Posts Tagged ‘nature’
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.
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 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 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.
Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
Ten Little Caterpillars by Bill Martin Jr., illustrated by Lois Ehlert (Beach Lane Books)
As they did in Chicka Chicka, Boom Boom, Martin and Ehlert combine their talents to provide children with another delightful tale that cries out to be read aloud. These 10 caterpillars are on the move: the first, crawling into a bower, the second, wriggling up a flower, the sixth, carried off to school, and the tenth, scaling an apple tree. Sumptuous illustrations describe their destinations with one, readers will discover, becoming a butterfly. An imaginative, lilting tale for those just learning to count and for those already accomplished — the rhyme, the rhythm, and the journeys will be a most entertaining trip. In addition, Ehlert cleverly winds a botany lesson into a pictorial narrative.
On shelves August 30, 2011.
* * * * * * * * *
Lois Ehlert is this year’s Carle Honors Artist recipient! Click here to learn more about Lois Ehlert and The Carle Honors. Want more recommendations from The Carle Bookshop? Click here to read for Top of the Shelf book reviews.
Tuesday, April 12th, 2011
Hatch! written and illustrated by Roxie Munro (Marshall Cavendish, 2011)
Don’t let the five-letter title splashed across eggs and a duckling on the cover lead you to think this book is small. The oversized picture book will spread nicely across laps or hold up well in story hour, where children will enjoy the guessing game structure. With every turn of a page, we see an egg — plain, spotted, white, or colored — and are given clues about who might be in it. The following pages are sure to be pored over with detailed illustrations of the bird, its family, and habitat, including images of nests and suggestions of food sources and predators. Of course it’s a great book for spring, but can be used anytime to learn about varieties of birds from around the world: birds that we learn can be much taller than a person, or fit in a palm, or which can fly eight miles high or migrate 25,000 miles in a year. Readers interested in learning even more about incubation, parenting styles, flight, and birdcalls can use the bibliography and glossary (“fun bird words to learn”) in the back.
Pick up a copy of Hatch! or read more Top of the Shelf book reviews.