Friday, May 27, 2016

Beatrix Potter and Her Paint Box



                                                          by David McPhail

  This is a small biography of Beatrix Potter focusing on her early years when she is given her mother's paint box.The book continues to show Beatrix's love of painting which led her to write her first book, "The Tale of Peter Rabbit". Through David McPhail's intimate watercolor paintings, we see Beatrix's love of the countryside and animals which were so central to her books. There's not a lot of detail about Beatrix's life nor is there any back matter for further reference. However, it's a good introduction to Beatrix Potter for younger children.                                       

Friday, May 13, 2016

When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons

                                                           by Julie Fogliano

This is a collection of poems throughout the seasons. All are free verse and very sweet and accessible for kids. The illustrations by Julie Morstad are a perfect match, following a little girl through the rain, snow, sun and chill. Here's a sample poem:

                                                       may 10
                                                     lilac sniffing
                                                     is what to do
                                                     with a nose
                                                     when it is may
                                                     and there are lilacs
                                                     to be sniffed

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Flutter and Hum/ Aleteo y Zumbido

 
 by Julie Paschkis

 Flutter and Hum is a collection of free verse animal poems for children written in English on the left page and Spanish on the right. Each poem uses playful words to describe the animal's special qualities.
Here's a sample poem:
Dog
The shaggy dog
wiggles, wiggles,
squirms
and leaps.
His wagging tail
fans wild happiness
into the wide world.

The illustrations, also done by Julie Paschkis are colorful and decorative, evoking Mexican painted animals. Within the illustrations Ms. Paschkis has included descriptive words in both Spanish and English. Overall, it's a fun and colorful poetry collection celebrating animals.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

I Fly: The Buzz About Flies and How Awesome They Are by Bridget Heos



This picture book is a funny science book about the common housefly. The narrator is a cartoon fly who quizzes a classroom of kids as to their knowledge about flies. Beyond the "ew" factor of maggots, eating garbage etc. this book is a hilarious introduction to a common (but little discussed) insect. The main fly character is full of personality as he extols the virtues of his fellow flies. At the back of the book there's a glossary and bibliography for further information.

In the Canyon by Liz Garton Scanlon




Told in rhyme, this picture book explores a girl's day hike into the Grand Canyon. Readers follow her down the trail to the bottom, meeting various animals and experiencing nature along the way. At the book's end, the girl's in her room in the city, peering up at the moon. She has kept the Grand Canyon memories in her heart.  There's more information in the back: Author's Note, Glossary and Further Reading links. Ashley Wolff's illustrations, done in linoleum block print, capture the southwest feel of the location. A beautiful exploration of a national treasure.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Water is Water by Miranda Paul



This is a gorgeous picture book about the various states of water: rain, fog, clouds, puddles etc. While the main part of the book is poetic rather than educational, there's informational matter in the back which helps to explain the water cycle. Instead of overly explaining the scientific aspects of water, the text plays with words and the images tell a story of a family (probably in New England) encountering water throughout the days and seasons. Lovely watercolors by Jason Chin. A good introduction to the water cycle for younger elementary ages.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Ann Elizabeth's Diary by Anne Elizabeth Rector and Kathleen Krull




This is a short, but sweet and informative diary of a twelve year old girl, Ann Elizabeth Rector, who was born in 1899 in West Virginia. She grew up as an only child in New York City and in this year-long diary recounts life there: her schooling, friends, family and desire to be an artist. Eventually, Ann Elizabeth does become an artist, initially as a fine artist and in later years as a crafter of toys. Throughout the diary are actual illustrations done by Ann Elizabeth, in addition to historical information and photos of  Ann Elizabeth. This is a great book for girls (or boys) who are between 8-12, and interested in art and/or history.