Monthly Archives: February 2017

I am Jim Henson (Ordinary People Change the World)












I am Jim Henson

by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2017

Several generations have been raised on Sesame Street and Jim Henson’s Muppets and this book is a delight to learn about what experiences Jim had as a child that helped shape him to create the highly successful M
uppets.  Jim was one of author Brad Meltzer’s childhood heroes and readers will note an extra boost of energy woven throughout the biography.

Jim was raised in a family of jokesters, art creators, and with a grandmother who encouraged his storytelling.  One of his favorite radio comedians was ventriloquist, Edgar Bergen.  Jim badgered his parents until they got a television, which opened his world to live shows.  As a teen, he decided he wanted to work in television and visited all his local TV stations to get hired.  Soon after that, one station looked for a puppeteer.  He’d never used a puppet before, but created one and the station gave him a chance. Although the show was cancelled, Jim was hooked and created more puppets, including a frog he named Kermit.  Then one day two TV producers offered him an opportunity to create puppet characters for a new show targeting children of families that didn’t have a lot of opportunities.  And on November 10, 1969, their first episode of Sesame Street aired and was a smash hit.

Wonderfully inspiring book, especially for creative children. Both children and adults will enjoy the book.

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by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017

Nature poet Joyce Sidman takes the shape “round” and shares about round shapes abundant in nature.  From round oranges, to round seeds that grow, or turtle eggs being buried to later hatch.  Each page is a nature lesson.  Each page gives young readers things to think about. “Some swell into roundness” (mushrooms)….”stretching toward the sun” (sunflowers). Some start in a different shape, but become round when all sharp edges wear off (rocks in oceans).  Some are hidden (rings in a tree stump), some last only a moment (bubbles). A wonderful way to share a shape and explore many aspects of nature.

Gentle, nurturing, yet sciency-exciting.

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This is Me, A Story of Who We are and Where We Came From














This is Me,   A Story of Who We are and Where We Came From
by Jamie Lee Curtis, illustrated by Laura Cornell
Workman Publishing, 2016

An intriguing story asking if you were to immigrate to a new country and could only take what would fit in a suitcase, what would you take.

A teacher shared with her class that her great-grandmother came on a boat with just a suitcase. She shared what her great-grandmother brought, then she asked the students what they would bring if they left.  We visit the rooms of eight children to see what they would take, what they would leave, and why.

Written in rhyme, the author Jamie Lee Curtis gets philosophical saying, who you are it isn’t just what you’ve got, but part what you learn and part what you’re taught.  A thinker of a book.  Something both child and parent can discuss.

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A Moon of My Own











A Moon of My Own

By Jennifer Rustgi, illustrated by Ashley White
Dawn Publications, 2016

The childhood belief that ‘the moon is following me’ combines with geographic locations across the globe in a delightful story of a young girl who lovingly speaks to the moon that follows her on her many adventures.  She converses with the moon, and shares, “I never tell you where I’m going, but somehow you always find me.”

In the night skies and against the white moon, the illustrator uses silhouettes of key geographic locations.  Each location gives enough clues for adults to know (most of) the locations.  Readers will want to pull out a globe, map or encyclopedia to identify each location and learn more. The illustrator even manages to show us the moon from underwater, while showing the Great Barrier Reef in the Pacific Ocean near Australia.

Fortunately, each of the locations is named and introduced in the back matter.  Moon facts, Moon Phases and Modeling the Moon are also explored, with references given to other resources. Adults will enjoy this book as much as kids.

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I Just Want to Say Good Night














I Just Want to Say Good Night
by Rachel Isadora
Nancy Paulsen Books, 2016

An innocent, loving African girl says good night to the fish, to the bird, to the goat.  She goes on in the African savannah to say good night to the monkey, the ants, and the rock.  She says good night to any and all things she can find to avoid going to bed.  When she gets into bed, she says good night to her book.  When she looks out her window at the full moon, she says, “Good night, moon!”, while holding her book, Good Night Moon.

Illustrated in clear, bright oils with black ink, the artist/author captures perfectly the innocence of a young girl who goes through her good-night ritual to make her good day even better. The brilliant, moving illustrations are startling, warm and comforting all at once and invite the reader to “just look at the pictures.”  A very nurturing bedtime story.

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by Jim LaMarche
Simon and Schuster for Young Readers, 2016

Beautiful, quiet illustrations invite readers into the story as we follow a boy who explores an empty terrain.  He comes upon water bubbling up and has an idea.  He recruits his friends Matt and Kate and the three clean up the land, block off the water and form a pond.  They fix up an old boat, learn about wildlife and minerals when Kate brings out her books.  To celebrate summer’s end, they camp out, to celebrate fall they watch bird migrations, and in winter they ice skate.  In spring they climb the nearby hills and discover the ponds true shape—and understand their passion for the pond.  Illustrations in acrylics, colored pencils and inks bring a rich outdoor experience into the reader’s heart.

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The Wish Tree














The Wish Tree
by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Chris Turnham
Chronicle Books, 2016

Young Charles and Boggan head out in search of a wish tree.  His siblings say there is no such thing, but Charles believes.  They scour the country side, helping squirrels, beavers and many others along the way.  As nightfall nears, Charles becomes tired and Charles can no longer search.  Boggan carries him, while the animals pull them along.  Snow appears, and so does a wish tree!

An imaginative story of a boy who believes and perseveres on his quest to find a wish tree. It’s filled with delightful word plays and repetitions.  Boggan is Charles’ toboggan and everywhere it goes, it sings, “Whishhhhh.”   Children will delight in figuring out, “Where Charles went Boggan followed.  Where Boggan went Charles followed.” A great adventure for a snowy day read.

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Rufus the Writer













Rufus the Writer

by Elizabeth Bram, illustrated by Chuck Groenink
Schwartz & Wade, 2015

A perfect book for aspiring writers!

Instead of a lemonade stand, Rufus sets up a ‘story’ stand and sells stories he writes.  As his friends come by, he offers them a story in exchange for something from nature, so there is no money exchanging hands.  However, for anyone hoping to be an author, they will read the four stories he writes and find a very satisfying ending.

Rufus’ stories are simple ones, inspired by his friend’s requests.  Indirectly readers learn the story doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, but must please their friends.  When his friends return to get their stories at the end of the day, they sit together and eagerly savor the stories he’s custom written for them.   A pleasing story filled with imagination and inspiration for dreamers.

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