Saturday, May 26, 2012

Picture Book Saturday (17)

13 Nights of Halloween
By Guy Vasilovich
Published 2011 by HarperCollins
I love this one! This is essentially the “12 Days of Christmas” for Halloween but with an extra unlucky night thrown in. The gifts are suitably creepy and icky and the illustrations are a great balance between macabre and adorable. I think this would work really well in a Halloween/spooky storytime. Really enjoyed this!

Little Apple Goat
By Caroline Jayne Church
Published 2007 by Eerdman's Books for Young Readers
Go look at the goat on the cover of this book and tell me you don’t want to read it. Go on; I’ll wait. Did you do it? ISN’T THAT THE CUTEST GOAT YOU’VE EVER SEEN?? Okay, now that’s done…little goat loves eating the fruit from the orchard and she spits the seeds over the fence along her walk home. When a storm destroys the orchard, what will happen next? This could be used in a gardening or farming storytime. It explains the cycle of life quite nicely and the illustrations are so sweet. LOOK AT THE GOAT – I mean, come on!

Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet
By Jane O’Connor, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser
Published 2012 by HarperCollins
I don’t usually really pay any special attention to the Fancy Nancy books – I’ve read the first few and I think they’re pretty much all the same general idea. For some reason, I felt compelled to flip through this one and I think it’s a great addition to the series. Fancy Nancy and Bree are very excited about their next dance show – a mermaid ballet! They both want to be mermaids very much, but when the parts are distributed, neither is cast. Can Nancy overcome this setback? And what happens when disaster strikes one of the mermaids? This is a fun picture book in a well-loved series that teaches an important lesson as well. As always, I love the vocabulary this book provides, as well as the illustrations. Don’t miss this one!

Bailey Goes Camping
By Kevin Henkes
Published 1997 by Greenwillow Books
Bailey just wants to be like his big brother and sister and go on a scout camping trip with them but everyone tells him he’s too young. Never fear, mom and dad are here to show Bailey what fun he can have, even without going camping. Very sweet story with Henkes’ classic illustrations – another author I’ll probably never get sick of.

First Peas to the Table: How Thomas Jefferson Inspired a School Garden
By Susan Grigsby, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell
Published 2012 by Albert Whitman & Company
This is a nicely written story about gardening for an older elementary audience. My favorite thing about this book is the historical aspect of the story – it’s woven in quite nicely with the main story and I think kids will even learn a few things from reading this book. I also really like the element of friendly competition throughout the story – it’s never mean or overdone and I don’t think it hurts for kids to learn how competition can be friendly. The illustrations, for me, are nothing special but overall this is a really cool picture book.

Time for a Hug
By Phillis Gershator and Mim Green, illustrated by David Walker
Published 2012 by Sterling Children’s Books
I feel like I must only read picture books that either look completely adorable or are non-fiction because it seems like those are the only two things I say about them here. This one falls clearly in the adorable category but this is also like a stealth concept book. We go through a typical day with our main character, finding out when it’s time for a hug. But, we’re also learning a bit about time while we do this. It’s pretty subtle, but I think this is a great book to introduce the concept of time to young children. Adorable illustrations and a sweet little book.

Maudie and Bear
By Jan Ormerod and Freya Blackwood
Published 2012 by Putnam Publishing Group
There seems to be a spate of recent picture books that are actually short story collections about a set of characters (like Hooray for Amanda and Her Alligator!) and here is another one. We meet Maudie, who is not altogether likable but I think very realistic and Bear, who is kind and takes care of her. Through a series of five stories, we see them ride bikes, have a picnic, dance, and other fun activities. Surprisingly, the Goodreads reviews mostly seem to decry this book for teaching a bad lesson: that it’s okay to be rude and whiny and unappreciative. I did not get that message at all when I read through this book. Now, looking back on it, I can see how people could see it that way, but I really don’t think that’s the point of this story and I think it’s even more unlikely that this is the message children who read this are going to come away with. I think the illustrations here and beautiful and I think those reviewers are making a fuss over nothing.

Mooshka: A Quilt Story
By Julie Paschkis
Published 2012 by Peachtree Publishers
Mooshka is Karla’s very special quilt – it talks to her. Whenever she touches one of its squares, Mooshka will tell her stories about its life when that square belonged to another piece of fabric. Soon, baby sister Hannah moves into Karla’s room and Mooshka falls strangely silent when Karla needs it more than ever. This is a really interesting story. I think kids will like the idea of learning little pieces of history through fabric. I’m not sure there is a huge audience for quilting picture books but I think they will love this one. The illustrations are quite beautiful and ultimately, this is a really sweet story about family.

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