Friday, November 23, 2012

Picture Books of Note

Well, by now I hope you all know how much I love a book with humor at the heart.  I have shared quite a few funny ones over this picture book month, so this feels like the right time to take a little break from the laugh out loud picture books and share some of the quieter fare.

There are a lot of books being bandied around for Caldecott or "best of" lists.  These tend to be picture books that lean a little more towards the sentimental.  I have read most of them and I have to say that only a few worked for me.  I am one of those people who is never really a fan of the Caldecott winner, because while a book may be distinguished, it doesn't always mean that my kids will want to read it over and over.  And at the end of the day, all I really want is a book that will bring out delight and joy in my kids.

So these are the books on that "distinguished" list that touched our family.  They are the ones my kids actually enjoyed and wanted to hear again.  They may not end up winning any awards, but they resonated with my children, and for a parent that may the biggest win!

Title:        Extra Yarn

Author:    Mac Barnett

Target:     Preschool - Grade 2

Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Winner

What this book is about:
Annabelle finds a box of yarn and begins to knit.  After finishing a sweater for herself, her dog, her friend Nate and his dog, the house, the mailbox and most of the town, she finds that she still has yarn left.  An evil archduke gets wind of her miraculous box of yarn and steals it from her, but finds that when he opens it, the box is empty!  Will Annabelle ever be reunited with her box, or is this the end of an endless supply of hand knit goods?

Why I love this book:
This is a charming story.  I love that one little girl can bring magic and color into her world.  It is also infused with clever humor that isn’t necessarily laugh out loud, but just when you don’t expect it, it puts a smile on your face.  

The illustrations by Jon Klassen are also wonderful.  There are so many fun little things like the thread to each person’s sweater that is connected to the other person.  And let’s not forget the sweaters on trucks, birdhouses and mailboxes.

Who this book is for:
Most kids should enjoy this story!

Final thoughts:
Don’t forget to ask your kids why the box was empty for the archduke.  Great opportunity to see how they interpreted the story!

To purchase this book, click here to connect to Amazon: Extra Yarn  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Title:        Oh, No!

Authors:   Candace Fleming & Eric Rohmann

Target:      Preschool - Grade 1

What this book is about:
Tiger has his eye on several forest animals, for a tasty snack.  As these creatures get trapped in a hole in the forest, they feel that perhaps their fate is doomed, but then elephant comes along.  He is able to rescue the trapped group from the tiger licking his chops, and the elephant’s rumbling walk sends tiger sailing helplessly into the now empty hole.

Why I love this book:
The illustrations are beautiful and funny, without being over the top.  They also have little touches that make the story feel continuous and not like each page is its own panel.  I love it when the illustrator carries the story over to the inside cover and in this case the front and back inside covers are just as much fun, and apart of the story, as the pages in the book.  

I appreciated the repetitive nature of the book and it will encourage kids to become part of telling the story as they predict the next line.  Kids will be happy to repeat the books title, Oh, NO!  throughout the story.

Who this book is for:
This book will appeal to a younger audience so I think preschool and kindergarten are the ideal ages for this book.

Final thoughts:
A lovely story with rich illustrations.

To purchase this book, click here to connect to Amazon: Oh, No!  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Title:        Baby Bear Sees Blue

Author:    Ashley Wolff

Target:     Preschool - Kindergarten

What this book is about:
At its core, this book is about identifying colors, but really it is so much more than that.  In the book, a bear cub spends the day with his mother, asking question after question, does that sound familiar?  For example, baby bear asks his mother, “Who tickled me, Mama?” and she answers “That is a butterfly.”  We then see baby bear surrounded by beautiful orange butterflies with the text “Baby Bear sees orange.”  The day continues that way until it is time to go to sleep.

Why I love this book:
Ok, when it comes to sappy books I have a very low threshold, and I mean low.  If something is too cutesy or formulaic, well, lets just say that book doesn’t last long in this house.  But there is something about this book that crosses the threshold from cute to enchanting.  Perhaps it is the text which is straightforward, but still loving.  Perhaps it is the illustrations with mama bear's watchful eyes always on her son, which are also gorgeous in a way I can’t quite put my finger on.  Perhaps it is the mix of experiences they have throughout the day, which are playful and cautious.  But whatever the reason, this book is a winner.

Who this book is for:
Beautiful book for kids learning to identify colors.  This learning lesson is embedded seamlessly into a charming story.

Final thoughts:
Even this hard hearted mom found the book absolutely adorable!

To purchase this book, click here to connect to Amazon: Baby Bear Sees Blue  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

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