Saturday, May 21, 2011

Kid Konnection: Entertaining 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 a couple of terrific picture books that Booking Son and I recently read. As he is getting better at reading, I fear our days of picture book reading are coming to an end.

Summary: Acclaimed picture book biographer Jeanette Winter has found her perfect subject: Jane Goodall, the great observer of chimpanzees. Follow Jane from her childhood in London watching a robin on her windowsill, to her years in the African forests of Gombe, Tanzania, invited by brilliant scientist Louis Leakey to observe chimps, to her worldwide crusade to save these primates who are now in danger of extinction, and their habitat. Young animal lovers and Winter's many fans will welcome this fascinating and moving portrait of an extraordinary person and the animals to whom she has dedicated her life. -- Schwartz & Wade

I have always been a huge fan of Jane Goodall's, but evidently she is becoming very popular right now with children too. A few weeks ago, I reviewed a cute book about her childhood called ME...JANE. And now I found another book about Ms. Goodall's called THE WATCHER: JANE GOODALL'S LIFE WITH THE CHIMPS by Jeanette Winter. I absolutely loved this book and Booking Son agreed. Plus, it's received starred reviews from Booklist and Kirkus.

I have read a few books about Jane Goodall and already knew that was an incredibly woman, but now I can share her "awesomeness" with my children through THE WATCHER. This picture book tells the story of Jane Goodall from her early childhood on a farm to her present day work as a worldwide ambassador for awareness of chimpanzees, and it's must better at explaining her accomplishments than I could ever be. In addition, THE WATCHER also demonstrates that kids can make a difference in the world and help save our environment and its animals.

The illustrations in this book were charming and perfectly complemented the story. They were sometimes a little whimsical and always very colorful. I especially liked the pages where the chimpanzees were features -- too cute! Evidently the pictures did a good job of showing how Ms. Goodall changed through the years because Booking Son commented on how the book covered her entire life. He asked me if she was old now because he thought the pictures showed that.

THE WATCHER is a fabulous book and I highly recommend it! Teachers and parents alike will enjoy sharing Ms. Goodall's accomplishments with their students and children.

Summary: Meet Chamelia! Chamelia is a chameleon. Most chameleons like to blend in, but Chamelia prefers to stand out. She just loves being the center of attention. But when standing out means being left out, can Chamelia learn to share the spotlight? -- Little, Brown

CHAMELIA by Ethan Long is another adorable book. While it might be considered less educational than the prior book since it's based on a fictional chameleon, it still has a very valuable message. I thought Chamelia and her sense of fashion were just precious!

Chamelia isn't like most chameleons because she tried to stand apart from her environment -- not blend in. She strives to be the center of attention and uses her fashion sense to do so! (In fact, she reminded me a bit of one of my favorite kids' book characters -- Olivia!) But when Camelia learns that standing out can also mean being left out, she realizes that being part of the crowd isn't so bad!

I can't stress how much I loved this book. Chamelia is a wonderful character and the message is a very important one too! (I sometimes think we can place too much value on being an individual all of the time!) In addition, the illustrations were beyond cute. I absolutely loved how the author made Chamelia "stand out" with her textured and patterned clothes -- I think he used mixed media on Chamelia while the rest of the characters were drawn as "normal." I especially liked Chamelia's particular color of green!

While the story is certainly entertaining as it is, there are more opportunities for some book-related fun. The publisher has posted some fun downloads relating to CHAMELIA including a maze, a matching game, and a coloring page. Be sure to check them out if you want a better idea of how adorable Chamelia is!

Thanks to the publisher for sending me copies of these books.

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! 


bermudaonion said...

They both look really cute, but the cover of The Watcher is simply outstanding.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I'm thrilled there are a spate of books now to introduce kids to Jane Goodall - I love her!

Booksnyc said...

I love biographies and memoirs so I am excited that they are starting to write children's books about remarkable people. What a great way to expand a child's world!