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Picture book reviews by librarians for everyone.
Updated: 32 min 51 sec ago

Blackberry Banquet by Terry Pierce, illus. by Lisa Downey

Fri, 2014-10-31 00:05

Blackberry Banquet is a delightful treat for young summer readers. Perfect for expressive shared reading between adults and children, this story infuses elements of sequence, patterning, rhyme, and characterization, making it a great story for young readers.

Set in the forest, Blackberry Banquet tells the story of different animals that visit the blackberry bush to enjoy some fresh, sweet berries. A new animal and its accompanied sounds appear on each new page, and each page features an animal slightly bigger than the previous one until finally, a BEAR appears at the blackberry bush and frightens all of the animals away.

Besides writing a delightful story, the author has included non-fiction information on the back pages, including a recipe for blackberry ice-cream, a diagram to introduce food chains, and other factual information about the animals in the book.

This colorful book with bright, engaging illustrations by Lisa Downey reminds me of Jan Brett’s stories The Mitten and The Hat. To experience it for yourself, be sure to check out a copy of Blackberry Banquet!

 

Check the WRL catalog for Blackberry Banquet.


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Hillside Lullaby by Hope Vestergaard, illus. by Margie Moore

Wed, 2014-10-29 00:01

Looking for the perfect “good-night” book? Try Hillside Lullaby by Hope Vestergaard, a good night lullaby that is sure to evoke the sweetest dreams.
Hillside Lullaby tells the story of a “wild child not ready to close her eyes” and the mother who tucks her into bed. All around her, the animals outside are preparing for their night of slumber, too: the frogs, raccoon, deer, and rabbits.
Told in rhyme, Hillside Lullaby shows different views of mothers getting their children ready for bed. Children reading this book will be able to predict what animal’s bedtime routine is featured next, as each page reveals a small picture of the animal that will be detailed on the next pages. This picture book includes sweet, vibrant illustrations of the hillside and its creatures at night, making it impossible to fear the dark.
After all of the animals drift off to sleep, so too does the little girl “with the song of the hill in her head.”

Check the WRL catalog for Hillside Lullaby.


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Elsie’s Bird by Jane Yolen, illus. by David Small

Mon, 2014-10-27 00:02

Elsie’s Bird, a perfect read for young fans of historical fiction and/or for children who have recently relocated, tells the story of a young girl named Elsie from Boston. Elsie loves the sounds of Boston: the sounds of horses’ hooves clopping on the sidewalk, the sounds of the skip-rope songs she and her friends would sing, the sounds of fisherman, the sounds of birds, the sounds of the church bell. When Elsie’s Papa decides to move them out west to the Nebraska prairie after her mother dies, Elsie feels lonely and misses the sounds of the city.
Afraid of getting lost in the tall prairie grass, Elsie chooses to stay inside most of the time and comforts herself by singing songs to her canary, Timmy Tune. When Timmy Tune escapes, Elsie abandons her fear to search for him in the tall prairie grass and ends up making unexpected friendships.
Elsie’s Bird showcases the companionship that animals can offer to humans, especially to children, and encourages children to believe that they can overcome new and difficult situations. The illustrations by Caldecott award winner David Small will transport readers to a time long ago where they can “skip-rope” on the streets of Boston and overlook the vast prairie land of the west.
Jane Yolen’s creation is a great addition to studies of the past that even children today will be able to relate to.

Check the WRL catalog for Elsie’s Bird.


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How to Lose a Lemur by Frann Preston-Gannon

Fri, 2014-10-24 00:01

Why someone wouldn’t want to be friends with a lemur is beyond me, but the young boy in How to Lose a Lemur certainly wants to get rid of the lemur friend he has accidentally acquired. You know what they say: “Once a lemur takes a liking to you, there is not much that can be done about it.”
But he tries! He travels on bike, by train, and over mountains to lose his lemur, but his lemur just follows right along! Once he realizes that he is lost and can’t get back home, it’s up to his lemur friend – the very friend he’s been trying to escape from – that can help him find his way back!
Perfect for a discussion about friendship, How to Lose a Lemur tells an imaginative story with engaging, collage-like illustrations. The text on each page is large enough for the youngest eyes, and many high-frequency words appear throughout the book, making it a perfect interactive read-aloud for emergent readers.
To enjoy an interactive read-aloud with your little ones, share this story with them soon!

Check the WRL catalog for How to Lose a Lemur.


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Celia by Christelle Vallat, illus. by Stephanie Augusseau

Wed, 2014-10-22 00:01

Celia is a listener. When the people in her town have worries, troubles, or sadness, they come to Celia, whisper their sorrows into her ear, and feel relieved. Happy. After Celia listens, they repay her with colorful seeds, which Celia later transforms into large, bright balloons, shining stars, and whimsical flowers. One day, a young boy named Julian loses his seed on his visit to Celia and cannot get rid of his sadness. But when Celia finds a lost seed in the grass, she knows who it belongs to and holds on to it until their paths cross again.
When I first saw this book written by Christelle Vallat, I was mesmerized by the eye-catching cover: a black and white stencil sketch of a plump lady with light pink cheeks holding out her hands to colorful circles in various sizes. This juxtaposition of bold color against black and white sketches brings depth to the illustrations, like red berries peeking out from the top of snow in the middle of a barren January. There are some pages that feature just a mere splash of color, but the color is so rich and adds remarkably beauty even to these pages.
The most compelling aspect of Celia, however, is the nurturing relationship that emerges between an elderly lady and a young child. There are many authors who showcase the positive impact elders can have on younger generations, and Ms. Vallat is no exception with her creation of Celia. Further, this story seems to convey that, with the help of others, people have the power to transform their troubles into something good: a positive, encourage message for all readers.
To enjoy the beautiful illustrations for yourself and to read the positive message within its pages, check out Celia to experience the magic!

Check the WRL catalog for Celia.


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Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems by Kate Coombs, illus. Meilo So

Mon, 2014-10-20 00:01

Water Sings Blue, written by Kate Coombs and illustrated by Meilo So, is the perfect seaside companion for a sunny day at the beach! Filled with ocean-themed poems and vivid watercolor illustrations, Water Sings Blue is sure to delight beach-lovers and budding poets alike!
Each page features a poem with accompanied watercolor illustrations that evoke the mood and colors of the sea. From shades of light blue swirls in the ocean to a mixture of gray, blue, and purple coloring the sky, Water Sings Blue is an aesthetic delight. Besides showcasing sky and sea, the illustrator also depicts whimsical sea creatures, such as multi-colored fish, sea turtles, and octopi.
Like the rhythmic sounds of the ocean waves, the poems in this collection are told in a way that mimics the symphony of the ocean. Some poems, such as “What the Waves Say,” actually capture the “swell and sigh, otter lullaby” of the ocean; others are told from the perspectives of various ocean creatures and cannot help but cause readers to grin, like Frank Hermit, a seashell realtor operating in the depths of the sea. Still, some poems are quite metaphorical and compare marine animals with objects; in the case of “Jellyfish Kitchen,” a jellyfish is juxtaposed with a bundt cake!
Whether you share this book with your child all at once or take your time devouring the poems inside, be prepared to take a trip to the seashore with its myriad of descriptive poems and beautiful drawings.

Check the WRL catalog for Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems.


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Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully

Fri, 2014-10-17 00:03

Emily Arnold McCully’s Caldecott Medal-winning Mirette on the High Wire is an enchanting story perfect for holding the attention of an older audience. Mirette works in her mother’s boardinghouse where one day the retired high-wire walker Bellini comes to stay with them. After Mirette sees him walking on the clothesline, she decides to try it too, in spite of Bellini’s protesting. Then she overhears some other guests saying that Bellini is really “the great Bellini” who once fried an omelet on a wire in the middle of Niagara Falls and crossed a flaming wire, blindfolded, over Naples. When Mirette asks Bellini why he stopped high-wire walking, he says that fear on the wire never leaves someone. But he can’t stand disappointing Mirette, so he concocts a plan to conquer his fear. And it turns out that Mirette may be the very thing he needs to overcome his fear of the wire for good.
This rich, detailed story is a perfect elementary school read that will introduce kids to the exciting world of high-wire walkers. Above all, Mirette on the High Wire is a book about determination and conquering fear.

Check the WRL catalog for Mirette on the High Wire.


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Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester, illus. by Lynn Munsinger

Wed, 2014-10-15 00:01

Wodney Wat has a problem: his name is really Rodney Rat, but he can’t pronounce his r’s. All the kids at school tease him while he tells them that another name for bunny is “wabbit” and that “a twain twavels on twain twacks.” But things start to change for Wodney the day Camilla Capubara, the biggest, meanest, smartest rodent of all comes to school. All day long she steps on tails, knocks people over, and tramples the whole class on the way to recess. When Wodney gets chosen to lead a game of Simon Says, he is terrified of what Camilla will do to him. But Camilla doesn’t understand that Wodney can’t pronounce his r’s… So for instance, when Wodney says to “wake the leaves,” everyone else grabs a rake, but Camilla grabs a leaf and yells, “Wake up!” Wodney realizes that he might just be able to use this advantage to get rid of Camilla altogether…
This hilarious read is great for large groups. Preschoolers and elementary kids will appreciate the frequent wordplay. Hooway for Wodney Wat is a great read for anyone who has ever felt insecure about something, and teaches an important lesson about respect and self-acceptance.

Check the WRL catalog for Hooway for Wodney Wat.


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Bats At the Beach by Brian Lies

Mon, 2014-10-13 00:01

Have you ever wondered what bats do at night, while all the humans are in bed? Bats at the Beach has an answer! In this enchanting, beautifully-illustrated story by Brian Lies, readers enter a world where, while everyone else is sound asleep, bats have fun at the beach. Read about how bats need their “moon-tan lotion” and how they love to eat “salted ‘skeeters” and toast “bug-mallows.” The illustrations add details to this unique bat world, as bats make kites by tying strings to themselves and chat upside-down at the “snack bar”: a ceiling where all the tasty bugs gravitate toward the light bulb. The illustrations also demonstrate how the bats don’t let their small size get in the way of having fun–they make swords out of straws and use food containers as boats. Since the illustrations are so intricate, this book is better for a one-on-one read, and while the bright, glossy pictures should captivate any audience, older readers will best appreciate the bat-related humor.

Check the WRL catalog for Bats At the Beach.


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