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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wonderful Wednesday

You Nest Here with Me by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Temple, illustrated by Melissa Sweet is such a lovely watercolor, mixed media title.  It starts with a mother and daughter, time to go to bed, then continues with other 'nestlings'. It's rhyming and informative about where birds make their nests. 
"Pigeons nest on concrete ledges, catbirds nest in greening hedges, tiny wrens, in shoreline sedges. You nest here with me."
Melissa's illustrations done in watercolor, gouache, and mixed media are expressive and lively.  I just love her style so much.  
It's a comforting story, meant to show your child that their home is with you.  I'll use this with Preschool to 2nd grade.  I like how you could slip this in with a bird theme for Storytime or a parent and child theme.  With all the babies, I took notice of it for Spring.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Marvelous Monday

Pipsie Nature Detective: The Disappearing Caterpillar by Rick DeDonato, illustrated by Tracy Bishop is a bright, learning story.  At first glance, in the purple and pink, Pipsie with the cutsie name made me think: "princess story", but if this is a princess story, it's a new kind of princess story.  One where the young lady is smart, well-read, knows how to do research, and solve mysteries.  Pipsie is a scientist! Alfred, her sidekick helper, a turtle is great.  The story starts off when a small baby caterpillar is found on Alfred's head.  All three become friends, then one day Frannie, the caterpillar is gone.  Pipsie and Alfred have a mystery to solve.  
The art appears to have been drawn with pencil and painted with watercolors.  There may have been some digital coloring too.  I love the luminous colors used.  Pipsie's features are very engaging and show her personality well. I especially love the pages that show underground pieces, where the milkweed plants are growing and in the the insect garden area where you see underwater in the pond. These areas show a natural way for parents and teachers to build upon more nature in the story than the butterfly life cycle.  I also love the inviting space that is Pipsie's Tree House, every child will want one!
I'll use this title with Preschoolers to 3rd graders.  There is a website, here. For teachers, parents,and children to further explore Pipsie's adventure.  You can win a free book, make your own nature notebook, learn more facts, and go on to Alfred's blog.  It looks like a ton of fun, check it out. The activity kit is a wonderful tool.

 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Friday Favorites

Hoot Owl: Master of Disguise by Sean Taylor, illustrated by Jean Jullien is so fun! Hoot Owl is hungry and like most owls is looking for a bunny or smaller bird to eat.  But Hoot Owl decides to disguise himself to sneak up on his prey.  The costumes are comical and the story just gets sillier and sillier.
The art appears to be drawn with ink and brush and then digitally colored.  The text and illustrations go so well together, Hoot Owl is stealthy and a first-rate hunter, but I kinda get the feeling this might be his first time hunting, too.
I can't wait to share this with the kids.  I'll use it with Preschoolers to 2nd graders.  This story has the sophistication of catching the children's interest with the owl hunting it's prey and then missing it every time, and then the great, goofy ending when he does catch his quarry.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Thrilling Thursday

Monty's Magnificent Mane by Gemma O'Neill is marvelous, simply marvelous! OK, I do love this, but I use marvelous because of the MMs. Monty has a giant ego about his hair.  The meerkats play with it, he struts his stuff, he admires himself in the shimmery waterhole, where there is a friend lurking, crocodile who chomps off a big chunk of his mane.  So Monty hightails it out of there until the meerkats are in trouble, then he saves them.  So I'm glad Monty overcame his egotism to help his friends.
But I also love this title because of the mixed media.  The collage and wild colors of the mane are amazing! I mean when someone can make muddy, murky water beautiful, that's cool.  And she manages to make Monty's mane look like its fire. I love it. With the mixed media you don't know exactly how that's done, but I'm looking into that.  It appears to be colored pencil, some crayon, bits of newspaper and maps, and other specialty papers. I would imagine some digital coloring too.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Wonderful Wednesday

Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance and Dance by Birgitta Sif is a lovely story about being brave.  Frances Dean was afraid to dance around other people, but she so loved to dance.  So little by little she started to share her dance with others.  First it was the birds, then a cat, then a dog, and she moved on to sharing with people.  
The illustrations were done in pencil and colored digitally.  I love the little park, forest area that she's created around Frances Dean.  Her house, school and neighbors are charming, but the animals and nature are even more inviting.  I feel like I would be brave too, if I had those birds, squirrels and critters to encourage me.
I'll use this title with children in Preschool to 2nd grade.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Terrific Tuesday

Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino, pictures by Isabelle Malenfant is amazing!  I love Morris, he is himself, he knows what he likes and he sticks to it.  "...so Morris built his own." is the best line of all.  The others don't want to include him because of his preferences, so he builds his own spaceship and wears the dress anyway, and clicks in the shoes.  Morris is my hero. "This boy does." Second best line - EVER!
The illustrations were done in charcoal, watercolor, pastel and Adobe Photoshop. They are mostly muted colors so the orange tangerine can stand out so well.  I love how the tangerine dress kind of floats in and out.  You can almost hear it crinkle.  Another aspect of this story that is marvelous is there is no adult interruption or interference.  Morris works it out with their acceptance of his choices.  And the children come around as the example is shown.
I'll use this with PreK to 3rd grade.  This is a title that is a must have in any library.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Marvelous Monday

The Fruits We Eat by Gail Gibbons is another win for this awesome author/illustrator.  This informational text lays out how fruits are good for our health. It takes us through he different kinds of fruits, like from bushes, trees, plants, vines, and farms. 
The art is rendered in watercolors and I think ink.  I've always loved her straight forward artwork that shows how things grow or work.  She has this uncanny knack for making a scientific process simple and understandable but she doesn't 'dumb' it down for children. 
Teachers, here is a link to her webpage for a teacher's guide. It doesn't include the fruit book yet, but it includes a lot of her other informational texts.
This title will be used with Preschoolers to Third grade.