Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Histoire de Perlette

In Milan, Italy, were I was born and grew up, there is a big, monthly flea market on the canal called Naviglio Grande. There, years ago, I found this little, flimsy book. It's the story of a drop of water, Perlette, which in French means little pearl. BĂ©atrice Appia was the illustrator.

Happy Easter

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Heather Burnell's Picture Book List

I'll let Heather introduce herself, but please take a look at her blog, Frolicking Through Cyberspace.

I LOVE picture books. Lucky for me, as a librarian and mom of three, I am constantly immersed in them. There are so many picture books that I love, it’s hard to narrow them down to ten. I didn’t want to just list all my favorite books from childhood but I am quite certain that my picture book, BEDTIME MONSTER, was somehow inspired by my love of WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE when I was a kid. This is a list of some of the picture books that I go back to time and again. (I didn’t include THE ROOM OF WONDERS because this is Sergio’s blog, but man I love that little collector!)

1.    RICHARD SCARRY’S WHAT DO PEOPLE DO ALL DAY? was my absolute favorite book when I was a kid. (The original 94-page version, not the abridged.) There is just so much going on in this book. I love everything about this book down to the endpapers that feature all of the Busytown characters. I love how the characters do all sorts of silly things wrong, yet still manage to keep Busytown going. I love that the book simply shows the things that people do. I learned about commerce, building, mail, travel, policemen, firemen, farming, forestry, electricity, cotton, bread, water, and no, I did not feel like I was learning. The cutaway drawings showing what goes on inside of things like a ship and a paper company are fun. There is so much detail on every page. I’ve spent hours poring over that book. I still have my original copy. The cover has come loose but I still keep it on a special shelf. This book definitely has a place in my heart.

2.    PUT ME IN THE ZOO by Robert Lopshire is another favorite from childhood that I rediscovered at a book sale. There's a big animal who has red spots and he wants to live in the zoo. Why shouldn't he? He's big and spotted and of an unknown species. But the zookeepers don't think he's any good. When they throw him out he runs into two kids and shows them why he should be in the zoo. He can do all sorts of tricks with his spots like change their color, put them on things such as a cat and a hat, juggle them, and even make them into socks! It's got fun rhyming text and great simple visuals.

3.    APPELEMANDO’S DREAMS by Patricia Polacco is about a boy who lives in a drab town, but his dreams are so vivid that they come right out of the top of his head. His friends love his dreams but when it rains and Appelemando’s dreams start painting the town there is trouble. But, dreams save the day. Awesome.

4.    BILLY’S BUCKET by Kes Gray is one of my go to books for when I need a quick pick for a library storytime or at home. It’s so fun. Billy wants for his birthday so, after unsuccessfully trying to talk him out of it, his parents take him to the bucket store. Out of the thousands of buckets there he picks one special bucket that he insists is the one. When he fills his bucket with water it becomes a window into the ocean. Billy sees all sorts of cool ocean creatures and tries to share it with his parents, but they don't believe him. They even tease him! When Billy's dad uses Billy's bucket to wash his car he discovers the truth. It cracks me up that Billy's parents heckle him but Billy keeps right on being chipper about all the cool things he's seeing. I love how the illustrator, Garry Parsons, has Billy's head peeking in at the edge of the bucket in so many illustrations, like a full moon, as he gazes into the ocean.

5.    FRANK WAS A MONSTER WHO WANTED TO DANCE written and illustrated by Keith Graves is just plain funny. It’s a little rhyming ditty about a zombie who puts on his best shoes and goes out to dance on the stage. As he dances, he falls apart. It’s great for a laugh!

6.    In I’M NOT AFRAID OF THIS HAUNTED HOUSE, Simon Lester Henry Strauss, is not afraid, and he's funny! There's loads of spooky stuff in this book, but Simon Lester Henry Strauss isn't afraid of any of it. He's so darn brave, which makes the ending all the more hilarious. This book inspired my youngest to eat a spider, actually, but hey, he was fine. Everyone should try eating a spider once I suppose. Everyone... except me. I'm Not Afraid of This Haunted House is written by Laurie Friedman and illustrated by Teresa Murfin.

7.    Okay, I'm a bit of a sucker for holiday books. PETER CLAUS AND THE NAUGHTY LIST by Lawrence David is one of the best in my opinion. Peter is Santa's kid and he is on the naughty list—again. He feels bad for all the kids on the naughty list because he knows how it feels to have no presents under the tree on Christmas morning, so he decides to do something about it. Peter sneaks out with the reindeer and collects all the naughty kids because he thinks Santa needs to find out why they did naughty things before he decides they get no presents. The reasons the kids share for being on the naughty list are humorous. The things they say they will do to make up for the naughty thing they did are sweet. Delphine Durand’s illustrations are quirky and adorable. And there are some great lines in this book including, "I don't remember being bad this year." The answer, “Nobody ever does." Peter manages to save Christmas for the naughty kids as well as himself, while making his dad quite proud.

8.    I like the quietness of BIG RED BARN by Margaret Wise Brown and the way it shows life on the farm so simply. Felicia Bond’s illustrations are sweet and perfect. It’s a beautiful little book.

9.    BUBBA THE COWBOY PRINCE: A FRACTURED TEXAS TALE by Helen Ketteman, illustrated by James Warhola is a super fun read aloud. Bubba is the "Cinderella" of this tale. He's the stepson of a wicked rancher and has some really mean stepbrothers. His fairy godmother is a cow. The voice is so spot-on in. This story will have you talking like a cowboy in no time.

10.    WHEN PIGASSO MET MOOTISSE by Nina Laden is a story about two artists, Picasso and Matisse – if they were a pig and a cow. Need I really say more?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Bevy of Bunnies

A few days ago, School Library Journal published a piece on books about bunnies, and kindly included my Hey, Rabbit! Among other things, which you can read on SLJ's website, the article says: Ruzzier's sprightly watercolors reveal a cast of characters with expressive features and a dreamy setting perfectly suited to the tale's tone of wish-fulfillment and wonder.