Wordless Wednesday: Spring by Gerda Muller

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Spring has arrived! (on this side of the world at least.) I have so many books to share and celebrate the new season, and I already feel woefully behind with sickness and other responsibilities keeping me from finishing posting. But here, I bring the first in a short, wordless, board book form. It is a delightful depiction of spring, beautiful for any to behold. Take a look at Spring by Gerda Muller, 1994. Read the full post…

Let’s Read Three: Pancakes Books

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It’s been a while since I did a Let’s Read Three grouping. I love putting these together and am brainstorming them all the time, silly and serious. Today, I bring a silly, but incredibly important one for weekend traditions… at least in our family. We love pancakes and consider them a somewhat mandatory item for weekend breakfasting, or let’s be honest – an occasional dinner. So of course we love books about pancakes! All three of these books are vintage, spanning the 60s and 70s; but the last one is actually a recent reprint from Princeton Architectural Press that releases this month. And it is gorgeous! A perfect addition to our trio of delicious reading. Let’s read three books about pancakes! Read the full post…

Book Review: A Great Big Cuddle By Rosen & Riddell

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Poetry is one of those things that I always want to be better about reading for myself, but also sharing with my kids. I loved poetry as a child, and even now as an adult when I remember to read some. Poetry is wonderfully lyrical, imaginative, and memorable. We have started reading some poetry books at lunchtime, when I have finished eating and we are waiting for everyone to be finished. Robert Louis Stevenson collections seem to always be easily found, illustrated by so many favorites. But this book stumbled into my view recently and I rushed to the library to test it out. Chris Riddell is one of my illustration inspirations so that was a major selling point with this book. But I also love that the poems are geared to very little kids. They are silly. They ring true. And they are delightful to giggle over together. Enjoy A Great Big Cuddle: Poems for the Very Young by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Chris Riddell, 2015. Read the full post…

Book Review: Ballet Cat By Bob Shea + Giveaway!

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Back from a surprise and unintentional break, I have not one, but two books to share today. They are adorable, hilarious, glittery, and have sweet messages about friendship, with a side of ballet. Disney-Hyperion sent me these books and a surprise plush friend, and they are also providing a prize pack for one lucky winner! So stay tuned for details at the end of the post.

I’m just starting to come around to the Beginning Reader category of books, not having needed them yet for my own kids, and never really finding them appealing. But, I have a daughter who loves ballet. And these are quite fun, as well as not painful to read. Ha! Early readers are obviously not intended for 100% adult reading so they often are dry, boring, and preferably avoidable unless the child is learning to read. But nothing Bob Shea puts out is ever boring! I appreciate the cleverness and simplicity put into this cute little series about a cat who loves ballet, but her friends even more.

Let’s talk about Ballet Cat in her book from last year, Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret by Bob Shea, 2015; and also her newest book just out this February 2, Ballet Cat: Dance! Dance! Underpants! by Bob Shea, 2016. Read the full post…

Wordless Wednesday: The Farmer And The Clown & Interview With Marla Frazee

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I confess that I have greatly struggled with today’s Wordless Wednesday post. This book is so beautiful, so clever, and so powerful – words just don’t do it justice. I have been tempted to simply post the photos and the awesome Q&A with Marla Frazee; but that probably isn’t fair. I’ll do my best to analyze it, but please keep in mind – it is worth so much more than my words. Take a look at this heartbreakingly beautiful story of two characters who are much different than they seem, and end up needing each other much more than they realized. Here is The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee, 2014. Read the full post…

Wordless Wednesday: The Red Book & Interview With Barbara Lehman

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Welcome to another round for Wordless Wednesday. Given the award announcements this week, it seems appropriate to highlight a previous winner in the Caldecott category. This book has been one of my favorites since it came out, and was one of the first books I added to my shelves when I started collecting favorite picture books. Something about the bold, red, wordless cover has always had me intrigued. And now that I live in the city that from my apartment window looks very much like the title spread below, I am attached to this book even more.

In this story, you’ll have to decide if the protagonist is the girl or the red book. And what about the red book’s main character? Yes, this book has many secrets, twists, mysteries and more to be discovered and pondered again and again. Let’s talk about The Red Book by Barbara Lehman, 2004, and Caldecott Honor winner in 2005. Also stay tuned for a lovely Q&A with the creator as well!

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Caldecott, Newbery, Coretta Scott King,… the Awards are in for 2016!

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If you happened to be following me on any social media platform yesterday, you probably witnessed some nerding-out over the ALA Award Announcements. It is an exciting time of year for children’s book lovers! I am very excited about all the winners that I was familiar with, which was mostly the Caldecott, Newbery, Coretta Scott King, Pura Belpré, & Geisel categories. I am especially excited about the book I happened to highlight over the weekend, Last Stop on Market Street.

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Take a look at that pristine cover. From now on anytime you see this book it will be boasting not one, not two, but THREE award stickers. Illustrator Christian Robinson rightfully earned himself a Coretta Scott King Honor and a Caldecott Honor with his fantastic illustrations. And author Matt de la Peña was awarded the Newbery Medal for his powerful writing and storytelling. This is only the second time in the history of the Newbery (since 1922) for a picture book to win the Newbery Medal. The only other time it happened—in 1982 for A Visit to William Blake’s Inn by Nancy Willard—that book also received a Caldecott Honor for its illustrations by Alice & Martin Provensen! Big congratulations and excitement for de la Peña and Robinson.

Once again, this year I only own one of the five Caldecott award winners (see above). I don’t have the best track record at predicting or collecting the winners until after the fact. But I have had the winner, Finding Winnie, on my library hold list for a couple weeks so that must count for something. I am so excited for Sophie Blackall‘s first ever Caldecott. Hurrah!

Also, Waiting by Kevin Henkes, which won a Caldecott Honor and a Geisel, is a fabulous book that even my daughter spied in the announcements and was ecstatic. It is in the queue of reviews, so stay tuned.

All the other award winners in my favorite categories are now going on the library hold list (along with everyone else’s apparently!), and I cannot wait to check them out. While I don’t always agree with the choices, this year I have few issues and am looking forward to new favorites.

Thanks for letting me nerd-out a bit here. And in case you are thoroughly confused about what I am talking about, check out my Things to Know About the Caldecott Medal post from last year. That will get you started. You can also view the whole announcement and see a full list of the awards, if you are so inclined.

See you tomorrow with another Wordless Wednesday post and Q&A!

Book Review: Last Stop On Market Street By de la Peña & Robinson

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There are so many wonderful books from 2015 that I have yet to highlight! The year truly flew by quickly. One of our many favorites from the year is this delightful book about a bus ride. It really is as simple as that, and yet it is so much more. This is a story about observation, perspective, and finding beauty. Here is Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña, pictures by Christian Robinson, 2015. Read the full post…

Wordless Wednesday: Where’s Walrus? & Interview With Stephen Savage

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The holidays are over, the New Year is here, and it is time to bring back the Wordless Wednesday posts for a while. The holidays really took over in November and December, so I saved some great wordless books and also author interviews to share this month! Let’s start with this fun, clever, seek-and-find book about a walrus looking for its place in the world. Check out Where’s Walrus? by Stephen Savage, 2011, and stay tuned for a Q&A with Stephen Savage too.

Read the full post…

25 Days – Book 25: The Biggest Story

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I am so delighted to end this year’s Christmas picture book countdown with a book that breaks all the rules of the countdown. First off, this isn’t just a Christmas picture book. Yes, it is the perfect story to read on Christmas, or surrounding Christmas; but it should actually be read as often and anytime as desired.

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Second, this isn’t really even a children’s picture book. Yes, it has some of the most beautiful illustrations I have ever seen; but it actually has 10 chapters, is quite long, and is definitely not just for children. This book is the best story that has ever been told – the story about a King who crushes snakes and is destined to die and deliver humanity. This is The Biggest Story by Kevin DeYoung, illustrated by Don Clark, 2015.

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