March 27, 2015

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt

Up in the Garden and Down in the DirtTitle: Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt

Author: Kate Messner
Illustrator: Christopher Silas Neal
Publisher: Chronicle Books, 2015
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 4-8
Themes: Gardening, Insects, Ecosystem

Excerpt:

“I hide behind the cucumber vines, but their leaves can’t save me. I shiver and laugh, drenched in Nana’s rain.

Down in the dirt, water soaks deep. Roots drink it in, and a long-legged spider stilt-walks over the streams.”

Synopsis (from Amazon website):

In this exuberant and lyrical follow-up to the award-winning Over and Under the Snow, discover the wonders that lie hidden between stalks, under the shade of leaves . . . and down in the dirt. Explore the hidden world and many lives of a garden through the course of a year! Up in the garden, the world is full of green—leaves and sprouts, growing vegetables, ripening fruit. But down in the dirt exists a busy world—earthworms dig, snakes hunt, skunks burrow—populated by all the animals that make a garden their home.

Activities:

  • Plant a garden or maybe just some tomato and cucumber plants to start.
  • Grow butterflies or insects. Check out Insect Lore for kits.
  • Check-out Kidsgardening for additional classroom and family resources.
  • Pinterest themed board “Bugs in the Garden” that contains preschool crafts and activities.

Why I Like This Book:

This book takes you on a wondrous journey down in the dirt with fascinating details and lush language that simply leaves the reader in awe. I love the juxtaposition of the ‘down in the dirt’ scenes with their darker colored illustrations  and complex details of the ecosystem, against the ‘up in the garden’ scenes that are light-colored and depict simple childhood pleasures, such as quenching glass of lemonade or cooling water spray. An engaging book that will enrapture the reader as they travel through the weeks, months and seasons in the garden.

Here are some spreads from the book.

upinthegarden_1

upinthegarden_4

upinthegarden_6

 

This is perfect for classroom science discussions as it includes wonderful back matter on all the animals mentioned. Also good for home libraries due its narrative storytelling. Do also check out the previous book in this series Over and Under the Snow about the subnivean layer during winter time.

This review is part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.

Disclosure: I received my copy of this book from the publisher Chronicle Books. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.

February 23, 2015

Picture Books – Spring 2015

spring2015

 

Here are some of the picture book titles coming out in the next few months that I can’t WAIT to read! Any other new picture books I should know about? Leave a comment would love to know.

  • Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal. March 3, 2015. Explore the hidden world and many lives of a garden through the course of a year! Up in the garden, the world is full of green—leaves and sprouts, growing vegetables, ripening fruit. But down in the dirt exists a busy world—earthworms dig, snakes hunt, skunks burrow—populated by all the animals that make a garden their home.
  • I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld. March 31, 2015. Wishes for curiosity and wonder, for friendship and strength, laughter and peace. Whether celebrating life’s joyous milestones, sharing words of encouragement, or observing the wonder of everyday moments, this sweet and uplifting book is perfect for wishers of every age.
  • Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld. April 7, 2015. When Stick rescues Stone from a prickly situation with a Pinecone, the pair becomes fast friends. But when Stick gets stuck, can Stone return the favor?
  • By Mouse and Frog by Deborah Freedman. April 14, 2015. Fastidious Mouse has one idea about how to tell a story. Free-spirited Frog has another. What happens when Frog crashes into Mouse’s story with some wild ideas? Chaos!…followed by the discovery that working together means being willing to compromise—and that listening to one another can lead to the most beautiful stories of all.
  • Water is Water by Miranda Paul and Jason Chin. May 26, 2015. This spare, poetic picture book follows a group of kids as they move through all the different phases of the water cycle.
January 25, 2015

Tari: The Little Balinese Dancer (Multicultural Children’s Book Day)

tariTitle: Tari: The Little Balinese Dancer

Author: Pamela Noensie
Illustrator: Garretta Lamore
Publisher: Tuttle Publishing, 2013
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 6-9
Themes: Dance, Balinese Culture

Opening Lines:
“This is a story of Bali, the people who live there, and especially of one little girl named Tari.

Bali is an island, one of many in a country called Indonesia. Bali is close to the equator so it stays near the sun all year long. Mornings are beautiful, warm, and full of light.”

Synopsis (from Tuttle Publishing website):

Tari lives on the beautiful island of Bali with her family and friends. She lives a wonderful life, marked by all the things that make Bali special—the lively temple celebrations which occur regularly in her village, the gorgeous surroundings, the warm feelings of her Balinese neighbors, and, most importantly, dance.

Tari lives to dance. Just like her beloved grandmother, dance exists for both of them as a favorite art form. One day, Tari’s grandmother gives her a special gift—but shortly after, she passes away. In a special ceremony, Tari and her family bid goodbye to her grandmother. Tari gives her grandmother the best gift she knows how to give—a perfect performance of a dance that her grandmother, too, performed when she was very young.

Intended for young girls who love to dance, Tari: The Little Balinese Dancer is a moving tale set on the tropical island of Bali, and it provides an excellent introduction to key aspects of Balinese culture. No matter what her ethnicity, young girls will easily relate to the special themes in this story, including the importance of family and the strong bonds of community, traditions such as the famous Legong dance, death of a family member, and the grieving process. Full of traditional Balinese Hindu beliefs, this story offers the message that kids all over the world are unified in the ways they feel about the people and things they love.

Activities:

Why I Like This Book:

A beautiful introduction for kids to Bali and its culture. The book isn’t so much a story about Balinese dancing as it is about the Balinese way of life. I especially enjoyed learning about how the Bali homes are said to be laid out in the order of a human body – head is the temple area while the kitchen and garbage area are near the feet. Another interesting tidbit, all temples face the volcano at the center of the island.

The book is laid out like a storybook format with chapters for the 32-paged book. There are one to two spot illustrations on every page.

MCBookDayI am very excited  to be a book reviewer participating in Multicultural Children’s Book Day: Celebrating Diversity in Children’s Literature on January 27th, 2014. What is Multicultural Children’s Book Day? It is a national event which  Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom created to celebrate diversity in children’s books. MCCBD team hopes to spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of diversity in children’s literature. Our young readers need to see themselves within the pages of a book and experience other cultures, languages, traditions and religions within the pages of a book. We encourage readers, parents, teachers, caregivers and librarians to follow along the fun book reviews, author visits, event details, a multicultural children’s book linky and via our hashtag (#ReadYourWorld) on Twitter and other social media. This year’s MCCBD is January 27th!  More about MCCBD and the events this year later in this post. Now onto our book!!

Why is Multicultural Children’s Book Day so important?

Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day, Mia and Valarie are on a mission to change all of that. Their mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these types of books into classrooms and libraries. Another goal of this exciting event is create a compilation of books and favorite reads that will provide not only a new reading list for the winter, but also a way to expose brilliant books to families, teachers, and libraries.

MCCBD’s  2015 Sponsors include

Platinum Sponsors: Wisdom Tales Press,Daybreak Press Global Bookshop

Gold SponsorsSatya House,  MulticulturalKids.com,   Author Stephen Hodges and the Magic Poof

Silver Sponsors: Junior Library GuildCapstone Publishing, Lee and Low Books,  The Omnibus Publishing

Bronze Sponsors:Double Dutch Dolls, Bliss Group Books,Snuggle with Picture Books Publishing,  Rainbow Books,   Author FeliciaCapers,   Chronicle Books   Muslim Writers Publishing ,East West Discovery Press.

Plus there are some fun events going on including giveaways!!

Platinum Sponsor Wisdom Tales Press is hosting a book giveaway on their website that anyone can enter. Winner will receive 6 Wisdom Tales Books of their choice.

Then for those of you on Twitter: Join us for Multicultural Children’s Book Day Twitter Party on Jan 27th 9:00pm EST. Use hashtag: #ReadYourWorld to win 10 book packages.
And to keep up-to-date on MCCBD: MCCBD now has it’s own Paper.li! A Paper.li is a free online newspaper that aggregates information on the topic of multicultural books for kids from all over the Internet. Please feel free subscribe and stay up-to-date with this topic.

MCBD is also partnering with First Book to offer a Virtual Book Drive that will help donate multicultural children’s books through their channels during the week of the event. We want to help get diversity books into the hands of kids who most need it and now we have a way to do it! To donate or more information click here.

Also check out the MCCBD Pinterest Board to see all the books reviews and visit  Jump Into a Book and/or Pragmatic Mom on or after January 27th to see all the reviews in a link party!

Disclosure: I received my copy of this book from the publisher Tuttle Publishing. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.

January 23, 2015

Candlewick Press – Best of Picture Books Giveaway (US & Canada)

PB Prize Pack

TIME Magazine recently published their 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time and 100 Best Children’s Books of All Time lists. Candlewick Press is offering a chance to win four of their titles which appeared on the Children’s Book list!

iwantmyhatback

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen

Told completely in dialogue, this delicious take on the classic repetitive tale plays out in sly illustrations laced with visual humor– and winks at the reader with a wry irreverence that will have kids of all ages thrilled to be in on the joke.

$15.99 U.S./$18.00 CAN – ISBN: 9780763655983

journey

 

Journey by Aaron Becker

Follow a girl on an elaborate flight of fancy in a wondrously illustrated, wordless picture book about self-determination — and unexpected friendship.

A Caldecott Honor Book (2014)

$15.99 U.S./$18.00 CAN – ISBN: 9780763660536

library-lion

Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes

Michelle Knudsen’s disarming story, illustrated by the matchless Kevin Hawkes in an expressive timeless style, will win over even the most ardent of rule keepers. An affectionate storybook tribute to that truly wonderful place: the library.

$$16.99 U.S./$20.00 CAN Hardcover – ISBN: 9780763622626
$6.99 U.S. /8.00 CAN Pbk – ISBN: 9780763637842

bear-hunt-book-set

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

Imagine the fun of going on a bear hunt-through tall, wavy grass (SWISHY SWISHY!); swampy mud (SQUELCH SQUELCH!); and a swirling whirling snowstorm (HOOOO WOOOO!) – only to find a “real” bear waiting at the end of the trail! For brave hunters and bear lovers, a classic chant-aloud.

Puzzle Book: $19.99 U.S./$23.00 CAN * ISBN: 9780763670733
Board & Plush Boxed Set: $11.99 U.S. /$13.00 CAN * ISBN: 9780763619794
Sound Novelty Book: $19.99 * ISBN: 9780763677022

Thanks to Candlewick, you can enter to win all 4 books! To enter leave a comment below telling us your favorite Candlewick picture book!

The giveaway is open to the US and Canada only, and ends Friday, January 30, 2015 at 9pm PST.

Candlewick online: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

January 16, 2015

One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia

meandmiranda

Happy New Year!! Hope you all had a wonderful, relaxing holiday break.

I am ecstatic and overjoyed to bring you today’s book review! I first read this beautiful manuscript back in 2012, when Miranda and I were in the same 12×12 critique group. (haven’t heard of 12×12, click the link and find out more about this awesome picture book community. registration for 2015 is currently taking place.) If you ever have the opportunity to listen to Miranda speak/teach .. GO! She is an entertaining speaker and chockful of information. You will be seeing a lot more books with her name as she has FOUR more picture books coming out in the next two years! Now onto the review.

 

One Plastic BagTitle: One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia

Author: Miranda Paul (interview)
Illustrator: Elizabeth Zunon
Publisher: Millbrook Press (February 1, 2015)
Book Type: Non-Fiction
Ages: 4-8
Themes: Africa, Environment, Activism

Excerpt:

Isatou shakes sand off her papers. Another plastic bag floats by, and she tucks her things inside.

The torn bag is useless now. She drops it to the dirt, as everyone does. There’s nowhere else to put it.

Synopsis (from One Plastic Bag website):

Inspiring story of five women who creatively dealt with their village’s plastic trash problem. Despite limited resources and ridicule, Isatou and her friends persevered for more than a decade, eventually realizing economic empowerment through their recycled plastic purse project. The book also includes bonus information such as a Wolof language glossary, timeline of actual events, and photos of the women of Njau.

Activities:

Visit the One Plastic Bag teacher’s resource section for tons of activities and information.

Gambia Facts Worksheet, Dangers of Plastic & What You Can Do resource guide, Downloadable Word Search, Bookmark

The coolest was the video demonstration on how to recycle plastic bags into a purse!

Why I Like This Book:

A wonderful book that shows how one single ordinary person, Isatou Cessay, made a difference. The reason I say ordinary is because initially Isatou had the same views as everyone else, which was that plastic bags are good for carrying things and when they break just  throw them on the ground. But when the plastic bag pollution became a problem for the villagers – goats eating plastic bags and dying, mosquitoes nesting in the pooling water – it was Isatou who did something about it. Together with the help of other women from the village they found a way to recycle the piles of plastic bags into purses they could sell in the nearby city. An empowering message for all young readers, that they too can make a difference.

The book is an engaging read as the Gambian world springs to life by awakening the readers senses via the sounds of the Wolof language “Ndanka”,  smells of Gambian food “bubbling peanut stew” and the sights of village daily life. The illustrations are collages of colored paper, paint, and even plastic bags. Checkout the interview at Seven Impossible Things for more sneak peeks into Ms. Zunon’s artistry.

If you would like to learn more about Gambia, this book, or the purses check out the One Plastic Bag website. I had the opportunity to see one of these purses at a writing retreat this summer. It was quite amazing.

purses

This review is part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.

Disclosure: I received a digital review copy of this book from the author. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,231 other followers

%d bloggers like this: