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Posts tagged ‘dinosaurs’

From Dinosaurs to French Fries

Rodzilla by Rob Sanders, illustrated by Dan Santat, Margaret K. McElderry Books rodzilla

Look out! Rodzilla is crashing through the town, shooting stink rays, dripping slime, and hurling… and the only ones who can save the world are… his parents! Toddler Rod(zilla) in his playroom becomes a wild, smash-up ride through a cartoon-like world in the capable hands of Dan Santat. A fun read aloud, especially if you have a child who is currently obsessed with bodily functions. Santat pulls of a couple of wild full-page spreads that make the reader feel like they’ve stepped into a Saturday morning show. Hilarious, irreverent, and sure to be a hit.

There might be lobsters by Carolyn Crimi, illustrated by Laurel Molk, Candlewick Press

There are lots of things to be scared of at the beach, especially if you are a small dog. There are big waves, beach balls, big stairs, loud people, and of course, there might be lobsters. The fears of a small dog may sound familiar to an anxious child, and how Sukie the dog overcomes those fears can be reassuring. Ink & watercolour illustrations set the tone, and looking for those ubiquitous lobsters is fun!

Blue Ethel by Jennifer Black Reinhardt, Margaet Ferguson Books

Ethel, a cat, is old. And fat. She was black, and she was white, and very set in her ways. One day, when Ethel rolls on her favourite bit of sidewalk, she discovers that she has become BLUE (due to a child’s chalk drawings). She feels sad about this until a younger friend rolls in the art and becomes pink. The delightful ink & watercolour illustrations show us a personable cat in a colourful, detailed world. Reinhardt uses line and colour expertly to depictblue ethel mood, and the pacing of this story is spot-on. If I were a member of the Caldecott committee, I’d be keeping this in my look-again pile, top shelf.

Jack and the Beanstalk and the French Fries by Mark Teague, Orchard Books/Scholastic

As you might expect, this Jack trades his cow for beans. And his mother cooks the beans. So many beans. Breaded beans, bean dip, bean soup, pickled beans. The whole town is eating beans and they are tired of it. When Jack goes up to see what is at the top of the stalk, he finds a Giant who is really tired of beans as well. When they decide what they truly crave is french fries, it is Mrs. Giant who comes up with the solution, which is to plant a vegetable garden that includes potatoes.

I like the resolution here, perhaps because it has a tiny bit of a feminist leaning (Jack and Giant are lazy, Mother & Mrs. Giant are making the best of the situation). The illustrations are pure Teague: fun, cartoonish realism, and loads of colour. Pair it with Kate and the Beanstalk for a couple of viewpoints on this old story.

Little Red Ruthie: A Hanukkah Tale by Gloria Kester, illustrated by Sue Eastland, Albert Whitman and Company

Carrying a basket of sour cream and applesauce into the woods to Bubbe Basha’s house, Little Ruthie (in her red coat and boots) meets up with a wolf. Trying to be brave as the Maccabees, she outwits the wolf. He heads to Bubbe’s house, finds she’s not home, and he dresses in one of her outfits. Ruthie arrives, is not fooled, and when the wolf determines to eat her, she serves him a big pile of latkes. No one dies in this new version of Little Red Riding Hood, which makes a great addition to any collection. The inclusion of the story of the Maccabees is seamless, making this an easy one to recommend to anyone who wants to know more about the Hanukkah holiday.  Colorful illustrations and a wolf who tries to be ferocious but ends up being fairly silly make this an easy one for younger listeners.

what eats that

For teachers:

What Eats That? By Ryan Jacobson, photographs by Stan Tekiela, AdventureKeen Publications   (seen as review copy from publisher) ISBN 978-1591937494

Explore the food chain in this easy to read  (and understand) book, filled with clear photographs. Starting with the sun, we page through the food chain– flowers “eat” the sun, but what eats flowers? Each page has a hint of what is to come, with picture-bubbles featuring the links in the food chain. An explanation of food chains, some suggested activities, and extra information on each animal shown add to the usefulness of this book. It is very readable, and you might learn something new. I did!  Watch for other books by this publisher for easy nonfiction – such as Whose Butt? 

New pile of picture books!

If you ever want to bring a circusI’ve been away for a month, but now I’ve returned to a new pile of books. I have a few to share with you. First off, a book that would be fun to share at a class visit to the library. This is the time of year that lots of classes take field trips to the library, so pull out your best librarian voice and read If You Ever Want to Bring a Circus to the Library, Don’t! The main character’s antics will have kids laughing, and the bright cartoon illustrations will keep their attention. You’ll need to practise shouting BABOOMBA! for real effect, though.

In the complete opposite direction, The Way Home in the Night is a quite, introspective title that would be good for bedtime or night themed storytimes. A young rabbit is carried home by Mother Rabbit, Way home in the nightand describes what they see as they walk along in the city. A simple premise made big by the lush illustrations. Animals baking pies, having a birthday party, and reading on the couch are completely natural in the capable hands of Miyakoshi. Look for the evident pencil strokes, the thick paper, and the use of shading to depict light and shadows in this quite, contemplative book. Pairs well with The House in the Night, the 2009 Caldecott winner.

A new Jerry Pinkney book is always cause for celebration, and the publication of The Three Billy Goats Gruff means you can get out the party balloons and streamers. You may ask, “Do we really need another version of this?” and the answer is yes. Yes we do, we need this one.  As Three Billy Goats Gruffexpected, Pinkney’s illustrations are lush, funny, nearly realistic, and full of movement. The storytelling is spot on. Be sure to look closely at the end pages and read the author’s note, though, because the storytelling doesn’t end when the last page is turned. The bookmaking here is top-notch, including the ‘secret cover”. This book would make a great classroom discussion book as well as a fun one to share in storytime. Add it to your Pinkney collection!

For a light romp into vegetarianism, add T.Veg: The Story of a Carrot-crunching Dinosaur to your next dino storytime. The bright illustrations are wild and eye-catching, the rhyme, which is occasionally forceT. Vegd, is jaunty and will make a fun read-aloud. The message, that it is ok to be different (or ok to be a vegetarian in a world of meat-eaters), can be taken on several levels. Kids may giggle at the thought of a dinosaur that likes carrot cake, and they will cheer as T. Veg saves the day.

 

favorite colorFOR TEACHERS:

A couple that teachers may want to try in classrooms include What’s Your Favorite Color? — a collection of short essays by well-known illustrators which could easily be used as a mentor text, or in art class as a model for thinking about how to use color. Pair it with What’s Your Favorite Animal? .

And last: this book from Lemony Snicket, Goldfish Ghost, might work well in upper elementary classes. Anyone who has had a goldfish as a pet will instantly recognize the floating white shape portrayed by Lisa Brown’s ink & watercolor illustration. In this book, the adventures of a goldfish whogoldfish ghost has just died will bring up discussion of friendship, looking for a place to be, and, naturally, death. The ending is a comfort, as (SPOILER ALERT!) goldfish ghost finds just the company he’s been seeking. What could be a morbid little book is handled quite well, with light touches of humour, and a feeling of quietness.  Keep your readers on their toes and pair Goldfish Ghost with this couple’s 29 myths on the Swinster pharmacy.

 

From the Picture Book Pile…

A big pile of books to share this time! Here we go…

Dad and the Dinosaur by Gennifer Choldenko, illustrated by Dan Santat.Dad and the Dinosaur

Nicholas, afraid of the dark, has a little toy dinosaur that gives him strength. He sees his dad as brave and bigger than life. When the dino goes missing, his confidence is gone, until Dad helps him find it and lets him know it is ok to have the dino as a helper. Santat’s signature illustrations fit just right with the story, and looking for a dinosaur on every page will be a fun task for young readers. Delightful choice for Father’s Day!

We’re all wonders by R.J. Palacio

What does it mean to be different? Here’s a book that celebrates the ordinary and the extra-ordinary. We ARE all wonders, indeed. A simple-to-read book that asks the reader to look with kindness, and see what they can see. Nice pairing with Happy Dreamer (see below).

I lost my sock! : a matching mystery / by P.J. Roberts

Need a quick book with rhymes and matching for your next storytime? This one is not terribly original, but it is fun, and storytime kids will likely be in on the joke well before Fox is.

I am (not) Scared by Anna Kang, illustrated by Christopher Weyant

These bear-like creatures are back (You are (not) Small) and this time, they show us differing perspectives on what is scary, and what is not. A fun choice for storytime or for opening a discussion on what is scary.

Up!: How FamiliUp! es Around the World Carry Their Little Ones / by Susan Hughes, illustrated by Ashley Barton

Upsy-daisy baby! How do babies get carried? In a sling, in a parka, on a hip, in a pack – diverse families from around the world show the young reader that all babies get carried by those who love and care for them. Cut-paper collage illustration fit the tone nicely. Good for toddler storytimes and one-on-one exploration.

Places to Be by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Renata Liwska  Places to be

This book has such wondrous vocabulary, in a simple setting: beastly, vibrant, brave, sneaky, acrobatic – and the illustrations, made with “brush and ink and digital hocus-pocus” take those words to a new level. Two little bear siblings take us through a range of activities, emotions, and places. A winner for quiet storytimes, bedtime, or sharing in a small setting.

Happy Dreamer by Peter H. Reynolds

Do you know a child who always seems to have their head in the clouds? Who sees things in their own way? Who daydreams, creates, and plays? This book helps to remind us that there are many kids of dreamers, and there’s nothing wrong with dreaming. Reynolds’ cartoon-style drawings help the dreamers leap off the page, and soar to their own tunes. Full of great vocabulary and plenty to dream about.

People of the SeaFor Teachers:

The People of the Sea by Donald Uluadluak, illustrated by Mike Motz

This story, based on an Inuit legend and told by an Inuit storyteller, is a great addition to First Nations studies. The story feels very much like a storyteller sitting right there with you telling the tale, and the illustrations help to put the story in the setting. There is plenty of extra information about the teller and the book includes a pronunciation guide, making this an excellent mentor text for writing a personal tale.

 

 

 

 

 

Autumn is… books

Books are falling onto the shelves like leaves from a tree. Or something like that. A whole new crop of good storytime choices await!

A Leaf Can Be… Laura Purdie Salas

It’s nice when a book can work both for storytime and as an informational book,. Young nature lovers could learn much about leaves in this book. Art extensions include leaf rubbings or leaf creations similar to those in Lois Ehlert’s “Leaf Man”. Rich in vocabulary and perfect for autumn storytimes.

Duck Says Don’t – Alison Ritchie

Bossy Duck won’t allow any fun while in charge of the pond;  that makes everyone else leave and go play in the meadow. Duck puts up a sign to welcome them all back, fun included. Use Duck’s signs to play with words – you could make signs around the room, point them out to kids. Have them make their own signs, too!

Jonathan & Martha – Peter Horacek

Two worms meet, tangle, and then become friends. There’s a lesson here, presented in an odd manner, but still fun enough for storytime. Food, sharing, worms, & friendship are themes here. Make it interactive!

Monkey See, Look at Me – Lorena Siminovich

Toddlers will enjoy being in on the joke – a monkey pretends to be other animals. Get them to chime in on the repetitive refrain and increase those talking and vocabulary skills!

Dinosaur Thunder – Marian Dane Bauer

Little brother is afraid of thunder, but not dinosaurs! His fears are tamed by relating it to something he loves. Lots of emotion in the illustrations;  a gentle lesson on fears. Could work in a dinosaur storytime.

Bang Boom Roar – A busy crew of Dinosaurs – Nate Evans

Alliteration and rhyme make this a good choice for sharing. The illustrations are a bit busy, but dino-crazed youngsters will love it.

Dino Football – Lisa Wheeler

Add sports and rhyme to your next dinosaur storytime with this book. Not a lot to the story, just a good old football game, played by lots of dinos, but it will be a hit with a certain crowd.

 Laugh Out Loud Baby – Tony Johnston

Based on the Navajo tradition of the First Laugh Ceremony, this joyful tribute to laughter should give you a reason to LOL. Lots of fun vocabulary in this one.

Monster Mash– David Catrow

Just in time for Halloween—the old song comes to life through detailed monster illustrations which might be a tad scary for the very youngest. Read the book, put on the song, and mash!

Stay Close to Mama – Toni Buzzeo

Twiga the baby giraffe is very curious, and nearly gets into trouble several times because of it. Add a sunny visit to Africa and give your storytimers a rich vocabulary experience with this book.

My Mama Earth – Susan B. Katz

Lovely colors enhance this simple, rhyming tribute. Mama Earth is the focus, but children will likely relate to the Mother aspect more than the environmental one.

A Kiss Means I Love You – Kathryn M. Allen

Large full-color photographs illustrate this toddlerific explanation of talk-free emotions. Get ready to be smooched and hugged after you share this book! Great choice for baby stortytimes, too.

Oh No! – Candace Fleming

Eric Rohmann’s illustrations make this cumulative story come alive. Jungle animals try to escape a hole and are rescued by Elephant. Get the kids to chant along as you read this one, there are plenty of opportunities for it!

Bear Says Thanks– Karma Wilson

Bear is back and this time his woodland pals all bring food to share. Bear has only hospitality and stories to share, and it is, of course, enough. Perfect for Thanksgiving or even Christmas storytimes.