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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Terrific Tuesday

All Kinds of Strong by Sharon Reiss Baker, illustrated by Kris Wiltse is a sweet story about a little girl, Sadie Rose, that doesn't seem to be growing very well.  It's about intergenerational friendship and about loss and hope.  I enjoyed the old-fashioned story that shows how a person can be conceived by others but then comes shining through to show that they are stronger than perceived. 
The art, I thought at first, was done with block print somehow, but on consulting the publishing information found that the illustrations were created in Corel Painter and Adobe Photoshop.  The really give the feel of block printing.  I love the bold lines and textured painting. 
There is an activity guide at one of my favorite websites - Teachers Pay Teachers, here. You have to sign-up but they have so many free lesson plan items.  It's one of my go-to websites.
I'll use this title with second to fourth or fifth grade; it's a longer picture book story and students will understand it's 'strong' meaning.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Marvelous Monday

Brimsby's Hats by Andrew Prahin is so delightful.  I love the simplicity of the story and the art.  A friendship story and finding new friends, it hits rather poignantly.  I love the Adobe illustrations done with limited palette from spread to spread.  It has a good variety of white space and full page color.  The loneliness is palatable. This title is quite inventive and unique.  I can't wait to share it with parents, teachers, and children.
I think I'll use this with first and second graders.  Emotionally, I think the primary students will appreciate this story more than preschool or Kindergarten.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Favorites

Kay Kay's Alphabet Safari words and pictures by Dana Sullivan is a lively quest for animals from A to Z in a friendly Kenyan backdrop.  The story starts when Kay Kay thinks the new walls of the school need some cheerful art to help the children learn their ABCs.  As he tracks down animals for inspiration, Kay Kay misses what is right under his nose.  The animals finally help Kay Kay see what has evaded him.
The art is watercolors and pencil. I applaud the wet-in-wet look to the trees, the elephant and hippo. In the scene where Kay Kay is painting on the wall, I admire the more detailed realistic animals on the walls and by the same artist is the neighborhood animals that are more jazzy and loosely drawn and painted. Being able to apply both styles is great.
I appreciate that there are familiar creatures and at least three I had to look up.  I love how Kay Kay is friends with every animal along the way.  It's an inviting story based on a real school in Bungoma, Kenya.  There is a glossary of English to Swahili words and sayings, an author's note, and map at the back. 
I'll use this title in my Preschool Storytime and with Kindergarten students.  It will be a terrific addition to our ABC shelf.  I will definitely recommend it to parents and teachers.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thoughtful Thursday

Scaredy Kate by Jacob Grant spotlights children's fears.  Our heroine, Kate, is afraid of her aunt's dog.  She stumbles into an elevator and finds a package and starts a very slow ride to the 10th floor.  At every floor a monster gets on the elevator.  Kate is scared but these monsters are quite winsome. You'll get the pattern quickly as you follow Kate to a mysterious 10th floor that looks like a park with a party.
The bright art wins you over with its shadowy affect and simple nature, but don't forget to pay close attention, there are some terrific details. The art was drawn with charcoal and then colored digitally.
I'll use this in Preschool Storytime and with children up to 2nd grade.  I'll recommend it to parents and teachers.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wonderful Wednesday

Sparky! written by Jenny Offill, illustrated by Chris Appelhans will be treasured all over the world by children who want a pet but can't have one.  The girl in the story gets a promise from mom, "...as long as it doesn't need to be walked or bathed or fed," she can have a pet. So what does she do?  She heads to her school librarian!  Oh, yes, this will also be treasured by librarians all over the world too.  She finds the perfect pet.  You'll have to read Sparky! yourself to find out what happened and to enjoy this slightly offbeat book.
The illustrations were rendered in watercolor and pencil. The limited palette sets an interesting mood.  It's quiet, not quite somber, but still lighthearted.  It will give parents pause when they make a promise and then have to keep it.  It's a bit unusual, but I like it.  It reminds me of life, you try to fit in and work around a parent that says no.  You succeed, but in the end, you still really don't fit in.  I'll use it in Storytime and suggest it to parents and teachers.  I'd use it with children from 4 or 5 years-old to third grade.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Terrific Tuesday

Froodle by Antoinette Portis is a rhyming jubilee!  Each bird always makes the same sound, until one day when little brown bird decides to go for it and make a new sound.  The cardinal and the dove love it, but crow, not so much.  Well it just takes him longer to get used to the idea.
The art for this book was created with pencil, charcoal, and ink.  Color was added digitally. The text is sparse but then Portis is an expert at  the 'less is more' idea.  
Phonemic Awareness is all over this book.  When the birds come up with new sounds they are silly, nonsense words that rhyme, so this will be a strong contender for playing with the sounds in words and helping children hear those different sounds and learn more about how language works. This is just right to read with any child that is hearing and understanding that different animals make different sounds.  It also lends itself to Letter Knowledge.  And although this is a superb book for early literacy, it will also be enjoyed by grades 1 - 3.  

Monday, August 25, 2014

Marvelous Monday

Big Bad Bubble words by Adam Rubin, pictures by Daniel Salmieri is hilariously funny.  I can't wait to use it with my preschoolers in Storytime.  I can see them laughing and having a ball with this story.  Imagine great big, huge monsters afraid of a bubble.  I have some bubble wrap we can use and regular bubbles too.
The illustrations were executed in watercolor, pen and ink, and collage.  The surreal world of the monsters is delightful.  The text has the narrator voice and one of the monster's voice.  It will be fun to go back and forth with this in a read aloud. This title will be a great starter to talk about fears with children.  Besides preschoolers I'll use this with Kindergarten to grade 2.