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ONE IS NOT A PAIR: A Spotting Book by Britta Teckentrup

I think it's possible that I love a beautifully illustrated, well designed picture book (we're talking perfect trim size, thick, creamy pages, superb endpapers) more than a well written book. Happily, author and illustrator Britta Teckentrup delivers on both. ONE IS NOT A PAIR: A Spotting Book is the fourth in a series of "spotting books" for Big Picture Press a relatively new imprint of Candlewick Press, the premier publisher of picture books that meet my high standards, as well as the publisher of 90% of the picture books I choose to review. With her well crafted rhymes and charming illustrations, Teckentrup has created a look-and-find book that has readers searching for the odd-man-out - the one among the many that does NOT have a matching pair! Read my reviews of Teckentrup's other marvelous books here.







The SPOTTING SERIES with books by Teckentrup & others!



 Source: Review Copy





Recent posts

Find Me: A Hide-and-Seek Book by Anders Arhoj

Find Me: A Hide-and-Seek Book by Anders Arhoj, the founder of Arhoj Studio, a Danish interior and design studio interested in, "exploring the relationship between Scandinavian simplicity and traditional Japanese culture," and, "keeping alive traditions and knowledge about old crafts such as wheel throwing and glaze construction." While that may be a long and seemingly tangential introduction to this insanely fun, fantastically illustrated and designed book, it also gives context to what you find behind the eyes . . . A pair of foxes are your tour guides through this colorfully creative, ever changing landscape. There's just one catch, as Red Fox closes his eyes and the other runs off to hide, Blue Fox reveals that she can change colors! To add to this, if you read Find Me: A Hide-and-Seek Book from back to front, you will discover that it reads THE SAME! From the title page to the introduction with one difference - Blue Fox is doing the counting this time and Re…

Smoot: A Rebellious Shadow by Michelle Cuevas, illustrated by Sydney Smtih

Smoot: A Rebellious Shadow by Michelle CuevasandSydney Smith is a striking picture book - both for the fresh story Cuevas tells and Smith's bold watercolor and pen and ink illustrations. Together, Cuevas and Smith have created a picture book that is a joy to read - over and over - and one that will linger in your thoughts long after you have closed the covers. Cuevas begins Smoot: A Rebellious Shadow, "If life is a book, then Smoot the Shadow had been reading the same yawn-colored page for seven and a half years. And much like two pages in a book, or two ripples in a brook, Smoot and his boy were inseparable." Evoking a tidy, if dull life, Cuevas's words are rich with imagery. The thick, black likes of Smith's illustrations, especially on the boy, give a heaviness to the page while the white spaces make Smoot and the other shadows in this book pop. One day, "while wishing for sky-blue colored freedom, Smoot heard a pop! He had come unstuck from the boy!" …

9 Standout Verse Novels for Kids and Teens Reading Below Grade Level @ Brightly

I am very proud to announce that I wrote an article for a website I respect and consider a resource when seeking out noteworthy kid's books,  Brightly. While they aren't quite few and far between, the verse novel is a genre I discovered and fell in love with years ago. When I started work as a librarian at an elementary school with a population of English language learners reading below grade level, I made it my mission to find complex stories that were not complex when it came to reading.
Earlier this year, Brightly reached out to me, asking if I would promote their website. Owned by PenguinRandom House, Brightly is not singleminded in the books featured. Besides a great design value and user friendly website, I really value the books, booklists and issues featured for kids, tweens, teens and adults. Wanting to be part of this great resource, I pitched and idea for a piece and9 Standout Verse Novels for Kids and Teens Reading Below Grade Level is the end result. I hope you wil…

Castle in the Stars: The Space Race of 1869 by Alex Alice, translated by Anne Smith and Owen Smith, 64pp, RL 4

Breathtakingly beautiful, exciting, and perfectly presented in a trim size larger than most graphic novels, Castle in the Stars: The Space Race of 1869, book 1, by French graphic novel writer and artist, Alex Alice. His bio notes that, as a child, Alice developed a lifelong passion for the, "ruins and castles of the medieval and romantic ages." This, with a touch of Jules Verne, some steampunk flourishes and a splash of history, informs this two volume epic.
Aether, a concept originated by Socrates, is the element that scientists, politicians and royalty are seeking in 1869 in the hopes of harnessing its power, for good and bad. As Castle in the Stars begins, Claire Dulac is preparing to ascend 11,000 meters into the atmosphere with a light bulb designed to detect aether, her husband Archibald trying to talk her out of this crazy experiment, her son Seraphin looking on. Claire's mission is both a success and failure.
A year later, and Seraphin is obsessed with aether, turn…

Molly & Mae: A Friendship Journey by Danny Parker and Freya Blackwood

Molly & Mae: A Friendship Journey is a lovely, wonderful picture book in so many ways. Written by Danny Parker and illustrated by the marvelous Freya Blackwood, it shows children what friendship looks like and, possibly even better, it shows children what it looks like to have to be patient and wait. Without a device to entertain you...

Endpapers show the start and end of the day's long train journey, with the title page starting the story as Molly and her mom make their way to the platform where Mae and her mom are already waiting. As little kids do, the girls find each other and strike up a friendship. And, as little kids do, the girls crawl under and over and scoot in and around every corner of the train station as they wait to board.
Through illustrations and text, Molly & Mae follows the friends with signs in the train station and at the various stations they pass through indicating where the girls are in their "friendship journey." "Signal Failure" …

Go Go Gorillas: A Romping Bedtime Tale by Patrick Wensink, illustrated by Nate Wragg

You may think the title of this syncopated rhyming picture book by Patrick Wensink with illustrations by Nate Wragg says it all, but what you don't know until you begin reading Go Go Gorillas: A Romping Bedtime Tale is where these gorillas are go-going at night and why they seem so boring during the day. Wragg's colorful, chunky, animated illustrations, set against a dark night sky, are superbly silly, bringing the rhymes to life.
When the sun goes down and the visitors to the zoo are long gone, the gorillas begin their revelry with a feast that includes bunches of bananas and mountains of marshmallows. That is, until the zookeeper appears, speaking, "soft and low," telling those apes to, "grab their jammies. Go, go, go, go." The apes comply, but once they are alone again, the party roars back to life. Dancing and more dancing are interrupted with admonishments to return to sleep until finally, the zookeeper gives in and does the twist with the gang, wowing …