Tuesday, September 25, 2018

So Far Up - a review

So Far Up
by Susanne Strasser
Charlesbridge, 2018

So Far Up is a perfect book for sharing with toddlers. It's simple and repetitive, it introduces various animals and opposites,and it has a simple story line. The only thing that could make it better would be a larger size for sharing with bigger groups. It is a 5"x7" board book.

I tested it in storytime and it was a hit. 

My copy of So Far Up was provided by the publisher at my request.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A Big Mooncake for Little Star - a review

A Big Mooncake for Little Star
Little Brown, 2018

Here is an excerpt from my starred review of A Big Mooncake for Little Star.  You can read my entire review in the August, 2018 issue of School Library Journal.

Little Star’s mother admonishes her not to eat the giant mooncake, but Little Star has her own ideas. “Yum!”
The relationship between Little Star and her mother offers a message of empowerment and reassurance. Lin’s loving homage to the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is sure to become a bedtime favorite.

Source: School Library Journal. Jul2018, Vol. 64 Issue 7, p45-45.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Good Rosie! a review

Good Rosie!
by Kate DiCamillo
Illustrated by Harry Bliss
Candlewick, 2018
The genre of comic book styled stories in the children's picture book section has been the almost exclusive milieu of Toon Books, one of my favorite imprints.  While Good Rosie! is not completely comic book style, it certainly brings something new to the class.  Other than the obvious star power—Kate DiCamillo is a Newbery medalist and former National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, and Harry Bliss is a New Yorker cover artist and picture book artist for best-selling books such as Diary of a Worm, Good Rosie! is a fresh mashup of comic book, graphic novel, easy reader, and chapter book.

In sections called "parts," (I love Part Six's title best, "Part Six: Somebody Does Something"), DiCamillo tells a story of a lonely dog named Rosie, and her older, balding owner, who both find companionship at the dog park.  She writes, as always with heart.  After we learn that Rosie feels lonely when looking at her reflection in her food bowl, we are reminded of her feelings later in the story,

That cloud does look like a dog! Rosie wags her tail. "Hello,  hello!" she shouts.
[the image contains a lettered "Woof, woof!]

The dog cloud does not answer her. Rosie feels lonely in an empty-silver-bowl sort of way.
Rosie's owner is kind and gentle, walking with a cane and trench coat, vulnerable against the elements of weather and terrain.  Rosie reflects his gentle personality.  They are as sweet a pair as Mr. Putter and Tabby, both in word and picture.  The man's words appear in classic comic book word bubbles,
 Isn't this great? Look at all these dogs. 
Panels are framed in black against white gutters.  The text is a simple black typeface, allowing the images to enhance the story. Rosie is a sweet brown and white terrier.  Her new found friends are a Saint Bernard named Maurice and what looks to be a long-haired chihuahua named Fifi.  They are full of expression and frolic against a backdrop of lush green grass, and blue cloud-filled skies.

A charming book for reading alone or reading aloud.

Good Rosie! extras:

My copy of Good Rosie! was provided by the publisher.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Happy Labor Day!

If you are one of the many U.S. workers enjoying a day off with pay today, please take time to remember the sacrifices of union leaders and members who struggled to make your work life better and better-paying.

Have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day!

Photo source: U.S. Department of Labor
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
There are many great nonfiction children's books for studying the impact of women on the labor movement. Two of my favorites are:

Image and quotation source: United States Department of Labor

Beneath the Waves - a review

As we read disturbing news accounts of dying manatees , environmental disasters caused by toxic waste, and ocean pollution on the scale of ...