Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Wishing you a Happy New Year and may all your wishes come true this year! Tonight is a full moon so I thought this image of a cute little vintage card was fitting but do you think he's having a taste of sparkling apple cider? Cheers to all!
We'll be staying in tonight with our family and reading Owl Moon for bedtime. Seems fitting.
See you in the New Year.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Richard Scarry's The Naughty little Reindeer from The Animal's Merry Christmas. It's one of my favorites! Have a Wonderful Christmas Day.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hello ...Santa?

This little kids big book is gorgeous! It's Monsters of the Household Variety by Ruth Ashton. My sister thinks it should be placed on a pedestal (not to be left in the hands of little ones!) I agree. It's a masterpiece I would love to own. Hello.... Santa?

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Last Night of Hanukah

Tonight is the last night of Hanukah and I just wanted to share this sweet little illustration by Maurice Sendak from the out of print and hard to find book: Happy Hanukah Everybody, (published in 1954 by the United Synagogue of America).
Enjoy the evening with your family.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Here Comes Jack Frost

When my sister Nancy came for a visit, she told me about this great new book that she just got in her store: Here Comes Jack Frost. Finally I got a chance to see it at our local bookshop. It's wonderful and it just happens to be by one of my favorite artist/authors: Kazuno Kohara. I did a review of her other book, Ghosts in the House here. She is a talented Japanese artist who now resides in Cambridge and her specialty is linocut printmaking. Her style is simple and sweet, designed for all ages to enjoy.
The story is about a lonely boy who has nobody to play with until he meets Jack Frost and discovers how mystical and enchanting winter can be!
So far, Kazuno has Fall and Winter covered and I'm hoping she'll come out with Spring and Summer stories soon too. I haven't been able to find Kazuno's website or contact info, so Kazuno, if you happen to read this post, I'd love love, love to have you as a guest on our blog for an interview. Let me know when you're free. I have so many questions to ask!
P.S. I forgot to mention that Kazuno's Ghosts in the House was a NY Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year and an ALA Notable Childrens Book of 2009 and Here Comes Jack Frost is a big winner in my book too!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

On Angel Wings

Tonight the girls chose bedtime stories from our latest haul of Christmas books from the libray and we read On Angel Wings by Michael Morpurgo. You'll recognize Quentin Blake's ilustrations from most of Roald Dahl's books. Here they sparely complement the story, but I always like to see more QB illustrations.

This Christmas story is one to settle into and read with awe and feeling. The narrator is a grandfather recounting his boyhood memory of the night he met baby Jesus. After being abandoned by his family to stay and watch the sheep, he is taken to Bethlehem to meet the holy family on the wings of the angel Gabriel.

It's a fanciful and poignant tale and most of all, it's a nativity story unlike others. It's not as sad as The Little Drummer Boy although there are similarities, and it's not about Mary and Joseph's journey. It's about the Chritmas message that rings true.

"As we flew, I was so full of questions. I wanted to know so much about Jesus, this child King who was going to save the world. How will he do it?..."

" 'Love,' he (Gabriel) said. 'He will bring us love, and through love we will at last have peace and goodwill on earth.' "

I particularly liked the way the angels appeared to the shepherds. The shephard boy made stars out of stirring up sparks in the fire, and instead of the sparks flying up to join the other stars they took the shape of human figures bathed in glorious light. And the angels were singing. Which reminds me... of a track I heard on the radio by the acapella group, Chantileer, titled Sweeter Still. I was searching for a good video performance of that song but couldn't find it. So, I'm posting Chanticleer singing Dulaman, an Irish Gaelic song. BTW I'm always looking for new Christmas music compilations so if you have any favorites please let us know.***

Friday, December 4, 2009

Colonel Trash Truck

We've been reading a lot of comic books lately. Here's another fun book for 3-6 year olds with illustrations in the comic book vein : Colonel Trash Truck by Kathleen Crawley. The fun illustrations are by Manuel "Macs" Conde.
Colonel Trash Truck is a big green chomping hero who teaches children the importance of cleaning up after themselves and recycling to keep our world green. It's written in simple, easy, silly rhyme and will keep kids laughing and entertained.

"Please give him a hand, and do understand that he wants to keep the world clean. He does it for us, no matter the fuss, and hopes that we try to live green."

I found this cute little handmade trash truck (above) with removeable people. It's by nindesign and could make a perfect holiday gift for a little trash truck loving preschooler. Pair it with this book!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Secret Science Alliance

My 6 year old son took this photo of the display he made for his favorite book: The Secret Science Alliance by Eleanor Davis. The package arrived in the mail last week and I handed it to D as soon as he came home from school. "It's a book for you, sent from the author of Stinky" I said. Eagerly, he tore into the package, dropped to the floor and read

and read
and read
and read........... all 154 pages in one sitting! This must be a record for a 6 year old or at least it is for mine (who has a hard time sitting still :)
We are big fans of Stinky (book review here) and Eleanor Davis(interview here).
Now I will conduct a short book review/ interview with my son who has read The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook twice already and is an expert on the subject.

This story takes place in: middle school

Main characters were: Ben, Greta and Julian

The problem was: A copycat crook copied their inventions by stealing Julian's secret invention notebook.

In the end: Julian throws a glue bomb and the copycat crook, Dr. Stringer gets caught by the officers who take him to jail. The glue bomb picture is the coolest. It looks like green slime with legs. The ingredients are vinegar, orange soda and laundry detergent.

The thing I really liked: was the spring- loaded super-boots that Ben invented. The springs pop Dr. Stringer in the bellybutton! Ben's other invention, the stink-o-meter is pretty cool too. It makes stinky objects odor free!