Archive for August, 2012
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.
Tuesday, August 14th, 2012
Baby Bear Sees Blue
by Ashley Wolff (Beach Lane Books)
The story follows a day through the happy-to-be-together Mama and child in an animated world: the sun speaks through a warm light, oak leaves wave. Baby Bear finds blue birds, red strawberries, orange butterflies, and who could choose a favorite color among these so beautifully done on linoleum block prints, hand colored with vivid watercolors? A thunderstorm makes them hurry home, then marvel at a rainbow. The cozy book begins with us peering into a dark, mysterious den, and ends with the “deep, soft black” Baby Bear sees when he closes his eyes, and a view of the night sky looking out from the den.
Tuesday, August 7th, 2012
Step Gently Out
by Helen Frost, photographs by Rick Lieder (Candlewick)
“Step gently out,” is the first line of the book, and we see the elegant legs of a praying mantis maneuvering his way across daisies. The colors and fuzz of a caterpillar, photographed close up, stun as we’re asked to watch a single blade of grass. Ant, honeybee, cricket, moth, and spider are shown larger than life, photographed as gently, it seems, as the stepping: background is put into soft focus, which gives a sense of an observer willing to just watch. The short single poem carries us into dusk, then another morning. An afterword with more photographs tells us more about the small, amazing creatures.
Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
It’s no secret that we love Jon Klassen‘s work here at The Carle.
First we went crazy over I Want My Hat Back. It was reviewed on Top of the Shelf by Jeannine, it made it onto Susan Bloom’s best picture books of 2011, and it was even Margaret’s staff pick for July. Then we got inspired by his book with Mac Barnett, Extra Yarn, and yarn bombed our Red Elephant sculpture. (We were an Honorable Mention). A young friend even put in their two cents about Extra Yarn for our Caterpillar Review. (Oooh and I got a sneak peek of his new book, This is No My Hat, due out in the fall from Candlewick and I can’t wait for you all to see it! You’re going to love it.)
So I was super excited to pick up these Jon Klassen notecards for our Shop this summer. How cute are these birthday cards? There’s something about the juxtaposition of the stoic blank expression on these animals faces and the party hats and balloons that just kills me.
I also love this crab congratulations card. Yay! You did it!
You can check out all the styles on our website here. I’m fairly certain everyone I know is going to be getting one in the mail this year. Love them!