Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Last Monday of 2013

               It's Monday! What are you Reading? is hosted by Jen at TEACH.MENTOR.TEXTS, and shared with Ricki and Kellee at UNLEASHING READERS.   
         And, also visit Sheila at BOOK JOURNEYS for more reviews. Thanks to all these blogs we are able to discover many, many new books!  Thanks Ricki, Kellee, Jen and Sheila!
 Tweet! at #IMWAYR

This time, too, I am linking with Myra, Fats and Iphigene at Gathering Books for their Award Winning Book challenge by reading The Snow Day, by Komako Sakai, an author/illustrator from Japan.  I'll share about their new challenge next week.  See the blog for more info if you're interested now!

I'd also like to share that I'm joining the 2014 Latin@s in Kid Lit Reading Challenge
See the sidebar for the link!

         I took a week off, so now am challenged as to how many books to share with you.  Here is a list of the books read, with some reviews.  Sorry the post is long, but please skim if you'd like! You can find further reviews on my Goodreads page.  I completed my goal of 300 books, and think I'll keep that goal.  I read more, but many were re-reads, for lessons, for sharing, for pleasure, so they don't count in the overall goal.  There were amazing books this year. I hope you found some wonderful books in 2013, and find a few more below.  

The Snow Day - written and illustrated by Komako Sakai   She won the Dutch Silver Pen Award for this book!
            I’ve read many picture books in these two weeks, and this rates near the top.  It was published in 2005, but someone recommended it and I finally bought it!  Every student and teacher knows about the specialness of snow days, but this little kindergarten bunny has his very first one in this story.  Both the soft and snowy illustrations and the story are wonderful.  He gets to sleep in, but jumps right up when his mother tells him it’s been snowing all night.  Sadly, she says also he can’t go out until the snow stops, so he watches and they play cards and he watches again.  His daddy can’t get home from a business trip because of the snow.  The little bunny says, “Mommy, we are all alone in the world.”  But just at bedtime, he makes a discovery, the snow has stopped! You’ll have to read the book to see the magic that happens next. 

Books I imagine will win awards this year!
Herman And Rosie - written and illustrated by Gus Gordon

            There are many things to love about this book, if you love NYC, if you prefer happy endings, and if you adore picture books that appeal to all ages because of story told so well by words and illustrations!  Several have recommended this, and I do agree, it’s a beautiful book to savor.  I’ve read it twice, just looking and looking at all the details added to the story in the illustrations.  For example, Herman works at a job selling ‘things’, and in a sketch of him at his office, there is a bulletin board  that includes a list of ‘things’, like sparkly things and round Things.  Some backgrounds are ephermera like cutouts of newspaper weather data or a cash register printout.  There are also small parts that show the city is New York City, although the name is never written.  In such a short text, it’s wonderful to see how the tension builds, as slowly Rosie and Herman move closer to a meeting.  And that’s all I can say.  You’ll have to find the book to enjoy the rest of the story, and to enjoy more than once!   

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild – Written and illustrated by Peter Brown
              I waited a long while to read this book, knew everyone was raving about it, & I just didn't get to it, until now.  It isn't just about going wild, it's about listening to the inner voice, who one really is deep inside, and acting on that feeling.  Mr. Tiger is very properly dressed, walks upright, does all the "right" moves, but something he felt just didn't feel right, so one day he had an ideas, and dropped to all fours.  The story says, "He felt better already."  After a few other changes and adventures, Mr. Tiger is again no longer satisfied, and it's interesting what he does then.  Find the book to read the entire transformation.  Peter Brown's illustrations parallel the story, with plain, geometric drawings in brown and white, only splashing in some orange when Mr. Tiger is around. The use of size in the drawings is part of the appeal to the message.  A very fun book!

Lifetime The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives – written by Lola M. Schaefer and illustrated by
Christopher Silas Neal
             Have you ever wondered how many spots a giraffe grows in a lifetime, or how many joeys a kangerroo births in her lifetime?  As the book progresses, the animal numbers increase until the final page, the number of tiny seahorses that a “male” seahorse has during its lifetime.  And as those facts are given, the illustrations show that number of “things”, all the way to 1,000 baby seahorses!  It’s a clever book with additional backmatter, a perfect way to get children thinking about numbers in our lives, and this time, about animals. 
Snowflakes Fall – written by Patricia MacLachlan and illustrated by Stephen Kellogg
            There is often a poignancy to Patricia MacLachlan’s stories, and this is no different.  Despite the happiness shown by Stephen Kellogg of the children playing in the snow, and later, in the flowers, the story is also about loss, change of seasons on the surface, and loss of childhood perhaps as time moves on.  The beauty of the snow and the snow-play and then the rain, finally flowery spring is extraordinary.  At the end, the bittersweet words, “And we remember the children—No two the same—All Beautiful” come after “And when the flowers bloom the children remember the snowflakes.”
            This book was one answer to the terrible losses at Sandy Hook a few days over a year ago, and Random House is donating a portion of each sale to the Sandy Hook Support Fund.   Because I know this, my perception of the book is changed, yet children reading it will delight in the beautiful snow pictures and the fun all the children are having. 

Mr. Wuffles – written and illustrated by David Wiesner

           This is not what I expected, yet even more fun.  I thought it would be filled with illustrations of a cat ignoring what its owner wanted it to play with, but it was that, and Wiesner also included that secret life all of us who have cats suspect they have.  Snuggled and purring on our laps they may be, but in other parts of the day, they know the mysteries of the house, the entertainment that is better than the ball that jingles or the mouse that’s furry and smells like catnip.  You’ll need to read the book to discover Wiesner’s innovative creations, and meet crafty Mr. Wuffles.  It’s very fun!

Henri’s Scissors – written and illustrated by Jeannette Winter
              This is a wonderful story of passion, how Matisse, even when ill and confined to his bed, began to draw again, and discovered that using scissors to cut shapes from painted paper was also art that satisfied!  Jeannette Winter fills the story with Matisse-like art, and one can imagine being with him in his seaside garden of cut-out flowers and shapes.  In her author’s note, she says she included some of Matisse’s own words from correspondence with a friend.

 The Monstore - written by Tara Lazar and illustrated by James
Burks   a debut book by the author!
            There are big brothers and sisters who would love somehow to keep their younger siblings out of their rooms, and Tara Lazar tells her story of one way to do it.  A young boy Zach gets access to the Monstore through a trapdoor, and buys a monster to scare his little sister Gracie so she won’t bother him in his room.  Unfortunately, things don’t work the way he plans, so he buys another, then another, as unexpected things happen.  The story is hilarious and will make young kids who love monsters giggle at the silly things that happen, until Gracie does get scared and needs Zach to save her.  It’s a fun story with bright, shout-out-loud illustrations by James Burks.

two Christmas books that should be paired!
The Christmas Magic – written by Lauren Thompson and illustrated by Jon J Muth
              Jon J Muth of the ‘Zen’ books like Zen Ties, and Lauren Thompson of Polar Bear Night collaborate in what will be a favorite Christmas tale of Santa for a long time.  Santa begins readying for the magic to come, calling in the reindeer, polishing the sleigh, mending his woolen socks!  At last “the” magic arrives, and he’s off!  The illustrations and words softly blend into a beautiful story.  Details in both are lovely.  I imagine poring over this with my grandchildren more than once.

Little Santa – written and illustrated by Jon Agee

           I just finished shopping and managed to read this at my local Indie bookstore.  It would be wonderful paired with The Christmas Magic.  The story of Santa begins with his family, having a tough time keeping everything going up in the far north.  The parents decide to move to Florida, but a huge snowstorm stops them.  What happens then begins Santa’s history, and you’ll have to read to find out the rest!  The illustrations are sweet and detailed with lots to look at until the storm hits.  I loved the book!

The Bear’s Song – written and illustrated by Benjamin Chaud           
Catching The Moon – written by Myla Goldberg and illustrated by Chris Cheban
The Day of Ahmed’s Secret – written by Florence Parry Heide and Judith Heide Gilliland and illustrated by Ted Lewin
Count The Monkeys - written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Kevin Cornell
Dr. Rabbit – written by Jan Wahl and illustrated by Peter Parnall

Come To My Party – written by Heidi Bee Roemer and illustrated by Hideko Takahashi           
Little Tree – written by e.e. Cummings and illustrated by Deborah Kogan Ray           
Voices of Christmas – written by Nikki Grimes and illustrated by Eric Velasquez
A few favorite books I don't want to forget from earlier in the year! Be sure to find them and read!

Hattie Ever After - Kirby Larson
Counting By 7s - Holly Goldberg Sloan
Beholding Bee - Kimberley Fusco
The Runaway King - Jennifer A. Neilsen
The Real Boy - Anne Ursu
The Year of Billy Miller - Kevin Henkes
Aristotle and Dante and The Secrets of The Universe - Benjamin Alire Saenz
The Center of Everything - Linda Urban
Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell
Z Is For MooseKelly Bingham, Paul O. Zelinsky
A Splash of Red - Jen Bryant
Salt - Helen Frost
Words With Wings - Nikki Grimes
What The Heart Knows - Joyce Sidman
Forest Has A Song - Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

 Next:  Finishing Allegiant by Veronica Roth and looking forward to Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein! Also continuing the professional books with colleagues, and savoring View From A Window Seat by Jeannine Atkins.  It's very good and I don't want to hurry through it!  I also have a great stack of picture books from the library!

Hope you all have a marvelous start to 2014!


  1. I just read Herman and Rosie as well. Cute story! Loved Lifetime. I see lots of my favorites in your favorites list. Have a happy new year!

    1. Thanks Earl, looking forward to terrific reading in 2014. Happy New Year to you!

  2. Love your list Linda, so many great books. Makes me wonder what 2014 will bring. I added Little Santa and The Snow Day to my library request list.

    1. Thanks Gigi. Don't know how I'll keep up with 2014 with so many books still to read from last year! Both these books you named are so good-enjoy!

  3. Great books this week! I really want to read Herman and Rosie but it hasn't come in at the library yet. :(

    1. Hope you find it soon-it is good! Thanks, Beth!

  4. I love art picture books and have not yet seen Henri. Thank you for sharing it! I've heard so much about Mr. Tiger Goes Wild... I think part of my reading resolution will be more picture books!

    1. I do love reading them, and use them quite a bit at school. The Matisse is good, Lee Ann! Happy New Year!

  5. I enjoyed both Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire, though I found the second one a little harder to get into in the beginning. It is also much more graphic than Code Name. Happy New Year! ~Megan

    1. Thanks for sharing about Rose Under Fire-I loved Code Name Verity too, why I'm excited to read it next! Thank you!

  6. I've decided I need to do a much better job of visiting my library. There are so many books I want to read...(or I need to get a second job)! Thanks for sharing this list. I still haven't read Mr. Tiger Goes Wild. It's at school waiting to be shared with my students. I'm off to do more winter break reading. :)

    1. Hope you find some terrific ones, Julie. As you can see, I enjoyed so many! Thank you, & happy new year!

  7. What a wonderful round-up here, Linda! Beautiful! The Monday reading meme is always so much better with your thoughtful and lovely posts. I'm glad you love The Snow Day, I found it beautiful too. I borrowed Mr Wuffles from the library and excited to get to it. Surprisingly, we still don't have Mr Tiger Goes Wild in our library. :( Will recommend it for purchase soonest. :) Have a Happy New Year dearest Linda! :)

    1. Thank you so much Myra. It is a pleasure to share so many good books, & to read what others say too! Hope you love Mr. Wuffles, & I bought The Snow Day-loved it very much! Happy New Year to you & family!

  8. Love the Herman and Rosie love! Isn't it just divine? I adore The Snow Day. Need to get my own copy. Rose under Fire is in my must read soon pile. Can't wait to read it!

    1. Yes, it is truly terrific, just like The Snow Day, had to buy it, Carrie! So much creative talent there! Thanks much for all you share with me!

  9. Wasn't Mr. Tiger and Lifetime wonderful?! I am so glad that I read them! Also been seeing a lot about Herman and Rosie--I may need to check it out!

    Happy new year and happy reading!

    1. Thank you Kellee. I loved them both, & you will love Herman & Rosie too! Happy New Year-Happy Baby!

  10. You've read such wonderful books, Linda! I loved LITTLE SANTA and, of course, MR. TIGER GOES WILD! I think I need to get a copy of HERMAN AND ROSIE. I've seen that title in a couple of places!
    Thanks for sharing your reading!

    1. Thank you Cynthia! Isn't Little Santa the best new Christmas book! Hope you'll enjoy Herman and Rosie!


Thanks for visiting!