Archive for the ‘Books Ages 3-6’ Category
Sunday, March 3rd, 2013
Twelve Kinds of Ice byEllen Bryan Obed, illustrated by Barbara McClintock (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
This beautiful book is about the size of a grown-up’s mitten. Short chapters with lots of black and white illustrations follow a family through a winter in which skating is central to peoples’ joy. The children in the narrator’s family unite around anticipation and memories of skating, while neighbors join them to skate in the yard a father carefully floods and tends, with the children’s help. We see people who live close to nature, with the emphasis on its pleasures. Few could read this book and not take a keener interest in varieties of ice, and want to skate. All will be glad to spend a short time with the people met here — gliding over frozen fields, through pastures, across a pond, and the flooded garden turned rink, after homework was finished, in the moonlight. The text is poetic and Barbara McClintock’s drawings are full of movement, grace and the charm of a particular time and place.
Friday, February 1st, 2013
Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (Roaring Brook)
A 2013 Caldecott Honor book!
This book shows not only many shades of green, all beautiful, but gives views into different parts of the world from many angles. We can see sings of a confident paintbrush and canvas, beginning with a forest, moving under the sea, then stopping for a quiet moment to honor limes, then peas. Tension rises again with a tiger peering through thick glasses. We see more animals, and nature in both day and night time. The book pauses for winter, noting “no green,” before ending with a picture of a boy planting, and a girl standing with her dad to look up at a tree, and the words “forever green.” There’s not really a plot, but we feel we’ve traveled to many green places, and done enough marveling to want to turn back the pages and look all over again.
Tuesday, January 15th, 2013
I Have a Dream by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., paintings by Kadir Nelson (Schwartz & Wade)
Most children know the holiday dedicated to the civil rights movement leader, and for those who aren’t familiar with the 1963 speech that makes up the text for this big, colorful book, this will be a wonderful introduction. The paintings not only keep to the tone of hope and dignity in the speech, but amplify it. The book begins with the Lincoln Memorial setting, first seen as if from above, then in a close-up of Dr. King with a shadowed Lincoln statue behind him. Then, again, we get a long view, with the placards listeners hold catching the light, looking almost like lanterns under a big pale sky. The dream gets illustrated movingly, and we see the beautiful and varied hills and mountains that Dr. King mentions in his “let freedom ring” refrain. White doves under a blue sky end the book, along with the complete text of the speech. The book includes a CD of the speech, too, one which is worth listening to again and again.
Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
The Christmas Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Renata Liwska (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012)
I loved The Quiet Book, which was also written and illustrated by this team, but the idea of a holiday follow-up didn’t charm me. So I’m glad that my local librarian gushed about this, and when I shrugged, left her desk to seek it out. A few pages through, we were smiling and reading favorite pages aloud to each other. How could that little bit of Grinch in me last while looking at three contented bears enjoying “Cocoa quiet,” or on the opposite page “Nutcracker quiet,” which showed an audience on red chairs including a proud mother rabbit, dozing bears, and a bored little moose. As in the other collaborations, the words are sparse and perfect. The animals are painted with textures that bring out their cuddliness, and expressive eyes that pull you right into an episode such as “hoping for a snow day quiet” or “shattered ornament quiet.” This is exactly the kind of book that will make you want to leave a desk to share it, or better yet, pore over before a sparkling tree on long nights that might include “listening for sleigh bells quiet” and “trying to stay awake quiet.”
Thursday, November 22nd, 2012
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all are enjoying some good food and nice company today.
Here’s a list of some of our favorite picture books for sharing on Thanksgiving
Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin (1971 and put back into print by the lovely folk at Purple House Press)
Pie in the Sky by Lois Ehlert (2004, Harcourt)
Strega Nona’s Harvest by Tomie dePaola (2009, Penguin Putnam)
The Apple Pie that Papa Baked by Lauren Thompson, illustrated by Jonathan Bean (2007, Simon & Schuster)
Gobble Gobble by Cathryn Falwell (2011, Dawn Publications)
In November by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Jill Kastner.
What books are you sharing with your families today?
Thursday, October 11th, 2012
Bear Has a Story to Tell
by Phillip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead (Roaring Brook Press)
This big-bellied bear with fur that’s many shades of brown won me over from the first two pages. He is sleepy, but sets out, for he has a story to tell. This desire leads him to Mouse, who has seeds to gather. Duck is getting ready to fly south. Frog must find a warm place to sleep, and Mole is already sleeping. Bear helps them all, before watching snow fall in a sky painted in marvelous shades of blue, green, and violet. He sleeps, then rolls around to celebrate spring and his chance to tell his story to friends who seem even closer after their time apart. Readers will learn about friendship and the cycles of seasons, in a book whose last page sends them back to the first.
Monday, September 10th, 2012
House Held Up by Trees
by Ted Kooser, illustrated by Jon Klassen (Candlewick)
Former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser is the author of this picture book that addresses the themes of change and nature. The story was inspired by seeing a house help up by trees, and this tale shows how that might have come to be. The book begins with a house that looks rather lonely on a newly planted lawn, but we soon see it from the woods as the house is inhabited by a family. Time moves swiftly in this book, so within a page turn, the children have grown up, and before too long the beloved house is abandoned. But not by nature. Beautiful illustrations show changes wrought by time and weather, and trees with layers of texture that suggest their power. Jon Klassen, who created droll animals for I Want My Hat Back, here uses some of the same brown tones and elegant textures to fit this story’s meditative tone.
Tuesday, September 4th, 2012
UnBEElievables: honeybee poems and paintings
by Douglas Florian (Beach Lane Books)
This volume contains poems that often burst with humor, puns, alliteration, and rhyme. Each poem is accompanied by a nugget of scientific fact and faces a page of bees with attitude, sometimes wearing fancy hats or jewelry. Many poems feature different bees, including queens, workers, scouts, and drones. Other poems focus on life cycles, pollination, the recent disappearance of bees, and beekeepers. We learn a lot, and with pleasure in the inventive language and simple, funny paintings with lots of green and gold, which are sometimes amid collage and rubber stamp work. Further reading is suggested at the end, along with a BEEbliography.
Tuesday, August 28th, 2012
Willie and Uncle Bill
by Amy Schwartz (Holiday House)
Three stories about a boy and an uncle it would be hard not to love are charmingly told, in a style that makes this both a fun read-aloud and a good choice for new readers. This first story is about a hair disaster and the typically imperfect solution. by the second tale, we’re sure of the bond between the uncle and nephew, so are glad when the mother leaves them on the story’s first page, and we follow them meeting a variety of people and animals in the city neighborhood. The third is the liveliest of all: after playing with toy trains and rockets, and reading a few books, Uncle Bill helps Willie on with his sweatshirt, takes him through the subway, and introduces him to a garage band, where Willie gets to sing, shout, stomp, do splits, and play guitar. There’s a homey, happy feel to the bright illustrations, showing a family that is both timeless and unique.
Tuesday, August 21st, 2012
Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature
by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Mark Hearld (Candlewick)
Outside Your Window is a tall, wide book organized by the seasons. It’s packed with short entries of encounters with flowers, trees, and animals. It’s written by a zoologist, but one who tried to remember and convey what she marveled at when five or six years old, and succeeds in providing a tone of simplicity and wonder. We get poems recording encounters in the wild, suggestions for outdoor activities, even an occasional recipe. Entries for spring give us pond sounds, dandelions, seeds, compost, and nests. Summer takes us to hayfields and tide pools, as well as suggestions of ways to enjoy a den. Autumn emphasizes the pleasures of falling leaves, wind, and migrating geese. The colors of winter turn more subdued, but we see the glories of the particular shapes of trees, and the treasures to be found in the night sky or on a quiet beach. And there are those birds to feed, along with suggestions for feasts.
Mark Hearld brilliantly uses mixed media, giving us a sense of bright retro aprons or wallpaper here and there, but always with motion: wind feels ever-present. Each flower and bird — and their nests, eggs, and perches — is unique and compelling.