BooksForKidsBlog

Thursday, January 28, 2021

And Now... The Winners! American Library Association 2021Youth Media Awards Announced

From an abundance of caution, the American Library Association (ALA) has announced the 2021 Youth Media Awards at their (first) virtual annual winter meeting with a bang and a bunch of Newbery winners. Taking the gold Newbery Award was Tae Keller for When You Trap a Tiger (Thornberry, 2020), and with two co-Newbery Honor awards to Christina Soontornvat, for her non-fiction account All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer Team (Newbery Honor Book), (Candlewick Books, 2020), the stranger-than-fiction amazing story of the rescue of a team's holiday visit to a famous cave, a popular underground field trip which was suddenly flooded. The young teenagers required a daring rescue through flooded tunnels in the cave by professional scuba divers, in which all the young teammates survived and one brave diver died. This book also received the ALA Robert F Sibert Informational Book Honor Award. Soontornvat's second 2021 Newbery Honor was given for her novel, A Wish in the Dark (Candlewick, 2020.).


Joining Soontornvoat's Newbery duo is Carol Boston Weatherford's true story in dramatic poem format, BOX: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom (Candlewick, 2020), an account of a clever slave boy who emancipated himself by sending himself through the mail in a large box. Other 2021 Newbery Honor Books are Kimberly Bradley Brubaker Bradley's Fighting Words (Dial Books, 2020), and We Dream of Space (Greenwillow Books, 2020) by Erin Entrada Kelly. The other eagerly-awaited ALA book award, those for picture book artists and  called the Caldecott Award, go to artist Michaela Goad, for We Are Water Protectors (Roaring Brook, 2020), written by Carole Lindstrom. Caldecott Honor Awards go to artist Noa Denby, written by Etta Elliott, A Place Inside of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2020), Cozbi Cabrera's Me & Mama (Simon & Schuster, 2020), and to artist Cindy Denby for Outside In (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020), written by Deborah Underwood.

For other  American Libary Association prestigious award winners, read more here:

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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Cold-Case! Curious George Discovers Germs by Erica Zappy

Curious George is always happy to visit his friend Chef Pisghetti's restaurant, which always smell so good. But when the chef offers him a taste of his delicious Molto Jolto sauce, George finds that he cannot get even a whiff of it. What's wrong?

CHEF PISGHETTI SENT GEORGE HOME AND THE MAN WITH THE YELLOW HAT SENT GEORGE TO BED. THEN HE TOOK HIS TEMPERATURE.

"FEVER, STUFFY NOSE, CLAMMY PAWS" SAID THE MAN. "YOU'RE DEFINITLY FIGHTING A GERM," HE SAID.

Curious George feels sick, but he's still curious, so the Man with the Yellow Hat pulls out a science book and shows him a picture of some funny looking blobs called germs and explains that they are very, very small but when they get into his body, they can make him feel bad. George was still curious, but he was also very tired, so he fell asleep and began to have a strange dream. George dreams that he and his friend Gnochi are as small as a germ, small enough to be inside his body, and following the sound of some strange music, they come upon some yellow blobs who call themselves Toots and the Germettes, singing and dancing and partying big time in his nose. Are they why he can't smell?

"WE'LL MAKE YOU SNIFF AND WE'LL MAKE YOU SNEEZE!

YOU WON'T BE SMELLING THAT SMELLY CHEESE.

Having stopped up George's nose, Toots and the Germettes head for his lungs. But luckily George remembers something about a way his lungs work to make the germs leave--so what he has to do was to cough them right out of his body. George wakes, remembering his weird dream, and after a few days of resting in bed, he discovers that at last he can smell and taste the man's homemade chicken soup. It's wonderful to feel better and know that Toots and the Germettes are gone for good.

Or are they?

HIS FRIEND THE MAN WITH THE YELLOW HAT WAS SICK!

And their friend Professor Wiseman is soon at the door with a gift of... (you guessed it) chicken soup, in Erica Zappy's Curious George Discovers Germs (Science Storybook) (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), a Curious George story that gives preschool and primary students an introduction to the germ theory and the things people can do to avoid contagion and to get better when infected, like washing their hands frequently when they are around other people who may have contagious "germs" and resting in bed to get well.

Although youngsters will giggle at imagining cold viruses as a tubby pop singing group, informational sidebars on most pages provide the scientific information that they need to know about staying safe from harmful viruses and bacteria, while Curious George provides a demonstration of thoroughly washing both his hands and his feet that will remind kids to be zealous in protecting themselves from contagious diseases and remaining healthy. A jolly appendix provides not only a chicken soup recipe, but also an easy experiment with two slices of fresh bread which demonstrate dramatic evidence of the germ theory. A good first book on contagious illnesses for young children.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Gaining Perspective: LOVE by Sophia by Jim Averbeck

"TODAY'S ASSIGNMENT--DRAW SOMETHING YOU LOVE," SAID MS. PARADIGM.

SOPHIE KNEW JUST WHAT SHE WANTED TO DRAW!

But when she's finished, it's NOT what she wanted! Not at all!

ART IS HARD!

Sophies tries again and again, but something is missing.

Ms. Paradign suggests perspective. She explains tha perspective can mean your personal point of view, but on a flat surface in art it is a way of scaling a drawing so that things that are in the distance are smaller and things up close look bigger. Sophie tries looking up at Noodles, her giraffe, and sees that when he stands up tall his ossicones look small, but when he bends his neck down close to her, his horns look bigger and bigger.

"WE SAY YOU HAVE A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE," MS. PARADIGM SAYS.

Sophie works hard on her painting until she thinks it's just perfect. She names her work "LOVE" and can't wait to take it home and mount it on their refrigerator. Their refrigerator is special.

IT WAS THE GUGGENHEIM, THE LOUVRE MUSEUM, OF REFRIGERATORS!

But not only that! Their refrigerator is new, so new that there's not a single dimple of a dent, not a vestige of a scratch, nor a smudge of tape adhesive to mar its magnificent surface. To take a place on that door, her art had to pass a tough selection committee--her mother, a judge, her Uncle Conrad, a politician, her father, a businessman,--and Gran-mama' herself, chief curator of the kitchen fridge-door gallery, a place which brooks no fingerprints.

"THAT'S CENSORSHIP!" PLEADS SOPHIA.
"THAT'S STAINLESS." RULES MOTHER.

Dad declares that abstract art often suffers loss of value. Sophie says LOVE has no price, but Uncle Conrad says avant garde art is not stable in free markets and advocates adding wholesome carrots to influence public well-being. And when it comes to fine art, Gran-mama' is a purist:

"ART? A SIX-YEAR-OLD COULD HAVE DONE THIS!"

Poor Sophie refrains from pointing out that she IS a six-year-old! Will she ever see her marvelous work of art on display?

Art, it seems, is in the perspective of the beholder, in Jim Averbeck's latest in his Sophie series, Love by Sophia (The Sophia Books) (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2020). This new one is a clever story of art for art's sake which brings back his indomitable character and her improbable pet, Noodles the giraffe, along with his proactive protagonist's loving but opinionated family in a story that considers both artistic and personal perspective. Illustrated with the now-familiar rather abstract style of Jasmin Ismael, this new picture book also offers an appendix in which perspective in art is described and demonstrated and a glossary of some of Sophie's big words--censorship, ossicones, abstract and avant garde in art, and public sector, to name a few. Share this one with Averbeck's One Word from Sophia (The Sophia Books) (see my review here).

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Monday, January 25, 2021

The Heart of Art! Pete the Cat--Crayons Rock! by Kimberly and James Dean

PETE IS GLAD!

There's nothing more groovy than a brand-new box of crayons--the spotless wrappers, the pointy points, that smell of newness!

"THIS ONE IS FINE, BUT IT FEELS LIKE SOMETHING IS MISSING FROM MINE!"

PETE IS SAD.

Pete loves to draw. It's his thing! But now, if his drawings are not the best in art class, Pete has lost his zest. Everyone else's work seems so much better. But his art teacher has a different perspective.

"IT'S NO BIG DEAL! ART IS ABOUT HOW IT MAKES YOU FEEL!"
Hey, it's all good! Pete gets to work on his best drawing of all. And his friends get together with him on the school bus.

THE BEST ART COMES FROM THE HEART!

In their latest for the primary grade set, Kimberly and James Dean's Pete the Cat: Crayons Rock! (Harper, 2020), offers a way to play down the pressure and build the joy of the experience for young artists, stressing the personal pleasures of creation over class competition. "It's all good," as Pete is fond of saying, and the fun of artwork is in the different ways each one sees things. A good addition to the library and art room shelves, and as a gift book, it is a good addition with a big box of new crayons.

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Sunday, January 24, 2021

A Time For Everything! Sullivan, Who Is Always TOO LOUD! by Micol Ostow

HELLO! THIS IS SULLIVAN, WHO IS ALWAYS TOO LOUD!

He has only one level of volume--BLARING.

Sullivan wakes up his sleeping baby sister Ella-Baby, who cries, adding to the volume, which makes MR. Jenkins downstairs bang on his ceiling with his cane, which only makes MORE NOISE. His mom tries taping pillows over his mouth, and Sullivan tries to keep quiet, but his loudness just bubbles up until it cannot be contained. Naturally, his loudness gets him in trouble in school with his teacher, Mrs. Chow, and even with his percussion teacher, Ms. Gonzalez, who doesn't NEED that many cymbal crashes! Sullivan spends a lot of time in the PEACE CORNER.

"I HAVE LOUDNESS IN MY BODY, BUBBLING UP. IT HAS TO COME OUT!" SULLIVAN SAYS.

"IT DOESN'T HAVE TO COME OUT IN THE GROCERY STORE!" MOM SAYS.

Exuberance can be a good thing, but Mom's nerves have had it! She suggests counting to three before he produces a sound. Sullivan barely makes it to 3 before he breaks out a YELL.

"IT'S A START!" SAYS MOM.

But with practice, Sullivan begins to stifle his outbursts and control his volume better and better. Days pass without any timeouts in the Peace Corner. But then one day, after outdoor play period, when Ms. Chow calls the class to line up, Annalise doesn't come. Mrs. Chow uses her biggest "outside teacher voice," but Annalise is in the far corner of the playground and oblivious.

Suddenly Sullivan feel his LOUDNESS bubbling up--into his special, extra wild, TARZAN YELL!

"ANNA-LISE!!!!!"

There's a time and a place for everything, even LOUDNESS, in Micol Ostow's brand-new Sullivan, Who Is Always Too Loud (Roaring Brook, 2020). The silly and comical illustrations of Brian Biggs make this lesson on self-control fun for youngsters who have their own excesses to contend with! Artist Brian Biggs, who claims modestly that he's illustrated a bazillion books, puts this one over the top!

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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Tasty Tradeoff! Donut Feed the Squirrels by Mika Song

When Norma the squirrel tries to surprise her friend Belly with fresh cooked pancakes, she lets them burn!

"We could use one for a Frisbee!" suggests Belly.

But before they can try a pancake toss, the two squirrels are distracted by an intriguing smell, sugary with an exotic overtone. Following their noses, they are led to a food truck, where they see a girl skate up, pull out a dollar bill, and skate off happily eating her donut.

The two squirrels decide that it's donuts or bust for them. Being honest squirrels, they rustle up a bunch of chestnuts to trade for the donuts. But before they can make the deal, the driver pulls out a surprise spray bottle and drenches both of them. With their fur now frizzy, the two decide it's no more nice guy. The truce is over. This is WAR!

A quick surveillance reveals that the only apparent way into the interior of the food truck is down the small chimney. The driver decides to take a break and locks up the truck. Now's their chance! Norma tells Belly to jump down the chimney.

"Wait! Why Do I have to jump down the chimney? asks Belly.

BRAVE!" says Norma.

"Okay. Continue," says Belly.

"Then open the door and let me in!" says Norma.

Inside the food truck Belly begins a trial run of the donut machine, but finds his donut a bit bland. He tries adding the hazelnuts they brought along to trade--without taking off the shells! The machine goes wild and starts kicking out fried hazelnuts encased in donut dough. Belly tries to dodge the flying hazelnut balls, and the truck fills up with nutty donuts as he realizes there's no way to open the door!

In a hilarious graphic comic novel, author-illustrator Mika Song makes good use of the old runaway machine trope, and all's well that ends well in her latest, Donut Feed the Squirrels (Norma and Belly) Random House, 2020). With illustrator Song's charmingly-drawn wispy squirrels as heroes, kids willl love the readable graphic novel style and the limited text in this story that ends happily with all the chestnut-flavored donuts the two impromptu chefs and their friends can eat and a new menu item for the food truck guy to boot. Booklist gives this one a starred review, saying, "Their antics are divided into five short chapters that young readers can read with confidence, and the sweet ending unquestionably satisfies.”

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Friday, January 22, 2021

Spare Sibling? Robobaby by David Weisner

The Robo family is expecting a new member of the family, and when a 278-pound shipping carton filled with parts arrives at their pod door, they are thrilled.

It's the new Flange model! Wow!

What a big boy!" coos Mama Diode.

Daddy Lugnut frowns.

"Babies have gotten a lot more complicated since we built Cathode!" he grumbles.

"I've got my tools," says little Cathode.

"Oh, how hard can it be," says Mama Di. "This is a mother's job."

But their first attempt isn't quite up to standards. in fact it CRASHES!

Daddy Lugnut asks Mama Di to call in her brother Manifold who arrives with Aunt Gasket and their two pets, Sprocket and Sprockie, along with jolly neighors bringing a sludge cake and and greasy gear cookies. Uncle Manny buckles on his tool belt and starts assembling parts. Little Cathy complains that he's not following the instructions, and Uncle Manny grouches that they can always do that later. But there's a major malfunction. Suddenly Baby Flange takes off with a WHOOSH out the door in wobbly flight, while Mama and Daddy call Robobaby Corporation for technical assistance.

But with the help of Uncle Mannie's pets Sprockit and Sprockie and a net, Baby Flange is retrieved, piece by piece, and with the expert help of the Robo tech guys, the talented Cathy, and the usual requisite updates installation, little Flange is soon functioning to specifications. The techies and neighbors depart, and baby Flange finally goes nighty night in her perma-rock cradle. Mama Di and Daddy Lug finally take a deep breath--until big sister Cathy discovers another shipping carton at their pod door. It seems Robobaby Corporation is having a special--there's a big box that says ROBO BONUS BABY, the AXLE MODEL on their porch.

Don't put away your toolkit yet, Cathy, in three-time Caldecott winner David Wiesner's latest inventive creation, Robobaby (Houghton Mifflin Clarion Books, 2020), which will make even devoted techno-types appreciate the way human babies are assembled. But The Jetsons' boy Elroy would feel right at home in Wiesner's rollicking illustrations of an expanding robot family, comically spoofing both interfamily relations and internet commerce and the unexpected "some assembly required" arrivals that come with it, while throughout celebrating the hard-wired love of family all along the way.

In a five-star product review, Kirkus says, "A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy."

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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Riding the Rails: Chugga Chugga Choo Choo by Kevin Lowe

SUN'S UP. MORNING'S HERE! 


UP AND AT 'EM, ENGINEER!

CHUGGA CHUGGA CHOO CHOO!

WHISTLE BLOWS. 
WHOOOOOOOOO! WHOOOOOOOOO!

A Teddy bear and all the toys wave to the engineer and boy as the train as a clown oversees the loading of boxcars and the choo choo pulls out of the station. The old-fashioned locomotive, drivers driving, begin the journey, pulling a coal car, freight cars, and a red caboose. The train winds through the room under a chair and over its rocker as train lovers, a man and boy, a cowboy on horseback, and a barking dog watch it pass. Through the Box Mountains and wooden-blocks pass the little train goes. And then...

INTO THE TUNNELS, UNDERGROUND.
SEE THE DARKNESS, HEAR THE SOUND! WHOOOOOOOOOO!

Then the train crosses the long bridge over the river, and not far ahead is their destination--the city. A dog walker waves to the boy and the engineer as the train slows down for the station, where strong workers wait to unload the freight--a box of penguins and a box of dog bones come off first as the boxcars grow empty.  And then, down goes the sun.

THE JOB IS DONE!

And into the roundhouse the engine, coal car, freightcars, and caboose all head.

It getting dark and it's time for bed, in Kevin Lowe's vintage choo choo story, Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo (Disney Hyperion). With jolly rhymes and the rhythm of the rails, this old-fashioned little train story takes young children gradually and gently toward bedtime, as Daniel Kirk's illustrations mix rounded Playskool-type figures and geometric shapes in soft, muted pastels. Kirk is also the noted illustrator of the popular Library Mouse series, Ten Things I Love About You, and his 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. (See reviews here.)

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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

The Zebra Box Mystery! Meet the Crew at the Zoo (Mystery on Zoo Lane Series #1) by Patricia Reilly Giff

The plane roared to a stop. Luke's throat burned. He told himself he was too old to cry.

"You'll love this place, Luke," said Dad. "With the new Zoo!"

Luke tried to nod. If only they were back with Abuelo, his grandfather, at the zoo in Florida.

Dad is so proud of his new job as a zoo physician in New York City that Luke doesn't want to let him know how unhappy he is with their move. His little sister Benita seems excited, but Luke's heart drops when they drive up in front of a row of rather shabby houses with the zoo right behind them. Their old house was nicer, and since Abuela was also a zoo doctor and Luke had a lot of good friends back in Florida, Luke can't see anything better here for him.

The next morning Dad rushes him out to the zoo, telling him a new black spider monkey was going to be born soon, and Luke trails along to the Baby Zoo House. On the way in, Luke notices a door that says STAY OUT. He starts to ask about the door, just as his dad calls him to see the baby spider monkey. On the way out he meets a lady cleaning the ponds who tells him about how anteaters use their long snouts for snorkels and tells her to call her Nana-Next-Door. On the way back home Luke spots a boy sweeping the walkway. Both of them see a striped box partly under a bush and reach for it at the same time.

They rolled in the path.

"Hey!" cried Luke. The boy yelled "hey," too! Were the kids terrible here?

WRONG!

"Sorry!" The boy let go of the box.

"Are you the new kid?" He didn't wait for an answer. "I'm the old kid. I've always lived here. Let's see what's in the box!"

Inside is a little green collar, Luke's favorite color, and a dollar bill with a note saying it was for lunch the first week. Just as the boys are puzzling over the contents of the stripped box, a girl named Tori comes by. It's not hers, she says. Mitchell tells Luke it may belong to a kid named Alex.

"He never stops talking," he warns Luke.

And Luke soon runs into Alex, who claims the box might be his. But when Alex can't describe what was in his box, Luke keeps walking, leaving Alex going on and on about how hard his whole name is to spell! Mitchell was right about Alex, Luke thinks.

Later that day Luke meets another kid, Omar, working with his dad in the Blue Zoo Stand. Omar points out the waste basket with lots of blue striped food boxes in it and says he is missing one of the boxes, too, but he has no idea what he put in it. A blue cookie? A pen? That solves the question of where the unusual box came from, but Luke feels no closer to solve the mystery of what is in the box. Still, he has managed to meet all the kids in the row of houses beside the zoo, except Tori's brother Ken. But Ken tells him he found his box, and Tori notices some faint writing on one side of the mystery box.

"SEE DAD!" it says.

And Dad takes him back to the Baby Zoo House and opens the door with the STAY OUT sign, and now Luke knows who the small collar is for!

All's well that ends with new puppies for Luke and for Benita. It's mystery solved, in two-time Newbery Award-winning author Patricia Reilly Giff's first book in her new beginner novels series, Meet the Crew at the Zoo (Mysteries on Zoo Lane) (Holiday House, 2020). The author of the top-selling Kids of the Polk Street School mysteries, Giff's return to the early chapter book genre will be well received, and with engaging illustrations by Abby Carter, a group of diverse characters, and a setting just right for intriguing mystery adventures, this one will be welcomed by young readers transitioning from picture books to chapter books.

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Monday, January 18, 2021

Leading with Light: Martin Luther King, Jr. by Jon M. Fishman

About 250,000 people gathered in front of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., on August 28, 1963. The huge crowd included different races, ages, and social classes. They were participating in the March for Jobs and Freedom.

King was noted for his ability to inspire with his words. Yet as his prepared speech went on, some felt it wasn't having much of an impact. Singer Mahalia Jackson called out to him. She told him to stop reading and speak from his heart.

That speech was, of course, the "I Have A Dream" speech that moved the crowd and the nation. Athough it was not a long speech, it had been a long time coming. Little Martin first experienced racial segregation when his friend, the son of the owner of the store across the street, told him that they couldn't be friends anymore because they were different colors and going to be starting to different schools. As the son of the pastor of a large church, Martin had been shielded from much of the racial discrimination in Atlanta. His well-educated mother taught him to read and play piano before he was school age, and yet when he needed new shoes, he learned that there were stores and plenty of other places where he could not go. Still, he was a brilliant student, beginning at Morehouse College at the age of fifteen, Crozier Theological Seminary, and graduate school at Boston University, where he was inspired by Thoreau and Gandhi's writings on passive dissent, earning advanced degrees with honors at each. Still, especially in the South, there were places he couldn't go and things he was not allowed to do.

One of those things black people were not allowed to do was sit in any seat on the bus, and when Rosa Parks attempted to integrate the public buses in Montgomery, Alabama, Martin King, now Reverend King, was drawn into the bus boycott. His house was bombed, his family threatened, but eventually the city relented and people were allowed to sit wherever they could find a seat. It was the first victory over public accommodations and soon King became a national leader in what came to be called the Civil Rights Movement. Over the next decade King participated in the Birmingham school desegregation campaign, beaten and arrested, resulting in his famous "Letter from the Birmingham Jail," the sit-ins for integration of public accommodations, the "I Have a Dream" speech in the Washington Mall, and his eventual assassination in Memphis by a white segregationist shooter.

Jon M. Fishman's recent Martin Luther King Jr.: Walking in the Light (Gateway Biographies) (Lerner Publications, 2019) covers this turbulent period in American history in a succinct but comprehensive account of Martin Luther King's short life and its effects on American history with fast-moving prose written for middle readers in need of materials meant to widen their understanding of their recent past. Illustrated with ample illustrations from the period, and with a supplemental appendix with a timeline, source notes and bibliography, further reading, websites, and detailed index. Perfect for January book reports and research report, this book in Lerner's dependable Gateway series, is a good choice for classroom and school and public libraries.

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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Safe Harbor: Little Blue House Beside the Sea by Jo Ellen Bogart

THERE'S A SPECIAL PLACE FOR ME.

A LITTLE BLUE HOUSE BESIDE THE SEA.

Walking home from school, a girl waves goodbye to her schoolmates, heading for home. She walks past a little town with clapboard houses, stair-stepping up a cliff beside the ocean, where ships pull in their nets and make for a harbor watched over by a lighthouse. Laundry flaps in the seabreeze beside houses painted in blue-green and red, true blue or white. Puffins with beaks full of fish waddle up the dunes past a beached dory, and bees buzz in the flowers. And below, in the bay humpback whales play, breeching and sounding and spounting spray.

As the moon begins to rise, the girl reaches her snug little house, makes a pot of tea, and sits by her window to watch the boats scud toward their port. The wind rises, too, and a gale blows over the village, as the girl sits safe from the storm.

THERE'S NO PLACE SO DEAR TO ME
AS MY LITTLE HOUSE BESIDE THE SEA.

Jo Ellen Bogart's lovely story in rhyme, Little Blue House Beside the Sea (Tilbury House, 2020), creates that comforting sense of a safe harbor, a place of security and belonging that every child needs, and artist Carme' Lemniscates moving mixed media (watercolors, acrylics, collage, and monotypes) are extraordinary, solid and yet vibrant, making that dream come to life. Whether our seaside dream is of seagreen deeps and whales or warm azure waters and leaping dolphins, there is that beautiful "place in the mind" in the house beside the sea where this book belongs. Says School Library Journal, "A fantastic addition to any children’s library."

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Saturday, January 16, 2021

Noisy Prehistory! Dinosong by Tim McCanna

Three little dinosaurs are on their own in a shifting, shaking landscape that is still shaping itself. And it is a noisy, unstable world!

Rocks break off from cliffs and fall with frightening frequency! Three little dinosaurs--Ankylosaurus, Tricerotops, and Sauropod--join together as they dodge boulders that bound down hillsides and dodge and weave to miss the missiles.

WHACK! SMACK!

Joining forces, they three flee, to tromp, and leap, as the rocks fly. And if that is not enough, volcanoes bubble and spit up bits and shards of molten matter:

QUAKE! SHAKE!

The three little dinos hear the rumble and try to take shelter in a cave, with many a slip and a stumble along through the rubble. Finally they come to a quiet undergroud lake.

SIP! SLURP!

And when the eruption is done, Ankylsaurus, Tricerotops, and Sauropod emerge from their cave to find a changed world, a re-arranged world, that is their new world, in Tim McCanna's just-published Dinosong (Simon and Schuster, 2020). It's an ocean of onomatopoeia (words that sound like what they are), many of them rhyming pairs, that make for a lot of fun to learn and repeat and also  for beginning readers to read for themselves. Notable artist Robert Smythe creates an enticing world of lovely prehistoric landscapes done in layered watercolors which, despite the dire straits of the cute little dinosaurs, have plenty of visual appeal, while the rhythmic and rhyming sounds tell the story in a unique way for preschool and primary readers. Says Kirkus Reviews, “A rousingly rumbly ramble.”

Share this one with its companion book by McCanna and Smythe, Watersong.

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Friday, January 15, 2021

Cheers! Go, Grandpa, Go! by Lynn Plourde

Toddlers love to go, and a go-go grandpa is a great thing to have!

After a rain is a great time to go out and about!

PUDDLE STOMP! MUDDY ROMP!

A seat on the back of the bike is a good way to go, and even the food store has possibilities, too.

In the grocery cart, they...

DASH AND DART!

High on grandpa's shoulders is great way to go, and at the park, the swings go.. back and forth, swingin' high with a grandpa beside. And when the day is done, Grandpa can rock and hum a little lullaby.

Anywhere is a good place to go in tow with Grampa, in notable author Lynn Plourde's Go, Grandpa, Go! (Simon and Schuster/Little Simon, 2020).

This little board book celebrates the good times a grandad who loves to go can bring. With alliteration and rhyme to make the narration shine, grandpa and child zip, zag, and zoom through the day, and when day is done, their good times rock on in the rocker when it's time to go to sleep. With lively illustrations by Sophie Beer, this little board book is a great gift for grandparents to read aloud, along with its companion book Go, Grandma, Go!  Lynn Plourde is also the author of the classic school story, School Picture Day (Picture Puffin Books).books and Love Makes a Family.

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Thursday, January 14, 2021

Shaping Up! Round As A Tortilla A Book of Shapes by Roseanne Greenfield Thong

ROUND ARE THE CAMPANAS THAT CHIME AND RING.

ROUND ARE THE NESTS WHERE SWALLOWS SING.

I CAN NAME MORE ROUND THINGS. CAN YOU?

Books about shapes are many and varied, essential for preschool education when youngsters learn all the usual geometric shapes--round, square, triangular, rectangular, and sometimes more, done in varying styles of art and in degrees of complexity.

Roseanne Grenfield Thong's Round Is a Tortilla: A Book of Shapes (Chronicle Books) includes all the usual shapes with a twist--some engaging lessons in Spanish along the way. Most kids know what a tortilla is--a  round form of bread made from corn or wheat, crisp or soft, and often wrapped around some sort of filling, as in a taco or quesadilla. But many other things have something round to them, a trumpet's bell, a bird's nest, a sombrero's brim, and the top of a stew pot. And within the jolly rhyming lines, students are challenged to come up with other things that they know are round, and artist John Parra's folklorish illustrations provide many examples of the featured shape on each page.

Other shapes included are the square (cuadrado) illustrated by windows and photos and even the town's central square downtown. Rectangular flags fly from on high. Triangles turn up as chips for dips or sails that move sailing ships. And ovals--they can be seen in the shapes of solid things, like eggs, (huevos), olives, and lots of beans!

HOW MANY MORE DO YOU KNOW?

With a glossary of Spanish words used in the text and clever rhyming lines, this book is a novel introduction to shapes with illustrations featuring to puzzle out while picking up a few new words. Share this one with Thong and Parra's companion book, Green Is a Chile Pepper: A Book of Colors.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Malfunction!! Gurple and Preen: A Broken Crayon Cosmic Adventure by Linda Sue Park

Gurple's eyes opened, one by one by one. Her head swiveled as she clanked to her feet. PREEN! WHERE ARE YOU?

Robots Gurple and Preen have certainly suffered a major spacecraft disaster--crashed on a mystery planet with nothing in sight but boxes of crayons!

But their reactions could not be more different.

Gurple goes deep six. It's a catastrophe. In her anxiety she vents her anxiety by breaking crayons in half--with unexpected results. A blue-checked tablecloth appears! What is Gurple supposed to do with that!

"ZAP MY APPS! THE PODS! WE'RE DOOMED WITHOUT THEM!"

But the resourceful little robot Preen sets about restoring their spaceship with whatever is available. She tears the tablecloth into strips and starts tying the crayons into bundles. And when Gurple breaks a brown crayon in frustration and a flock of quails emerge, Preen puts them to work ferrying the crayon bundles to the wrecked spaceship. A broken green crayon becomes a lampshade, but...

Gurple finally freaks out when she breaks a white crayon and it turns into a roll of toilet paper!

ROBOTS DON'T GO TO THE BATHROOM! SHE SHOUTS.

And when a black crayon becomes a panda, Preen finds a way to use them all to jerry-rig a working spacecraft.

"NODES AND CODES!" CRIES GURPLE. "PLEASE LET THIS WORK!"

A cadre of crayoned kid commandoes appears to finish the job, and there is a successful liftoff. Mission accomplished! The Commander asks Preen how she made this ingenious repair.

“STEP BY STEP BY STEP!” SHE SAYS.

And whose hand is behind all this crayoned deep space drama?

The final page reveals the author of this fantastic space opera, a creative young girl in her bedroom, hopefully sky-gazing toward the full moon in her window, in the Newberry-winning author Linda Sue Park's latest picture book, Gurple and Preen: A Broken Crayon Cosmic Adventure (Simon & Schuster, 2020). In a salute to the inventive mind, but also to the frugal "use what you've got" wisdom, this fanciful toy story is a treat for young space robot fans. With the noted Debbie Ridpath Ohi's playful and inspired illustrations along for the flight, it's a storybook space voyage to remember. A clever nod to imagination and ingenuity." says Booklist.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2021

A Day to Remember: Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper

"Mazie wants to play outside, but it's too dark. Mazie wants a cookie, but it's time for bed. Mazie wants to stay up late, but she's too little!

"I can't do anything I want!" grumps Mazie.

Dad takes her onto his lap.

"Tomorrow you can have a celebration!"

Mazie stops pouting as Dad begins to tell her about her great-great-great Grandfather Mose, who was a slave. Slaves never got to do what they want, Dad explains. They had to work all day, as late as their Master told them to keep working. They were not paid, and they couldn't go anywhere else. They were told when to go to sleep and when to get up. Some managed to run away to the North, but most were too afraid to try.

"They sweat, they bled, they cried, till those cries were quiet."

They waited until one day in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, when a man read a proclamation from a balcony to the crowd below. Then there was nothing but cheers that lasted all night long. They were no longer slaves, the President had said. They were free. Free to leave their master's fields. Free to work for wages. Free to go anywhere they wanted.

A moment that changed their lives forever.

But things were not perfect. They marched for jobs, for schools and the right to vote.

And every Juneteenth they celebrated.

"And now it's your turn, sweet Mazie"

And Mazie celebrates with barbeque and games and a few speeches, too, in Floyd Cooper's Juneteenth for Mazie (Fiction Picture Books) (Capstone Books), a look at a piece of African American history and a story family lore for little Mazie, portrayed in the award-winning illustrations of Floyd Cooper.

Designed for readers in the lower grades, this book provides a family-centered retelling of the history of how the news of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation came to Texas and why June 19 is still celebrated across the country. Cooper's soft, but realistic illustrations gently show the long sadness of slavery and the changes that freedom brought in a family and community celebration for all Americans. Kirkus Reviews says, "[Cooper's] full-page artwork—oil paintings in softly textured yellows and browns captures the tender relationship between a father and daughter and the sadness and pride of their family story. Broad sweeps of history are encapsulated in double-page spreads focusing on determined, prayerful and happy faces. A quiet and informative picture of belated emancipation."

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