Images from Janell Cannon's
AGE GUIDES: these are approximate recommendations:
REVIEWERS: Alida Allison, SarahEllen Hickle, Joyce Ho, Mark Janssen, JoAnn Jonas, Naomi Lesley, Emily Moore, Ellen Nef, Marie Soriano
* denotes San Diego writer and/or illustrator
Johnson, D.B. Henry Hikes to Fitchburg. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000 (pb). $6.95. ISBN 0-618-73749-9.
*Keough, Larry. Fragilly. Sing-along CD included. El Cajon, CA: Larry Keough, 2007. ISBN 978-1-60402-257-5. $21.95.
LeBlanc Cate, Annette. The Magic Rabbit. Somerville, MA: Candlewick, 2007. ISBN 9780763626723 $15.99. Ages 4-8
Lionni, Leo. Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. ISBN 0-394-80914-9. $16.95
Lionni, Leo. A Color of His Own. NY: Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2006 new edition. ISBN-0-375836977. $12.95 (Hardcover). Picture book 40 pages. Recommended age: preschool.
Lister, Robin. The Story of King Arthur. Illust. Alan Baker. Boston: Kingfisher. 1997.ISBN 0-7534-5101-8. $15.95. Recommended Age 9 + . 96 pages.
Lithgow, John. Mahalia Mouse Goes to College. Illus. Igor Oleynikov. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007. ISBN 978-1-4169-2715-0. $17.99
Marineau, Michele. Cinderella. Illus. Mylene Pratt. Tundra: Toronto, 2007. ISBN 978-0-88776-825-5. CAN. $14.99/ U.S. $10.95. Ages 4-7.
McCourt, Frank. Angela and the Baby Jesus. Illust. Raul Colon. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007. ISBN-13: 9781416937890
Pearce, Philippa. The Squirrel Wife. Illus. Wayne Anderson. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick, 2007. ISBN 978-0-7636-3551-0. U.S. $16.99/ $21.00 CAN. Ages 5-10.
(Peretz, I.L.) Richard Ungar, adapter and illus. Even Higher. Toronto: Tundra Books, 2007. ISBN 0-88776-758-6. $18.95
Pinkwater, Daniel. Bad Bear Detectives. Illus. Jill Pinkwater. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. ISBN 978-0618-43125-0. $16.00
Pinkwater, Daniel. Bear’s Picture. Illus. D.B. Johnson. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2008. ISBN 0-618-75923-9. $16.
Recorvits, Helen. Yoon and the Jade Bracelet. Illus. Gabi Swiatkowska. New York: Frances Foster Books Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008. ISBN 978-0-374-38689-4. $16.95.
Schotter, Roni. Mama, I’ll Give You the World. Illust. S. Saelig Gallagher. New York: Schwartz and Wade, 2006. ISBN 978-0-375-83612-1. $16.95. Ages 4-8.
Samantha’s parents warn her that she’ll be sorry if she hits her brother, but she worries that she’ll be sorry if she doesn’t. And so she does (Smack. Waaaaaah!) What Samantha doesn’t reckon on however, are the amazing consequences that unfold as her little brother cries, and cries, and cries some more.
Schneider uses a primary palette of green hues which work well with the watery action, and the watercolor illustrations are full of humorous details that will delight children. Particularly engaging are the portraits on the wall that watch, and react to, the drama unfolding before them; one spread revealing a framed picture floating on water, and holding up an S.O.S sign as the water level climbs the stairs.
Characters here are represented as mice, and though the result of Samantha’s violence is somewhat fantastical, the message behind the humor is an important one. Once Samantha has apologized, she still feels she wants to now pinch her brother, but she has learned, from experience, the disastrous fallout of her violent urges. This book is a great tool in teaching children the consequence of their actions—especially for families in which hitting has become an issue.
Kate takes care to
keep her house and garden neat, and doesn’t like
the local wildlife’s habit of feeding off her vegetables.
She’d rather keep all her food for herself and her
pet cat. Her orderly existence is interrupted when a giant
named Bruce starts building an unusual house next-door.
During the summer and fall, while Kate works to tend her
garden and store food for the winter, Bruce takes advantage
of the fine weather to play and fish. He doesn’t
pay attention to Kate’s many reminders that he “should
do something useful.” One winter night, while Kate
relaxes comfortably in her cozy house, the drafty home
that Bruce never got around to fortifying is blown away
by a storm. Bruce keeps up his good spirits and, seeing
no other option, Kate brings him into her household. She
doesn’t want to share her food, but when Bruce offers
to cook hammer soup, her interest (and tummy) are intrigued.
As a yummy soup is concocted, a new friendship is formed.
The Old Owl sweeps through the nighttime forest, encountering nocturnal creatures from a musical cricket to a scavenging raccoon, who contribute to the different sights, smells, and sounds of the woods. The repeating motif of “Whooo!” and “Whooo’s there?” leads the reader through Old Owls’ discovery of the various lifestyles of the forest inhabitants. The peacefulness of the moonlight shadowed leaves delightfully contrasts the activity of the moon-eyed insects and animals. Framed by the passage from dusk to dawn, this fun picture book of rhyming narrative by Mary Serfozo complements Jeffrey Scherer’s engagingly colorful illustrations. Whooo’s There? presents an enjoyable venture into the lives of our nocturnal friends.
This picture book, inspired by Arabian Nights: Tales from a Thousand and One Nights—an ancient work of Persian literature featuring hundreds of tales within the frame of the story of a ruler’s wife who evades death each night by entertaining her husband with her clever storytelling—warns against the danger of repaying a good deed with evil. Sunami’s revision of this classic frame story features a poor fisherman who finds a genie in a bottle (reminiscent of the well-known tale from Arabian Nights, “Aladdin”) while fishing in the Arabian Sea. The clever fisherman tells the vengeful genie a story within a story as he attempts to convince the genie, who has vowed to kill the one who releases him from his 3,000 year prison, to spare his life.
Sunami’s multi-layered narrative is embedded within a short introduction and poems on the first and last pages. Each story within a story is set apart by a different typeface, and is also signified through the enlarged first letter of the first word for each tale (a technique common to books of fairy tales, as well as medieval illuminated manuscripts). This engaging picture book, illustrated vividly with a variety of striking angles and jewel-toned colors by Amiko Hirao, artfully portrays an ancient message of the triumph of good over evil in the colorfully-rendered setting of a fantastical middle east.
Picture your dad as a dog (just for a day). What would you do? Tellis combines photographs of a handsome chocolate Labrador with simple, gaily-colored backdrops to accompany her rhymed text in this amusing and imaginative romp.
The narrator walks Dad through a day of doggy fun from walks in the park to a prize at the dog show. Designed to be read aloud, this easy-to-follow tale should provide lots of laughs for young canine-loving audiences. Better let Dad read it first, though.
In this night-time tale, Thach puts a surprise twist on the monster under the bed.
A girl meets the monster under her bed, discovering that not only is he harmless (his only sin is stealing socks), he’s under the bed because he’s afraid of the monster in her closet, who likes the smell of clean laundry and is also hiding. He’s afraid of the monster in the attic, who’s afraid of the monster in the basement, who’s afraid of her!
A Child’s Guide to Common Household Monsters is fun and adorable. Thach has written the book in rhyme, so it would be a great book to read aloud in a classroom, maybe even on Halloween or to your child before bedtime.
The illustrations by David Udovic are finely done. They are gigantic, often taking up two pages, and sometimes they’re vertical. Udovic’s monsters look silly and strange, maybe even a tiny bit cuddly, with a child-like quality about them, definitely the antithesis of the Boogey Man.
The way the text and illustrations work together is interesting. The text doesn’t tell a linear narrative. Thach’s verse tells readers about the monsters, for example, “Your house is full of monsters, from the basement to the roof! The first is very near-at-hand, just underneath your bed. There upon the hardwood floor he lays his hairy head.” While Thach describes the ghoulies, Udovic tells a story with his illustrations, depicting a girl first finding the monster under her bed and then going with him to confront the monster he’s afraid of. The girl does this with each monster until the end when morning comes and they help her make breakfast.
The text and pictures work well together. If the illustrations had been more like a guide and had simply shown a picture of each monster with the verse, readers might not be as engaged as with a linear narrative. This way, readers are swallowed into the story. No pun intended.
Colin Thompson is known for his fabulous, fantastical and abstract illustrations. Castles fits right in, featuring his usual flair and phenomenal imagination. Castles is not really a story. It is more a series of pictures of amazing and surreal castles accompanied by Thompson’s explanation of them. The castles range from one made from musical instruments, one formed around the words “My castle is the best castle in creation,” to the castle of the lost city of Atlantis.
As usual with Thompson’s illustrations, it could take a lifetime to fully discover every detail he incorporates into his drawings. For example, this book features castles of every shape and kind, but within these castles there are princes and princesses who are scattered in minute places of the castles. It takes awhile to find them all—if you even can. Also, for example, in the music castle, on first glance you might only see that the castle is built around several different instruments like a violin, a guitar, clarinet and trombone, but there is so much more to it. Some of the castles towers are guitar frets, one of the reed pipes has a café in it, and one of the instrument knobs is actually a deer head. Each castle is full these fascinating and creative details. Every time you examine one of the castles you are sure to find something new.
Another book of Thompson that I really enjoy is based on the lost city of Atlantis. It is called Looking for Atlantis. It has a lot of similarities to Castles in terms of those little details embedded within the illustrations. It was the book that first made me a fan of Thompson’s work.
Castles is another superior work. Thompson’s works are like ongoing puzzles and mazes. It is a very engaging book for children.. I would highly recommend this book. I truly enjoyed it a lot, and look forward to discovering new details the next time I look over this book.
This book about kindness
could be obvious and moralistic, but it’s not. It
starts with an elementary school teacher reading Aesop’s
fable about the Lion and the Mouse to her students. They
understand the message: it’s possible to be kind
whether you’re big or small. Sometimes, little acts
of kindness are the most important of activities. The
teacher asks her students to do something kind, then make
a picture of it—what a good idea. No longer abstract,
kindness becomes something the youngsters think about
DOING. Sharing soup with a neighbor, picking up litter,
reading books to siblings, setting the table—these
acts become pictures that contribute to a Kindness Quilt—not
a sewn one (kids couldn’t do that by themselves)
but one made with paper and scissors and put together
by the teacher for display on the wall. But the acts of
kindness keep growing, and so does the paper quilt. Soon
the quilt must be moved from the small classroom bulletin
board to one of the walls in the school hallway, providing
a lot of satisfaction for everyone who takes part in its
Set in a Florence gloriously painted by John Thompson, Newbery Award-winner Nancy Willard’s cautionary folk tale is about a young baker and his wife who inherit the family’s small business. But, alas, they have no skill and make little effort to succeed. Customers go elsewhere. Slowly the husband sells the furniture, but the wife puts her foot down when their bed is sold. (The painting of the wife yelling at the husband and their postures, seen from above, is most expressive.) The husband “happens” upon a bed store in which one bed is most unusual. First it scares the heck out of him and his wife by flying around in the night sky, with them in it. Then it brings them good fortune—magic yeast that turns the baker from a failure into a prosperous man.
But, of course, not for long. The
tale twists and turns through to its end; it’s worth
finding out what happens.
What a treat! The author Winter and the artist Qualls fuse their arts on pages that flow with language, color, and design. Suits the subject: Dizzy Gillespie. Basically biography, this picturebook brings new life to a great man.