Wordless Wednesday: Flora And The Flamingo & Interview With Molly Idle!

Flora cover

Hello again to another Wordless Wednesday. In addition to having a beautiful book to discuss today, I have a short interview with the author and illustrator, Molly Idle! A breathtaking wordless book is such an artistic feat, who would know more about them than the artist herself!

Let’s take a quick look at the book to introduce it to any who may have missed it and refresh those of us who love it. And then we’ll get to the good stuff in a short Q&A. Here is Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle, 2013. Read the full post…

Book Review: Goodnight Songs – A Celebration Of The Seasons By Margaret Wise Brown

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Although books about the seasons are lovely reading any time of year, there is something about the coming of autumn and all the changes it brings that feels even more appropriate for reading about the seasons. Fall is my favorite season, but I am always willing to ponder the things to love about every season. And luckily, we have a gorgeous new book out this August that provides not only stunning imagery, but includes beautiful songs originally written by Margaret Wise Brown.

This is the second collection of songs released, the first collection I am ashamed to say I have not seen and completely missed when it came out. I will be looking it up immediately as I am smitten by this second book. Allow me to share Goodnight Songs – A Celebration of the Seasons by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by twelve award-winning picture book artists, 2015. Read the full post…

Wordless Wednesday: What Whiskers Did By Ruth Carroll

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Wednesday is upon us again and I am ecstatic to have a fantastic vintage wordless book to share. It is a story from the 1930s about a little dog who runs loose in the woods, escapes danger, and adventures with a rabbit family. It is considered to be the first U.S. wordless picture book specifically for children (Dowhower, pp 59) and remained alone in that category for almost 30 years. It was reprinted in the 1960s, and also went through some illustration changes too, which I cannot quite figure out why.

The 1960s brought more wordless picture books from up-and-coming illustrators (including Mayer’s debut book from last week) and the category of wordless picture books grew and flourished into what we have now. Let’s take an exciting look at What Whiskers Did by Ruth Carroll*, 1932. Read the full post…

Wordless Wednesday: A Boy, A Dog And A Frog By Mercer Mayer

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Last Wednesday I began a discussion on wordless picture books and some of my tips on how to read them. It is such an interesting category of picture books and I am ecstatic to be able to share more excellent wordless picture books on Wednesdays for a while. I have quite a pile forming of wordless books to highlight, but today I want to start with one of my favorites from childhood.

A Boy, A Dog and A Frog is a simple, yet utterly delightful book. It is amazingly the first book ever published from now famous Mercer Mayer. It came out in 1967, seemingly setting off the last four decades of tremendous growth for wordless picture book creation. While it is not the first U.S. wordless picture book, it came early in the line-up and holds a prominent seat in the history of wordless pictures books, also remaining a favorite. Thus so, it is highly worth studying, discussing, and most importantly delighting in. Here is A Boy, A Dog and A Frog by Mercer Mayer, 1967. Read the full post…

Book Review: Fall Ball By Peter McCarty

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It is almost officially my favorite time of year. This past weekend marked the beginning of the American football season and the weather here in NYC was well-suited as it has finally started to feel like fall with its crispy wind and crackling leaves. It is time to fluff the light sweaters and patterned tights, open the windows, and dream of all the pumpkin and apple-flavored things we can make. And what better way to greet the coming of autumn, officially next week, than with a marvelously fall-themed book. This one is packed with fall, from its color palette to its title. Please enjoy Fall Ball by Peter McCarty, 2013. Read the full post…

Let’s Read Three: Gardening Books


Perhaps this post is coming a little late in the game, but there is something about the anticipation of fall that has me once again paying attention to and thinking about gardens, plants, and typical Spring-type things. Which is kind of strange considering I am practically allergic to Spring and so far I seem to have a terrible black thumb. Even my succulents bit the dust after just a couple months of apartment living. But recently, I have had a lovely little basil pot survive and yield two batches of pesto thus far, so I am feeling more interested and encouraged about gardening, even in city life.

Before everything starts the beautiful process of dying and changing colors for my favorite season, allow me to share a (bit wordier) look at three books devoted to gardens, and more importantly, community. Let’s read three books about gardening! Read the full post…

How To Read A Wordless Book


Two years ago, while I was acting as a judge for the Cybils and reading even more books than normal in a given year, I noted the inordinate amount of wordless picture books that had come out in 2013. It even turned out to be the Caldecott year for wordless picture books as the 2014 honor awards went to three wordless picture books: Journey, Flora and the Flamingo, and Mr. Wuffles!. It was an unheard-of year for wordless picture books. I even frequently refer to 2013 as “The year of the wordless picture book.” Clever, no?

I’ve discussed wordless books occasionally, the most important for me being South by Patrick McDonnell; but I tend to avoid discussing them as they are intimidating as a reader, and especially as an illustrator. They can be lovely and they can also be frustrating. The tendency to just barrel through each page and not pause too long is even greater because there are no words to guide you. They can be delightful to savor by yourself, but groan-inducing when brought to you by a child with full expectation of you putting on a great ad lib read.

But, a well-executed wordless picture book has gone beyond creating lovely pictures and has buried a story so deep that words cannot express it. The illustrations must do double-duty. They must draw you in, yes with their actual drawn nature; but also with their ability to tell the story with every detail, every expression, every movement and page turn.

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The most tender scene impressed on my mind and heart from South by Patrick McDonnell.

I do not have what I would consider the ultimate grasp on how to read a wordless picture book, but I thought I would share a few pointers I have gleaned to help make them less intimidating and perhaps invite you to experience them more fully. I plan on sharing a wordless picture book review every Wednesday for a while, and so I hope this serves as an intro on how to approach all the amazing picture books that come out “quietly.” I took a ton of pictures from the cast of 2013 wordless picture books, so I am going to illustrate my reading tips using those books. Taking a cue from 6 of the stellar wordless books from 2013, here are my 5 tips to reading a wordless picture book: Read the full post…

Book Review: This Is Sadie By O’Leary & Morstad

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This book has been on the top of my review drafts for a couple weeks now because I am desperately in love with it. While I love picture books and I frequently compare choosing a favorite to the impossibility of choosing a favorite star, occasionally a book will cross my path and completely steal my heart. This is one of them.

Already being a devoted fan of Sara O’Leary and especially Julie Morstad’s work, I frantically jotted this title down the second I heard faint whispers about it coming out. Both creators are Canadian, so it is not always easy to get my hands on their works. Thankfully, bookstores in the US are realizing the power of these picture books and Sadie came out in every independent bookstore I checked (a perk of NYC perhaps).

So, sit down and get ready for me to gush. Or just stop reading now and go buy the book already. That cover alone should scream to you how incredibly stunning this book is in concept and delivery. (And be sure to peek underneath the dust jacket. It will make you smile.) Join me in drooling over This is Sadie by Sara O’Leary and Julie Morstad, 2015. Read the full post…

Let’s Read Three: More Books About The Sea!


I promise these are my last summery, beachy books for a while. I really can’t wait to jump into a bunch of new finds and especially fall books! But these three deserve some love, especially as two are brand-new this year. Join me in reading a few more books about adventures at the beach. Let’s read three more sea books!

Read the full post…