Posts Tagged ‘family’
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.
Thursday, November 24th, 2011
Happy Thanksgiving! On this day of family, friends and delicious fall foods, I want to talk about one of my favorite Thanksgiving treats…pie! Lovely fall pies like apple, pumpkin, and pecan pie will be filling my family’s table this holiday season, but I’m a sucker for summer fruit pies as well. What about you? Do you have a favorite kind of pie?
Here are some picture books from our Shop’s shelves that highlight this favorite sweet treat.
Pie in the Sky by Lois Ehlert (Harcourt, 2004)
With her beautiful cut paper collage illustrations, Lois Ehlert shows how a cherry pie is made, starting from the tree that cherries grown on. With each turn of the page, the reader observes the natural world of this cherry tree through the seasons, waiting for the time to finally pick the cherries and make the pie. Look closely on each page for hidden details, including Ehlert’s own cherry pie recipe!
Pecan Pie Baby by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Sophie Blackall (Putnam, 2010)
Everyone is excited about Mama having a new baby except Gia. She likes having Mama all to herself and sharing special moments between just the two of them like telling silly stories, snuggling in the morning, or sharing a piece of their favorite treat — pecan pie. But even now, before the baby is born, Gia has to share their love of pecan pie with the baby in Mama’s belly. “This baby sure loves itself some pie,” says Mama, giving in to her cravings. “Well,” says Gia, “I love pecan pie. And you love pecan pie. So that baby’s just being a copycat.” This book gracefully navigates the complexity of a child’s feelings about a new sibling and Gia’s mother is able to gently reassure Gia that the baby won’t ruin their special mother/daughter bond.
Apple Pie ABC by Alison Murray (Hyperion, 2011)
A fresh take on the classic A Apple Apie alphabet book with bold retro-style illustrations.
A apple pie
B bake it
C cool it
D dish it out.
Told with great humor in the point of view of a very determined dog who wants a piece of that apple pie.
The Apple Pie that Papa Bakes by Lauren Thompson, illustrated by Jonathan Bean (Simon & Schuster, 2007)
A fun retelling of “The House that Jack Built” cumulative style tale. Instead it’s the pie that papa baked. With a nod to classic Virginia Burton illustration, the reader gets a bigger and bigger view of all the parts of the natural world that go into making one delicious apple pie from scratch. A wonderful read aloud.
How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman (Knopf, 1994)
In Marjorie Priceman’s beautiful and whimsical style, readers are taken on a worldwide scavenger hunt for the ingredients to make an apple pie. To Italy to harvest the wheat, to France to gather the eggs, to Sri Lanka for some cinnamon and so on, until finally picking the apples close to home in a Vermont orchard. A wonderful reminder for all ages to know and appreciate all the places our food comes from.
For older readers, check out
Pie by Sarah Weeks (Scholastic, 2011)
This book is a wonderful and quick middle-grade novel, perfect for ages 9-12, about a girl named Alice, whose beloved Aunt Polly makes the town’s BEST pies. When Aunt Polly passes away, she leaves her famous piecrust recipe surprisingly to her cat, Lardo and then leaves Lardo in the care of Alice. The town goes in a frenzy trying to get the recipe, even including a cat-napping and a suspicious stranger snoping around town, getting poor Alice caught up in the middle of it all. It’s up to Alice to show everyone that Polly’s pies were about bringing family and friends together. This funny and well-written book is interspersed with recipes (warning: don’t read on an empty stomach — it will make you hungry!) so you can try out the famous pies yourself.
On this day of giving thanks, we’re thankful for our food — and delicious pies — and for our family and friends like you who we can share our love of books with. Happy Thanksgiving!
Tuesday, November 15th, 2011
Grandpa Green by Lane Smith (Roaring Brook Press, 2011)
Here we get a lot of green and white and a sense of how memories link generations. The grandfather’s story is told by his busy, imaginative, and plant-loving grandson. Rabbits, birds, flying pigs, and trees have starring roles, though all eclipsed by pruned bushes. The bent is toward happiness, which is the way Grandfather remembers: a wedding and marriage get twice as much space as the war in which he fought. Pages fold out at the end to give us four pages offering the idea that a garden may remember more than any person can.
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Want more recommendations from The Carle Bookshop? Click here to read for Top of the Shelf book reviews.
Friday, August 19th, 2011
Summer is winding down, but I’ve been fantasizing about one last vacation: an old-fashioned road trip. I’m remembering fondly those summer family trips we’d take across the country in our old Dodge van. While my sisters and I may have, at times, been too cranky or too absorbed in our book to want to get out and see another old battlefield or, okay fine, the Grand Canyon, for us kids, it still beat staying at home or going to (oh, the horror!) summer camp.
Whether or not you have plans to go on a real road trip this summer or fall, here are four great picture books about hitting the road with your family.
Pictures from Our Vacation by Lynne Rae Perkins (Greenwillow Books, 2007)
The two siblings in this book are given instant cameras and notebooks to each record their vacation. They take lot of pictures. Pictures of boring car rides, empty pools, damaged badminton rackets and lots and lots of pictures of rain. But the times they seem to be having the most fun are the times they forget to take pictures! “These don’t remind me that much of our vacation,” one of the kids says looking over the photos at the end of the trip. “It’s hard to take a picture of a story someone tells or what it feels like when you’re rolling down a hill.” Through beautiful language and watercolors that evoke the true sense of summer, Newbery-winner Lynne Rae Perkins makes you realize that the memories of those special moments of vacation (even the car trip!) are pictures you can keep in your mind.
Just Us Women by Jeannette Caines, illustrated by Pat Cummings (HarperCollins, 1982)
Aunt Martha and her niece are driving all the way to North Carolina, just the two of them. “No boys and no men, just us women.” The road trip is special time the two can spend together alone, doing whatever they want. They can stop at roadside markets and yard sales, eat at a fancy restaurant or even get out of the car to splash in the rain. They can drive down back roads, stop for pictures in front of famous statues and just take their sweet old time, without anyone else telling them what to do. This wonderful book evokes the true feeling of a road trip. The freedom to explore and cherish the time you have, away from TV and other distractions, with your family.
My Side of the Car by Kate Feiffer, illustrated by Jules Feiffer (Candlewick Press, 2011)
Sadie has been wanting to go the the zoo forever, but each time the trip somehow gets postponed. Finally, she and her dad are in the car on their way to the zoo, and NOTHING will stop them this time. But the weather seems to have other plans. “Sadie, it’s raining,” says Sadie’s father. But Sadie insists that it’s not raining. Not, at least, on her side of the car. With sweet humor, an imaginative banter ensues between Sadie and her father. Sadie comes up with elaborate reasons for why her father’s side of the car might be wet, while insisting outside her window everyone is doing sunny day things, like wearing sunglasses and eating ice cream. Inspired by true story, with great humor father-daughter team Kate and Jules Feiffer explore the power of optimism when things don’t quite go right on a road trip.
The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Stephen Gammell (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1985)
Sometimes the best part about a road trip is the destination. In this Caldecott Honor picture book, Cynthia Rylant uses skilled prose to evoke all the senses and feelings of a big family reunion. You feel the emotions of missing home while still being excited to be on vacation. You get the feeling of closeness to have so many people in one small house, while acknowledging how strange but special it feels. “It was different, going to sleep with all that new breathing in the house.” Stephen Gammell brings great humor to the text with his illustrations, showing not a idealized family reunion, but one that feels more genuine. The car crashes into the fence and people spill food and snore, making it feel all the more real and maybe a bit more like your family. And like reading a book, the car takes you in a round trip back to the beginning. You might be sad that it’s over, but just like you can visit next summer, you can read the book again!
Happy last days of summer! For more road trip fun, check out my post last summer, Are We There Yet? ,where I recommend great books for entertaining kids on long car rides.
Thursday, March 3rd, 2011
Still feeling stuck in this cold chill of winter, I’m spending a lot of time lately with my quilt. I drag it from the bed to the couch and back again, spending hours reading, knitting, and okay, maybe watching TV too, underneath its cozy enclosure. But quilts are so much more than something to keep you warm. A quilt is filled with comfort, handmade pride and memories. Just by looking at its pieces, each quilt can tell you its own story.
Some of my very favorite picture books know how to tell the story of a quilt just right. Here are a few that you should cozy on up with.
The Quilt by Ann Jonas (Puffin Books)
In this book of an adventurous journey through a girl’s imagination, the quilt represents a rite of passage. The girl is growing up and she’s proud of it. “I have a new quilt” she immediately tells the reader. “It’s to go on my new grown-up bed.” She points out the pieces of the quilt made from her family’s old clothes and curtains. Each piece is a comforting memory as well as a sign for how much she’s grown. At night the quilt comes alive and she embarks on an imaginative journey. I love how the character directly addresses the reader in an easy stream-of-conscious way. The reader can see her anxiety over sleeping in a new bed and of growing up, even if she can’t see it herself and cheers her on as she’s able to make it through the night.
The Quilt Story by Tony Johnston, illustrated by Tomie dePaola (Penguin Putnam)
Often handmade quilts are passed down through family members, keeping history and memories alive. In The Quilt Story, a quilt is initially made by a mother for her little girl who uses it as a blanket to keep warm, a place for a tea party, and even a gown for playing pretend. When the family moves, the quilt is a constant in the girl’s life, giving her a feeling of comfort – of feeling tucked in and safe, even in a strange place. As time passes on, the quilt is passed down and new generations discover the quilt and are comforted in their time of need. For them, a quilt feels like home.
The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney (Dial Books for Young Readers)
Tanya’s grandmother lets her help her make a quilt and through her, Tanya learns the true power of homemade. “Yes, your mama can get you a quilt from any department store. But it won’t be like my patchwork quilt, and it won’t last as long either.” They use bits of old clothes from all the family, slowly working together until Tanya’s grandmother gets sick. Tanya then takes it upon herself (with help from her family) to continue working on the quilt. This is a real family story as they work together to pass down not only family memories through quilt pieces, but the sewing knowledge and skill needed to keep this kind of tradition alive.
Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by James Ransome (Alfred Knopf)
When Clara, a slave working as a seamstress, overhears about the difficulties other slaves have reaching the Underground Railroad, she realizes what they need is a map. She saves bits of cloth and asks around to get the right bearings, creating a quilt that maps the way to freedom for many others, as well as herself. The language of this book is as beautiful and inspiring as this young girl’s story. “Sometimes I wish I could sew a quilt that would spread over the whole land, and the people just follow the stitches to freedom.”
Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Hudson Talbot (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Just like Clara, the women in Show Way are taught to sew map quilts for slaves to follow to freedom, called “Show Ways”. They pass down sewing through the generations, sewing and selling the quilts even after the slaves were freed to preserve the history. The quilts represented strength and bravery as time goes on, as well as comfort and family. Using the most beautiful language and rhythm, this book, like a quilt, is meant to be passed on and on. It’s a personal family history of Jacqueline Woodson, but also a history of the African American people and this Newbery Honor winning picture (quite a rare feat!) is a true work of art.
The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau, illustrated by Gail de Marcken (Orchard Books)
In this fairy tale-esque tale, an old woman refuses to sell the quilts she makes, but gives them to the poor or homeless. When a greedy king decides he must have one of her quilts to be happy, the quiltmaker leads him in a mission of redemption. Only when he has given away everything he owns, and finally understands true happiness, will she give him a handmade quilt. This book is stunningly illustrated with watercolors, busily detailed, a rainbow of color, and pieced together as if it was a quilt itself.
I bet some of you have some favorite cozy quilt books. Or maybe you’re a quilter or have a quiltmaker in the family. Share your stories with us below!