Things to Do

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Things to Do

by Elaine Magliaro, illustrated by Catia Chien
Chronicle Books, 2017

An unassuming book that opens nature’s world to readers.  Readers gently explore things to do if you are dawn, a bird, a honeybee, or even a snail.  Written in a poetic voice, each section begins with “Things to do if you are..” Each section explores the subject, enlightening it with descriptors, some known by readers, some new to readers.  The book invites readers to ponder the descriptions and experience them for themselves.  Loose paintings rendered in acrylic, further invite readers into the story.  The day ends with crickets and the moon that “Hang(s) in the darkness,” and “Dazzle(s) the night.”

A quiet book that brings awareness to, explores, and expands in detail the many things in a child’s day.

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Two is Enough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Two is Enough

by Janna Matthies, illustrated by Tuesday Mourning
RP KIDS, 2015

A book overflowing with love as single parents and their children share life together, happy to be ‘two.’  Written in rhyme we learn, “Two is enough for a snowball fight, for building a family, frosty and white.”  Illustrations focus on four families in a variety of scenes, doing a variety of activities from cycling, gardening, singing, and even crying.  It ends with, “Sure as one plus one will always be two, Two is enough when its’s me plus you!”  A lovely poem and a heartwarming book for families with one adult and one child.

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Spunky Little Monkey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spunky Little Monkey
Bill Martin Jr and Michael Sampson, illustrated by Brian Won
Scholastic Press, 2017

Bill Martin Jr (of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?) does it again with a new interactive book for spunky toddlers.  Spunky Little Monkey is all about rhythm and rhyme, exercise and fun, and getting the body started in the morning.

Little Monkey has difficulty waking and the doctor prescribes exercise:
Rutabaga, Rutabaga
Sis! Boom! Bah!
POP UP, Monkey!
Rah! Rah! RAH!

Through a rhythmic, energetic, dancing song, monkey finds the rhythm in his head, then he finds the rhythm in his hands, then his feet and his hips.  When he puts them all together, he feels much better.  He gathers together his friends and off they go to play.  Perfect book to learn body parts and run off steam. Brian Won illustrates monkey action in a toned down rainbow palette, showing lots of actions; although most kids readers will be dancing, not enjoying the art work!

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Wake Up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Wake Up!

by Helen Frost, illustrated by Rick Lieder
Candlewick Press, 2017

Through a gentle poem, reader’s eyes can savor photos of nature’s birds, insects, and animals. Creatures shown are so close, readers may feel like they can reach out and touch each one.  The yellow duckling looks right into their eyes, some may want to screech at the croaking frogs, and they may hold their breath at the sight of a newborn fawn.  A wonderful introduction to nature.

The afterward provides additional information on each creature featured, to invite conversations on their favorites.  A book that inspires curiosity about learning more.

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Out of Wonder, Poems Celebrating Poets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Out of Wonder, Poems Celebrating Poets

By Kwame Alexander with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth.
Illustrated by Ekua Holmes
Candlewick Press, 2017

It’s a delight to read each poem celebrating a poet and written in that poet’s ‘style’.  This poem collection is packed with freshness, with so many layers going on at once.  Poets celebrated include Robert Frost, e.e. cummings, Nikki Giovanni, and Langston Hughes, twenty in all.

Using bright, bold colors and shapes, Ekua, a fine artist, uses mixed-media collages to explore the poem’s message in visual form. Each poems’ illustration is uniquely and masterfully done.  This is a treat for poetry lovers and an interesting way to introduce poets to young readers.

The book includes an afterword with a few paragraphs on each poet celebrated and on the three poets who created this collection.  Good energy exudes from between the covers.  A book worth picking up.

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Are You an Echo?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are You an Echo?  The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko
by David Jacobson
Chin Music Press, 2016

Are You an Echo? is a treasure.  The beautifully illustrated cover and the textured and heavy-stocked pages, make a strong presentation of Japan’s beloved children’s poet.  The book includes Misuzu’s brief biography and presents 25 poems.  Fifteen poems are presented in English and Japanese on beautifully illustrated two-page spreads.

Misuzu’s poems give voice to cocoons, fish and snow.  Written with such innocence, they are the words of a four-year-old.  Of course, they are translated from Japanese, but they have a unique flavor different from children’s poetry in America.

Unlike most girls of the early 1900’s who stopped going to school after the sixth grade, Misuzu went to school until she was seventeen.  She was raised in her mother’s bookstore and she had a hard time telling the difference between real life and what she read.  Everything was alive and had its own feelings.  Always a thoughtful child, she was sensitive to everything around her and questioned everything. Unfortunately, extreme hardships entered into Misuzu’s life and she took her life at the age of 25.  This fact is included gently in the brief biography.

A delight to the imagination, this is a book to savor, study, and enjoy again and again.

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Henry Wants MORE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Henry Wants MORE!
by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Brooke Boynton Hughes
Random House Children’s Books, 2016

Written in perfect, playful rhyme, we spend a day with Henry and his family.  Throughout the day, each family member plays with Henry who giggles and laughs.  While Papa, Grandma, Lucy, Charlie, and Mama soon tire of their selected activity, Henry doesn’t and always asks for ‘More’.   Done in soft pastel colors, readers see and feel the love exchanged on every page.  At last, at day’s end, Henry falls asleep, but wait—there is one more ‘more’!

Asking for ‘more’ is so universal, every family member will relate.  This heartwarming story is a joy to read and has the making of a classic.

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Stepping Stones, A Refugee Family’s Journey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Stepping Stones, A Refugee Family’s Journey

by Margriet Ruurs, illustrated by Nizar Ali Badr
ORCA Book Publishers, 2016

The artwork, made of water-smooth stones, will fascinate young readers and their parents.  River rocks beautifully laid out, tell the story of a Syrian refugee family escaping from their now hostile home to a new, unknown place.  The natural hardness of the stones poignantly illustrates to hardships the family experiences.  The book includes photos showing how the artist creates the illustration. After the scene is captured in photos, it is dismantled for the next scene, for the artist can’t afford ‘glue’ to make them permanent.

The story starts out on a normal day before there was hostility. But even then, the family wasn’t free, for they could not sing their songs, dance their dances, nor pray their prayers of choice.  Then rivers of people began leaving the city, until one day the family decided they must leave, too.  Only what they could carry went with them.  They traveled by foot, then by boat, hoping they’d be safe, for many others did not survive.  After a long time, a family took them in and helped them create a safe home.  The story ends on a note of peace.

Beautiful story, exquisite, moving illustrations.

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Freedom Over Me, Eleven Slaves, their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Freedom Over Me, Eleven Slaves, their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life

By Ashley Bryan
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2016
Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book & Newbery honor award

Freedom Over Me jumps into the lives of eleven slaves, their thoughts, feelings, dreams.  The eleven selected were from Mary Fairchild’s estate listing of her property, including their names, sex, and worth.

The story opens with Mary selling off her estate and returning home to England after her husband died.  Each slave is given a story, a voice to be heard.  While the stories are fiction, they are composites of true stories of real slaves.  Written in open verse, we learn of what they currently do, their past when they were ripped from their villages, their future, all with the same dream of freedom.  At this point in the story they wait, helplessly, knowing they will be sold, and likely separated.

Loose, color-filled illustrations bring life to the people, show the love they had and the pains they survived.  An insightful, heart-felt book that gives a deep look into the lives of those enslaved.

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Duck on a Tractor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Duck on a Tractor

by David Shannon
The Blue Sky Press, 2016

Rich with colors and shenanigans, the animals pull one over on the townspeople in this hilarious story of the duck who drives a tractor through town.

Imagine a big, bold red tractor, driven by a small duck whose wings drive like they were arms.  Imagine this duck kicking the tires, to check them out.  Surprised it rumbled when he turned the shiny metal by the steering wheel, he shouted, “Climb on, everybody!”  The dog up first, then the cow and pigs, each having their own thoughts about the big red tractor.  Driving by the diner, everyone stops and stares, each sharing their own inside thoughts about what they see.  Until Farmer O’Dell realizes it’s his tractor, and they all run out and chase it.  But when the people reach it, the animals are gone.

You’ll have to find out what happened and enjoy each character’s banter about the big red tractor.  The illustrations are bold, bright, and full of character; readers can read each character’s thoughts before they read the words.  This book is perfect for read alouds and just plain silliness.  Written/illustrated by award-winning David Shannon.

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