Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Book by Mordicai Gerstein

Attention all you huge blobby things that look something like a face (aka readers), A Book finally gives readers and listeners the inside scoop on what really happens to book characters between the pages. (When the book is closed, it's dark and they go to sleep.) Told from the perspective of a young girl who is trying to find her story, this book is a lively jaunt through various genres (whether it's a landlubber visit to a pirate ship or a science fiction exploration of the stars) combined with witty visits by classic characters (the prince just guaranteeing you'll turn into a princess if you try on the glass slipper). The story line is clever, the illustrations only get better with more readings (uncovering new references each time) and it's just a lot of fun to read over and over again. 48 pages.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

One Hundred Angry Ants by Elinor J. Pinczes

One Hundred Hungry Ants are not what I would want to see trooping to my picnic. But my daughter is fascinated by ants right now - the way that they go about their business despite a giant of a 4 year old looking down on them. Combine that with the number 100, a very large number, indeed, when your day is filled more with single digits, and you've got the mix for an attention-getting story. Under the direction of the littlest ant, the troop of busy brown insects reconfigure themselves in different ways (2 lines of 50, 4 lines of 25) in their hurry to get to the picnic food before it's all gone. The story is a quick little jaunt through ant life and the various configurations of 100. Thanks to the MIT Coop for this entertaining suggestion. 32 pages.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Forever Young by Bob Dylan

Of course, I'm way too young to remember the release of Planet Waves but what parent can't help but relate to the words of Dylan's Forever Young. Told in a classical story book format, reader and listener can find their own stories within each illustration (and, if you look closely, grown-ups may even, with the help of the Illustrator's Notes in the back of the book, find references to other Dylan classics). This book is another great introduction to a musical genre. 40 pages.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld

Duck! Rabbit! has become the great debate in our house.  Authors Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld apply narrative to the classic optical illusion of a duck (or is it a rabbit) to cheerfully explain why the image is a duck (or rabbit).  In applying attributes to the image, the story draws upon the curiosity of the young who are still exploring the connections between a picture and what it portrays.  But, most of all, this is a very fun read.  And, without a doubt, it will cause some debate among the reader and listener.  I, for one, am convinced it is a duck while my daughter is convinced it is a rabbit.  Don't forget to look for the zebra on the back!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Charlie Parker Played Be Bop by Chris Raschka

Charlie Parker Played Be Bop is the kind of book that, if you've ever wanted to do some scatting with Louis or Ella, brings you close to experiencing those tongue-twisting tones. Chris Raschka provides a wonderful lyrical and visual exploration of Charlie Parker and the jazz experience. You'll enjoy rat-a-tat-tatting along with your child as the two of you share in the sounds of some very cool jazz. A great introduction to jazz in a very untraditional storytelling format. 32 pages.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Million Dots by Andrew Clements

A Million Dots offers a journey to really big numbers. It's easy to talk about 10 eggs or 100 pennies but when it comes to numbers in the thousands, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands, it's much harder to come up with concrete examples. The book gives great examples (it takes 578,504 shoelaces tied together to reach from Boston to New York which helps when you're halfway into the trip and a little voice from the back seat asks why we're not there yet for the umpteenth time) and helps provide some general sense of really big numbers. Not for early counters but great when kids are starting to explore their own place and sense of size and scope. Good also for grown-ups who have a hard time understanding, let alone explaining, the concept of a million. 48 pages.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Picture This... by Alison Jay

Picture This... is a delightfully clever book of intertwined illustrations. Deceptively simple with straightforward words defining each illustration, a closer look will find a treasure trove of images that tell their own story as the pages are turned. We continue to find stories within stories that make the retelling of this book a delight as we never know how the story will end. Alison Jay is a wonderful illustrator with many picture books to her credit. 30 pages.