…storytime, books, and ideas

Archive for November, 2015

Picture Book Month, again

Here’s my last post for Picture Book Month. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading picture books as much as I have. And hey, locals! We are still accepting entries in our contest. Tag a photo of your favourite picture book with #AVRLpicturebook and you could win a bag of picture books! Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook entries accepted until November 30. And now, here’s some more picture books to love.

Sing a Season Song by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Lisel Jane Ashlock, Creative Editionssing season

Opening this book is like opening a watercolour portfolio. The thick pages are filled with gorgeous paintings that recall Audubon. Yolen’s rhymed lines tumble the seasons into each other as the illustrations lead the eye and give subtle foreshadowing. A gentle way to share seasonal changes.
This is my home, this is my school by Jonathan Bean, Farrar Straus Giroux

Homeschoolers will welcome this child-friendly look at how a home can be a school, and all children will be entertained by this boisterous, engaging family. Bean’s cartoon styling will have kids right in the story. Be prepared for discussion!
Two Mice by Sergio Ruzzier, Clarion Bookstwo mice

A tale of two mice is told in simple language. Beginning readers will enjoy this tiny treat, following the adventures of two mice as they jaunt through a pastel Ruzzier world. Look for ways to talk about math, and watch for the emotions on the faces of these little mice. Easy reading and fun illustrations make this one a winner.
Of interest to teachers:
Swan: The life and Dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Julie Morstad, Chronicle Books

Teachers looking for biography to add to their classrooms can look right here. This book is more of a poem than a biography, and Julie Morstad’s illustrations turn it into a work of art. Her pictures dance along the pages as does the story of a poor girl who makes it big in the dance world. Additional end matter, including a bibliography for further study, makes it a good choice for students.

Picture Book Month, Week 3

winnieThis week I am focusing on one book — Finding Winnie: The true story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick, illustrated by Sophie Blackall, published by Little, Brown, & Company. It is not necessarily a storytime book, but I am smitten by it, so here goes.

Look at that cover. The soldier’s leg could be a tree trunk that the little bear is clinging to. And on the back cover, a teddy bear dangling from a pajama-clad child’s hand– nearly the opposite image, yet connected.  Now: move to the end pages. We open the book to the woods. Page turn, and on the title page, the woods view is larger, and there’s that little bear. Page turn, and we are in a room– a room that reminds us of the woods, and maybe a little bit of Max’s room, which turned iwinnie1nto the woods.

winnie2 winnie3And now, it is “Could you tell me a story?” And what a great story it is. Told by the great-granddaughter of Captain Harry Colebourn, this is a perfect story to highlight some Canadian history (which, let’s admit, gets left in the background so very often!). Not only is the story itself endearing, Sophie Blackall’s illustrations make it just, well, squeezable. (Like a teddy bear.) The color palette is just right for the tone of the story, and the page layouts are varied, keeping the visual interest as high as the textual interest. There’s plenty of movement to keep the eye busy, but not so much that it overpowers. I appreciate the differing perspectives, the touching moments that never feel too saccharine, and the wrap up with the family album.

And the marching soldiers in silhouette under the paper cover, well that wraps it up nicely for me. Take a look at this book– it works on so many levels. What a beautiful choice to share for Picture Book Month!

Picture Book Month, Week 2

Here are a few more lovelies for Picture Book Month! sing a song

Sing a Song of Bedtime by Barbara Reid, Scholastic
Reid’s signature clay illustrations will be welcomed by many families looking for bedtime stories. This Canadian favourite is a good choice to add to any collection—pick a poem for each night, or share the whole thing. Fun illustrations make this one suitable for storytime or one-on-one.

Beyond the Pond by Joseph Kuefler, Balzer & Bray
Imagination is the key here, as well as good vocabulary. Could be used in quiet storytimes for an older audience. Look for the world that is beyond ordinary and explore with this lovely little work of art.

Sea Tiger by Victoria Turnbull, Templar
Again, imagination rules. This would work well with Beyond the Pond & Imagine a World. I have to admit, I just love these fantasy-world illustrations, maybe more than the story. But is is such fun to look at, it would be worth a read at storytime.

imagine worldOf interest to teachers:
Imagine a World by Rob Gonsalves, Simon & Schuster
Keeping with the imagination theme, the illustrations in this book will have you looking again and again. Teachers could certainly use this as a jumping-off point for writing exercises – look at your world, again and again. What do you really see? The text is poetic and inspiring.

Picture Book Month!

There are few things that make me happier than a big pile of excellent picture books. Since November is Picture Book Month, I will attempt to post once a week this month with books I am loving. Here goes! P.S. Click the title link to place a hold! lenny

Beep Beep, Go to Sleep by Todd Tarpley, illus. By John Rocco. Little Brown Kids
If robots are popular with your storytime kids, this rhyming robot romp will be a hit. While it is a typical bedtime story, with the wild robots tamed by books, the robots are fun, and the short text (with some good vocabulary) makes it work for young storytimers.

Lenny & Lucy by Phillip C. Stead, Illustrated by Erin Stead, Roaring Brook Press
Peter and his father move to the country. Peter is scared of the woods, and so creates a guardian from a stack of pillows. Imagination is key here, as are the gentle illustrations which create the mood of the story. Might be more of a one-on-one book than for storytime, but it is certainly worth taking a look at this one. Look for thedrum dream use of line to evoke mood.

Drum Dream Girl by Margarita Engle ; illustrations by Rafael López. Houghton Mifflin.
This is a poem based on a true story of a girl who wanted to play drums but was told that only boys play drums. Set in Cuba, the illustrations give us a tropical feel with lush, deep colors. The text has a beat, like a drum. Warm, sunny, and hopeful, with a positive message for girls.

Movi la mano/I moved my hand by Jorge Lujan. Illustrated by Mandana Sadat, Groundwood Press.
Imagination, beautiful design, poetry, two language—this book really delivers an experience. For a quiet storytime about using our imaginations, this one would make a splash.

The Night World by Mordicai Gerstein, Little Brown.
The absence of light—night. What happens when the light goes away? This book explores that idea. The text is soft and quiet, matching the illustrations nicely. Share this one for storytimes that need a little science in them, and maybemesmer play with turning the lights off. Shadows could be a fun storytime theme!

Of interest to teachers:
Mesmerized by Mara Rockliff, illustrated by Iacapo Bruno. Candlewick Press
How Ben Franklin solved the mystery of Dr. Mesmer and started a scientific and medical “blind test” experiment is explored with lush, engaging illustrations. This is one of those non-fiction picture book lovelies that you just shouldn’t miss.

PS again! We are having a contest during Picture Book Month. Read our Feed Your Mind blog for details!


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