Sunday, October 22, 2017

Books To Crow About

              Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to discover books you'll love! Thanks to Jen, Kellee and Ricki who share so much from their own reading lives and support this meme, too.
         
           I skipped last week to go on a poetry retreat! Before and since, I've finished quite a few wonderful picture books and a couple of chapter books, still no #MustReadIn2017. I need to get going!

adult book - 

While on my flights, I read this on my kindle. It was an interesting memoir about a couple who decided they wanted more than their big house and good jobs. They sold everything and took off to travel, everywhere! Two older friends, a couple, gave them a sum of money in a yellow envelope to give away whenever they felt it best. That is the story of personal insights, of their discoveries in their relationship, their discoveries about others. I enjoyed it and it helped me do my own personal reflection.









chapter book - Thanks to Candlewick for the ARC!


          There haven’t been many books I’ve read recently whose end brought tears. This is one. I took a long time reading it. It’s long and I’ve had other commitments that kept my time for reading brief. But it certainly isn’t because of the story, which is wonderful. There is a girl, Rose, smart and talented in math and in playing the Bach Suites on the cello. She’s only twelve, but already tall enough that everyone thinks she’s an adult. Why not? She’s tall and acts like an adult too. She’s responsible, does everything a “right” way, practices and practices as she must for a coming important competition. She’s a bit snooty, makes quite a bit of fun of Jane, a neighbor girl who’s constantly asking Rose to start tap dancing class with her. She has to share a special library copy of Charlotte’s Web with Jane, an affront according to Rose. And when walking to the library with Gram, she also has to be confronted with Jane’s older twin brothers, Jesse and James (another story) who hoot and tease and just bother! And then there’s Rose’s own twin, Thomas, much shorter and at least not as smart at academics, although he shows quite a lot of talent in other ways.
            It’s complicated, really complicated. What Melanie Heuiser Hill is so good at is complications. There is the accident with Rose’s hand, and the pumpkin seed for growing giant pumpkins sent by a friend of the neighbor, Mr. Pickering. There is that seed growing, and the slow growth of knowing the other neighbors helping, the problem with the library book and Rose needing to simply have fun “doing things badly.” The development of the characters along with Rose is admirable, and oh, so enjoyable. In some books, it feels as if I hurry along to find what the main character is doing or saying. In this one, I want to know more about each character, for each is interesting and not always predictable. And that’s the best thing. Melanie Heuiser Hill surprises and pleases all the way to the last page, when I teared up probably because I had to say goodbye, but also because I loved my time spent with this book! Oh, and there’s more than Bach; there’s Tom Petty and “Free Fallin’”. Want more? Read the book!

picture books -

         A found and never-published text from Margaret Wise Brown, a new book to treasure.  Good morning comes with greeting the sun, the milkman, and paperboy in their early tasks, a Mama bunny with her first cup of coffee. The day begins and one sees a wealth of activities, children playing, people working. When the moon comes up, it’s time for nighttime activities, and so heartwarming to see all readying for sleep, the bees resting in beds, some being read to. Loren Long’s imaginative art creates a warm feeling on every page. 
      Only the musical (and plaintive) words of the title are sung by a little girl, guiding the beautiful illustrations by Jaime Kim to create a yearning, searching, wishing story of a little girl who only wants to be heard, to have a friend. I suspect various interpretations can be made, but that’s the wonder of the book. It’s there to offer hope for whatever is needed.












          It’s a polar bear with a wolf pup, and that “great wondrous wheel of life” that’s also a kindness story, with a surprise that you will love. Naoko Stoop’s illustrations give the page a soft wintry landscape, an area where help is needed sometimes, and also can surprise. The endpapers carry out the circle. It's a new favorite bear book!
         I saw Patricia Polacco speak a few years ago. Even in a big crowd, she tells stories as if you’re sitting right beside her in a cozy room. This time, she tells of a little dog who became a hero in the Coast Guard.  Now, dogs are not supposed to be on ships, but this wee yellow dog, discovered by a serviceman who fell in love immediately, managed to sneak who became Vera, and the story connects twice with Patricia Polacco. She’s lived an interesting life, and I’m so glad she shares her stories. The pictures are lively as always, and this will make a beautiful readaloud.
          A journey through the night with peeks into a variety of windows, seeing people having fun, eating dinner, practicing a piano, hugging. And then you arrive home, glad to be welcomed.  It’s a part of life looking into neighbors’ windows, observing a slice of their lives, and it’s a part of life to be happy to arrive home.






          I haven’t read any reviews of this fabulous picture book, although I know they have been written. I’m glad I did not. It really surprised me in a wonderful way. With mixed-media collages and words from Melville’s Moby Dick, Ed Young and Barbara Dacosta have crafted an adventure with a wonder of a surprise.
         I adored The Night Gardener by the Fan Brothers. Here is another beautifully created story with their illustrations, this time written by Daska Slater. We first meet Marco, a beautiful fox, a questioner, with no other fox companions who will answer his questions. Or when they do, it is with disinterest. He asks things like “Why do some songs make you happy and others make you sad?” This “antlered” ship is immediately intriguing as it wanders to land, with three deer disembarking and sharing that they’re lost. Marco, a few pigeons, a bear and a moose greet them and discover a seaworthy crew is needed. Marco thinks he must join them to search for other foxes in order to answer some of his questions. The pigeon, Victor, says his flock will also join in, “to have adventures.” The adventure begins, and the questions continue as they work hard, then venture into a great storm. “Why is water so wet?” The rest of the story satisfies as challenges are met and overcome and the mysteries of the voyage are resolved, but we are left with questions. The map on the endpapers helps the reader follow the voyage, and guess what might be next. It’s a fascinating and gorgeous book!

Next: Rita Williams-Garcia's Clayton Byrd Goes Underground.  Happy Reading!

22 comments:

  1. I enjoyed La La La this week, too! I loved it’s message about finding hope by coming out of our boxes! The Yellow Envelope looks like an interesting read for me right now. I’ll have to check it out soon.

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    1. It is wonderful, Jana. I bought it for my granddaughters! I hope you enjoy the Yellow Envelope!

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  2. I love introducing fans of Goodnight Moon to the slew of "new" Margaret Wise Brown books.

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    1. Are there more, Earl? I need to look! This one is a dear one to add to a collection!

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  3. I read The Antlered Ship while at Powell's last week, but must have forgotten to add it to my list. Your review has made me want to read Giant Pumpkin Suites!

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    1. I enjoyed both, Cheriee. Melanie Heiser Hill has written a marvelous story!

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  4. We watched third through fifth graders read La La La. It was interesting to see students' interpretations. It is a wonderful book to help students revise their thinking as they read.

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    1. Love hearing what you've observed. My two granddaughters, 8 & 6, both thought she was lonely, then celebrating a new friend, maybe the moon, maybe someone we aren't seeing. They loved it!

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  5. Many of these on your list are possible Mock Caldecott candidates. I'm having my team starting to help narrow the list down this week! Can't wait to see everyone's thoughts!

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    1. The books here are very good, Michele. I hope you'll share your list when you choose!

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  6. Wasn't the Giant Pumpkin Suite so worth reading?! I loved it. I do see how the length could deter some readers, but there are going to be some perfect readers for it.

    Happy reading this week :)

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    1. Yes, I adored it, Kelly, and some readers who "love" those long and detailed books will be thrilled. You see how much I enjoyed it!

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  7. I have Windows in my pile from the library. I believe the author got the inspiration from a town here in Massachusetts. I also thought the Giant Pumpkin Suite was long, but very charming.

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    1. So cool about "Windows," Lisa, & interested to hear your thoughts about Giant Pumpkin Suite! Thanks!

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  8. You've got so many great picture books this week! Windows!

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  9. You have some of my recent favourite picture books here - The Antlered Ship and La la la! Some amazing reading. Windows in on my wish list!

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    1. The Caldecott committee has an amazing array of wonderful books this year. I agree, those two are favorites. You will love Windows, too, Carrie.

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  10. I've seen some great reviews of The Antlered Ship. I look forward to reading it.

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    1. I enjoyed it very much, Crystal. It's full of layers of meaning to me, would be interesting to see how different ages of children talk about it.

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  11. I have a couple of these PBs from the library right now and of course need to find the others! The adult nonfiction title looks quite interesting to me. So glad you got away for a poetry retreat!

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    1. Thanks, Elisabeth, enjoy every one. Each unique and terrific. The Yellow Envelope was illuminating read, thoughtful with some new ideas about living a life.

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