Saturday, September 3, 2011

Kid Konnection: Picture Books (September 3, 2011)

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 picture books that Booking Son and I recently read together.

Summary: Winter weather is keeping children from visiting the zoo. So the animals are out of sorts—listless, grumpy, and no longer fun. All except two little friends, a very small hippo and a baby kangaroo. Their hip-hopping, toe-tapping,  and rap-rocking soon has the other animals joining in the hip-aroo beat. "Racoons danced in pairs, baboons danced in troops, and snakes joined the dancers as live hula-hoops." Children's favorite songs get a funny new spin—seals bark out "The seals on the bus go round and round"—as the animals create their very own musical.

Young readers and listeners will be amazed and delighted at how the animals chase the winter doldrums by getting along as friends, pooling their talents, and pushing themselves to new heights. After all, these are the same clever animals who learned to read in Judy Sierra's and Marc Brown's
Wild About Books, an award-winning New York Times #1 bestselling picture book. ZooZical is sure to inspire some "can do" fun in kindergarten and primary grades. -- Knopf

ZOOZICAL by Judy Sierra and pictures by Marc Brown was a book that Booking Son and I both enjoyed. I mean, really, how could we miss with Judy Sierra's writing and Marc Brown's illustrations? ZOOZICAL was a fun book, and even though it was aimed for a younger audience than Booking Son, he still found it silly and very cute.

The idea behind this story is this: the animals at the zoo are getting bored and grumpy during the winter months since they aren't getting as many visitors. So, one small hippo and one baby kangaroo started tapping and rapping and twirling, and soon everyone joined in the fun. The animals decide to put on a "zoozical!"

While I did enjoy the story and the rhyming text, I most adored the illustrations. They are positively precious. (But did I really expect anything less with Marc Brown of Arthur fame?) They are bright and colorful and very busy, and I'm pretty sure that youngsters will eat them right up!

Evidently the characters ZOOZICAL have already appeared in another book WILD ABOUT BOOKS which is new to Booking Son and me. I'm thinking we'll have to check it out in the very near future since Booking Son is almost outgrowing picture books.

Highly recommend for family fun!

Summary: How much work can one little chicken be?

When Leora finds a chicken in her front yard, she imagines keeping it as a pet and gathering eggs for breakfast every morning. But her mother has a very different view. Following a Jewish law that says ”finders aren’t keepers,” Mrs. Bendosa is determined that the family should care for the chicken just until its rightful owner returns. Soon, however, one little chicken becomes a flock of chickens, a flock of chickens becomes two goats, two goats become a herd of goats…until—Oh! What a house!

Elisa Kleven’s exquisitely detailed folk art brings Elka Weber’s humorous retelling of a traditional tale to life and promises to leave readers pondering the adage, “finders, keepers.” -- Tricycle Press

ONE LITTLE CHICKEN by Elka Weber and illustrations by Elisa Kleven was another cute book that Booking Son and I read this week. It tells the story of a young girl who finds a chicken in her front yard and she wants to keep her for a pet. Her parents don't quite agree and they keep reminding her that the chicken doesn't "belong" to her. Soon, the chicken turns into many chickens, and then two goats, and then a herd of goats, and so on....

I thought this story was very cute and it read like a folk tale. I loved that it had so many important lessons in it too. It wasn't until I was finished with the book and read the author's note that I realized that ONE LITTLE CHICKEN is the retelling of a story in the Talmud. Included in the back of the book is a summary of that story which appears in Deuteronomy.

In addition to having such a great message, I enjoyed the pictures in ONE LITTLE CHICKEN. They are gorgeous watercolor illustrations and fit perfectly with the story. In fact, they add to the overall folksy feel of the book.

ONE LITTLE CHICKEN is another winner in our house!

Summary: Ana loves stories. She often makes them up to help her little brother fall asleep. But in her small village there are only a few books and she has read them all. One morning, Ana wakes up to the clip-clop of hooves, and there before her, is the most wonderful sight: a traveling library resting on the backs of two burros‑all the books a little girl could dream of, with enough stories to encourage her to create one of her own.

Inspired by the heroic efforts of real-life librarian Luis Soriano, award-winning picture book creators Monica Brown and John Parra introduce readers to the mobile library that journeys over mountains and through valleys to bring literacy and culture to rural Colombia, and to the children who wait for the BiblioBurro.

A portion of the proceeds from sales of this book support Luis Soriano’s BiblioBurro program. -- Tricycle Press

And last, but certainly not least is WAITING FOR BIBLIOBURRO by Monica Brown and illustrations by John Parra. I absolutely loved this book -- probably more than Booking Son although he enjoyed it too. I have a feeling that he thought I was a little over-the-top about this story.

WAITING FOR BIBLIOBURRO tells the story of a young peasant girl Ana who loves reading and writing stories. She only has one book and she's read it so many times that she knows it by heart. When Ana wakes up one day to the sound of a man and two burros, she discovers a very special traveling library. She can hardly wait for the biblioburro to return -- so much so that she begins to drive her mother crazy! Because of her very positive experience with the biblioburro and new books, she decides to write her own story to share with other children.

Seriously, what's not to love about this book? It's such a terrific story with a wonderful message about the joy of reading. WAITING FOR BIBLIOBURRO is based on the real-life biblioburro team of Luis Soriano and his burros Alfa and Beto. I love that this "hero's" story is being shared with so many children. You can read more about Soriano in the author's note. In addition, there are some Spanish terms woven into the story. Most meanings are pretty clear, but the author included a glossary in the back of the book just in case.

Of course, I think this story is fantastic even without pictures, but the illustrations by John Parra definitely complement the story. They are just gorgeous and illustrate the rural Columbian countryside perfectly. It's no wonder that he's an award-winning illustrator (and the author is award-winning as well!)

WAITING FOR BIBLIOBURRO is one of the cutest and heart-warming picture books that I've read in some time. Very highly recommended for children, parents, and teachers alike.

Thanks to the publisher 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!


Anonymous said...

Oh Zoozical looks awesome! I adore Marc Brown. :0)

Beth F said...

Wow -- three winners! These are completely different books but each one sounds so special. I loved the video of the traveling library that Dawn had on her blog this week.

Karlie said...

Zoozical looks adorable! What a great idea for a book.

bermudaonion said...

I wondered if that was the Marc Brown of Arthur fame. All of those books look wonderful to me.

Booksnyc said...

Waiting for Biblioburro does sound like a heartwarming story - I will have to note it and pick it up for my niece and nephew!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I saw Biblioburro over at Dawn's - it looks great!

My link today is for White Water, a story about a young black kid in the south in the fifties discovering the difference between the water in fountains for blacks and fountains for whites.

Beth S. said...

I've read a different picture book about the biblioburro. It was just titled Biblioburro. It's definitely a story worth writing about!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

Great picture books! I've been invited to be a "guest reader" in my son's classroom next week, and believe I'll bring BIBLIOBURRO (unless he pushes a baseball book into my hands).