squirrel is a bit more quiet and industrious). In spare text, Burks pairs the two polar opposites as they try to outrun a rather vicious cat. can Bird and Squirrel survive? Will Squirrel be able to tolerate Bird and his insistence that the duo needs a theme song? While the cover might suggest a young audience, the humor will appeal to middle grades and middle school readers. More adventures, please. <186>

Steering in a new direction, graphically speaking

TEEN BOAT by Dave Roman and John Green (Clarion, May 2012) presents readers with one of the most unusual protagonists in recent memory: a teen who can transform himself into a boat. Teen Boat seems rather ordinary until he gets wet accidentally or wishes to transform. Then, presto barnacle change-o: he is a boat. This is a power that can come in handy but can also be a bit problematic at other moments. In a series of related "chapters," readers will follow the adventures of Teen Boat in Venice on a school field trip, at a party that becomes more of an incident in international waters, and even at a school assembly. Lots of nautical humor combines with the angst of unrequited love complicated by the need of a teen to fit in. <185>

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Empty Box? Think Again!

CARDBOARD by Doug Tenappel (Scholastic, August 2012)takes readers into a remarkable world where a seemingly simple cardboard box can be transformed into something much more. Cam's father, out of work and desperate, purchases an empty cardboard box from a rather strange salesman. The box comes with warnings which, of course, will be ignored for the sake of the story. Cam and his father fashion a figure from the cardboard, a figure that comes to life. There are complications aplenty in this nifty story that ultimately lets readers know that good and evil are not easily separated. Tennapel's skill with storytelling with visuals and bare text makes this a memorable reading experience. <184>

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Graphically Great

EARTHLING by Mark Fearing (Chronicle 2012) takes a common circumstance: being worried about about being the new kid in school-and takes it to new heights, literally. When Bud boards the wrong bus that fateful first day in a new school, he is transported to the Cosmos Academy, a place where many different aliens attend classes. Earthlings are feared here, and Bud must pretend to be something else as he struggles to find a way back to his own home and planet. <183>

Monday, April 9, 2012

Z is for Moose! Yes, it is!

Z IS FOR MOOSE by Kelly Bingham with illustrations by Paul Zelinsky (Greenwillow 2012) is a wildly funny alphabet book. Moose waits rather impatiently as the alpabet gets underway (though if you look closely, you can see Moose spying early on). However, by the letter "D", Moose is center stage and getting in the way. Finally, the director of this alphabet production (Zebra) gets Moose off stage. However, when "M is for mouse and not Moose, Moose rampages across pages. Zebra manages to bring Moose back by the end of the alphabet, placated for the time being. Wild and zany, this is a book kids will demand be read over and over again. <182>

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Stepping Stones

Easy readers, early chapter books, predictable text, patterned books: all of these can help us prepare students for a lifetime of reading. Here are a couple of books from the STEP INTO READING series from Random House. Level 1 (BALLET STARS) is a ready to read for preschoolers and kindergarten kids. Level 3 (PRETTY PENNY COMES UP SHORT) is for primary students ready to try reading on their own.

BALLET STARS by Joan Holub with illustrations by Shelagh McNicholas presents text in rhymed couplets as young girls prepare for a ballet recital. <178>

PRETTY PENNY COMES UP SHORT by Devon Kinch gives readers Penny and her pals trying to raise funds for Doodle's Animal Farm. She and her friends and her trusty sidekick piggy bank named Iggy decide to hold a Drive In Movie Night in the neighborhood to raise funds to help out. <179>

Saturday, April 7, 2012

pictures worth thousands of words

HOW MANY JELLY BEANS? by Andrea Menotti with illustrations by Yancey Labat (Chronicle 2012) is subtitled: A GIANT BOOK OF GIANT NUMBERS. That is the truth as our characters find out when offered some jelly beans. How many do they want? 10, 20, 100, 1000: the numbers grow larger and larger. Each number is accompanied by that same number of jelly beans. As the numbers swell, the jelly beans each become smaller and smaller. Final pages fold out into a huge illustration of 1 million jelly beans. <176>

DOG LOVES DRAWING by Louise Yates (Jonathan Cape/Random House 2012) gives readers Dog, a reader who owns a bookstore. One day, Dog receives a drawing pad. The first thing he draws is a door, and from there the story takes off limited only to the imagination of Dog and his new traveling companions (crab, owl, duck, and a stick man. Adventures await as quickly as they can be sketched. <177>

Friday, April 6, 2012

True colors come shining through

GOLDEN DOMES AND SILVER LANTERNS: A MUSLIM BOOK OF COLORS by Hena Khan with illustrations by Mehrdohkt Amini (Chronicle Books 2012) shows a young girl celebrating all of the colors that surround her and that are identified with various aspects of her Muslim culture. From the red of the prayer rug to the gold of the dome of the mosque to the green of the Quran, there is much to celebrate in her world of faith. The illustrations are lush with the various colors, but it is the close up expressions on the faces of the family that will draw readers into this book. <174>

GREEN by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (Roaring Brook 2012) is an artistic exploration of the varied shades of green. Fomr the green of limes to that of sea turtles and ferns, the illustrations are lush. Die cuts allow readers to catch a brief glimpse of the shade to follow on the next double page spread while also being integrated into the illustration before. <175>

Thursday, April 5, 2012

New and Noteworthy

So, this is what my desk looked like on Monday morning, a month ago. I dug right into the boxes and uncovered some wonderful books. Here are a few of them. Here's hoping your Mondays are filled with treasure just like mine are!

OH NO, GEORGE! by Chris Haughton (Candlewick, 2012) features the rather hang dog looking George from the cover. When his owner leaves the house, George promises to be good, but there is cake and a cat and a flower pot with dirt. George is just doing what a dog must do. Lots of good humor and great splashes of color (don't you love the purple and orange and red on the cover?) makes this a fun book to share with young readers. <172>

PENNY AND HER SONG by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow 2012) is an easy reader chapter book. However, in the more than capable hands of Henkes, it is much more. Penny has a new song she wants to sing for her family, but she has to be shushed as the babies are sleeping. Later, there is no singing at the table. However, Penny perseveres and manages to share her song with the family with surprising results. <173>

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Beginning Readers

WHAT WILL I BE? by Nicola Davies with illustrations by Marc Boutavant (Candlewick 2012) is a lift the flap book that takes readers from egg to bird or turtle or caterpillar and then to butterfly. After readers have the chance to guess what the animal will be, they lift the flap to confirm. Then, the following DPS shows the life cycle of the animal in question. <169>

UP1 TALL! AND HIGH! by Ethan Long (Putnam 2012) is subtitled BUT NOT NECESSARILY IN THAT ORDER. It has flaps that lift to show birds flying high, seeing who is tallest, and determining who is up the highest. Lots of interactive fun and a surprise or two for young readers. <170>

I'M FAST by Kate and Jim McMullan (Balzer and Bray 2012) will delight fans of I'M BIG and I STINK as this book continues in the tradition already established. A fancy red race car challenges a freight train to a race. Which vehicle will be able to maneuver its way to the finish line first? <171>