Monday, February 14, 2022

More Lovely Picture Books - More Stories to Love

   Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and 

Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they and others have been reading! Your TBR lists will grow! 

Happy Valentine's Day! ❤️ ❤️
 I am participating daily in a new poetry challenge, working extra at the bookstore, and reading for Cybils. But, the Cybils award winners are announced today and that wonderful work is finished. Be sure to look for the announcements! 
       And because I didn't share last week, I do have a lot to share, though still haven't been reading as much as usual.
                   Happy Reading!

          This was a Christmas gift from a friend and it is marvelous writing, poignant, heartbreaking, and a deep look into the life of a man who is trying hard to do his best for his world. You can read the rest of my review HERE on Goodreads.
        Wonderful storyteller Irene Latham and creator of spectacular illustrations, Mehrdokht Amini brings a special story of friendship in this new picture book, just out! Mehrdokht also illustrated A Dictionary for A Better World which Irene wrote with Charles Waters! 
       This time, Irene's poetic text tells about Esther the snail who woke one day and realized a storm was coming. What she didn't realize was it was going to be the biggest storm that had happened in the world! Animals streamed by, "heavy ones, hooved ones, clawed ones." And Esther got moving! On the way, she worried she would be crushed by elephants, but, whew, they missed her! She took a little time to look for her friend, Solomon, worried he might not know about this storm. Through a lucky move, she found him and together, with some special help, they made their way to the ark! Friends take care of friends, don't they?
         As the adventure unfolds, though the word is not said, illustrations show the ark coming closer and closer. But wonderfully on the double-page dedication page, there's an up-close illustration of that Ark being built. Reading this sweet story to young readers and talking about helping others will be a delight. 

       This was donated to the bookstore so I grabbed it fast. It's older, from 2010 but I couldn't resist another book telling the story of Wangari Maathai, the woman who saved Kenya with her planting of trees. Donna Jo Napoli tells this inspiring story of what one person can do. With Kadir Nelson's extraordinary collage work, it becomes a book of beauty. Napoli adds more information in the backmatter.  
       Today, more than 30 million trees have been planted throughout Mama Miti's native Kenya, and in 2004 she became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

       C.G. Esperanza's illustrations fill us up like Grannie and her helper do on Soul Food Sunday. The excitement simply blooms. It's time for this young boy to learn, Grannie says, and Winsome Bingham takes us through that day's prep, from cheese grating to greens washing to meat made ready for Roscoe Ray, the 'grill master", It makes me sad to remember my own Sunday dinners with one grandmother, aunts and uncles, and cousins. And the bonus, the mac 'n' cheese recipe at the back! Love it!

       Margarita Engle has written many books, often sad, that are based on the history of Cuba. She is a Cuban American who says in her author's note that she visits as often as she can, despite restrictions. In this book, she tells of a young girl who loves visiting her abuelo and helping him sell his frutas, singing the names of each fruta: "mango, limón, coco, melón, naranja, toronja, plátano, and piña". They happily move along, selling to those upstairs who lower baskets, singing louder when other 'pregoneros' all chant at the same time, like tamales, roasted peanuts, and la dulcera (chocolates and candies). She includes the celebration of the new year by eating twelve grapes, making a wish for every month in the new year. In poetic text, a mix of Spanish and English, the happiness shows on every page, until the end when the visit is over. The young girl wishes her abuelo could visit her but travel is forbidden for him to go to America. The ending is sweet, showing their substitute for real visits, writing letters to each other. The happiness of this visit shows in every colorful, illustrated page by Sara Palacios. Be sure to read Margarita's note at the back about the plight of these 'pregoneros' who were forbidden after the revolution. That changed, according to the extra information, in 2010. When children can learn about other cultures they might never encounter, it's a wonderful thing. This will be a wonderful book to share.
         My only experience of so many vendors has been in Mexico and Costa Rica. One can find a few on busy city streets here in Denver, but they disappeared during the Pandemic, are only now slowly coming back.

        If you've had a teddy and passed it on to the next generation, you'll connect with much of Devan's story, but not all. He certainly has had some adventures all through the years with one family, then another, sharing love to all kinds of families and they loved him back! Petra Brown illustrates this story, too, in soft watercolor pages. One interview says she uses colored pencils, too. She follows a lot of history in this book and includes a diverse group of characters. This is another one of those stories I imagine many will connect to. 
        One time when my daughter was young, we spied a bear on the highway. We turned around and my husband (carefully) ran out and got it. It became a beloved bear from where we did not know, but we gave it lots of love, too! 

         This book is from Penguin Australia and I hope everyone has a chance to read and love it, share it with children. Clive Prendergast is a fox who lives successfully in the city, in a one-room apartment in a busy part of town. Humphrey is a donkey who works odd jobs and doesn’t always have a fixed address. Tohby Riddle illustrates with intriguing and unique collages. And his story is about friendship and belonging and community. It's about those kind people who notice how others are and help. Riddle has used a fantastic tale to show what's possible if one only pays attention. Don't miss this one!

I couldn't resist sharing a picture of Clive, showing the unique illustration style.

What's Happening! Now reading Too Bright to See by Kyle Lukoff. Next up, African Town by Irene Latham and Charles Waters.


  1. A Song of Frutas sounds joyful. Nobody Owns the Moon is new-to-me, but I am intrigued.

    1. Thanks, Lisa. I love books about the moon & thought it was a moon book, but it is not really, except that everyone shares the moon no matter who you are! Yes, A Song of Frutas is such a happy book!

  2. Replies
    1. It is, Earl. Hope you can find a copy! Thanks!

  3. I've just put a hold on Soul Food Sunday at my library. It sounds good enough to eat! Plus, that mac 'n Cheese recipe...


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