Friday, April 26, 2019

The Curious Cares of Bears by Douglas Florian

Rhyming couplets explore bears' habits throughout the seasons (perhaps with a touch of whimsy).

Thoughts: Fun! Kids will pick up on the rhyming and like the whimsy. I look forward to sharing this book during my bears storytime. I love the different colors used on the bears.

Themes: Seasons, Bears, Rhyming

(Illustrated by Sonia Sanchez. Little Bee Books, 2017.)

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Black Belt Bunny by Jacky Davis

Black Belt Bunny has all the usual skills which he puts to use in a new way--making a salad!

Thoughts: The intrusive narrator is fun. Black Belt Bunny is just the kind of book I like to share. The whole salad thing was a surprise and I think kids will like it., The illustrations are colorful and engaging.

Themes: Rabbits, Ninjas, Vegetables

(Illustrated by Jay Fleck. Dial, 2017.)

Monday, April 22, 2019

The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Jerry Pinkney

Three goats, a bridge, and a troll. Where will this story take us?

Thoughts: Pinkey's retelling of a classic fairy tale is spot on--well written and with enough energy to engage even my youngest listeners in storytime. I look forward to adding The Three Billy Goats Gruff to my fairy tale rotation. The artist's note was thoughtful and provided some great teaching ideas. The watercolor illustrations are detailed and interesting.

Themes: Goats, Fairy Tales/Folk Tales, Elementary

(Little, Brown, & Co, 2017)

Friday, April 19, 2019

The Wishing Foxes by Margaret Read MacDonald with Jen & Nat Whitman

Two sisters--one kind, one unkind--one rewarded and one punished by the wishing foxes.

Thoughts: I love to find new-to-me Appalachian fairy tales. I am familiar with tales of this type (Toads & Diamonds is a more well known version), but the mountain flavor of The Wishing Foxes is a treat. I can't wait to share with students the next time fairy tales is my elementary outreach theme. The cut paper illustrations are vibrant and colorful. My favorite illustrations are of the foxes.

Themes: Fairy Tales/Folk Tales, Elementary

(Illustrated by Kitty Harvill. Plum Street, 2017.)

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Plume by Isabelle Simler

Plume is an almost wordless counting book that chronicles the adventures of a cat that likes to collect feathers.

(Birds Included: goose, peacock, seagull, ibis, nuthatch, guinea fowl, owl, stork, eagle, blackbird, kingfisher, jay, parrot finch, pigeon, turkey, swallow, chickadee, duck, and even more birds represented by the feathers on the end papers.)

Thoughts: Plume is a beautiful book and quite different from the usual counting books. My favorite illustrations are owl, kingfisher, and duck. This book is a great addition to my birds storytime theme. Plume offers many ways to engage readers--count the feathers, find the cat, etc.

Themes: Birds, Counting/Numbers, Cats

(Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2017.)

Monday, April 15, 2019

Do You Believe in Unicorns? by Bethanie Deeney Murguia

It's just a horse in a hat. Or is it?

Thoughts: Too funny! I love the ambiguity because of course unicorns are wonderful, but they don't really exist. It's fun to think they do. This book will be an excellent addition to my unicorn storytime. The illustrations are nice--soft colors and bold black outlines.

Themes: Unicorns, Imagination

(Review copy provided by publisher. Candlewick, 2018.)

Friday, April 12, 2019

Interrupting Chicken and the Elephant of Surprise by David Ezra Stein

Sequel to Interrupting Chicken

That little red interrupting chicken is back along with her long-suffering papa. This time her interruptions include elephants. Haven't you heard of the elephant of surprise?

Thoughts: Too funny! I'd forgotten how much I liked the little red chicken. I am now planning to share both books with first and second graders in May. Funny book are always a hit with those grades. I love that the little red chicken is impossible to convince that she misheard her teacher. The illustrations are bright, colorful, and fun.

Themes: Interruptions, Chickens, Fairy Tales, Elementary

(Review copy provided by publisher. Candlewick, 2018.)

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal

Alma has six names. She's convinced that's too many and her name never fits. Her dad tells her where each of the names comes from so she can decide if they fit.

Thoughts: A charming story and a simple introduction to family history. Alma is an endearing character both in words and illustrations. I love the limited color palette and how Alma pops with her pink striped pants. My siblings and I were always told about the origins of our names and at least part of them were from our family tree so Alma's story brings back memories for me. I love how the note from Juana ends: "What is the story of your name? What story would you like to tell?"

As part of a children's literature class in college I had to visit an elementary school class. Names was the topic I chose. I read My Great-Aunt Arizona by Gloria Houston and made the students bookmarks with the meanings of their names on them. Alma would be another great book to use for such a project.

Themes: Names, Family History, Dads

(Review copy provided by publisher. Candlewick, 2018.)

Monday, April 8, 2019

Seeing Into Tomorrow by Richard Wright

2018 Cybils Poetry Nominee

12 haiku capture moments in a boy's life.

Thoughts: Haiku is one of my favorite forms of poetry. Seeing Into Tomorrow is visually stunning and I love the haiku. I think they capture perfectly what a child would wonder about. The information about haiku, the biography of Richard Wright, and the invitation to write your own haiku is useful for readers who want to know more and want to write haiku. Seeing Into Tomorrow, like a few other haiku collections for children, would be a great introduction to haiku as a poetic form. My favorite poems are "So insistently" and "The clouds are smiling."

(Biography and Illustrations by Nina Crews. Millbrook Press, 2018)

Friday, April 5, 2019

The Tiptoeing Tiger by Philippa Leathers

Little Tiger wants to be like all the other tigers--"sleek, silent, and totally terrifying"--but his big brother is certain he's too small to scare anyone.

Thoughts: A fun book! I can see my storytime kids guessing which animal Little Tiger will try to scare next. The illustrations are soft and detailed. I like that the ultimate result of Little Tiger's experiment is that he gains confidence in himself.

Themes: Tigers; Little; Sibling; Lions, Tigers, & Bears

(Review copy provided by publisher. Candlewick, 2018.)

Flannel Friday: Dragon Finger Puppets

I made these dragon finger puppets to liven up my fairy tales storytime. I used a free pattern from crafty mom of girls and adapted the blackbird rhymes from Plano Public Library.

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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

World Make Way: New poems Inspired by Art from the Metropolitan Museum of Art edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins

2018 Cybils Poetry Nominee

I think the title says it all.

Thoughts: This is a brilliant concept. World Make Way is a great way to introduce readers to art and poetry as well as inspiring them to try their hands at writing art inspired poetry. My favorite poems are "Paint Me" by Marilyn Singer, "Cat Watching a Spider" by Julie Fogliano, "Night-Shining White" by Elaine Magliaro, and "My Dog and I" by Ann Whitford Paul. This would be a great basis for a writing exercise or program for older elementary, middle school, and high school students. Coffee table art books would be a good source of art to inspire poetry. I look forward to using art inspired poetry as one of my poetry prompts as I celebrate National Poetry Month.

(Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2018)

Monday, April 1, 2019

In the Past by David Elliott

2018 Cybils Poetry Finalist

Explore prehistoric creatures with poems and facts.

Thoughts: Anything remotely related to dinosaurs will be a hit with most kids. These poems are short and humorous...sometimes tongue-in-cheek or even a little sarcastic. I would definitely share these poems with first and second graders when I visit elementary schools. Trueman's illustrations are life like and interesting. My one complaint is that I would have liked the facts at the end of the book on the pages with the poems. I think that would make for easier understanding. My favorite poems are "Eurypterus," "Dilophosaurus," "Tyrannosaurus Rex," and "Smilodon."

(Illustrated by Matthew Trueman. Candlewick, 2018.)