Posts Tagged ‘animals’
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.
Tuesday, May 29th, 2012
Z is for Moose
by Kelly Bingham and Paul O. Zelinsky (Greenwillow Books)
This book is sure to delight all young alphabet-lovers and their parents, with special fun for moose-lovers: and who isn’t one? I had the pleasure of watching a parent and child making their way through the expected choices of apple, ball, and cat, where the young reader found her bearings, but by D the moose jumps in, and gets called out by a zebra wearing a movie director’s hat and carrying a clipboard. The elephant on the E page looks angry at the mistake. Moose keeps hoping for a turn, but when the M page finally comes, Moose is upstaged by a gleeful mouse. Chaos ensues, until the happy and clever ending.
Tuesday, May 15th, 2012
Faster! Faster! by Leslie Patricelli (Candlewick Press)
The author-illustrator of the lovely Higher! Higher! offers more bright colors, simple text, and a tribute to imagination. A family is having fun, with a girl on dad’s back, mom carrying a baby, and a dog chasing a ball, but by the second spread, the girl is riding that dog instead of dad. Subsequent pages show her urging, “Faster! Faster!” while she rides a bunny, ostrich, horse, cheetah, bird, dolphin, and exhausted turtle, who turns into dad in the final page turns. Tired and happy. The brilliant colors and energy in the book will make readers want to take this ride again.
Tuesday, March 27th, 2012
Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan (Viking/Penguin, 2011)
This book celebrates life after sunset, when wide-eyed Little Owl and his friends play, eat, and sing. The animals, trees, and plants are illustrated with simple and engaging lines, often with a lively and creative spin — a snail is about the size of a morning glory, and a cricket isn’t dwarfed by a frog. After some time spent among possums, a hedgehog, a skunk, beavers, a turtle, fireflies, a raccoon, and moths, Little Owl tries to wake up a bear, to no avail. As bats glide home, Little Owl asks his Mama to tell him again about how night ends. Mama poetically describes dawn as we see its glow begin — and Little Owl falls asleep.
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Want more recommendations from The Carle Bookshop? Click here to read for Top of the Shelf book reviews.
Tuesday, January 10th, 2012
TWEAK TWEAK by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier (Clarion Books, 2011)
Here’s a simple and charming tale about a child who takes the tail of her mother, who introduces her to the wideness of the world as they stroll. The child asks about the creatures she sees, and wants to know if she can, for instance, jump like a frog. No, but she can stomp her foot and make a big sound. Can she climb up an acacia tree like a monkey? No, but she can rub her back against the tree and scratch. Can she fly like a butterfly? No, but she can wave her ears like big butterfly wings. The little elephant comes to admire differences and respect herself. The story, with winsome pen and ink and watercolors, ends with mama taking her child’s tail as she leads the way home.
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Want more recommendations from The Carle Bookshop? Click here to read for Top of the Shelf book reviews.
Tuesday, April 19th, 2011
The Loud Book by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Renata Liwska (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
This small book is jam-packed with an assortment of adorable rabbits, bears, moose, lizards, and birds making or responding to an assortment of noises. As in the bestselling The Quiet Book, the text is spare, with pictures that play up the words or knock them in amusing directions. Several scenes take place at school, and there’s some emphasis on embarrassing kinds of louds, such as “oops louds,” “dropping your lunch tray loud,” or “spilling your marbles in the library loud.” There’s summer trouble and fun, ending with a campout and a bunny trying to sleep under a crescent moon when the world is “crickets loud.” I particularly like the variety of actions Renata Liwska packs in a crowd scene. In “crowded pool loud” we get lots of heads and tails, pink bathing caps and floaties. “Fireworks loud” is illustrated as if from overhead, and the view of wide-eyed faces evokes pure wonder. Another winner for this author-illustrator pair.
Pick up a copy of The Loud Book or read more Top of the Shelf book recommendations.
Thursday, March 31st, 2011
Sometimes in early spring we can feel a little stuck. We want it to be sunny and warm but things aren’t quite happening as quickly as we like. Or maybe, with all the rain and melting snow, we are quite literally stuck in the mud!
Getting stuck in the mud is a pretty common theme in picture books. Often the scenario is the same, a bunch of animals pile into a truck, barrel down a muddy road and…you guessed it…get stuck. Even though the situation is the same, it doesn’t keep each book from being wonderfully funny and silly in its own way. Here are some “stuck in the mud” favorites:
Duck in the Truck by Jez Alborough (Kane/Miller, 2008)
Wonderful rhyme and wordplay, complemented with silly and bright illustrations, make this book an absolute joy to read aloud. Duck finds himself stuck in the mud and needs the help of a variety of different barnyard animals in their own transportation (a goat in a boat, a sheep in a jeep, etc) to help pull and push him out.
Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw, illustrated by Margot Apple (Houghton Mifflin, 1986)
Another wonderful book written in rhyme. A family of sheep squeeze into a tiny jeep for a ride, but these sheep are not the most conscientious of drivers! A variety of mishaps will keep preschoolers giggling and adults will love all the funny details added by illustrator Margot Apple. Two strong pigs help to push the jeep out of the mud (check out their tattoos) but once the sheep are back on the road, they find their troubles are not over yet!
Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle, illustrated by Jill McElmurry (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008)
This sweet book combines a cast of barnyard animals with anthropomorphized cars. The friendly little blue truck is nice to all the animals as he casually drives down the road, but the big important dump truck honks rudely for everyone to get out of his way. When the big dump truck gets stuck in the mud, however, the little blue truck and the animals all work together to get him out, showing the true value of manners and friendship. This book is wonderfully designed with the shape of the text sometimes mirroring the action, bumping along or HONKING LOUDLY. (I especially love the illustration of the little blue truck tiny in the dump truck’s rear view mirror!) The sound effects in the text make it a great book to read aloud, with your whole audience chiming in.
Pigs in the Mud in the Middle of the Rud by Lynn Plourde, illustrated by John Schoenherr (Scholastic, 1997)
The hilarious rhyming text of this book bounces along in this sort of cumulative tale, filled with funny slang and nonsense words to make everyone giggle. As a farm family tries to drive down the road, they find pigs in the mud blocking their way! One by one a family member gets out of the car to try to move an animal, but as the story progresses more and more farm animals are stuck in the mud – pigs, chickens, sheep, even a bull! – but they nothing the family does can get them to budge. Good think they have a spunky grandma to save the day!
We all get stuck sometimes, but these books show that good friends are always there to help pull you out. Do you have a favorite picture book about getting stuck in the mud? Tell us about it!
Tuesday, March 15th, 2011
Red Wagon (Philomel Books) written and illustrated by Renata Liwska
This sweet picture book by the illustrator of THE QUIET BOOK, a New York Times bestseller, is short enough for the very young, but with enough to ponder that older readers will be charmed, too. We start with a brand-new little red wagon, and Lucy’s mother’s suggestion that she take it to the market, which sounds to Lucy like a chore. Her animal friends are busy flying kites, but are drawn to the red wagon, and chore quickly becomes adventure. While the short text stays true to reality, we see the red wagon become a ship as puddles turn to sea. As we turn pages, the red wagon becomes a covered wagon, part of a circus trailer, a train, a rocket ship, and a construction site truck.
The textured pictures are made from pencil, with a tactile quality that pulls you in, and digitally colored in warm tones. With their button-like eyes and jaunty footsteps, the bears, badgers, bears, raccoons, squirrels, and hedgehogs lean toward being toy-like, like E.H. Shepard’s illustrations for Winnie-the-Pooh. Plump and fuzzy, Lucy and her friends are sure to brighten both story hours and bedtime.
Pick up a copy of Red Wagon or read more Top of the Shelf book recommendations.
Friday, February 11th, 2011
In celebration of Jerry Pinkney’s visit tomorrow, today’s Friday Favorite may be a lesser known title of Jerry Pinkney’s work, but is a terrific interactive storytime book.
Pretend You’re a Cat (Penguin, 1990) by Jean Marzollo, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
Let me start off by saying, this is NOT a quiet book. Pretend You’re a Cat is a book that will really get kids moving, making noise and interacting with each other and the book. It’s a FUN book and it’s the perfect opportunity to be just plain silly. Use it for a group story-time, especially when your audience is feeling a bit antsy and at home when your kids are restless. With rhyming text, the reader is asked to explore their knowledge of a variety of animals – cats, dogs, horses, bees, and even snakes!
Can you bark?
Can you beg?
Can you scratch
With your leg?
Can you fetch?
Can you roll?
Can you dig
In a hole?
With each line, readers can get up and act out the motions with their whole body or use hand gestures to allow for space and body restrictions. Jerry Pinkney’s wonderful watercolor illustrations compare side-by-side the actual animal with the children acting like the animal. The illustrations of the kids offer giggles and inspiration for the audience (I never would have thought to “hatch” out of a cardboard box pretending I was a chick – brilliant!). Some of the kids in the book are even illustrated dressed as the animal, such as a girl in a bee costume or a boy with tiger face paint, to help them get more into character. The last line of each page always asks, What else can you do like [that animal] offering an opening for further creativity and exploration. This book is a great leaping off point for a unit on animal behavior or an activity for an animal-themed birthday party. I especially love the handmade horse masks the kids wear. It would make a great accompanying art project!
Along with our favorite, Head to Toe by Eric Carle, Pretend You’re a Cat is one of those special books that lets kids explore their body’s movements, show off their knowledge of familiar animals, and have fun all at the same time. And a book that can do all that, is pretty special indeed.
At The Carle Bookshop we specialize in backlist picture books. Backlist is bookseller talk for the not-so-new picture books that you often can’t find at other bookstores. We carry the fabulous new books too (make sure to read our weekly Top of the Shelf posts for new book recommendations), but we know what makes us unique are the shelves and shelves of picture books you remember from your childhood or books you read to your own children. Each Friday, we’ll highlight one of these special older titles in case you may have missed it or forgotten about it along the way. Let’s keep the picture book alive and loved, shall we?
Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011
February is here and Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. While there are lots of wonderful books about valentines and love, some kids get grossed out or bored by that lovey-dovey mushy stuff. I’ve found that books about friendship make for great Valentine’s Day reading (and every other day of the year, too!) and they encourage us to appreciate the best friends in our own lives. Here are a few of my favorite picture book pairs.
Toot & Puddle (Little, Brown & Co., 1997) by Holly Hobbie
Toot & Puddle are best friends. Toot is adventurous, but Puddle is more of a homebody. When Toot decides to set off on a year-long world adventure, Puddle decides he’d be happier at home. I love that these two like different things and they’re okay with that. Puddle’s not resentful that Toot’s going on vacation without him and Toot doesn’t get mad that Puddle won’t come along. Author/illustrator Holly Hobbie shows how they each have such a great time doing what they love, even though they miss each other. The sweet watercolor illustrations are funny and oh-so-adorable and the inclusion of Toot’s handwritten postcards to Puddle is delightful to young readers.
Frog & Toad (Scholastic, 1970) by Arnold Lobel
In a few short stories and with carefully chosen words, Arnold Lobel captures the essence of friendship with simplicity and humor. This now famous pair have shown readers over the years that friends are always there to cheer you up when you’re sad, care for you when you’re feeling sick and friends will always tell you the truth. Yes, you do look funny in that bathing suit.
George & Martha (Houghtin Mifflin, 1972) by James Marshall
Another classic picture book pair also reinforces that friends always tell each other the truth. If you don’t like pea soup, just say so! In five short stories, these two hippos get in all kinds of silly predicaments that their friendship can always find ways to solve. With delightful humor and gentle honesty, James Marshall reminds readers that everyone has flaws.
Rosie & Michael (Simon & Schuster, 1974) by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Lorna Tomei
Rosie and Michael understand that everyone has their flaws and that friends love each other despite (and maybe even because) of them. The two alternate telling the reader why they are friends along with humorous black-and-white illustrations. Friends always tell each other the truth, are there for each other when they’re sad, forgive each other for pranks, stand up for each other and they try their hardest to keep the others’ secrets (and if Michael is tortured to tell Rosie’s secret, well…Rosie will understand). Like in her popular Alexander & the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Viorst’s writing is funny and feels absolutely genuine. Instead of sounding like an adult glorifying what childhood is like, this book is 100% real elementary school.
Bink & Gollie (Candlewick Press, 2010) by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee, illustrated by Tony Fucile
Like so with so many great pairings, these two prove that opposites attract. Bink is energetic, eccentric, and impulsive while Gollie is calm, imaginative and often the voice of reason. Together, they make a hilarious pair. In three short vocabulary-building stories, the two always seem to find adventure, fun and compromise.
Dog & Bear (Roaring Book Press, 2007) by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
In three sweet vignettes, these friends must work through solutions to simple problems and help each other out. Using simple language and bold illustrations, this book is perfect for reading aloud to a younger audience or for an emerging readers to enjoy on their own.
Gossie & Gertie (Houghton Mifflin, 2002) by Olivier Dunrea
This series of books about a pair of super-cute ducks tackles with ease the issues with friends that all preschoolers must navigate, like sharing, following, and patience. The small trim size makes it perfect for little hands.
A Visitor for Bear (Candlewick Press, 2008) by Bonny Becker, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton
Bear insists he doesn’t like visitors and when Mouse invites himself over, Bear does anything he can to turn him away. Luckily, friends sometimes know what we need before we even realize it ourselves. Mouse’s friendly persistence finally softens Bear and he realizes he had needed a friend all along.
Stay tuned for more books about love, friends, and unlikely pairs as we count down to Valentine’s Day. In the meantime, why not share a book with one of your friends today? Do you have a favorite picture book pair? Let us know in the comments below.