non-fiction

There’s A Book For That! – How To Be An Animal Detective

A few weeks ago, we were walking through Central Park after a major snow storm. It is one of my favorite times to visit the park. The snow blankets everything and mutes sound in a beautiful way. The most noticeable sounds are the snow dropping from heavy tree branches and a few animals that dare to scurry about. If you get outside quickly enough, the snow remains mostly untouched – by humans at least. We were admiring the snow landscape from my favorite park bridge, when we were completely delighted to notice lots of different tracks going across the frozen pond. We made guesses as to what they might be from, but we really didn’t know.

That evening, I pulled a book off my shelves that I haven’t looked at very closely. I stumbled across it a few months ago in a vintage book sale and really only grabbed it because of the illustrator. (I am a bit of a snob about softcovers.) It came to mind while we were wondering about the tracks and I decided to give it a read. It is now a new (old) favorite! If you are ever wandering about and happen upon some tracks that you wish you could identify, there’s a book for that! How to be an Animal Detective by Millicent Selsam, pictures by Ezra Jack Keats, 1958. Read the full post…

Book Review: In New York By Marc Brown

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Well I’m back, from a very unexpected hiatus of sorts. My sincerest apologies to those who read and missed this space as I disappeared for over two months with no explanation. I’m here now to start it up again and to offer my excuses. I cannot wait to share a marvelous new book from March of this year that perfectly fits my current situation and title for this post. I am in New York friends! Long story short, after over a year of waiting for the right job, we have relocated our little family to the amazing borough of Manhattan. We have longed for this change and are taking the city by storm. Can I just tell you how many incredible children’s book events, venues, and even just picture books revolve around NYC! The process however of getting us moved in a short amount of time took up all spare moments and this blog suffered the most I’m afraid. Family came first.

And speaking of our little family, that’s the second part of my big excuses for a prolonged absence. As of Palm Sunday, we are now a family of four! I had been planning on making an announcement of sorts throughout my pregnancy and the timing just never worked out. But, I do have a pile of new baby books, especially geared towards preparing the older sibling, and I plan on sharing those very soon too. But enough personal business, let’s talk books again!

I excitedly present a new Marc Brown creation full of history, facts, trivia of all kind and a lovely introduction to a fascinating city. This is In New York by Marc Brown, March 2014. Read the full post…

Book Review: Snow Is Falling By Branley & Stone

Snow Is Falling cover

We had a surprise visit of snow hit us yesterday and while it wreaked havoc on many places in the southern U.S., we were fortunate to be safe at home and watch it fall in the largest amount we’ve received here. While getting cozy near the fire, this book came to mind. My enjoyment for non-fiction books continues to grow and I now have a serious soft-spot for this vintage series of science books called Let’s-Read-And-Find-Out. A local used bookstore occasionally has them on the shelf and I just cannot help but continue accumulating them as they cross my path. A lot of the authors are the same, including Franklyn M. Branley who wrote this one, but the illustrators vary and many are incredibly well-known and accomplished with their own publications. Seeing their illustrations for this series is so much fun! I assume the science is perhaps a bit outdated here and there, but overall each book has general information on its subject and opens the door to questions and curiosity about the world around. Take a peek at this 1963 sweet edition all about this white winter weather, Snow Is Falling by Franklyn M. Branley, illustrated by Helen Stone. Read the full post…

Book Review: Mother’s Day By Mary Kay Phelan & Aliki

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In honor of tomorrow’s holiday of celebrating our dear mothers, I was positively delighted to score this sweet, non-fiction vintage book called most simply, Mother’s Day. Quite a bit different than the typical book I like to write about here, I still felt this one was lovely enough to show it off a bit. I fear that it is most likely difficult to find unless you have a really good library that still stocks some old titles like this, so I’ll share and show a bit more than I often do. Not to mention this is a long book, being more of a historical, research-driven book. This is a book that was written while the author searched for the answers to a child’s question about the holiday’s origin. So, if you’ve ever wondered where Mother’s Day originated, or like me, always assumed it was a Hallmark-created holiday, then take a look at this vintage book that details where the idea came from and how it spread around the world. This is Mother’s Day by Mary Kay Phelan, illustrated by Aliki, 1965.

Read the full post…

Book Review: Brave Girl by Markel & Sweet

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Today I present yet another knock-out book from last year that has fantastic art by the (previously admired) collage-illustration fiend, Melissa Sweet. This is a surprisingly intriguing work of non-fiction that tells a powerful tale about a five-foot tall young lady and her fight for the rights of workers. Here is Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel, pictures by Melissa Sweet, 2012. Read the full post…