January is National Puzzle Month, and the 29th is National Puzzle Day! If you would like a great book to help you celebrate before the month is out, try this visual feast, published by National Geographic Kids. It features a variety of photo puzzles: optical illusions, hidden pictures, “Spot the Difference” (on two-page spreads), and more! It’s full of fun facts about nature, including how animals use camouflage for safety, how humans use vision and the brain in concert to understand the world around them, and how our perceptions can be fooled by visual tricks. There
Among my very favorite picture books are those with the theme of changing seasons. This story by Wisconsin author Miller is at the top of the list. At a fall farm market with her mother and father, Sophie picks out a yellow squash. The squash is just the right size for Sophie to hold, and--it turns out—to love. “I’m glad we met,” says Sophie.
Who are the stars of this book? Colors or Shapes? With the help of three unusual judges (featured in Boldt’s 123 versus ABC), two teams vie for the honor. Team Color takes the stage to begin a talent contest, but Shapes soon crash it, and the game is on. Red, Blue and Yellow do some fancy mixing to create a variety of new colors--everything from purple to turquoise. But the shapes, including Circle, Triangle, and Square, show that they can change as well, adding side
“Every time a human walks out of a room, something with more feet walks in.” While this might not be comforting to most people, it is a fact of life in this fantastical Victorian world, created by the award-winning author Richard Peck, where human events are often mirrored in, or perhaps mirror, what happens in the mouse kingdom.
“Storywoods” blog creator Rebecca Dudley uses her expert photography and multi-media diorama art in this beautiful wordless picture book story featuring Hank, a sweet little animal of the woods. While on a walk, Hank finds an egg on the ground beneath a bird’s nest. When he fails in his valiant attempts to return the egg to the nest before nightfall, Hank cares for the egg and keeps it warm until he can try again the next day. This time, he has some help, and makes new friends as a result.
This is a fab(ulous) and funny book about John, Paul, George and Ringo—four lads from Liverpool, England who together, achieved worldwide fame and admiration as the Beatles, rock music band extraordinaire.
“Yawns are sneaky. They can creep up on you when you least expect them.” And--yawns can lead to pajamas, bedtime stories, lullabies and tucking in—whether you’re ready or not! The book serves as a witty warning for all those readers who are definitely not ready for bed, with challenges to resist anything cozy, cuddly, sleepy or snuggly. But, also heed my warning: this book will make you yawn, not because it’s boring, but because--as author Hélène Boudreau knows all too well--yawns are contagious! This charming funny book with the lively, distinctive ca
Charlie Bumpers is sure he’s doomed! It’s bad enough he’s the middle kid between a smart-aleck brother and a (sometimes) pesky little sister. But he’s starting his 4th grade year with all-white back-to-school shoes, he and his best friend Tommy are in separate classes for the first time ever, and—worst of all—he’s stuck with Teacher of the Year Mrs. Burke, the strictest in the whole school! She’s the same teacher that Charlie accidentally beaned with a shoe the year before—and she hasn’t forgotten!
This is a story about the intersecting lives of two boys living at a boarding school in Maine.Jack’s father, a military man, enrolled thirteen-year-old Jack in boarding school after his mother died.There, Jack meets Early Auden, a socially isolated numerical savant who has lost his entire family.Jack is surpri
What’s a “wordle?” According to creators Rosenthal and Bloch, wordles are “groups of words that sound exactly the same but mean different things,” such as “I scream,” and “ice cream”; “Heroes,” and “He rows.” This setup is followed by a baker’s dozen of wordles. One of my favorites is a fellow shouting, while being chased by two deer with big antlers, “I scream! Two bucks!” followed by an ice cream vendor selling “Ice cream, two bucks!” Other favorites include characters from fairy tales, and a little plug for Rosenthal’s book
In this clever, Christmassy take on a beloved fairytale, Papa, Mama and Baby are polar bears; when they are out walking, waiting for their Christmas pudding to cool, a certain special visitor comes to call, hungry and tired after finishing most of his holiday rounds. Santa Claus thinks the pudding has been left for him, and thereby hangs the rest of the tale! Santa, the bears, and their cozy house and surroundings are charmingly detailed in soft watercolors by mother-daughter duo Jane and Brooke Dyer.
Meet the most adorable sloths in Costa Rica's Sloth Sanctuary! The photographs are stunning and the humorously presented information about sloths will keep the reader’s attention.Meet the cutest baby sloths and some of their older companions.Learn about all their goofy personalities and silly antics.Also learn how the sanctuary he
Are you looking for a fun gift idea? Something new for “Where’s Waldo” fans? Or just a way to keep the kiddos busy while they wait for Christmas? Then bring a little “Christmas Chaos” into your life! It’s one of several books in the “Seek It Out” series by Picture Window Books, a division of Capstone Press. The book features 14 scenes, laid out in two-page spreads, which feature a different winter holiday experience: the center of a busy shopping mall, Santa’s workshop, ski slope, skating rink, a gingerbread village, a Kwanzaa celebration, among others
No tricks, just treats! There are many great books with Halloween stories and poems, and many are currently on display at the library. One of my favorites is Alison McGhee’s Only a Witch Can Fly. The author uses a beautiful old form of poetry with a mesmerizing rhythm, to relate the feelings of a young girl who longs to fly on a chilly but enchanted Halloween night, even if it means leaving the warmth of home, familiar things, and doubts and fears behind.
This bilingual English/Spanish book celebrates the life of the great Latin Jazz musician Ernest “Tito” Puente (1923-2000). Readers learn about Tito in different stages of his life: as a baby (in New York City of Puerto Rican parents), banging out rhythms on pots and pans; as a kid drumming and dancing his way to talent show success (but still finding time to play baseball with the neighborhood kids); as a young man in the Navy serving his country while developing his gift of playing and writing music; and as a professional musician who wins fame, fortune, love and admiration by using
I love Jan Thomas’ silly, charming books with her bold, colorful comic-style illustrations, from Rhyming Dust Bunnies to Is Everyone Ready for Fun?Let’s Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy is her latest to date, and in my opinion, another hit. The cowboy of the title is actually not so brave; in his attempts to settle his cows down for the night, he interrupts his own lullaby with startled exclamations about what he imagines is lurking in the dark. The cows calm and reassure him--until, that is, something really IS in the shadows!
“Line up every kind of plant and animal on Earth…and one of every four will be a beetle.” So begins the Beetle Book by Steve Jenkins, a treasure trove of fascinating facts about beetles the world over, including information about body structure, life cycles, communication, defenses, and other beetle behaviors.
“Why do it?” I asked myself. “Just months ago, you reviewed a book about a dog with a second chance at a happy life (Saving Audie by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent), so why do another so soon?” “I can’t help it!” was my reply. “I’ve fallen in love, and people in love can do foolish things. So there!”
On August 28, 1963, almost 50 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his powerful and iconic “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. The “Dream” portion of the stirring speech provides the narrative for this picture book, illustrated with inspired and inspiring paintings by Caldecott Honor Award-winning artist Kadir Nelson. Nelson includes portraits of Dr.
Booklover Morris Lessmore methodically records his life one page at a time until a terrible storm carries him away and destroys his words and his surroundings. A young woman, who is being pulled skyward by an array of colorful books, gives him her favorite, which leads him to an extraordinary library. The stories entice Morris who devotes his life to repairing the books and reading the stories to keep them alive.
We’re in the midst of a white winter wonderland in Wisconsin. But for those who long for something green, you’ll find it, in all its many shades, in this lovely picture book. Author/artist Seeger combines simple rhyming text, lush paint-on-canvas illustrations and with cleverly positioned cut out accents, inviting readers to explore and enjoy the presence (and sometimes absence) of green in nature and in everyday objects.
Attention-grabbing large colorful pictures of dragons and a spirited plotline that parallels a child’s morning routine will win over young children in Jane Yolen’s latest picture book. A small knight awakens huge sleeping dragons, feeds them pancakes with a catapult, brushes their fangs and hurries them out so they can fly him to Knight School.
The state legislature has declared 12/12/12 “Aaron Rodgers Day” in Wisconsin, in honor of the Green Bay Packers star quarterback with the uniform number 12. Young readers can celebrate the success of this remarkable athlete with two books added to the library’s collections this past year.
Logan suspects that missing pet dogs are being dognapped by invading aliens and forms the Intergalactic Canine Rescue Unit with his friends. He communicates with a female alien who speaks for the big Boss alien, is kidnapped himself, and through quick thinking and clever negotiating, Logan becomes a hero. Dognappers is a fast read appealing to middle-graders with its gross humor, surprising adventures with aliens and mysteries.
May Elizabeth Bitterly lives on the Kansas frontier with her family. May wants to study and become a teacher, but her father needs her to earn some money for the familiy by living and working on the neighboring Oblinger homestead, but just until Christmas. Mr. Oblinger has made a rustic sod house for his new young bride, who is not use to the roughness of life on the frontier. May cooks, washes and offers Mrs. Oblinger lessons of life on the frontier. Mrs. Oblinger does not return May’s kindness.
The cover photo of the chocolate brown pit bull puppy with soulful amber eyes drew me to this book. Saving Audie is a straighforward but heartwarming true account of this dog, one of many rescued from almost certain death in an illegal dogfighting organization co-owned by NFL player Michael Vick. Kept for many months in shelters as evidence against the wrongdoers, with only numbers instead of names, the dogs faced an uncertain future. While many people thought the dogs were dangerous and damaged
Jasmine & Tai-Tai’s grandfather Agong comes to live with their family from a faraway land. One day he tells Jasmine that she is ready for magic. Agong asks Jasmine to make a wish and then he puts his hand over hers and they dip the brush and touch it to the paper. The two tell the story of Jasmine’s wishes through Chinese characters, which can be found in each dreamlike illustration. Jasmine & Agong practice their calligraphy all spring until Agong becomes ill in the fall and passes away.
A clever fairy tale told in rhyme about a very short king who boasts constantly and forces his subjects to bow down to him. He meets his match in a common girl who turns out to be a sorceress. She casts a spell on him so that his head expands every time he proclaims his grandness. Young children will love to listen to this funny tale and to experience the bright colorful illustrations.
Newbery medalist (for A Year Down Yonder) Richard Peck pens an exciting, humorous mouse adventure - - a nonstop entertaining run of mice at sea, sailing with their people, the Cranstons, to England in search of a husband for daughter, Olive Cranston. Helena, the eldest mouse sister, and her family fear discovery, the perils of open water, and the menace of the ship’s cat. Helena narrates the story from mouse perspective (“. . . We mice dream of nothing but cheese and time running out.” p.
This first book in the new Ghost Buddy series by authors Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver will capture readers with its genuine, good guy, but clumsy, protagonist Billy Broccoli. Moving into a new house, Billy finds teenage ghost Hoove in his room and learns to accept him and his suggestions. Hoove is determined to help Billy gain confidence and become cool. When Billy is totally embarrassed by the school bully, Hoove conspires with Billy to get even, yet Billy manages to maintain his ethics while coming out ahead.
Tony Sarg (1880 – 1942) was the master puppeteer who invented the first huge animal puppets that floated in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. This is the story of a creative little boy who wondered at how things moved and worked, and who grew up to become the puppeteer of Macy’s parade.
Illustrator Ed Young, winner of the Caldecott Medal for his book Lon Po Po, tells the unique story of his childhood in wartime China through award-winning author Libby Koponen. Young’s father, Baba, an engineer, devises a way of protecting his wife and five children and numerous other relatives and friends by constructing a bomb-proof house that becomes a playground for the children complete with a swimming pool.
What young boy wouldn’t want a dog? Rufus, a fifth grader, argues persistently to justify his need for a dog. His dad stubbornly lists the many reasons why dogs are forbidden in their house: “They infest the house with blood-sucking fleas” and “They drag dead animals into the house” (p. 3). In an attempt to compromise, Mom brings home a guinea pig. “Fido” turns out to be no ordinary guinea pig. In fact, she does everything a dog would do! She plays Frisbee, obeys commands, licks faces and fetches sticks.
Fredle, a small house mouse, indulges in a delicious peppermint pattie, becomes ill, and is pushed out of the family nest. Tossed outside from the farmer’s wife’s dust pan, he is left to die or survive on his own. He befriends Sadie the dog (Sadie, a simple-minded border collie from Voigt’s earlier book, Angus and Sadie in the Davis Farm series) and a few field mice, who become valuable allies. New dangers await—owls, the barnyard snake, and an outlaw gang of raccoons planning to fatten him for their feast.
Everyone will find something to giggle about with this great CD, one of many produced in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the“Music for Little People” Company. From great action songs like Raffi’s “Shake Your Sillies Out,” and “Everyone Loves to Dance” by Aaron Nigel Smith; funny story songs like “I’m My Own Grandpa,” sung by the late great Chet Atkins, and “My Name is Cheech, the School Bus Driver” by comedian Cheech Marin; new treatments of old favorites such as Tom Glazer’s “On Top of Spaghetti,” sung by the Persuasions; and other great tracks by Buckwheat Zydeco,
Heart-warming story of eight year old Johnny’s love for his grandparents’ Connecticut tree farm and a very special antique toy horse. He dreams of giving the toy horse to his little brother, Liam, but the horse is lost. Wishing for a Christmas miracle, Johnny realizes that no gift will equal that little white horse, but he searches for another just in case. A loving, family story to share during the Christmas season.
In a red stocking cap, Baby Owl is playing with his sled in the snowy woods. Baby Hare comes along, sees him, and mistakes him for Santa Claus. Baby Owl tries to convince Baby Hare that he isn’t Santa, but Baby Hare doesn’t believe it and starts crying. Baby Owl does his best to calm Baby Hare down, but things go from bad to worse. Who can save the day?
One of the “My First” holiday series by popular author/artist Karen Katz, this picture book is told in the first person by a perky, round-faced little girl as she describes the many ways her family, friends and neighbors celebrate the seven days of Kwanzaa. The book is divided in seven sections, with a Swahili word or phrase for each of the principles that give meaning to the celebration, along with a pronunciation guide, and clear, simple descriptions of the activities. Brilliantly-colored folk art illustrations and borders add to the liveliness of the family’s festivities.
Oother is a big, gruff, widowed mountain man who lives with his small, gentle, pigtailed daughter, Pyn. While he loves Pyn, Oother is not the kind to soften for anyone; when Pyn calls him “Papa,” he responds with a grunt, “My name is Oother.” Patient, uncomplaining Pyn cooks and keeps house while Oother works all day in the woods. As Christmas draws near, Pyn longs for a tree to decorate, to help bring cheer into their humble cottage.