Monday, May 22, 2017

This Is My Book by Mark Pett

This book speaks to the inner control freak in me. 

This is my book. I get to make the rules!!

Mark Pett describes what he does as the author and illustrator of the book. 

I am the author, 
and that means I get to write
all of the words.

I am also the illustrator,
so I get to make all of the pictures, too.
Here, I'll draw something. 

The panda he draws takes on a life of his own. 

Mark Pett gets a little short with the reader for scribbling on the pages. Although we know who is doing the scribbling. 

Little kids love knowing something the author doesn't. 

Finally he figures out what his creation is up to

Pett starts making rules to keep everything shipshape.

As quickly as he makes the rules, this unruly panda breaks them. 

Kids love misbehaving characters. 

Optimistically, he keeps making rules. 

Obstinately, the panda keeps breaking them. 

He adds some characters.

Book flaps!!

We love pull tabs!!

I feel like this when I am trying to get kids to clean their rooms. 


Finally everyone stops to listen. 

Which is boring. 

And finally he concedes that the characters are allowed to help. 

One of my favorite parts of this book is that it includes a little blank book for the reader to make their own book. What kid wouldn't love to have a little blank book?!

This part of the book is lost a little in a library, since not every kid that checks out the book can have a little blank book. But this is a fun book to discuss author/illustrator with young kids. And little blank books are easy enough to make. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Foreign Lands by Robert Louis Stevenson and Gyo Fujikawa

Foreign Lands

Up into the cherry tree
Who should climb but little me?
I held the trunk with both my hands
And looked abroad on foreign lands.

I saw the next door garden lie,
Adorned with flowers before my eye
And many pleasant places more
That I had never seen before.

I saw the dimpling river pass
And be the sky's blue looking glass;
The dusty roads go up and down 
With people tramping into town.

If I could find a higher tree
Father and father I should see,
To where the grown-up river slips 
Into the sea among the ships,

To where the roads on either hand
Lead onward into fairyland,
Where all the children dine at five,
And all the playthings come alive. 

                                                  --Robert Louis Stevenson

                                                                                        Gyo Fujikawa's A Children's Garden of Verses

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

You and Me and the Wishing Tree by Nancy Tillman

Since I was too lazy to put up a Mother's Day post, here is a lovely mother-child book. With a selfless mother and a sweet, but mostly selfish little kid. Benevolent tyrant style. 

And unicorns. What more do we need? 

One day a little child wakes up to find a wishing tree outside his house. 

He begins to wish magical things. 

The ability to fly first, of course.  

He and his mother fly all around wishing for and finding magical things. 

Like bears on a beach picnic. 

And unicorns.

And hopscotching penguins. 

This boy know what to wish for. 

Aren't the pictures great? They are almost photographic in spots and then impressionistic in others. 

As you drifted off to sleep, you whispered, 
"Did your wish come true?"
I whispered back, "My little one, 
my wish was just to be with you." 

In typical little kid fashion, he didn't think to ask his mother to make a wish, but then because he is a nice boy, he did remember finally. 

And in typical momma fashion, she reassures him that she only wanted to be with him. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Love Song of the Little Bear by Margaret Wise Brown and Peter Brown

Love Song of the Little Bear

By the clear waters
One morning in May
A little bear was singing
In words that seemed to say,

"It's a long time that I've loved you.
Never, never go away.

"It's a long time that I've loved you
And if I seem to stray
It's only that I'm watching 
The flowers bloom in May.

"It's a long time that I've loved you.
Never, never go away.

"The birds are singing sweetly,
The robin and the jay. 
It's only you I'm loving
On this bright green day.

"It's a long time that I've loved you.
Never, never go away.

"Float little glass bottles
On waters green and gray.
Float little glass bottles
With messages that say:

"It's a long time that I've loved you.
Never, never go away.

That is the little love song 
Of the little bear today
Whose four fur feet are walking
Through these green fields of May.

"It's a long time that I've loved you.
Never, never go away.

This is my little love song
And all I have to say.

"It's a long time that I've loved you.
Never, never go away.

                                                             --Margaret Wise Brown

                                                                        From A Celebration of the Seasons

Monday, May 8, 2017

Spring: An Alphabet Acrostic by Steven Schnur & Illus by Leslie Evans

Ironically, the ground and new leaves are covered in snow this morning. But despite these technical glitches, it IS spring. 

My daughters have been all about acrostic poems lately, so when I saw this at the library, I had to take it home for them. 

This is one of those books that I enjoy, but it doesn't make me squeak with happiness.

 It is a nice, solid choice for spring or to illustrate the acrostic poem form. 

Cows and calves and new leaves do delight me however. Aren't these cute pictures? 

Laying in the grass is one of the best parts of warmer weather. 

Green leaves overhead a
Rug of green underfoot   
And the air between         
Sweet with the green        
Smell of spring                 

Laying on the grass under a flowery bower is even better. 

I always consider the letter x to be the true test of an alphabet book. Railroad crossing works. At least it isn't xylophone! 

Friday, May 5, 2017

This Amazing Day by EE Cummings and Pamela Dalton

I thank you God for most this amazing
day; for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and
a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes.

                                                            --E.E. Cummings
                                                                                               Katherine Patterson's Giving Thanks

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Let Your Voice Be Heard: The Life and Times of Pete Seeger by Anita Silvey

I liked the cover of this book. I really didn't know much about Peter Seeger before, but he was a fascinating character. I love that he never backed down on the things he really cared about. And,,, the banjo. I love the banjo. 

Today would have been his 98th birthday. 

Pete's family actually came from money. But they set off in a little car and trailer to listen to the songs of Appalachia. I think they intended to bring classical music to isolated areas, but instead were enchanted with their music. 

Pete was a failed journalist and artist, trying to make a buck when he took up playing music for money. One of his first "groups" included Woody Guthrie on the left there. 

He cared about workers rights, so he played a lot of Union rallies.

This is his portrait in the National Portrait Gallery. Doesn't he just look delighted with life? 

With the Seekers, he became popular and wealthy. 

Pete's story is pretty much a fairy tale--we have the true love and happy ever after marriage to Toshi (70 years together).

And we have the villan--J Edgar Hoover, who painted Seeger as a Communist sympathizer and destroyed his successful career with the Seekers.  

The Seeger family. I mean really, he always is looking delighted. 

Pete knew he was going to have to face the Committee on UnAmerican Activities, but he didn't let it ruin him. 

When he was finally called before the committee, he showed up with his banjo. 

I like his style. 

He never wavered in his defense. He loved America and no longer believed in practical Communism. He was only exercising his American rights when he spoke up in defense of Unions and the ideals of communism. 

After being cleared, he went on to march with Civil Rights activists. He is the one that made We Shall Overcome an anthem for the Civil Rights movement.

In later years, when he wasn't performing at inaugurations, he was cleaning up the Hudson River and launching Clearwater, a river schooner he would use to take kids on day trips to teach them about taking care of the river.