Monday, February 29, 2016

My World by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd

This book is the lesser known younger sibling of Goodnight Moon. A few years ago, I saw this mini library of three books in TJ Maxx. It was a must buy. I had read Goodnight Moon (who hasn't?) and Runaway Bunny, but not My World. It is very sweet. particularly in a mini version.  

I love little book sets in a little box. 

This is the first page. Kids are really amazed at seeing the cover of the book they are reading inside the book. 

Like Goodnight Moon, and many other books of the time, My World alternates between a colored spread and a black and white spread. 

Throughout the book, the little bunny compares his little things to his parents bigger version. 

Love this kitchen, with the odd pop out table. 

This picture in the little book was the reason I had to buy the bigger version. I love this little bunny working with his Daddy on car things. 

The colors are great. All those clear cut, straight forward colors.

Mother reading in a rocking chair as the sunsets... Life is good!

Oh, the simplicity of a child's world!

Friday, February 26, 2016

The First Robin by Robert Kraus

I have a thing for little books. While I have very little resistance to books in general, I haven't even a shred of will power when it comes to little books. I pretend that I am buying them for the kids, buuuut I am really buying them so I can hold them and see them and admire them. I like little things. Including wee little wooden robins and bunnies. 

I also love daffodils. And I am particularly pleased with this one, since I forced it myself, which makes me feel enormously clever. Imagine! I am capable of producing little bursts of sunshine on my windowsill. Happiness!

These books are from a four book set called The Bunny's Nutshell library. I only have three, without dust jackets, because if they have dust jackets they are ridiculously expensive. We are talking over $100 for all four teensy books in the set, complete with dust jackets. I got these three for $8. With four kids, I am not at the point where it makes sense to get perfect little collectible kids books. (I highly doubt I will ever be in a position where it will seem like a good idea to spend that sort of money on books.)

My favorite of these books in The First Robin. It is a little story, with nothing too fascinating happening. However, it is about spring, and robins, and daffodils, kindly groundhogs, doting mothers, and impulsive offspring. Which makes for a very cozy little story. 

(Daffodils, besides being delightfully yellow, are useful for keeping books open while you use both hands to take pictures.)

The basic storyline is a little kid robin who left his warm winter area early to be the first robin of spring. 

Something about the fat little robin against the blankness of the page, makes me happy. 

In fact, Richard the robin was so early he caught a chill and a cold in the head. Kindly Groundhog takes him in and cozies him up. 

Richard's doctor comes to check him out and does nothing much except bust out a dance move and tell Richard to stay in bed. Gilbert and Elsie think the doctor is hilarious.  

While wee Richard is in bed, kindly groundhog, entertains him with a shadow show of spring things. 

Soon after, Mrs. Robin comes looking for her little Richard. 

Mrs. Robin nurses him through the night. 

In the morning, everyone is asleep except Richard. 

Who goes out to see if spring had come. And it had!

"And he was the first robin!" 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

The illustrations in this book are marvelous. Jerry Pinkney is a Caldecott award winning artist, so marvelous illustrations are his modus operandi. At the moment, he has won the Caldecott Medal once and has had five Caldecott Honor books, the runner ups to the main Caldecott winner, to his name. Jerry Pinkney is a pretty big deal! 

This was a book we got out of the library and as soon as we cracked the cover, I was planning on adding it to our permanent collection. The pictures are that great.

Although I knew additional verses to Twinkle, Twinkle existed, I never knew much about them. To be honest, I still don't know the verses all that well. Those marvelous illustrations grab my attention too thoroughly. But if you are terribly clever and focused, you could learn the additional verses. 

Opening the book to this glorious riot of morning glories, predisposed me to find the entire rest of the book delightful.  

On the first few pages, the little chipmunk investigates various starry shapes found in nature. 

Queen Anne's Lace, dewy cobwebs, fireflies. 

And then the chipmunk finds a nest. 

Quite soon, the chipmunk, decked out in a snappy little sailor suit, sails away in the robins nest. 

Much to the robin's consternation.

Pinkney alternates between pages with lines of the song and wordless pages. It allows you to sing the song, and tell the chipmunks story at the same time. 

The wind blowing "the traveler in the dark."

Then the chipmunk falls, down, down, down to land gently in a lily blossom. 

He leans out to touch a star shining on the water and is suddenly upset by a jumping fish. 

The swan rescues him from drowning and nestles him in a cozy little nest of swans down on her back, to fly him back to land.

And at the end, you realize this little chipmunk was just having a very vivid dream. 

But aren't the pictures great?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Quentin Blake's Zagazoo

Quentin Blake illustrated Roald Dahl books so well that it is hard for me to separate him from Roald Dahl in my head. Zagazoo is a book Blake wrote in his own right, but there are elements of Roald Dahl's zany humor. 

This is Quentin Blake's hilarious and clever view of parenthood. The first time I read it, flipping though it quickly at (guess where I got this!!!!) the library sale, I was a little unsure of the point, but suddenly, it all came clear. And then there was such a sense of recognition that this is now a must have book for me.  

A superb book for any parent.

George and Bella were a happy couple. One day the postman delivered an odd looking parcel.

Inside was a baby, with a tag saying "It's name is Zagazoo." 

George and Bella had a lot of fun with Zagazoo, throwing him around. 


One morning, Zagazoo had changed into a screeching baby vulture. I believe this would be the nurse-me-round-the-clock-or-else-I-will-scream-non-stop stage that sets in at any time the first year. 

Then a bumbling toddler.

A messy little kid.

A bad tempered little adolescent. 

There is also a phase (of which I forgot to take a picture) of Zagazoo switching between the elephant, the vulture, the warthog, and dragon on any given day. That mixed up time in middle school. 

Suddenly, Zagazoo became a strange, hairy creature. 


And finally, after all that changing, Zagazoo settled into a presentable, well adjusted person. I don't necessarily think kids aren't a little person, even while they are bumbling around elephant-like, but I think the idea of suddenly realizing, after all the uncertainty and the "Can we actually pull off this raising a kid thing?" feelings, that you have raised a charming person you enjoy knowing is a never ending delight every parent can relate to. Well most parents.   

Zagazoo met Mirabelle and they discovered a shared interest in motorcycle maintenance.

When they tell George and Bella the happy news of their impending marriage, they find that George and Bella had suddenly turned into something completely different.  I am not sure I totally understand the ending, but I think it is the idea of young people viewing middle aged parents as a different species that they feel very removed from. Who wants to think there is a chance you could end up like a middle aged couple when life is all exciting and limitless?

I am not very good at giving away the whole story am I? BUT IT IS SO FUN. I had to tell all about it. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Welcome Back, Sun by Michael Emberley

This is a perfectly enchanting book. The illustrations are gorgeous, and the little girl, yearning for sunlight, can find a responsive chord in any northern heart. We might have sun through the winter, but it is limited. And weak. As the sun strengthens through February, there is a surge of joy. 

Welcome back, sun! 

I found this book in a library sale last year. (I probably can stop saying that, since I find pretty much all my books at library book sales.)  It is about a small Norwegian village, deep in a valley that has no direct sunlight from September until March; they call these months, murketiden, the murky time. This story is about a village tradition, based on a centuries old tale of a little girl who misses the sun so much, she climbs the mountain to meet the sun and bring it back down to her village. Each year, the valley residents climb the mountain on a particular day to watch the sunrise, and then the sun follows them back to their village that afternoon. 

Seriously. This picture is marvelous! 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Campanita by Noelia F Benavente

Today, we won't discuss the quality of the writing because this is entirely in... Spanish I believe. My littlest sister spent some time in Argentina last year and she brought me home this vintage primer book. How well she knows me. I adore retro kid stuff. So we will just delight in the pictures. Because I really have no idea what they are going on about in the words. 

Oh how cute!


And I am going to try out page jumps for a little while to see how I like them. It seems like it will make the main page easier to navigate. We shall see. 

Please read on....