Archive | September, 2014

One Big Pair of Underwear

29 Sep

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One Big Pair of Underwear written by Laura Gehl and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld (2014)

Two bears hate to share, but find only one pair of underwear…one gets the underwear and one cries, ‘That isn’t fair!’ Three young yaks find two salty snacks…two get snacks and one cries, ‘Where’s my snack?’ Four silver seals find three sets of wheels… three get the wheels and one gets a really bad deal.  The pattern continues with more animals who hate to share, until finally twenty pigs find ten tall twisty slides. They all want to ride, so they share the slides by riding piggyback. Now all the other animals see how much fun sharing can be. Pretty soon everyone is sharing and laughing and playing together.

Laura Gehl and Tom Lichtenheld shared the making of this story beautifully! The rhyming text is paired with funny pictures to make a silly rhyming, counting, sharing picture book.

Counting and sharing, sharing and counting… This is a winner for everyone! No one gets left out and everyone has fun, who could ask for more?

P is for Pirate, A Pirate Alphabet

16 Sep

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P is for Pirate, A Pirate Alphabet written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by John Manders (2014)

Twenty-six spreads depict fun illustrations with real facts about pirates. The simple text for young readers is written in rhyme for each letter of the alphabet. More detailed information is written for the more advanced readers to learn more about each topic covered. An introduction tells more about the history of pirates since as early as 400 AD to the Middle Ages and the 17th Century “Golden Age of Piracy’. And a Question and Answer section at the back of the book tests the reader’s knowledge about pirates given in the book.

Eve Bunting gives so much information in this one simple book, that a reader may wish to read only a page or two at a time or browse the alphabet for an interesting treasure.

John Manders not only illustrates each topic beautifully, he entices the reader to find out more about pirates. The details in the artwork are both educational and fun to view.

I really found this book to be one of the best in the line of alphabet books and non-fiction texts about pirates. It was extremely well researched, documented, and illustrated. And I love that it can be enjoyed on many different levels.

Goodnight, Ark

12 Sep

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Goodnight, Ark written by Laura Sassi and illustrated by Jane Chapman (2014)

Opening rhyme: “Beds are ready, Food is stored. Noah hollers, ‘All Aboard!'” Two by two the creatures of the land and air board the ark. Then Noah announces ‘time for bed’ and the animals all buddy up in their spots. The rain starts quietly at first and then grows into a storm with thunder and lightening, waking all the animal pairs. And two by two they all clamber into bed with Noah! They wiggle, slither, jump, and pounce to join Noah until at last the bed breaks. When the skunks let out their stinky fumes, everyone scrambles back to their own bunks. Noah tucks them all in safe and snug singing a bedtime lullaby. Last rhyme: “Noah smiles in the dark. ‘Goodnight,friends. Goodnight, Ark.'”

Laura Sassi gives a delightful twist to the popular bible story of Noah and the Ark. Without losing the essence of the original story, she weaves humor and rhyme into the first bedtime routine on the ark.

Jane Chapman’s illustrations are childlike, bright and playful all while expertly lulling little eyes to sleep… zzzzz. Whisper now, what more could a parent want?

What a beautiful story! So much fun to read and share with little ones. Feel the calm before the storm, frolic with the frightened animals, rest assured that you are never alone. Goodnight sweet ones….

Just found this lovely YouTube picture book trailer for Goodnight, Ark. Take a look, I’m sure you’ll love it! 

Duck, Duck, Moose

12 Sep

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Duck, Duck, Moose! written by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and illustrated by Noah Z. Jones (2014)

Duck and Duck are so neat, organized, polite, mannerly…  Moose, not so much!  Duck and Duck spend all morning cleaning the house, Moose crashes through the wall wrecking the table they have just set. Duck and Duck work at creating pieces of art, Moose falls splattering paint and destroying the statue. Duck and Duck hang balloons and bake a cake, Moose is ordered to leave the house. Duck and Duck hang the banners, wrap the gifts, make the punch… but where is Moose?

Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen writes a two-word simply perfect picture book. Children will love the rhythm of the familiar playground game transposed in this funny and touching story of a clumsy misguided Moose and the Ducks who love him!

Noah Z. Jones adds the details of this almost-wordless picture book. Even without knowing how to read, preschoolers can follow along and retell the story to themselves without missing a thing!

I so admire writers and illustrators who work together to tell a whole story! I couldn’t help but feel sorry for poor Moose. His tears broke my heart… and the Ducks’ love for him melted it. This is definitely one for my bookshelf!

Tea Party Rules

12 Sep

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Tea Party Rules written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by K.G. Campbell (2013)

Cub follows his nose to a tea party in progress. Very politely, he asks the other bear if he could have a cookie. But the other bear doesn’t answer, and Cub realizes that the other bear can’t talk… or eat cookies! So Cub takes his place at the table. Just as he’s about to taste his first bite, a little girl comes along. She looks at Cub and decides that he needs a bath before they can eat… tea party rule number one ‘you must be clean’. Cub isn’t a big fan of baths, but he does like cookies so he goes along with the girl. But that’s not the end of it, there are lots of rules to follow. He must have his hair done, he must be dressed up, and he must eat daintily. Finally Cub has had enough of tea party rules and he helps himself WITHOUT FOLLOWING THE RULES! Luckily for Cub, the little girl decides that they should play BEAR instead. He liked that game better, after all, he already knew the rules.

Ame Dyckman tells an endearing story of friendship and rules. Imaginative play and appreciating differences are two underlying themes in this sweet Girl-meets-Bear story.

K.G. Campbell gives the reader the illusion of really being on the scene. He lets you feel the nip in the air and the bubbles on your nose, smell the fall leaves and the just baked cookies, and understand the sense of anticipation, dread, and playfulness.

I love this story for so many reasons! Maybe most of all, because I love the conflict Cub feels about not wanting to follow the rules but really wanting the cookies. And then there’s the duality of the little girl. On one hand, she loves fancy tea parties with friends and is determined to make sure everyone follows the rules exactly. And on the other hand, she embraces the natural tendency of Cub and is willing to play a game that he likes as well.

Goldi Rocks and the Three Bears

11 Sep

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Goldi Rocks and the Three Bears written by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Beth Coulton and illustrated by Nate Wragg (2014)

‘Once upon a rock-and-roll time’… the Bear family played in band. However, they didn’t have very many fans yet. Papa Bear decided that what they needed was a soprano who could sing all the high notes. And it just so happened that as soon as they left their house in search of a soprano, a little girl came to their house. Inside, the little girl hurried over to their practice stage and began preforming a do-whop dum-diddy-do until she fell and broke the microphone. Then she tried Papa Bear’s drum set, Mama Bear’s guitar, and Baby Bear’s keyboard. She played and played until she fell asleep on the stage. When the bears came home from an unsuccessful day of listening to tryouts, they found the mess and the little girl drooling on the keyboard. Papa Bear disrupted her sleep and she awoke with a scream, which just so happened to be a perfect high C. Instead of running away, the girl stayed with the bears and together they wrote a new hit single – ‘Too Hot, Too Cold, or Just Right?’ They topped all the rock charts and their new fans were crazy about… Goldi Rocks and the Great Three Bear Band!

Corey Rosen Schwartz and Beth Coulton have come up with a modern twist to a favorite old fairy tale. Written in rhyme and set with a rock and roll background, this story delivers a punch!

Nate Wragg brings the timeless characters to life. The illustrations are both nostalgic and edgy.

I love this new take on an old favorite! The traditional theme of breaking-in and destroying the bear’s belongings is freshened up with the final working together of Goldilocks and the Bears. The story is music to my ears!

The Grudge Keeper

8 Sep

17653933The Grudge Keeper written by Mara Rockliff and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler (2014)

The story opens with Cornelius, the grudge keeper of Bonnyripple, carefully tucking small rolled pieces of paper into every nook and cranny of his ramshackle cottage. Whenever anyone in the town had a complaint, insult, squabble, tiff, or snit they gave it to the grudge keeper. The grudges kept coming and coming until one day the wind rose and blew all the grudges into a whopping pile with Cornelius buried deep at the bottom of the pile. The people of Bonnyripple had no idea what to do  until they found their old grudges in the mess burying Cornelius. Reading their old complaints they saw their foolishness in saving the grudges. They quickly gave shameful apologies and real forgiveness to each other. The story ends in a big wedding party for Big Otto and Lily Belle, who are mad about each other. And no one in the town of Bonnyripple ever kept a grudge again… not even Cornelius.

Mara Rockliff, writes a modern folktale for today’s readers. Her use of language is extraordinary and her message is timeless.

Eliza Wheeler’s detailed pictures bring this story to life. Drawn to look like an older tale, her illustrations help to capture the magic of the story.

I love this story. It is on the high end for picture book readers, as it employs storytelling techniques and vocabulary usage to challenge older, more sophisticated readers. Sure to be a folktale classic!

Sleepyheads

4 Sep

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Sleepyheads written by Sandra J. Howatt and illustrated by Joyce Wan (2014)

 All the sleepyheads have snuggled in for the night, each in their own little bed. One is in a nest, one is in a hole, one is in a cave. In the trees, lake, and barn all the sleepyheads are sound asleep. (Except the owl who slept all day!) Then with one more place to look for sleepyheads, the reader goes inside the house and finds one beside the fireplace and another in a dark space, but when we get to the bedroom someone is missing from his bed. Where is he? In his Mama’s arms!  Goodnight sleepyheads.

Sandra J. Howatt’s first picture book is soft and sweet and sleepy. The quiet movement from the woods, to the lake, to the barn, and then to the house is perfectly paced. Like a lullaby, this book is written in sleep-enducing rhyme and rhythm.

Joyce Wan adds the beautiful illustrations to the text. The pictures are also soft and sweet and sleepy. Starting with the crescent moon and stars in the dark sky, the reader is immediately transported into that pre-sleep state of consciousness which ends in Mama’s arms while fireflies light the dandelions.

What a perfect bedtime story! I love everything about it. The text and illustrations dance together in the evening music, lulling tired little eyes to close and sweet little heads to nod.

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