Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A Funny Little Bird by Jennifer Yerkes

This is a fun little book about a bird without an outline. 

You can only see him when he was near other things. 

Most little kids can readily recognize this invisibility as real life. My kids have been listening to Ramona audiobooks and this invisibility is the focus of much of Ramona's life. How do you make people really see you?

The little bird resented this. He felt invisible. So he decided to find things to make him visible. 

Brightly colored feathers! 

Squash flowers!

In all his finery, the little bird forgot the benefits of being invisible. Suddenly he is visible to predators.

He quickly sheds his adopted finery in favor of safety.

And now, he is content being himself. 

And helps his friends disappear when danger comes calling. 

Still, he occasionally puts a little finery on. Just for fun. 

There is still so much fun in trying things out! 

Monday, June 26, 2017

If I had a little dream by Nina Laden & Illus by Melissa Castrillon

This is a book Clover brought up for me to look at and it is adorable. Really, Clover has pretty good taste in kids books. Maybe because she is a children's librarian from way back, but who knows. 

This cute little girl has a marvelous imagination, speaks poetically, has a penchant for naming things and thinks in bright blues, oranges, and reds. Quite an effective combination.

If I had a little house
I would name it Love.
Love would make me happy
and protect me like a glove. 

Gardens feed my heart and soul, so I hear you sister! 

If I had a little pond, 
I would name it Wonder. 

I love little wondering kids. 

Birds bringing food is pretty adorable. I also like how she says a table would be a place to share delicious things to eat and puts one cupcake there and waits for lots of birds to bring her food. That is totally a kids idea of sharing. I will give this teensy thing and you give me lots. 

Still adorable!

Sleeping kids on a rainy day.... Oh my heart!

If I had a little brother 
I would name him Sky. 
Sky would be the air I breathe,
together we would fly. 

Siblings are a pretty big deal. Brothers are alright I guess... Ha! They are pretty fabulous. 

I have two lullabys to walk around with. And apparently I am lullaby for two more sisters. I am very rich in sisters, so my whole life is filled with song. 

If I had a little dream, 
I would name it You. 
You would make life magical, 
and make my dream come true. 


Friday, June 23, 2017

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman and Pamela Dalton

I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars,
And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of the wren,
And the tree-toad is a chef-d'oeuvre for the highest,
And the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of heave,
And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery,
And the cow crunching with dpressed head surpasses any stature,
And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels,
And I could come every afternoon of my life to look at the farmer's girl boiling
her iron tea-kettle and baking shortcake.

                                              --Walt Whitman

                                                                                             From Katherine Patterson's Giving Thanks

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Nora's Roses by Satomi Ichikawa

This book is fanciful, sweet, and involves roses. For the longest time, I didn't think I liked it, not sure why. It was one of those library book sale books that are bought en masse that I don't carefully look through for years. Recently I looked through it again and---love! 

First of all, I love the name Nora. If I had had my way, our second daughter would have been a Nora.  I lost that discussion, but I got to put it as her middle name. Which is all to the good as it turns out since she is completely and totally a Lillian/Lily. Still love the name though, so I am always prejudiced in favor of little dark haired girls named Nora. 

This poor Nora is stuck in bed with a cold. 

What could be more boring than this? thought Nora.

After a little wallowing, Teddy was so bored he opened the curtains to discover a rose blooming just outside the window. 

Nora's toys are no ordinary toys. 

After that, they are not as bored because they watch everyone stop to smell the roses. 

Her friends stop by. 

The violinist stops to smell the roses, as does the carpenter and his daughter.

Her other friends come by, but they leave again. Nora starts to feel a little lonely again.

She falls asleep and starts to dream...

The roses grew feet and came to visit.

I find this dream entirely charming. Roses playing violins and cellos.....

She wakes as the neighbor's cow comes to eat the roses. 

Seems an uncomfortable thing to eat. 

After Buttercup was done, there was only one rose left. 

Nora wanted to keep that last rose. But how? The various ways of preserving roses run through her mind, but none of them are quite right. 

And then she knows what to do. 

She draws a picture to keep forever.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Flower Fairies of the Summer by Cicely Mary Barker

A little while ago I got a great deal on all the Flower Fairies books in a box set. Since I adore these books (flowers+fairies+vintage illustrations=joy) I jumped at it. Unfortunately I am not crazy about the covers. I am getting used to them, I no longer shudder when I see them. Haha! They aren't terrible. Actually, now that I am complaining about them so vocally, I am rather liking them. 

There is no debating Cicely Mary Barker though. Love!!

The song of the Forget-me-not Fairy

The foxglove fairy

Bird's foot trefoil

I love that these are all common wildflowers. At least in my corner of the world!

Nightshade is so exotic

Harebell is practically a teenager

While heather is a little scamp. 

Scabious has one of the ugliest names, but the cutest fairy.

Scarlet Pimpernel Fairy

Okay, Scabious has a little competition for ugliest name from ragwort. Cute little fairy dress though!

Rose fairyzz

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Piece of Home by Jeri Watts & Illus by Hyewon Yum

This is a sweet, compassionate book about the heartache of pulling up roots and trying to settle in to a new place. 

In Korea, things were good. Grandma was a "wise and wonderful teacher. When students bowed, she held her shoulders erect, her eyes sparkled."

Even at home, my grandmother could find the extraordinary held within the ordinary.

His grandmother was pretty awesome. 

Friends and words were easy in Korea. 

And then.... his professor father took a job at a law school in West Virginia.

I found my world packed into three boxes and one suitcase. 

What to take, what not to take. How can you condense so much life into boxes?

West Virginia is strange. For all of them.

"...my grandmother stays at home, and she does not hold her shoulders erect and her eyes don't gleam--not at all."

In West Virginia, I am not ordinary--I am different.

My new classmates smile and talk, but it is a sharp noise. Their names sit like stones on my tongue: Steve. Tom. 

I love how this book illustrates the difference between your native habitat and a new habitat--I think it is important for children to understand that they would feel weird and odd in other cultures, just like immigrants feel a little separated from our American culture when they come to our country. 

The night is too dark, too quiet.

Even well meaning people get it wrong. 

His little sister, Se Ra does not suffer this treatment gladly. She gets so frustrated she bites the teacher.  The grandmother is ashamed and offers to accompany Se Ra to school to keep her under control. 

Such a come down from her place of respect in Korea. 

After a time, he can start to say American words. Things become a little more "normal."

He makes friends.

Grandma is learning in Se Ra's classroom as well. She makes a friend in Se Ra's teacher. 

Playing at his friend's house, Hee Jun sees the same plant his grandmother had in their garden in Korea. His friend's mother sends home a shoot and some blossoms to bring back to his grandmother. In Korea they were called mugunghwa, but in West Virginia they are called Rose of Sharon.

A little piece of home. 

This gets me because I have a fondness for familiar botanical things. After living in Alaska for four years, I was so delighted to come back here and see the wildflowers I grew up with. Whenever we visit Colorado now, I get excited to see the wildflowers I got to know living there. 

Pretty much I just like plants. But I like how plants are so connected to a place. 

Finally, finally, after a long time and a lot of work, things become ordinary in their new home. 

 I can say "Steve, come over," light like a bubble on my tongue. 
And that is ordinary in our new home.

It is interesting to think about the struggles this family felt and realize that they came here with relatively few problems. They weren't fleeing disaster, drug lords, or drought. They weren't worried that their family was being bombed back home. (Well with the state of things in North Korea, Koreans might have reason to be mildly concerned about that.) Can you imagine how much more difficult this all would be if you were stressing about all those other things? 

I love, love this book for illustrating the immigrant experience. Even though it is just from one perspective, it give kids a chance to start to think about how immigrants would feel and learn a little compassion for them.