Posts Tagged ‘middle grade’
Monday, January 16th, 2012
I have a not-so-secret love for maps in books. When reading a book, especially when it takes place in a fantastical land, I love to pore over the map, usually situated on the endpapers or first pages and study it. Then throughout the book, I’ll flip back and study it some more, as the characters embark on their journeys. I love reading the names of the countries, studying where the borders between lands lie, finding the natural formations like mountains or deserts, so I can picture it all more vividly in my mind. For this week’s Puzzler, I’ve gathered together some of my most favorite maps from children’s books. Can you name the book based on the map of its fantastical land? Put your guesses in the comments below.
For extra fun (this isn’t from a book) check out Dan Meth’s Fantasy World Map:
What’s your favorite fantasy land?
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!
Monday, November 7th, 2011
Often a child’s world is made up of the people of their immediate surroundings and so siblings play a prominent role in many children’s books. Who better to go on an adventure with than your brothers or sisters? Below are lists of siblings from popular middle grade books. Can you name each book based on the names of these brothers and sisters? Put your guesses in the comments below and I’ll be back at the end of the week with the answers:
1. Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy
2. Jane, Mark, Katharine and Martha
3. Violet, Klaus and Sunny
4. Tommy and Annika
5. Cyril, Anthea, Robert, Jane and Hilary (the Lamb)
6. Rosalind, Skye, Jane and Batty
7. Wendy, John and Michael
8. Stacey, Christopher-John, Cassie and Little Man (Clayton Chester)
9. Timothy, Barnaby A, Barnaby B, and Jane
10. Jared, Simon and Mallory
11. Fern and Avery
12. Mary, Laura, Carrie and Grace
Monday, July 18th, 2011
For today’s Picture Book Puzzler, I’m actually going to be drawing from well known books for middle grade readers. I’ll name the character, you tell me the book they come from. Easy? Let’s find out! Put your guesses in the comments below and I’ll be back on Friday with the answers.
1. India Opal Buloni
2. Prince Humperdinck
3. Fern Arable
5. Sarah Wheaton
6. Jess Aarons
9. Wanda Petronski
10. Winnie Foster
11. Count Olaf
12. Serafina Pekkala
13. Charlie Bucket
14. Stanley Yelnats
15. Kate Weatherall
Friday, July 1st, 2011
I’m definitely one of the types who packs more books than days I’m going to be on vacation, regardless of whether or not it will actually be feasible to read them all. I think to myself, I never know what I’m going to be in the mood to read at any given moment and just how quickly I might get through each book. It’s better to be prepared.
Picking out those vacation reads for yourself and your kids is one of the most important steps of packing. A good book can really make or break a long car ride, boring layovers in airports, or late nights when you’re having trouble falling asleep in a strange bed. When I go on vacation now with my family, I pack books for myself AND my eight-year-old nephew because I know there’s nothing better than passing books and sharing what we loved about them. During our past vacations we’ve devoured:
The Mysterious Benedict Society series by Trenton Lee Stewart, illustrated by Carson Ellis (Little, Brown & Co), Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown by Jarrett Krosoczka (Alfred A. Knopf) and Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking and Other Natural Disasters by Lenore Look, illustrated by LeUyen Pham (Schwartz & Wade).
Here are a few other books (both new and older titles) for the middle grade reader that also make terrific vacation reads, especially if, like us, you’re planning a trip to the ocean!
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome (David R. Godine)
Junonia by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow Books)
The Worry Week by Anne Lindberg, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes (David R. Godine)
The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall (Alfred A. Knopf)
Two of these books were written in the last year, while two were written decades ago. What I love is that, upon reading them, it’s not terribly obvious which is which. They all have the same classic feel of vacation with your family. No cell phones. No TV. Just pure summertime adventure.
What are your favorite chapter books about summer vacation? Check back next week for recommended summer picture books!
Monday, April 18th, 2011
I was so excited when I saw this wonderful map that combined so many of my favorite fantastical places into one realm.
Fantasy World Map by Dan Meth (danmeth.com)
It started me thinking about all the different and wonderful worlds I’ve been taken to by reading books. I’ve read about so many unique fantasy lands and each one still vividly comes alive in my memory just by saying its name, even if I haven’t read that book in years. Is it the same for you? Today’s puzzler is filled with favorite fantastical places from picture books, middle grade and young adult novels. How many books (or series of books) can you name based on its setting? Put your guesses in the comments and I’ll be back on Friday with the answers!
1. The Emerald City
4. The Kingdom of Wisdom
7. The Hundred Acre Wood
10. Cair Paravel
20. Mossflower Woods
These would all be included in my map of favorite fantastical places. I’d also add Wonderland and Where The Wild Things Are (but knew those would be too easy to guess for the puzzler). What places would you include in your own map? Also, if you love fantastical places, you’d love this book:
See you Friday!
Thursday, April 8th, 2010
Book Recommendation Request For: 2 middle-aged people with grown up children, but still like to read classic children’s books aloud.
Interests: History, nature, sailing, science
Favorite Books: Books by Thornton Burgess, Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
I think a mark of a good children’s book, especially one deemed a classic, is that it can be enjoyed not just by its intended child audience, but by adult readers as well. Parents and teachers know that it makes big difference whether you like a book too when you are asked to read something over and over. Here at The Carle we are a bunch of avid children’s book readers, not just because we’re educators, booksellers, or parents, but because we just plain like children’s books. So I’m extra excited to share with you titles of classics (and destined-to-be-classics) that you adult readers out there might like too. Not only do they make great family read-alouds but they’re the kind of books you’re going to want to return to again and again.
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome is the first title in this great old-fashioned adventure series. Written in the 1930′s, this book has it all, especially for you sailors and nature lovers. The four Walker children are on summer vacation, exploring Wild Cat Island – sailing, fishing, camping – and finding adventure wherever they go.
Many of you may have already have a copy of this one on your bookshelf, but The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, is worth another visit. The adventures of Rat, Mole, Badger and wild Toad, is old-fashioned British humor at its best. The dialogue makes this one especially fun to read out loud.
For a more modern book with that same classic feel is Jeanne Birdsall’s The Penderwicks. It’s another summer adventure story – this time with four lovable sisters let loose to create mischief on a giant estate in the country. Although it was written in 2005, it seems truly timeless and would make a great summer vacation read.
For lovers of Sarah, Plain and Tall, I would recommend Karen Hesse’s Out of the Dust. It’s another prairie story, this time during the Dust Bowl of the 1920′s, told in a collection of poems. The words are sparse but the language is beautiful and the images create a powerful story that will stick with you for a long, long time.
And let’s not forget that there are beautiful reissues of your favorite classics by publishers all the time. Of note is Dover’s newest version L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This edition replicates the 1900 original with color plates and spot illustrations by W.W. Denslow and new deliciously retro cover for the faithful Oz fans. Another new favorite is the Classic Illustrated Edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland compiled by Cooper Edens. Decorating the original Carroll text in a wonderfully large format are beautiful illustrations by artists such as Arthur Rackham, Willy Pogany, Peter Newell, and Maria Kirk among many others. Definitely worth a look.
There are just so many classic books, new and old, that we love to return to again and again. The Secret Garden, Tuck Everlasting, The Phantom Tollbooth… I love to see when customers rediscover a book from their childhood that they loved so, so much on our shelves. Their entire face lights up and they just have to tell someone about it. For me, that’s the power of a classic. They’re meant to be shared.
What are some of your can’t-live-without-classics? For a great comprehensive list of favorite middle grade chapter books, check out Fuse #8′s Top 100 Children’s Novels. Her readers have voted and Fuse #8 has been revealing the favorites one by one. You’re bound to find a few books that you always meant to read but never got around to. Now’s the time!