Wednesday, April 30, 2008

As Good As Anybody

Michelson, Richard. 2008. As Good As Anybody. Illustrated by Raul Colón. Knopf.

I received this one just yesterday, but as soon as I saw who illustrated it, it jumped to the top of my priority list. Raul Colón has received both Gold and Silver Medals from the Society of Illustrators. And his work is incredible. Incredible. Just beautiful, wonderful, oh-so-amazing work. The kind of illustrations that you are just in awe of really. As Good As Anybody is the story of two men: Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. Two men. Two stories. Both powerful. The first person the reader is introduced to is Martin Luther King, Jr. And chances are that this won't be anyone's first introduction to the legendary man. The second person readers meet is Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a Jewish man that became active in the Civil Rights movement. Chances are good that this will be the first introduction to this man. It's also the story of how two men from two different backgrounds came together in the mid-sixties for a worthy cause. The text by Richard Michelson is simple and straight forward. It tends to be more concise than verbose. (Which isn't a bad thing for a text to be at all. In fact, you could say it was a very good thing.)

Definitely recommended.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Do you love PB & J?

I love reading picture books. I love reading "j" books. (J being Juvenile.) If you do too then you might want to join me for the PB & J Challenge. This "challenge" is to just incorporate the good stuff into your reading lifestyle. It's for all ages. It would be a great challenge for parents or grandparents, a place to discuss the books you read with your kids or grandkids. (Or if you're an aunt or uncle, those books shared with your "favorite" niece or nephew.) But kids are not a requirement by any means. All are welcome. All book lovers are welcome that is!

Sometimes I feel I don't read enough of "the good stuff." Meaning I get subtracted by other reading and forget how much fun it is to just sit back and enjoy this type of book. Picture books. There are all sorts of picture books. Picture books for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, as well as school-aged children. And "j" literature can incorporate read aloud classics like Winnie the Pooh as well as early readers and chapter books both old and new.

I created PB & J so I could 'challenge' myself to read more steadily in this genre. I would love some company!

Is it a traditional challenge? Yes and no. If you want to set a goal for yourself then yes it can be a traditional challenge. 12 picture books and 4 kids books (j fic) in three months or six months or whatever. But if you want to look at it as an ongoing, perpetual "challenge" then you may do that as well!

I'd love to set a goal of reading twelve picture books a month. I don't know that I can do it. But I'm hoping that if I make it a "challenge" I can.

I Don't Want To Go

Sanders, Addie Meyer. 2008. I Don't Want To Go. Illustrated by Andrew Rowland. Lobster Press.

I liked this one. I did. Part of me wishes that I'd had books like this growing up. I don't want to confuse you, so I'll start over. I Don't Want to Go is the story of a little boy who's just a tad on the anxious side. (I'm not sure if his anxiety is just because he's visiting his grandparents and is away from home for the first time or if it's just part of who Joey is.) His thought bubbles reveal his fears to the readers. Some fears may seem exaggerated, but they're not. I promise. The pattern is familiar. An adult (parent, grandparent) wants him to go someplace--on a train, to the supermarket, a birthday party, to the museum, going fishing, etc--or to try something new. He says he doesn't want to go. The thought bubbles show the reasons why he's hesitant. And then the book shows him navigating through that situation just fine. Most of the time he ends up loving and/or enjoying whatever it was he was afraid of.

For kids with anxious-worrisome moments, I Don't Want to Go is a treat. At the very least, it will help them see that they are not alone. It could also provide a platform for sharing. It's hard to be worried--or as worried--once you've brought something up, once you've shared it; talking about it can make it go away or can lessen it.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Lulu's Shoes

Lulu's Shoes by Camilla Reid. Illustrated by Ailie Busby. 2008.

Lulu's Shoes--like it says--is "an utterly fabulous touch and tie book." It's a board book (of sorts) that is quite sturdy. (At least when compared with the average picture book.) The story is about a little girl, Lulu, who loves shoes. She has shoes for every occasion--every season--each pair of shoes offers something to young readers. Something to touch. Something to lift. Something to grab. It's a fun concept and a fun book. Recommended for the tiniest shoe lovers!

Note: I'm not sure which cover is the correct one. Amazon, Bloomsbury, and the book-in-hand all have different covers.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Come On, Mom! 75 Things For Mothers and Daughters to Do Together

MacGregor, Cynthia. 2008. Come On, Mom! 75 Things for Mothers and Daughters To Do Together.

Published by Lobster Press, Come On, Mom! is a fun little book, a reference book, full of quality activities--suggestions--on how mothers and daughters can spend some time bonding. Some activities require the child to be a bit older--able to read and/or write. Other activities would be suitable or adaptable for younger children to participate in. Some require prep time--items to collect, etc--others just require YOU. Not all activities are girly-girl. Meaning it would be perfectly fine to do many of these activities with a child of either gender. (Or with a parent of either gender as far as that goes.) Some are craft-based. Others are all about communication. Using words, creating stories, etc. In other words, focusing on language-arts type skills. Some are more physical; others more imaginative and creative. Regardless, I think there is something for everyone here.

I especially like #58 which is to have a family book club. #63 is fun as well--Comparison Reviewers. Pairing movies up with their book counterparts.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Baby Born

Suen, Anastasia. 1998. Baby Born.

Baby Born is a gentle and soothing read that will show the transitioning of the seasons and the transitions of a growing baby. The book is small and sturdy which will make it a good choice for reading to young ones. Many spreads feature flaps to lift as well. (Those are always fun!)

It begins simply,

Baby born
in winter's sleep
snowflakes fall
snuggle deep
Winter, spring, summer, fall, and back to winter. Readers (and listeners) will be able to follow baby's growth as the months of the year roll by. Baby Born would be a fine choice for new moms.

The watercolor illustrations are by Chih-Wei Chang.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Because no one can read all the time.....

5minutesfor Mom is having 2 Weeks of Toys Giveaway. April 9th through April 23rd. There are some great toys being given away!!! And you don't need a blog to participate. So visit now, and visit often!!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Young Readers Challenge Update: Month 3 and 4

Leave a comment with a link to update everyone on your progress on this challenge.

Here are a few that I'm aware of:

From Boyett-Brinkley:

Jeremy the Tale of An Honest Bunny by Jan Karon
Wait Until Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
Bunnicula by James Howe

Time Spies: Bones in the Badlands

Ransom, Candice. 2006. Time Spies: Bones in the Badlands.

Bones in the Badlands is book two in the Time Spies series, a series geared toward younger readers just emerging into the chapter book genre. The main characters are Alex, Mattie, and Sophie, a set of siblings, gifted with a magical spyglass that transports them back in time. They're not touring history unguided, however. Their parents own a quaint-but-fabulous historical inn. Now and then, guests visit the inn that are more than they seem. These guides leave notes--hints--that prepare the children for their next adventure. In Bones in the Badlands, their travel guide is a woman, a paleontologist. This adventure sees the siblings (and Ellsworth the elephant of course) traveling back to Wyoming in 1898 to help out on a historic dig. The siblings must help Walter Granger dig for dinosaur bones. Readers will learn a few things alongside our heroes including how to make a plaster cast of tracks.

I am really enjoying this series. I am looking forward to reading more and squeezing these reviews in as I get the chance!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Little Red Cap

Little Red Cap by The Brothers Grimm. Illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger.

This picture book was originally published in 1987. It has recently been republished. The text is straight from The Brothers Grimm. You can read the full text here. This is how it begins, "ONCE upon a time there was a dear little girl who was loved by every one who looked at her, but most of all by her grandmother, and there was nothing that she would not have given to the child. Once she gave her a little cap of red velvet, which suited her so well that she would never wear anything else; so she was always called "Little Red-Cap." The illustrations are by Lisbeth Zwerger. She's thought to be very talented as an illustrator. And her style is definitely distinctive.