There is a level of excitement when the newest picture book order arrives. It’s rather like Christmas once a month. When it happens around the holidays it’s even better, somehow. Presents that I didn’t pay for and that I get to share. Cool! Jan Thomas' The Doghouse
is sure to delight children from birth to 8 at the very least and even older if it becomes a real favorite! It begins on the endpapers (Psst. Don’t flip to the back unless you want to spoil the ending.) Our friends Cow and Mouse and Duck and Pig are playing kickball and “Oh no! The ball went into THE DOGHOUSE.” Mouse volunteers his friends, one by one, to retrieve the lost ball and they never come out. Whatever could be happening to them? Yikes!
The text is clear and bold, with plenty of space on the brightly colored pages and delightfully expressive illustrations to entertain the lapsit gang. The language is repetitive enough for the just beginning reader to master and crow proudly, “I can read this all by myself!” Grab this one up at your local library and enjoy!
I have been a fan of Cynthia Rylant’s work for many, many years. From When I Was Young in the Mountains to Missing May to Mr. Putter and Tabby, I have loved most of them and enjoyed them all. Her newest picture book is a love affair just beginning. The language in Snow
sparkles like the flakes themselves. “And then there is the snow /that begins to fall/ in fat cheerful flakes /while you are somewhere/ you’d rather not be./ Maybe school./ Maybe work.” Lauren Stringer’s acrylic illustrations bring further depth and dimension to Rylant’s story and the addition of the grandmother as one of the main characters makes this a perfect gift for an evening of falling snow, hot chocolate and curling up in Grandma’s lap.
I’ve never been much of a wanderer. I like making a nest and staying in it. I don’t have any overwhelming desire to climb Mt. Everest, go the Amazon or journey to the moon. I’m not that kind of a dreamer. But I understand, and maybe even envy a little bit, people who are. The Moon Over Star written by Dianna Hutts Aston and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
takes place in July of 1969. It was a month for dreamers and Mae was no exception. She and her family follow the flight of the Apollo 11 crew on their journey to and landing on the moon. Even Gramps, who has worked hard all his life and believes that all that money spent to go to the moon should be spent to help the people on Earth, gets caught up in the beauty and mystery of space flight. Aston’s story is rich and layered and as always Pinkney’s ink and watercolor illustrations take readers to a different time and place, which he captures in the faces of his characters and the details of their surroundings. This is a perfect book for dreamers of all shapes and sizes.
I cannot remember a time when I was not passionate about books. I cannot remember a time when there were not books everywhere. But I do remember not having easy access to a public library where the books could be borrowed and returned and I could spend my allowance on something frivolous like….another book. In the world high up in the Appalachian Mountains, remote and hardscrabble, books and libraries are the furthest thing from Cal’s mind until That Book Woman
and a very patient little sister introduce him to reading. The text by Heather Henson and the ink, watercolor and pastel illustrations by David Small are a genuine tribute to the Pack Horse Librarians
, women who dedicated their lives to bringing literature and books to the poorest of the poor. “That’s gift enough.”
All of these are prizes and treasures but two books in the recent shipment stand out above the rest.
Allan Ahlberg’s whimsy is perfectly complemented by Bruce Ingrams’ pencil and acrylic illustrations in The Pencil
, a rollicking adventure in which a Pencil draws a world and the Eraser tries to erase it all. Every character has a name, including each of the ants. This book is laugh-out-loud funny from start to finish. The humorous and simple exploration of the creative process will appeal to authors and illustrators of all ages and sizes…..and names.
The flyleaf of The Black Book of Colors
reads, in part, “It is very hard for a sighted person to imagine what it is like to be blind.” However, with completely black pages, author Memna Cottin and illustrator Rosana Faria, make quite a successful attempt. Each spread has a simple explanation of what a color “looks” like to a person who cannot see it on the left-hand page and raised/embossed black on black illustration on the right page. The print text is supported by Braille text at the top of the left pages. This book begs to be touched and explored with eyes open and closed. Held in the right light, the delicate raised illustrations are visible but readers’ finger will itch to touch each and every corner. Both the author and illustrator are Venezuelan which eliminates this gem from the Caldecott race and that really is unfortunate because this is one of the most perfect books I’ve see this year. Don’t miss it.