Saturday, September 18, 2010

Kid Konnection: Picture Books

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. Today, I'm going to share with you five fantastic picture books that Booking Son and I have recently read.

Summary: M is for las muralistas, making murals of island vistas. Waterfalls that hide brick walls. Rainforest full of tropical trees.

N is for the noisy neighbors who sit on the stoop and catch the breeze.

When Ava's friend Chien visits her in the Barrio, she takes him on a tour of all of her favorite things about the neighborhood. From fire hydrants to ice cream trucks, bodegas to vacant lots, the sights and sounds of the Barrio -- even the less perfect things -- come to life in the poetic words of Quiara Hudes, author of the Tony Award-winning musical IN THE HEIGHTS. -- Scholastic

WELCOME TO MY NEIGHBORHOOD! A BARRIO A B C by Quiara Alegria Hudes and illustrated by Shino Arihara is such a great book. Like many picture books, WELCOME TO MY NEIGHBORHOOD goes through all of the letters of the alphabet and gives examples for each one. What makes this book so unique is that it references items that a child who lives in a barrio might see in his or her everyday life.

Now even though Booking Son has known his letter for almost four years,  he still enjoys ABC books (as does his mommy!) Since we live in Central PA, we don't really have the opportunity to experience many of the same things that families in barrios do. As a result, Booking Son and I not only got to see a glimpse into a new type of neighborhood, but we also learned many new words in the process.

The illustrations in WELCOME TO MY NEIGHBORHOOD absolutely take this book to the next level -- they are just gorgeous. While I definitely liked the artist's style, I also loved that there was so much to appreciate on each page. Some of the illustrations were simple, but beautiful, while others had a lot going on!

WELCOME TO MY NEIGHBORHOOD is a beautiful and educational book that I highly recommend.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book.

Summary: Benjamin Middlemouse lives with his mother in a cozy wardrobe in a little boy’s bedroom. One day, Benjamin’s mother is late coming home. Worried, Benjamin asks his friend, Bumper the elephant, to help find her. Their search takes them to the lair of Sir Pouncelot the cat, who has dinner plans they must put a stop to, fast! -- BraveMouse Books

BENJAMIN AND BUMPER TO THE RESCUE by Molly Coxe and photographs by Olivier Toppin is another very cute picture book. The basic premise of this story is that Benjamin, a little mouse, and Bumper, his stuffed elephant friend, set out on an adventure to find Benjamin's mother.

Booking Son liked the story, but he appreciated the photographs even more. Each page of this story is made up of different photos of very interesting dioramas. Benjamin and Bumper are felted animals and absolutely adorable, but I also enjoyed seeing the various settings that the artists created. I was actually surprised by how detailed each individual photograph was.

Kids are guaranteed to be entertained by BENJAMIN AND BUMPER TO THE RESCUE both because of the adventure story as well as the interesting photographs. There is another book POSIE AND THE PIRATES which will be available in early fall 2012. This next book in the series will feature Benjamin and his friend Posie on a little pirate adventure.

Thanks to Media Masters Publicity for sending me a copy of this book.

Summary: Whimsical and witty, “Man Gave Names to All the Animals” first appeared on Bob Dylan's album Slow Train Coming in 1979. Illustrator Jim Arnosky has now crafted a stunning picture book adaptation of Dylan's song that's a treat for both children and adults, with breathtaking images of more than 170 animals plus a CD of Dylan's original recording.

The revered musical legend rarely allows his songs to be illustrated, and Arnosky has done the song proud with a parade of spectacular creatures ready to receive their names-until the surprise ending, when children get to name an animal themselves! -- Sterling

MAN GAVE NAMES TO ALL THE ANIMALS by Bob Dylan and illustrated by Jim Arnosky is an amazingly beautiful book for so many reasons! Both Booking Son and I absolutely loved it -- and even Booking Daughter had to take a little peek when she saw how excited we were.

I hope I'm not alone when I say that I didn't know the song by Bob Dylan called Man Gave Names to All the Animals. I like some of Bob Dylan's songs, but I'm afraid that I only know the really famous ones. I do know that I've always appreciated his music and his lyrics. And Man Gave Names to All the Animals is no exception. The words in this story are cute, fun and catchy; and they definitely had Booking Son very interested.

After we read through the entire book one time, I put in the CD which comes with the book. The CD actually contains the original Bob Dylan recording, and it's terrific. Booking Son and I started singing along with the song right away, and he even enjoyed listening to the CD while turning the pages himself.

So when you take Dylan's writing and add Jim Arnosky's gorgeous illustrations, you get just a beautiful storybook -- one that is sure to be treasured in many classrooms and homes. As you can see from the cover, the illustrations are spectacular and I promise that each page is more beautiful than the next.

I highly recommend MAN GAVE NAMES TO ALL THE ANIMALS. Parents and kids alike will adore it!

Summary: Nighttime has come to Lulu's cottage, and Lulu is all tucked in.

But somebody somewhere isn't ready for bed.

Whooooo could it be? -- Beach Lane

I know you're probably tired of me saying this, but WHO SAID COO? by Deborah Ruddell and illustrated by Robin Luebs is another precious storybook. This one is aimed at kids ages 3-7, but I honestly thought Booking Son (who's 6) was almost too old for it.

That's not to say that he didn't like it though! He thought Lulu the pig was adorable and he laughed each time something made a noise to keep Lulu awake. He probably recognized the irony that something was keeping Lulu from going to sleep when he usually experiences the opposite problem -- he's the one that doesn't want to go to bed!

I think younger kids, including toddlers, will appreciate this book even more. They will like guessing the various animals that are keeping Lulu from falling asleep. In addition, I think they will "get" the humor and the message at the end of the story.

I loved the illustrations in this book! I might be a sucker for pigs (like Olivia), but Lulu is pretty darn cute in her own right. Her PJs and curly tail are hysterical! The pictures are colorful and whimsical and I have a feeling that kids are going to fall in love with Lulu as well as the other animals in the story.

WHO SAID COO? is just too cute for little ones. I definitely recommend this book for the preschoolers!

Thanks to Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy of this book.

Summary: Take a bite out of this deliciously funny original fairy tale by a bestselling picture-book duo!

What would you do if you were invited to the princess’s tenth birthday party but didn’t have money for a gift? Well, clever Jack decides to bake the princess a cake.

Now he just has to get it to the castle in one piece. What could
possibly go wrong?

Candace Fleming and G. Brian Karas, creators of the bestselling picture book
Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!, have teamed up again to bring us a modern fairy tale starring a determined boy and a story-loving princess with a good sense of humor. While girls will fall for a story featuring a princess’s birthday party, Jack’s adventures with trolls, bears, and gypsies make this the perfect read for young boys as well—and ideal for storytime. -- Schwartz & Wade

And last, but certainly not least, is CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE by Candace Fleming and illustrated by G. Brian Karas. I know Booking Son was caught up in this book and thought it was very funny, but I think I might have enjoyed it even more than he did! I loved everything about this book from its title (which is perfect because it has multiple meanings) to the story to the artwork! This is one of the most special picture books that I've recently read because it is just so darn entertaining. Booklist and School Library Journal agrees. They both gave this book a starred review!

CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE is, for all intents and purposes, a fairy tale. It tells the story of Jack, a young boy who is invited to the princess's birthday party but can't afford to buy her a gift. Jack uses his resourcefulness and even makes some sacrifices to bake the princess a beautiful cake. When he sets off to the castle for the party, he gets way more than he bargained for. Pretty much anything and everything that can go wrong for poor Jack does.

While I admit to loving the story, I also really liked the illustrations; and I think they complemented the fairy tale aspect of the story perfectly. The pictures were extremely cute (and colorful) pencil drawings, yet they also had many details. Quite a few of the illustrations were very funny, and I liked that each one had a a lot going on for the reader to explore.

I almost think the less you know about this story, the better, because the ending is fantastic! Booking Son and I were both laughing, but I was also quite impressed with the creativity of the story. CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE is one of those books that we will read again and again!

I was pleasantly surprised to find that a teacher's guide exists for this author's books. There were some great ideas and activities in this guide and it definitely would make for a great aid in the classroom.

As far as I'm concerned, CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE is a must-read picture book! Don't miss it!

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


Carol said...

Man gave names to all the animals looks like a lovely book. will have to look out for it.

thanks for the review.


Pam Pho said...

I haven't read any of these to Addie. Right now we are enjoying First Grade Stinks.

Beth F said...

Great list. We are huge Dylan fans here and probably have him on mono vinyl--no kidding.

Mary (Bookfan) said...

I've been invited to a baby shower. The invitation included a request to bring a book for the baby. I think I'll look for Who Said Coo? It looks adorable!

bermudaonion said...

I'm going to have to get that Bob Dylan book for a good friend of mine. She is a Dylan freak!

Brimful Curiosities said...

Man Gave Names to All the Animals is a gorgeously illustrated creation story. Wish the CD had more songs on it.

Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

I've heard good things about the Bob Dylan book. All the books look great, though!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I added a link for Julie of the Wolves, which is a Middle Grade book.

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

So many good books to read! I really liked Man Named the Animals and Clever Jack from your reviews - we'll be looking for them!

Veens said...

Clever Jack sounds so cute and so does all the other books!

This is my 1st time participating and I got the idea from Bermudaonion's blog.

I have added my review of a YA book.

Thank you.