Sunday, June 14, 2009
Museum Trip, by Barbara Lehman
During a class trip to the museum, a boy wanders away from his class and stumbles upon a little door. Inside is a display of drawings of mazes. The boy imagines himself (is he imagining?) inside the mazes. This wordless book is simply perfect. The Boy and I enjoyed tracing the path through each maze, and we both were delighted and surprised by the ending.
Target ages: 3-8 years
The Red Book, by Barbara Lehman
You Can't Take a Balloon Into the Metropolitan Museum, by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman
Flotsam, by David Wiesner
Saturday, June 13, 2009
What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?, by Steve Jenkins & Robin Page
The Boy loves this book. I think he asked me to reread it at least three times today. Jenkins creates fantastic collage images of animals and their various parts. The question and answer format appeals to kids, and the additional notes at the end of the book provide great details and fun facts about the featured creatures.
Target ages: 5-10 years
Sisters and Brothers: Sibling Relationships in the Animal World, by Steve Jenkins
Extreme Animals: The Toughest Creatures On Earth, by Nicola Davies
Friday, June 12, 2009
Bravo, Mr. William Shakespeare! by Marcia Williams
The Girl is named after one of Shakespeare's characters. As a consequence, she is obsessed with Shakespeare. The sweet pea actually dragged the Riverside Shakespeare off the shelf a month ago and tried to read Romeo and Juliet. This book is a much better starter. We were so excited when we spotted it. The plays are told in a comic strip format, with no more than 8 pages given to each play. The main action of each scene is told in simple language beneath a corresponding panel. The characters speech bubbles spout actual text (in short snippets) from the selected play. All around the border of the ongoing comic are little characters (audience members) making comments. The plays are very well summarized and easy to follow. Our only disappointment was with the plays selected: Richard III? Really? I was thrilled to learn that this was Williams' second book of Shakespeare's plays and that Romeo and Juliet, Midsummer Night's Dream, and The Tempest are included in the first collection.
Target ages: 10-13 years
Tales from Shakespeare, by Marcia Williams
William Shakespeare and the Globe, by Aliki
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Little Audrey by Ruth White
Oh my, I loved this book. At 11, Audrey is the oldest of four sisters, living in a coal camp in 1948. The author shares Audrey's honest feelings as she deals with extreme poverty, an alcoholic father and a grief-stricken mother. Despite her struggles, Audrey has a hopeful spirit that shines through, even in her darkest moments. This book, based upon the author's own childhood, is a fascinating view of life in a company town, and an inspiring tribute to human resilience.
Target age: 10-14 years.
At Home in the Heart of Appalachia, by John O'Brien (2001) (Adult)
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
What's Inside? Fascinating Structures Around the World by Giles Laroche
I read this picture book to both kids together. Each page has a block of text that tells a little bit about a different structure from a different place/time in the world. The book invites you to turn the page to see "What's Inside?" The text accompanying the inside view gives information about the animals, people or artwork housed by the structure. This book is fantastic and has broad appeal. The Boy pored over the collage illustrations on each page, examining every detail. The Girl enjoyed reading the sidebars that provided more detailed information about each building. Some of the structures are the usual favorites found in other picture books about architecture (The Guggenheim Museum and The Sydney Opera House) but most of the buildings are less well known: Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia, Sakyamuni Pagoda.
Target ages: 5-12 years.
Amazing Buildings, by Philip Wilkinson
Building America, by Janice Weaver
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Olive's Ocean by Kevin Henkes
This book perfectly captures the awkward, uncertain feelings of middle school. Martha deals with the death of a classmate, a new crush, and frustration with her role in her family. The characterization is honest, and the resolutions of various plot points are simple and realistic.
Target age: 10-14.
The Bridge to Terebitha, by Katherine Paterson
Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
This is a collection of free verse poems arranged in journal style, chronicling a boy's journey from reluctant to enthusiatic poet.
The kids and I read this in a single read aloud session. We could not put it down! We laughed, we cried and we could not wait to read more poetry!
Target age: 8-12 years.
Hate That Cat, by Sharon Creech
A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms, selected by Paul B. Janeczko
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Let's Go Pegasus! by Jean Marzollo
This is a retelling of the Greek Myth, with a distinctly modern feel to it. It is big fun! At the bottom of each page there is a band of owls making comments about the story: a little Greek Chorus. The kids loved the owls' silly comments. They were also inspired by Marzollo's gallery of Medusa illustrations on the endpapers.
Target ages: 4-8 years.
Pandora's Box, by Jean Marzollo
Once upon a starry night : a book of constellations, by Jacqueline Mitton