Posts tagged ‘0-100 pages’

Drowned City

Drowned City.jpgTitle: Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans
Author/Illustrator: Don Brown
ISBN: 9780544157774
Pages: 96 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, c2015.

“Monday, August 29
The hurricane’s strength slips from category 5 to category 3. But it is still a monster, measuring four hundred miles across, with 121-mph winds. At the last moment, Katrina “wobbles” and steers a bit east of New Orleans, sparing the city a direct hit.” (12)

Published to coincide with the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, this slim volume starts before the storm and continues its coverage of the storm through the immediate aftermath.With a critical eye towards the efforts of various governments and agencies to react, he draws from multiple sources to use the words of those immediately affected by the disaster. While the city is still attempting to rebuild, and will probably continue their efforts into the foreseeable future, it’s an eye-opening account aimed at children who weren’t even alive when it happened.

Don Brown’s illustrations (which I’m told on the copyright page are “pen and ink with digital paint”) are the most affecting part of this story. Brown wisely lets the pictures tell most of the story. The double paged spread (which is divided into two panels so as to avoid loosing any of it in the bleed) on pages 30-31 is just one example. Simply narrated with “People fight the flood. Some succeed. Others do not.” readers’ eyes are arrested by the single body sinking under the water as others struggle for gasping breaths and rooftop rescuers struggle to pull them to safety. An earlier set of four panels, vertically stacked, show flip-book style a wave crashing into the town of Buras, Louisiana, with only the water tower remaining. You see the pictures and the devastation before being reassured that, in this case, “The townspeople have all evacuate and no one dies.” Those are just two of many examples of the arresting artwork and well-placed text blocks. The cover is stamped that a “Portion of the proceeds from this book has been donated to New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity.” Hopefully the funds will be put to good use. Pair with the earlier reviewed Finding Someplace, as many of that main character’s fictionalized experiences are detailed in this emotionally moving graphic novel. Highly recommended.

nonfiction mondayThis review is posted in honor of Nonfiction Monday. Take a look at what everyone else is reading in nonfiction this week.

World Penguin Day

April 25 marks World Penguin Day! Why, you ask, are penguins celebrated in April, when the weather is finally starting to cooperate (hopefully)? It’s because this day has been proven to coincide with the annual northern migration of penguins, as detailed on the Ian Somerhalder Foundation’s website.

I however continue to present my penguin themed story time in the winter, because two-year-old children have no sense of migration unless it’s the migration between my story time carpet to the toy area and back. Penguin Awareness Day is January 20th, and that’s when I choose to celebrate our fine flightless friend.

Penguin Cha-ChaTitle: Penguin Cha-Cha
Author/Illustrator: Kristi Valiant
ISBN: 9780375970726
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc., c2013.

How have I gone so long without knowing about this darling book? Julia, perched atop of a tree branch in a flouncy green skirt, is watching the dance show at the Romping Chomping Park and Zoo, when she notices some interlopers on stage. It’s the penguins, pilfering the props and beating a hasty retreat back to their enclosure. Julia is intent on joining in the fun, but the penguins see through her disguise and ultimately that of her unlikely dance partner. Will the penguins allow her to join their party, or is she relegated to observer? The penguin exhibit isn’t really an enclosure with an ice bridge leading right out through the door, but I’m suspending belief on that and most of the exhibit designs. That’s part of the whimsy, as monkeys frolic in a banana themed structure and the giraffe and elephants are seen interacting with patrons. Also part of the whimsy is Julia’s electric tape and pillow costume fooling the zoo staff and her repeated interactions with the animals. Never mind that though, suspend away, because the illustrations work so well. Bright, bold, expressive, and full of movement, these penguins have personality, possibly influenced by the penguins in the Madagascar movies.

I Wish I Could Dance.jpgTitle: I Wish I Could … DANCE!
Author: Tiziana Bendall-Brunello
Illustrator: John Bendall-Brunello
ISBN: 9781609921071
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: QEB Publishing, Inc. 2011.

Penguin watches a dance at the zoo, where the monkeys swing dance (haha) and the flamingos dance ballet and the hippos line dance. Little Penguin can’t do any of those things right. His moves spark a movement though, and creates a new “break dancing” because it breaks all the rules. Penguin is reminiscent of Gerald in the Elephant and Piggie series Elephants Can’t Dance, with his sheer enthusiasm to try something new, but his complete disregard for accuracy in light of his utter joy is unique and a refreshing spin (couldn’t resist) on attempting to learn a new skill.

Flora and the PenguinTitle: Flora and the Penguin
Author/Illustrator: Molly Idle
ISBN: 9781452128917
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: Chronicle Books LLC, c2014.

If you liked Flora and the Flamingo, you’ll enjoy this follow-up to one of a previous year’s Caldecott Honor Books. Flora, decked out in a blue snow suit with yellow accents in her shirt, hat, and the pom-poms on her ice skates, encounters a penguin whom she invites to dance. After several spins around the ice, the penguin disappears into the water to bring up a fish to present to Flora. Not as pleased with the gift as the penguin expected, his look of aghast as Flora flings it back into the frozen water is priceless. Flora than must set things right. This wordless book is designed beautifully, with a few simple flaps and one pull out page that works so well, it’s obvious Molly Idle, or someone on her team, knows what they are doing! Pay attention to the fish under the ice and the body language of the characters. A picture’s worth a thousand words, and in this case they tell so much more.

Flight School.jpgTitle: Flight School
Author/Illustrator: Lita Judge
ISBN: 9781442481770
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, c2014.

Who knew that beaks could be so expressive? Skepticism, frustration, and utter joy are all present in slight changes of the beak lines. Penguin has the soul of an eagle, but after enrolling in flight school all the other birds see is the body of a flightless penguin. He attaches feathers to his wings and jumps, but does not stay airborne. Flamingo helps him realize his dreams, but there’s one final scene where I’m sure Flamingo is questioning if that was really the best course of action. Penguin’s aviator-esque glasses defy gravity in their constant presence on his beak. The yellow sky and bright colors mean even when Penguin is disheartened, reader’s still see the light and the book’s cheerfulness is unaffected.

If You Were a Penguin.jpgTitle: If You Were a Penguin
Author/Illustrator: Wendell and Florence Minor
ISBN: 9780061130977
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: HarperCollins Children’s Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, c2009.

The Minors make the task of  melding nonfiction and fiction look effortless in this must read book. Did you know there are 17 different kinds of penguins? Many are presented in these pages, in close-up, life-like drawings. The rhyming verse addresses the audience and informs them of little-known facts, like some penguins live underground. Be sure to peruse the last page where many (but unfortunately not all) species of penguin is identified. A must read that I’ve been including for years whenever I conduct a penguin themed program.

I Am Small.jpgTitle: I Am Small
Author/Illustrator: Emma Dodd
ISBN: 9780545353700
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: Cartwheel Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., by arrangement with Templar Publishing, Surrey, United Kingdom, c2010.

A coworker clued me into this quieter tale about a tiny penguin who knows his place in the bigger world. Filled with beautiful, captivating illustrations, I’ve used this twice now and both story times the kids (well, most of them) were fascinated by the pictures. The unfortunate part is that the story starts and ends on the endpapers. This means the first and last pictures are obscured by the flaps, which in library books are taped down to avoid being lost. Blacks, grays, whites and blues are complemented with hints of silver, possibly inlaid into the page. The baby penguin is so adorable you can’t help but fall in love with him. If you’re penguin party is getting too raucous, calm them with this very soothing story.

Virgil and Owen.jpgTitle: Virgil and Owen
Author/Illustrator: Paulette Bogan
ISBN: 9781619633728
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: Bloomsbury Children’s Books, a registered trademark of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, c2015.

Some people get upset when penguins and polar bears are portrayed together in picture books, since polar bears and penguins live in different environments. According to Polar Bears International: “Although popular art and children’s books often show polar bears and penguins together, the two live at opposite poles. Polar bears live in the Arctic, a massive frozen sea surrounded by continents. Penguins live in Antarctica, an ice-covered continent surrounded by oceans.” But if librarians can read books about talking animals, giant red dogs, and other things that aren’t real, why can’t we suspend belief for just a moment and imagine that a polar bear and a penguin can be friends? Besides, no one seems to have a problem with the fact that seals have been known to eat penguins (and also apparently have sex with them my Google search results tell me… OH MY! Okay, back to the book, back to the book)

Bogan is simply suspending belief like those other authors, and she even somewhat explains the course of events if anyone bothered to look at the dedication page where we see a polar bear adrift on an ice flow heading straight for a penguin. It also explains the novelty of Owen’s existence, since penguins don’t normally come in contact with polar bears. Little details like Virgil dripping wet with snow on his face adds humor for observant readers, and it can serve as a discussion opportunity about sharing and friendship, especially after prompting children with questions like “Is Virgil happy in this picture?” Children recognize the fit Virgil pitches, even if the younger children may be unsure as to why.

The last three books listed I used for my penguin themed story time. I took an idea from Mel’s Desk and made a vertical story tube with seven different colored fish (from a less shocking Google search that directed me to ClipArt Panda) and paired it with a revised version of Marco the Polar Bear (I found it at Story Time Katie, who credits KidsSoup).Story Tube Fish.png

The reason it was revised was that the kids got so excited with the appearing fish that I cut the first verse and just repeated the second verse over and over, adding the color of the fish to the rhyme. To get rid of the fish, I saw Read Virginia had a great Feed the Penguin rhyme that I changed for different colors instead of numbers.

Feed the Penguin (adapted)
Penguin, penguin short and sweet
Would you like a fishy treat?
What color fish would you like
I think a ______ fish would taste just right!

That same website also gave me Five Royal Penguins, which I changed to little penguins, and the site adapted Five Little Monkeys (Jumping on the Bed) to Five Little Penguins. The different activities for each lyric were too much for my story time crew, so to get rid of the penguins that had accumulated we stuck with

Five little penguins playing in the snow.
One fell down and stubbed his/her toe
Mama called the doctor and the doctor said
“No more penguins playing on the snow.”

There are many, many more penguin books out there, the flightless fowl being a favorite of more than a few folks. What’s your favorite?

The Sleeper and the Spindle

Each month for a previous job, I wrote a maximum 150 word review of a new book that came into the library during the month. I’ve expanded that idea to the blog in a feature I’m calling To the Point Tuesdays. If you want to play along, just post a link in the comments and I’ll add them to the post.

Sleeper and the Spindle.jpgTitle: The Sleeper and the Spindle
Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Chris Riddell
ISBN: 9780062398246
Pages: 69 pages
Publisher/Date: first published in Rag & Bones: New Twists on Timeless Tales, published in 2013 by Little, Brown. c2013, Illustrations c2014. Originally published in the U.K. in 2014 by Bloomsbury. Published in U.S. by HarperCollins Children’s Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, c2015.

The smallest dwarf tipped his head to one side. “So, there’s a sleeping woman in a castle, and perhaps a witch or fairy there with her. Why is there also a plague?”
“Over the last year,” said the fat-faced man. “It started in the north, beyond the capital. I heard about if first from travelers coming from Stede, which is near the Forest of Acaire.”
“People fall asleep in the towns,” said the pot-girl. […]
“They fall asleep whatever they are doing, and they do not wake up,” said the sot. “Look at us. We fled the towns to come here. We have brothers and sisters, wives and children, sleeping now in their houses or cowsheds, at their workbenches. All of us.”
“It is moving faster and faster,” […] “Now it covers a mile, perhaps two miles, each day.” (18)

Three dwarfs tunnel under the mountain range in search of a wedding gift for their queen, returning with news of a horrible sleeping sickness plaguing the neighboring lands and heading closer every day. The queen, having previously faced her own sleep spell, postpones the wedding and attempts to break the spell and save both kingdoms. Although this might sound familiar, Neil Gaiman’s twist ending flips the story, and you question who is really being held captive. The queen’s confidence is obvious in both narration and illustration, and is the most welcome adaptation to the traditional tale. Two illustrations specifically catch my eye, the first has the queen standing with the dwarfs ready to embark, and the second is the full-spread gorgeously rendered drawing of the kiss. It doesn’t seem enough though to warrant publishing a previous short story as its own book, but U.S. fans will enjoy Gaiman’s newest import.

Building Our House

 

Each month for a previous job, I wrote a maximum 150 word review of a new book that came into the library during the month. I’ve expanded that idea to the blog in a feature I’m calling To the Point Tuesdays. If you want to play along, just post a link in the comments and I’ll add them to the post. This one (along with some others) never made it into the blog, so forgive me while I play catch-up.

Building Our House.jpgBuilding Our House
Author/Illustrator: Jonathan Bean
ISBN: 9780374380236
Pages: 48 pages
Publisher/Date: Farrar Straus Giroux, c2013

Based on his parent’s experience building their house, Jonathan Bean brings to life the entire construction process. Starting with a blank unbroken field, the family toils and perseveres. Through rain, wind, and snow, they lay the foundation, raise the frame, and add the roof, windows, siding, and insulation, until they can finally move in. Lots of muted colors lend an understated tone, and the illustrations and story combine to bring a warm feeling to your heart. Look for the tiny details (such as a pregnant cat and kids playing with the wheelbarrow) as this family makes a house a home.

Fraidyzoo

Each month for a previous job, I wrote a maximum 150 word review of a new book that came into the library during the month. I’ve expanded that idea to the blog in a feature I’m calling To the Point Tuesdays. If you want to play along, just post a link in the comments and I’ll add them to the post. This one (along with some others) never made it into the blog, so forgive me while I play catch-up.

Fraidyzoo.jpgTitle: Fraidyzoo
Author/Illustrator: Thyra Heder
ISBN: 9781419707766
Pages: 48 Pages
Publisher/Date: Harry N. Abrams, c2013

Although Little T’s excitable older sister is ready to go to the zoo, Little T is not. Remembering she was scared by something there but not remembering what, her family tries to help her identify what frightened her the last time. How do they do this? By designing two dozen different and elaborate animals out of cardboard, recyclable goods, and household items, of course! Read the book once for the story and the surprise ending, then go through the book again to truly appreciate Thyra Heder’s creations, which could serve as inspiration for your own “staycation” to the zoo.

How to Train a Train

Each month for a previous job, I wrote a maximum 150 word review of a new book that came into the library during the month. I’ve expanded that idea to the blog in a feature I’m calling To the Point Tuesdays. If you want to play along, just post a link in the comments and I’ll add them to the post. This one (along with some others) never made it into the blog, so forgive me while I play catch-up.

How to Train a Train.jpgTitle: How to Train a Train
Author: Jason Carter Eaton
Illustrator: John Rocco
ISBN: 9780763663070
Pages: 48 pages
Publisher/Date: Candlewick Press, c2013.

Illustrator John Rocco earned a Caldecott Honor in 2012 for his book Blackout. His detailed pictures shine as he complements Jason Carter Eaton’s instructions on how to catch and train your very own locomotive. Treating the subject like a pet’s guide, readers are informed that “A warm bath can help calm a nervous train… and few trains can resist a good read-aloud.” Featuring all sorts of trains with expressive eyes and mouths made out of the existing train features (think the headlights in the movie Cars), this book is begging to be shared with young and old train enthusiasts.

Toys Story Time

I did some out of the box story time program planning this week on the theme of toys. I thought it was thematic without being specific to a holiday, and it can be a good opportunity to talk with children about sharing, losing, or forgoing toys they have outgrown as times for new toys approach, like birthdays or the holidays. Many thanks to Story Time Katie for a starting point.

We danced to Toy Boat by Jim Gill from his Irrational Anthem CD and found our missing teddy bear hiding under different colored circles. Use this song (you can play it twice it’s so short and encourage the kids to sing along the second time through) as a dance break and a transition after reading Train. (“We talked about trains, cars, planes and diggers, now we’re going to sing a song about a boat.”)

I used a flannel board, but I told parents they could do the same thing with pots, boxes, or pillow cases. I adapted the rhyme from several different sources, including what I could remember from a rhyme involving a mouse and houses from a previous job. The rhyme transitioned nicely after reading Where’s My Teddy?

Little Bear, Little Bear
Where is Little Bear?
Could he be hiding under
the blue circle there?

We did this one three times, with bear hiding under a green, and then a red circle. For the third time, I put the bear under a purple triangle, and then put the green circle on top of that. Both the parents and the kids were surprised when there was a triangle instead of a bear! I’ll have to remember to do that again.

Where's My Teddy.jpgTitle: Where’s My Teddy?
Author/Illustrator: Jez Alborough
ISBN: 9781413173420
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: Candlewick Press, c1992. (first published in Great Britain by Walker Books Ltd)

I can’t believe I’ve never featured this book on my blog in the time I’ve been blogging. A staple for usually bear themed story times, I held off on using it until my toy theme idea sprang up. Eddie has lost a teddy named Freddie, it just so happens in the same forest where a bear has lost his teddy. They find first the other’s bear, and then there is a terror filled exchange where both Eddie and real bear run back to their beds, snuggling their appropriately sized teddy bears. Parents and kids alike love the surprise of the overstuffed bear, which they do not see coming until Eddie stumbles upon it. Be forewarned, when first introduced you may have to walk around so children can find tiny Freddie in the over-sized bear’s arms.

Train!.jpgTitle: Train
Author/Illustrator: Judi Abbot
ISBN: 9781589251632
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: Tiger Tales, c2014 (originally published in Great Britain by Little Tiger Press)

This was a fabulously adorable story all around. The pictures were bright  and easily distinguishable. Elephants expressions could have been a little clearer, but it was quite obvious his single-mindedness towards his favorite toy. Some kids were thrown by the tunnel scene, I think because they forgot the characters were on a moving train for the whole story. It solidifies sharing without actually using the word, and broadening your mind to new experiences. Plus the two page spread where the animals are finally getting along is just fun to read.

Mine!.jpgTitle: Mine!
Author: Shutta Crum
Illustrator: Patrice Barton
ISBN: 9780375867118
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

This one I don’t think went over so well. They sat and they listened as I tried to narrate this nearly wordless picture book about a set of toddlers and a dog learning how to share, but  The pictures were too soft and pastel and insubstantial and I think everyone was just a little lost by the plot, as in so what that the dog and babies were playing with toys and romping in the water bowl. I don’t think it was the favorite of the night.

Knuffle Bunny Too.jpgTitle: Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity
Author/Illustrator: Mo Willems
ISBN: 9781423102991
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: Disney Hyperion, c2007.

You’ve previously seen the first and third books in the series mentioned in this blog, but all three of them have been used repeatedly by me for story times. I think the kids were sitting too far back to really notice the slight differences between the Knuffle Bunnies that Trixie and Sonja bring to show and tell. I have had previous success with kids noticing before the narrative tells them that something has happened and the bunnies have been switched, which didn’t happen this time around. The older kids usually enjoy this one more than the younger kids.

Stay tuned for more toy books! A separate post will have other books considered but not used, mostly due to either time constraints or because of the length of the book.

 

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