Friday, March 27, 2009

Burger Boy and Hamburger Baby

I found it! Last summer when we were visiting family in California (and the ALA of course), my sister and I managed to steal some minutes while my husband watched the kids in the play park in Malibu. Only a few steps away was a wonderful little toy shop with a bookshelf tucked in the corner. It was there that we found Burger Boy. I remember laughing outloud as we read it together. It's a hilarious, cautionary tale by Alan Durant , brilliantly illustrated by Mei Matsuoka. The story is about a little boy named Benny who only eats hamburgers. When his mother's warning comes true and he turns into a hamburger, he is chased all over town by dogs, cows and boys. His mother finally saves him, takes him home and feeds him vegetables. Soon he morphs back into a little boy. The surprise ending is the best, but I'll leave that one for you.

Hamburger Baby is a sweet little handmade toy that I found on etsy. It's made by 7polkadots and I think it's genius. Baby and teddy fit inside the little burger carrying pouch. Oh, how I would have loved this at age 6.........
Okay, I'll admit it, I'd love it now!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Stop the Wind

Today is officially the first day of Spring and it's cold and windy. How the Ladies Stopped the Wind makes for a great read on a day like this.
Author Bruce McMillan has written several stories which take place in Iceland. While I have never been to Iceland, I have only heard raving reviews about this wonderful country. My sister Nancy stopped in Iceland during a mini Euro tour with her husband and little ones in tow. She told me that Iceland was the most child-friendly out of all the countries she visited. My husband also told me that during his visit, his friend, (an Iceland native) told him he could knock on the queen's door and she would invite him in for tea! While I love Bjork and all things Iceland, someday, I vow to go there.
Artist Gunnella's colorful,folksy-style paintings pair well with this humorous, whimsical story of villager women who try to stop the wind by planting saplings which are eaten by the sheep. But the ever-singing Icelandic ladies are determined. They replant trees and fence in the sheep and keep the chickens around to fetilize. Soon the countryside is full of trees and the people in the village never have to worry about the wind.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed

How did that wacky Mo Willems come up with a naked mole rat as a story character? Was it because they're so cuddly and adorable? He and Trixie probably had a good belly laugh ooh and awe at these fascinating creatures.

Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed
is classic Mo Willems. It's a beautifully executed book with a wry sense of humor and a lesson coddled in there. "(Naked mole rats can be very sarcastic...)"

Wilber likes to wear clothes, and despite teasing from the rest of the naked mole rats he opens a clothing shop. What will the "oldest, greatest, most naked naked mole rat" Grand-pah do about it? Well, he'll make a Proclamation! Wilber must go to hear the proclamation but he doesn't know what to wear. We see him try out different outfits- very funny Mo. Then he decides to attend naked like all the other naked mole rats. BUT he forgets to take off his socks! What does Gran-pah proclaim? In this epic tale, Mo tells us we really need only remember three things: "1. Some of the mole rats were naked. 2. Some of the mole rats were clothed. 3. All of the mole rats had a great time."

As with all of Mo Willems stories. Here is another you will read together over and over and smile every time.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Your Grandfather brought over this rocking chair. " I sat in it to rock your sister and then you," Grandma told me. "Now you will have your own baby to sing to and to hold." _ Eve Bunting

The secret is out.....................
Yes, I am expecting!
It's an exciting time for our family, but now I am trying to prepare our 2 year old for a new sibling. Our "baby" girl will become a big sister this summer and before the BIG arrival, I want her to know that she was loved before she was born and that she will always be important and loved in our family.
So, once again, my hands picked out an Eve Bunting book! This one's from 2008, Blue Sky Press, titled: You Were Loved Before You Were Born.
As a person with a visual mindset, I immediately fell for the gorgeous cover-art by Karen Barbour. Her work in this book somehow reminds me of a cross between Gustav Klimt and early Picasso (modernized to our millenium, of course).

Monday, March 9, 2009

Cowboy Party and Little Donkey's Present

This morning I woke up with straw in my hair. I'm not sure how it got in my bed, but it was a wild west week-end with my son's 6th birthday party.

We had a boot pinata, cookie decorating, stick-horse races, bean-bag in the cowboy hat toss and bobbing for apples. It was the first time in 6 years that we were able to have an outdoor party in glorious Virginia spring-like weather and it was a blast!
During the gift-giving, one mom was telling us how she almost had to buy her son the same lego gift box that he gave to our son. He wanted it for himself.
A conflict for many young children is to give away the birthday present they helped pick out. This reminded me of the sweet picture book, Little Donkey And The Birthday Present by Dutch author, Rindert Kromhout.
After little donkey and his mama buy the present, he tries to figure a way out of his dilemma. First he tries to lose the shiny red kite, but mama finds it. Then he says he has a tummy ache but mama tells him they will deliver the gift and he won't stay for cake.
In the end, donkey gives yak the gift and discovers that playing kite with his friend is as fun as having his own.
Annemarie van Haeringen's illustrations of yaks in red trousers and donkeys in pajamas and the calm wisdom of mama will win over everyone's hearts as it has mine!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Cybils Picture Book Winner 2009

I know. I know I'm really, really late reviewing the Cybils picture book award winner, How to Heal a Broken Wing. I have to say the engagingly illustrated episodes by Bob Graham make this heartwarming book a childhood treasure.

Do you remember taking in a wild animal, maybe say a bird that flew into your sliding glass door and was seriously injured? Recollections of caring for a scared animal in a cardboard box and nursing it back to health connects adults, children and wildlife. We nurture and we let go. It's about how we bond with animals and each other. And how we need to take care of one another. Each creature plays a very special and sacred role in the web of life.

" A lose feather can't be put back ... but a broken wing can sometimes heal. With rest... and time... and a little hope... a bird may fly again."

That may be the bulk of the text right there but not at all the bulk of the story. Bob Graham brilliantly captures the actions and emotions of a boy and his parents as they find and take in a city pigeon with a broken wing that would otherwise have been left to die, ignored and stepped over in the big city. You must suspect the bird heals. It does, and this story is an uplifting allegorical tale for all ages.

Award-winning Australian author/illustrator Bob Graham says he didn't start writing/ illustrating books for children until he was out of a job due to illness but that drawing has always been a constant theme in his life. He is gifted with taking otherwise everyday events and making them interesting to kids. Great job Cybils judges! How to Heal a Broken Wing is precious!