Wednesday, January 23, 2013

How to dress for cold weather

Longjohns by Kit Allen is all about simplicity. Simple illustrations with simple words provide a great story for the younger set. Not that it doesn't carry over to toddlers and preschoolers. The book can be used to learn sight words and, without trying to ascribe too many benefits to such a book, the educational takeaway is that it is a good idea to dress appropriately for the weather outside.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Magically Woven Tale

 Many children's stories have their origins from the Brother's Grimm. And many of their original stories were dark, scary, and cautionary.  The tale of Rumpelstiltskin is no different - a small man cons a young woman into giving up her firstborn child to him, she must learn his name if she is to keep her child.  Is there anything scarier for a child than a mother giving up her baby?

Paul O Zelinsky brings this dark tale to new light through beautiful oil paintings and lyrical language.  Each page is its own work of art, and will be enjoyed by children and appreciated by adults.  Zelinsky doesn't simplify any of the story and uses complex sentence structures and "big" words to tell the story.  Which is partly why it won the Caldecott Honor in 1987.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Otis the Tractor

This is one of the sweetest books ever. Otis is a gentle, fun-spirited tractor who enjoys life on the farm. His best friend is the calf who sleeps in the stall next to his in the barn. They spend their days working and playing and sitting under the apple tree. Then the big yellow tractor shows up and Otis is displaced.
The story deals with learning we still have value and can impact the lives of others long after we think we have become obsolete. It's about friendship. And it's about the putt puff puttedy chuff that saves the day.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Dank you!

Patrick McDonnell's The Monsters' Monster is a fabulous and wonderful little kid book inspired by Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Monsters Grouch, Grump and little Gloom n' Doom are living in a "dark monster castle, high atop a dark monster mountain, overlooking a monster-fearing village." They do all sorts of things little monsters do. And then they come up with the idea to create the "biggest, baddest monster EVER!" With help from a bolt of lightning they create their monster, but this monster is nothing like them. He's gentle and kind and sweet and loves doughnuts. This book is a treat for all readers, young and old.