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Showing posts from March, 2016

China's Forbidden City

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The China Institute contacted me to see if I would be interested in seeing books from their We All Live in the Forbidden City program. (The Forbidden City refers to the Imperial Palace in Beijing that housed the seat of Chinese government for about 500 years.  It is now home to the Palace Museum.)  I reviewed their book for very young listeners or readers.

Bowls of Happiness: Treasures from China and the Forbidden City by Brian Tse.  Illustrated by Alice Mak.  Translated by Ben Wang.
China Institute, 2016

A mother creates a bowl and decides to paint it with a pig to represent her young daughter, nicknamed Piggy.

Mommy is good at making pottery.  She has made a bowl, and on the bowl she painted a piggy.

Holding the bowl, Mommy smiles and says "At the sight of Piggy, my hearts leaps with joy!" Oh, silly Mommy. To make Piggy happy, the mother paints a cloud.  White Cloud, too, needs happiness, so she adds birds, and Flower, and Butterfly, and Tiny Goldfish.  Fruits join the ta…

Will's Words - a review

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Will's Words: How William Shakespeare Changed the Way You Talk by Jane Sutcliffe.  Illustrated by John Shelly.  2016, Charlesbridge

According to author Jane Sutcliffe's note, she intended to write a book about the Globe Theater and its famous playwright, but found she was more interested in the way that William Shakespeare's words (even the invented ones!) have become so ingrained in our everyday speech. 

The end result is somewhat of a hybrid.  Two types of text boxes are placed upon each double-spread, full-bleed illustration.  One contains an account of life in the time and milieu of William Shakespeare,

Good plays need good playwrights.  And the most brilliant playwright in London was Mr. William Shakespeare. From butchers and bakers, to lords and ladies, everyone looked forward to the excitement of a Will Shakespeare play.
While the other explains one or more of Shakespeare's words,

WILL'S WORD: Excitement
WHAT IT MEANS: A feeling of "Bring it on!"…

A book with a plug - whaaat?

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A book with a plug! Whaaat?

For car trips, young readers, struggling readers, and sheer entertainment, you can't beat a picture book/audio book combo for younger kids. 

Though schools and libraries may still keep book/CD kits in their collections, the truth is, CD players are not that common anymore. Newer computers don't come with a standard CD/DVD drive, cars don't always have them, and the only people I know who still have "boom boxes" are children's librarians.

That's why I was happy to receive a copy of  a new VOX (TM)"audio-enabled" book.  In my photo, the book is plugged into the wall for charging, but I did that just for show because a book with a plug cracked me up!  In truth, it arrived fully charged and ready to go - no plug required. (I didn't test it for battery performance.)  The audio recording and speaker are built right into the book and operated by a simple control panel - power, play, pause, volume, forward, and back. Ther…

Child of Spring - a review

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We receive news of current events from many sources: news outlets, Facebook, BuzzFeed, friends, family, etc. Some of it is accurate, some of it is false, much of it is biased.  At best, each source reveals a glimpse of a larger picture.

I am in not suggesting that children's literature or cooking shows* can replace knowledge of current events, but it's easier to understand what's happening in a location if you understand what it's like to live there, play there, work there, learn there, and eat there.

I feel like learned more about the Iranian people from reading Persepolis or watching *Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown: "Iran" than I gleaned from "news."  Similarly, I never truly grasped the standing of females in Saudi Arabia until I read The Green Bicycle, based on the award-winning documentary, Wadjda. In The Green Bicycle, Wadja opens readers' hearts to the everyday struggles of girls in Iran. 

In Child of Spring, Basanta will open a door to …

I'm back!

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Hello, Florida!

Well, I've packed up a home of 15 years, and a job of a decade, and moved them both almost 1,000 miles away - while simultaneously working (with little more than a week's break), hosting two of my kids for back-to-back spring breaks (one helped load the moving van in the North, and the other one helped unload it in the South), and flying back and forth for new-hire screenings and orientation.  (Have I mentioned that my husband and family are wonderful?)

Anyway, as of tomorrow, I will be "shelf-employed" in my new adopted state. 

If you've been waiting for me to review a book you've sent me, I've got a backlog, but I'm getting through them.

Back in business!  More soon ...




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