Saturday, August 20, 2011

Kid Konnection: Variety of Picture Books

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to share with you some new-to-us picture books.

Summary: The creators of the award-winning An Egg Is Quiet and A Seed Is Sleepy have teamed up again to create this gorgeous and informative introduction to the world of butterflies. From iridescent blue swallowtails and brilliant orange monarchs to the worlds tiniest butterfly (Western Pygmy Blue) and the largest (Queen Alexandra's Birdwing), an incredible variety of butterflies are celebrated here in all of their beauty and wonder. Perfect for a child's bedroom bookshelf or for a classroom reading circle!
-- Chronicle
A BUTTERFLY IS PATIENT by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long is a breath-taking picture book and an all-around great introduction to butterflies. I was pleasantly surprised by the combination of beauty and butterfly facts, and I think children can't help but have a fun time learning about this amazing creature.

The thing that really jumped out to me about A BUTTERFLY IS PATIENT is how beautiful the entire book is. Not only is each page just filled with gorgeous images of butterflies, but there are also some pages with small pictures of the various varieties. Even the inside covers are beautiful close-ups of a butterfly's wing. Truly, the illustrations are spectacular and so colorful. I realize that butterflies are a pretty wonderful subject to draw, but there is a reason that Ms. Long is an award-winning illustrator of children's books. This book could (and should) be looked at over and over again.

Once I was able to stop gawking at all of the butterflies, I began to realize that this book is chockful of important facts about butterflies. In fact, I thought I was somewhat familiar with them; however, I quickly discovered a ton of new facts. There are pages about butterflies' eating and drinking habits, their ability to help pollinate, their navigation patterns, and of course, how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. I had no idea that some varieties eat poisonous plants so that they eventually become poisonous to predators.

If your child is interested in science or the beauty of butterflies, then I highly recommend this gorgeous picture book. It would also make a wonderful addition to early education classrooms.

Summary: Renowned author Daniel Pinkwater and best-selling poet and artist Calef Brown team up to champion the ridiculous! These endlessly fascinating and imaginative poems are as fresh and delightful today as they were when Edward Lear wrote them more than a hundred years ago—from "The Owl and the Pussycat" to "The Pobble Who Has No Toes." This charming book proves that, sometimes, there's nothing children need more than a healthy dose of nonsense! -- Chronicle Books

HIS SHOES WERE FAR TOO TIGHT by Edward Lear, masterminded by Daniel Pinkwater and illustrated by Calef Brown is probably the book that Booking Son (and his dad) enjoyed the most. This adorable picture book is a little different from most kids' books that we read because it contains lots of silly poems. I thought the book was cute, but Booking Son and his dad kept repeating the poems and giggling long after they finished reading it.

The poetry in HIS SHOES WERE FAR TOO TIGHT were originally written by Edward Lear over 100 years ago. They are nonsensical and terribly silly, but they obviously still stand the test of time. Just to give you an idea of the uniqueness of the poems, check out these titles: The Jumblies, Mrs. Blue Dickey Bird, and The Quangle Wangle's Hat. My favorite one in the book was probably the last one -- Nonsense Alphabet. I just found it fun to read.

One thing I can definitely say about this book is that it it is highly entertaining. Naturally, there will be a lot of laughs at the silliness, but I also have a feeling that these poems will help stretch kids' imaginations. The poems themselves use lots of silly made-up words, but the illustrations and presentation of the poems also contribute to this overall creative feel of the book.

HIS SHOES WERE FAR TOO TIGHT is a guaranteed winner for fans of children's poetry!

Summary: Since ancient times, one question has endured in the hearts and minds of children: Why do I have to make my bed if it's just going to get messed up again? Now, Wade Bradford takes readers on a trip through time for a humorous look at how bed-making has evolved throughout history.  Using examples of household tasks that might have been performed in colonial America, in ancient Egypt, by Vikings, and so on, this clever examination of chore lore eventually reveals the answer to this age-old question. (Hint: Mothers throughout history have always had a ready response.) This book makes history so much fun, kids won't even realize they're learning. -- Tricycle Press

I absolutely adored WHY DO I HAVE TO MAKE MY BED? OR A HISTORY OF MESSY ROOMS by Wade Bradford and illustrations by Johanna van der Sterre. I think many moms will relate to the young boy in the story who feels as if he has already done his fair share of chores and wonders why he has to make his bed. What mom hasn't heard the following:

"So why do I have to make my bed? It's just going to get mess up again?"

In WHY DO I HAVE TO MAKE MY BED?, the mom tells her son that his question reminds her of her mother (his grandmother) who wondered why she had to make her bed. She had already finished her other chores such as "dusted my rock 'n' roll records, picked up my slinky, my Hula-hoops," etc.She teaches her son about the chores of early Americans, the ancient Egyptians and Romans, the Vikings, etc. all the way back to the cavemen! In the process, she gives the boy an answer that every mom will recognize, "Because I said so!"

This book was too fun! Not only did it teach a lesson about obeying parents and contributing to the responsibilities of the household, but it also teaches kids about chores throughout history. Kids will love seeing the variety of duties that their ancestors had to do while at the same time realizing that they aren't alone. Hopefully, WHY DO I HAVE TO MAKE MY BED? will make kids less reluctant to help around the house! And if you're lucky, they just might see how much easier their lives are now when compared to children of the past.

I was excited to find a teacher's guide for WHY DO I HAVE TO MAKE MY BED? There are some pre-reading activities along with some discussion questions. There are also some activities to do after reading the book including creating a "how-to" book about making a bed, vocabulary skits, and a chores throughout the ages presentation. I would be thrilled if the teachers in my son's classroom did a brief unit on this book!

Thanks to the publishers for sending 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!


Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

My kids would LOVE all these delightful books! Silly poetry is a hit in our home and the butterfly book would especially appeal to my son.

Beth F said...

I agree with Laura, all three sound fabulous! One of my nephews would have treasured that butterfly book when he was young. Great picks this week.

Beth S. said...

Why Do I Have to Make My Bed? sounds delightfully adorable. And, truth be told, I'd like to know the answer to that too! LOL!

bermudaonion said...

They all look wonderful, but I have to admit to being partial to butterflies, so I'd probably pick up the top book first.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

These all look gorgeous - especially the butterfly book. I may have to get the making-the-bed book though, because, like Beth S., I myself have the same question! LOL

Anonymous said...

Oh neat! We LOVE An Egg Is Quiet which is very similar to A Butterfly Is Patient. Thanks for sharing!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

Three very different books, and it sounds like all appeal to you - I imagine Booking Son and his dad had fun with the silly Lear poems!

Beth Hoffman said...

Oh, my! The butterfly book sounds fantastic. I'm going to get it for a little girl I know who carries a butterfly backpack. She'll love it. Thanks, Julie!

Serena said...

All of these books sound great! The poem book is particularly intriguing. I'll have to see if I can pick up a copy.