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I read numerous picture books this week, and finished two longer books, all enjoyable, some I know others have liked too.
For adults: A remix of fairy tales and myths for adults adds to the many re-tellings for children I've read. This is harsh in some cases, but a strong voice makes it easy and delightful reading. What's really happening to Jack, or that princess doesn't always turn out the usual happily ever after, but those who know life isn't always that either may like Cunningham's new stories. Yuko Shimizu's illustrations add to the grim flavor, and the final story is a pleasant ending to lives well-lived, perhaps another lesson? I am reminded of the verse poetry book by Ron Koertge, Lies, Knives and Girls In Red Dresses.
This is a good book that meets one of the challenges of how to portray the Nazi era for those just beginning to learn about it. It highlights one boy's struggle in a small French town after German occupation. After delivering several loaves of bread for his mother who runs the town's bakery, he figures out that secret notes are being baked into the bread, and realizes his parents are part of the resistance. He keeps the secret even from them, but with the entrance of a new girl in his class at school, the events become more complicated. He is a regular kid that loves bicycle racing, especially imagining that he may race in the wonderful Tour de France. He's seen one of the races, but they're now canceled because of the war. Bicycling plays a big part in this tale, and in one harrowing challenge, Marcel's inspiration from what he knows of the racers helps to keep him going. There is an escape too, and a sad goodbye, but during all the scary moments, Marcel learns courage helps in every part of his life. Yona Zeldis McDonough adds a brief intro to World War II, a timeline and information about the Tour de France.
When I went to school, long ago, EVERYONE had two parents and siblings. I did too, but my father had died in WWII so my two parents were my stepfather and my mother, with a different last name. I felt left out, I was embarrassed to always be introducing and explaining to people. I had a wonderful childhood, but still, it would have been terrific to find others like me. This book touches that so beautifully. There ARE all kinds of families that children have and to see one's family in this book must feel wonderful. Delightful and happy families with parents who are a man and a woman, two parents who are the same sex, one dad parent or one mom parent, a grandmother parent, mixed up siblings, and on. What makes a family is love, and the story shows that with happy style!
Want to start a conversation with young children about people having different points of view? This is the book. Fun and funny, and a fabulous ending.
It's my first book published in 2017! Think spring, and every warm day isn't that what many of us are thinking? Kevin Henkes takes four pastel eggs, shakes them up a little with a few words, like "peck" and "crack", and then there are three delightful little chicks, but that fourth one, "oh-oh"! Young and old will want to turn the pages quickly to discover just what will happen next!
In poetry and beautiful illustrations, it's a bedtime book that inspires hugs and smiles. You'll want to listen to the words and pore over the pictures with a beloved child or children of all who belong and where, but always, always the "you" belongs "here". With just a hint of color on brown tones, showing the coming night, the words are soothing, just right for bedtime.
In the midst of Kelly Barnhill's The Girl Who Drank The Moon and loving it!
Next: One of the Must Read titles! And I just purchased Nikki Grimes' One Came Home!