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Posts tagged ‘poetry’

Flowers and art and dance

My latest stack of picture books happens to have some nice non-fiction in it, as well as some poetry. Since April is Poetry Month, let’s start with Sakura’s Cherry Blossoms., by Robert Paul Weston, illustrated by Misa Saburi.   When a young girl has to leave her grandmother and the joy of all she knows in Japan, she is sad. She moves to the US, and finally makes a friend. They go back to Japan to see grandmother, who is ill, and when she returns back to her new home, her friend is excited to show her Spring, and the cherry blossoms there. It is possible that grandma has died– but not absolutely certain. The book is striking, though, and is written in tankaa traditional Japanese poetry form. So it could be a good mentor text for poetry lessons; probably not the best choice for preschool storytimes.  book cover with woman and dots

If you are looking for a good art book to share, pick up Yayoi Kusama: From Here to Infiinty by Sarah Suzuki, illustrated by Ellen Weinstein. This one also begins in Japan, with a girl who loves art. Her family is not so keen on her being an artist, but she is determined, and follows her dream. Kusama becomes an artist who works with dots, and becomes quite well known. The illustrations are captivating, as is her life story. This book made me want to see more of her work, and it would make a great artist study for classrooms.

Have you ever seen someone dance, and thought, “I want to be able to do that!”  Well, that’s what Amalia Hernandez thought as a child when she saw traditional dance in a village in her native Mexico. Her book cover with dancer in red skirtlifelong love of dance became a world-wide phenomenon as she created Ballet Folklorico. Read about her in Duncan Tonatiuh’s Danza! : Amalia Hernández and el Ballet Folklórico de México. Illustrated in his signature style, the story of this dance comes to life in the pages of this book.

That’s all for this time. If you want more books,  follow me on Twitter @annavalley for my #picturebookpile posts!

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Math, poetry, unreliable narrator

Cover of Grandma's Tiny HouseMy latest pile of picture books had a couple of math books in it. I’m not a big math person. I’ve been known to count on my fingers and I always use a calculator when it really matters. So when a picture book makes math seem like fun, I’m all for it.  Grandma’s Tiny House by JaNay Brown-Wood and illustrated by Priscilla Burris is one of those books.  Grandma lives n a small house, but she has a big family. Two turkeys and eight jugs of lemonade, twelve sweet potato pies… and fifteen grandchildren stuff the house to the gills. But the young child on the cover gets a grand idea– move the party to the backyard! The cartoon illustrations are filled with movement and joy.  Count the family, the food, and count on some fun when you read this.

In Sheep Won’t Sleep, by Judy Cox and illustrated by Nina Cuneo, the age-old problem of being able to fall asleep results in a young knitter counting sheep. The only problem is, well, when she starts counting, real sheep start appearing in her room. Then alpacas and llamas and yaks are Cover of Sheep Won't Sleepcounted. When her room is filled with woolly creatures, she has to find a solution. (Hint, it involves knitting). For counting by numbers, sets, patterns, and addition and subtraction all in one book, this will be fun for classrooms and for kids of knitters.

I found another one! Ants Rule, by Bob Barner, uses carpenter ants as the measuring unit. The flap copy says the book is a way to introduce “nonstandard measurement, comparison, and organizing and representing data.” There’s your fancy math terms! It is a fun little book which will have kids getting out their insect rulers.

I am a fan of poetry, and finding a really good poem written for kids is a gem of a moment. Add in fun art and a witchy theme, and I am all in. The Pomegranate Witch, by Denise Doyen and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler, is loads of fun for older readers. There’s a huanted tree in town, with the best pomegranates, but it is guarded by a witch. One night a year she’s off galavanting with ghosts, so on Cover of Pomegranate WitchHalloween, her nice sister shows up and gives out treats. The book is written in a lively iambic pentameter, with a familiar rhyme scheme, and plenty of alliteration. It is a grand thing to read aloud! Don’t save it for October, though it will be a good choice to read in classrooms then.

And now, to our unreliable narrator. Start your fiction readers young and let them figure out if they should trust this girl trying to get rid of hiccups. In this import from Tara Books India & UK, Hic?,Cover of Hic? by Anushka Ravishankar and Christiane Pieper, a girl tries to rid herself of pesky hiccups through means of questionable suggestions. This could be used as a jumping-off point for talking about folklore, old-time traditions, and folk remedies. Just don’t try these cures at home! The illustrations are funny, done in nice lines and only a few colours. The book was hand-printed in soy-based inks, so also fun to see an international small-press book.

Want more books? Follow me on Twitter @annavalley for my #picturebookpile posts!

A large stack of books…

A large stack of books came home with me this week. Here are a few of them. More to come soon! duck dino

Picture Books

Duck, duck, dinosaur by Kallie George, illus. by  Oriol Vidal, Harper Collins

Siblings who find one another to be different will relate to this funny, bright version of the “ugly duckling” story. Dinosaurs are ever-popular, and this one will entertain your storytime crowd.

You Are One / by Sara O’Leary, illus. by Karen Klassen, Owlkids

Many different babies, who have just turned one year old, are depicted. O’Leary has a knack for capturing that one moment in a child’s life in just a few words. Parents will ooh and ahh over this one, and babies will love it too. This is baby storytime perfection.

outside

Bringing the Outside In  by Mary Mckenna Siddals,  illus. By Patrice Barton, Random House

This simple nature poem will work well for toddler storytimes. The soft pencil sketches of a diverse group of young children help us enjoy the seasons. A gentle reminder to go outside and play, and keep playing when you come inside.

 

How to Grow a Friend  by Sara Gillingham,  Random House 

A lovely preschool metaphor – friendship as a garden. It must be planted, tended, nurtured. This may seem a lofty subject for a young child, but the retro-style illustrations will help young ones understand the simple concept. Easy to use in storytime, and a great choice for teaching, as well.

grow

Daniel finds a poem by Micha Archer,   Penguin Random 

Rich collage illustrations are the perfect backdrop for the story of a young boy trying to figure out what a poem is. Animals give him an idea, and their literary responses help him “find”  a poem. Just right for storytime, and a great find for early elementary classrooms studying poetry.

 ideas

For Teachers….

Ideas are all around by Phillip C. Stead, Roaring Brook Press 

Teachers looking for a book to start the writing process with their students will be happy to find this book. Take a walk on the page with Stead’s images – both in pictures and words. Help your students realize that ideas are all around, and that authors have to look to find their ideas.

Dreams of freedom: in words and pictures. – Amnesty International; Frances Lincoln

This “feast of visual stories – brave words and beautiful pictures” has something to inspire everyone. Quotes and illustrations from human rights champions and various artists make this a great browsing book. The images help make the quotes accessible to children. A wonderful choice for daily readings.

New books for December

frog logHere are a few new books that crossed my path this month.

Frog on a Log? By Kes Gray, illustrated by Jim Field, Scholastic Press.

This book is jam-packed with rhymes, and would be a nice add to storytime. Bright cartoon-style illustrations will keep the attention of preschoolers, and they will get a phonemic awareness lesson while they laugh as the increasing silliness of animals sitting on things that rhyme with them. The ending will have them grinning, and some might even guess what is going to happen.

My Wild Family  by Laurent Moreau, Chronicle Bookswild fam

Does your family sometimes feel like a zoo? This retro-inspired French import takes us through the family of man and animal. Great vocabulary, fun illustrations, and a seek-and-find element to each picture will get kids involved in this story. And at the end, you can all answer the question, “What makes YOU special?”

Elephant in the dark  by Mina Javaherbin ; illustrated by Eugene Yelchin, Scholastic.

Based on a poem by Rumi, this can be a way to add a little culture to your book sharing. When the villagers try to figure out what the strange creature is that is in the dark barn, each feels a different part and describes a different animal. Similar to Ed Young’s Seven Blind Mice,  this one has a more folksy feel to it. Read the two books together for a comparative story session, and use a “feelie box” and let the kids figure out what is inside.

lizard park1Lizard from the Park by Mark Pett, Simon & Schuster

When a little boy finds an egg in the park, he takes it home and plays with it. The next morning it hatches—into a dinosaur. You can imagine that having a pet dinosaur is not the easiest thing, especially once it starts to grow large. A clever trip back to the park gets the dinosaur home, and the main character finds a friend. The secondary story of friendship is told through the pictures—and children will love looking for the friend once they see him. A pastel palette creates a soft world for this gentle story that will work well for storytimes for children who can sit for a longer story.

Gorillas in our Midst by Richard Fairgay, illustrated by Terry Jones. Sky Pony Press

If you can get away with absurd books in storytime, put this one on your list. Gorillas are everywhere, so make sure you keep a banana with you at all times. This is the basic premise of this import from New Zealand. Share it with kids who love a silly story, or give it to that reluctant reader who thinks picture books are for babies. Would pair well with Anthony Browne’s books.

beastly verse1
For teachers…
Beastly Verse by Joohee Yoon . Enchanted Lion Books

Looking for a good way to get your students interested in poetry? This book has retro-feeling, 3-color illustrations that really pop. Each poem is accompanied by electric-bright printmaking, and some have fold-out images that extend both the page and the poem. Follow a secondary story in the illustrations as you & your students explore a variety of poems featuring, you guessed it, beasts. From Blake’s famous “The Tiger”, to the very silly “Eletelphony”, there’s something in this collection to appeal to a wide age-range.

So many books!

For my first post in 2013, I have a huge stack of books to share. Here are some really fun books that just went out on our shelves!

Chu’s Daa chu'say by Neil Gaiman

A little panda with a big sneeze is the premise of this fun little book. Play-on-words and quirky illustrations make this one a delight to share at storytime.

Squeak Rumble Whomp Whomp Whomp: Sonic Adventure by Wynton Marsalis

A noisy romp through the sounds around us. Make lots of sounds while reading this music-inspired book. Get the kids to chime in with their own sounds; make some shakers, drums, etc.  and get moving around the room!

I am So Handsome by Mario Ramos

The Big Bad Wolf is so full of himself that he does not even realize that his usual targets are afraid of him. This twist on the old icon is filled with wonderful language and great new vocabulary. Share along with a Red Riding Hood and 3 Pigs story, or pair with Jon Scieszka’s True Story of the Three Little Pigs for a wild wolf romp.

I’m NOT Sleepy by Jane Chapman

Little owl wants to play, but Grandma insists it is time for bed. She gives him a snack, tucks him in, and still he is wide awake. There’s not much new here in the plot line, but the illustrations are cute and the repeated phrase of “Hop, jump, flutter,  flump” will be fun to say with the kids. Teach them this phrase beforehand and add some TALKing to your early literacy storytime.

Polar Bear Morning by Lauren Thompson

Two little polar bear cubs meet and become friends. Short enough for toddler storytimes, and the illustrations are large and friendly. Good vocabulary builder for little ones. See also Polar Bear Night by same author/illustrator.

All the Awake Animals Are Almost Asleep by Crescent Dragonwagon aa all the awake

Not only do I love this author’s name, I love the alliteration in this book. It is a bedtime alphabet book chock full of letter sounds. Add in the big list of new vocabulary and David McPhail’s quiet illustrations, and you have a perfect addition to your next pajama storytime.  A big dose of early literacy!

 

 

The Reader by Amy Hest

A charming story of a boy, a dog, some snow, and a book. A gentle story to end storytime with.

Beach Feet by Kiyomi Knoagaya

Warm up your winter with a visit to this sunny beach. The illustrations are full of movement and, of course, feet.

Railroad Hank by Lisa Moser

Hank and his train are off to visit Granny Bett who is feeling blue. His misunderstandings send the whole gang up the mountain, along with some chickens, cows, apple trees and a pond. Of course Granny cheers up, and everyone has a grand time. The repeated refrain of “Chugga Chugga Chugga Chugga Woo Woo Woo” will get kids interacting with the story.aa mice

Mice  by Rose Fyleman

Lois Ehlert’s signature illustrations turn this slight poem into a fun picture book. The rhymes will reinforce phonological awareness, and the paper collage illustrations are just begging to be imitated. Would also make a great writing prompt book for early elementary classrooms.

About  a Bear by Holly Surplice

This simple ode to a bear is just right for baby and toddler storytimes, and would be a good book for those just learning to read. Bright, large pictures accompany this bouncy bear rhyme.

 

Ostrich and Lark by Marilyn Nelsonaa ostrich

An original tale illustrated by artists in Botswana. Two bird friends in the African veld spend their days and nights together. Lark sings, but ostrich is silent, until he finds his voice. Simple story with bright folk-art paintings to spice it up. Pair with an ostrich sound and some African folk tales. Lots of new vocabulary here, too!

A Kiss Like This by Mary Murphy

Perfect for Valentine’s Day or any day of the year. A sweet little book about… kisses! Smooch it up for storytime with babies and toddlers.

Let’s Sing a Lullaby with Brave Cowboy by Jan Thomas

Not-so-brave cowboy gets distracted as he tries to serenade a couple of cows to sleep. As expected, Thomas delivers a fun romp, this time about bedtime.

 

New Storytime Books!

Summer is winding down, but the new books are still coming in! Here are a few of note that will help in planning your Fall Storytime sessions.

Dog Gone by Leeza HernandezA very short rhyming story of a dog lost, and then found. Good for toddler time!

Duck Sock Hop by Jane Kohuth – Rhyming ducks put on socks and dance about. Toddlers will gain plenty of phonemic awareness with this silly little romp. Colorful and should keep their attention.

Huff and Puff by Claudia Rueda – Minimalist “Three Pigs” story with lots of interactive opportunities. Increase those TALKing skills by asking lots of questions as you share this one.

Machines go to work in the city by William Low – Lift the large flap to reveal the whole machine. A fun addition to vehicle storytimes.

One Two, That’s My Shoe by Alison Murray – Short, but nicely illustrated counting book featuring a dog and his girl. Add a bit of math skills to storytime with this one.

Pussycat, Pussycat by Dan Bar-el – The old familiar rhyme is extended for a far-reaching journey that ends right back at home. Use it when you need to add some rhymes to your next CAT storytime.

Shakespeare’s Seasons by Miriam Weiner – Never miss an opportunity to add Shakespeare to storytime! The Bard is still the boss, so share a few pages to add some sophisticated poetry to your next “Seasons” storytime.

Wild About You by Judy Sierra – As in Wild About Books, Sierra presents a rhyming story, set in a zoo. This time there are zoo babies and a slight story that will add a bit of jazz to your storytime.

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