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Showing posts from November, 2015

My Crazy Inventions Sketchbook: 50 Awesome Drawing Activities for Young Inventors by Andrew Rae & Lisa Regan, 128 pp, RL: 4

My Crazy Inventions Sketchbook: 50 Awesome Drawing Activities for Young Inventors by Andrew Rae and Lisa Regan is GENIUS! Rae has worked for many clients worldwide in advertising, print, publishing and animation and Regan is an accomplished author of children's non-fiction with over 300 titles to her name. The beauty of My Crazy Inventions Sketchbook is that it is more than a doodle book that will appeal to kids who may have never even considered inventing or designing something. This book is so engaging and inviting that readers will step outside the box or be inspired to step even further out, if they are already creatively inclined. Regan and Rae detail and bring to life a wide array of inventions from hundreds of years ago, like Leonardo daVinci's 1485 design for wings for humans to 21st century craziness like the man in Brazil who built a machine that changes from a van to a robot and back again in about two minutes. 

My Crazy Inventions Sketchbook is a great gift for a ki…

Where Did My Clothes Come From? by Chris Butterworth, illustrated by Lucia Gaggiotti

Where Did My Clothes Come From? by Chris Butterworth with illustrations by Lucia Gaggiotti is the fantastic companion to equally fantastic How Did That Get in My Lunchbox?, published in 2011. What I love about both books is the intended audience, which I would say is roughly 3 - 6 years old. The text in Butterworth's books is short and playful, drawing readers in. Gagiotti's illustrations are superb. She captures the absolute cuteness and fun of little kid clothes (and little kids) while also doing a fine job of illustrating industrial machinery and factory work.


Where Did My Clothes Come From? is definitely a global book with Butterworth focusing on textiles that have interesting creation processes, from blue jeans and sweaters to silk, soccer uniforms, boots and fleece. Besides cotton, rubber and wool, Butterworth also notes other plants that clothes are made from, like linen and hemp, and other animals that wool is collected from, like yaks, camels, bison, rabbits and goats.

The Smallest Gift of Christmas by Peter H. Reynolds

After 22 years of reading Christmas books to my kids, it is rare that I find a holiday book that is worthy of sharing here. But, when Peter H. Reynolds, author of the Creatrilogy of picture books that explore creativity and inspiration, creates a Christmas book, you know it will be worth buying and reading year after year. It is a good thing to have at least one or two picture books that help kids recognize the rampant consumerism of this season, and The Smallest Gift of Christmas is a reminder in the gentlest, most subtle of ways, which is exactly what I look for in a book with a message. The message ofThe Gift of Christmasis one that is easy to forget this time of year - being with people you love is the best gift, no matter what time of year. Reynolds wraps this message (which has been clobbered in so many other Christmas books) in a story that is sure to entertain young listeners and readers and presents it in a tiny trim size along with a photo-frame ornament.

The Gift of Christma…

The Sock Monkey Trilogy by Cece Bell

If you know anything about kid's books, kid's book awards and graphic novels, then the name Cece Bell should not be new to you. I had the pleasure of getting to know her work before she wowed the world with the 2015 Newbery Honor book, El Deafo, and am so happy to get to spend more time with her books now, especially her creation, Sock Monkey and all his friends. Bell has a sensibility that is a bit left of everyday and a wonderful way of somehow making every story, very subtly and sweetly, about acceptance, friendship, bravery and love. Originally published almost 10 years ago, Candlewick wisely, happily, has reissued Sock Money Takes a Bath, Sock Monkey Boogie-Woogie and Sock Monkey Rides Again.

Sock Monkey is a famous toy actor. He is also kind of a stand in for toddlers. In Sock Money Takes a Bath, Sock Monkey gets some good news and some bad news. He has been nominated* for "Best Supporting Toy in a Motion Picture" and has been invited to attend the Oswald Awards…

Mini Grey presents SPACE DOG

The mind of Mini Grey is a wondrous, playful thing and I am thankful that she is both a gifted author and illustrator who can convey that on the pages of a picture book again and again. Here newest picture book, Space Dog, is chock full of story - visual and text - from endpaper to endpaper, which begins with a map of the Cake Space Quadrant.







Space Dogbegins, "It's the year 3043 and, for as long as anyone on Home Planet can remember, Space Dogs, Astro Cats, and Moustronauts have been sworn enemies." Space Dog has long been "sorting out planetary problems" in the Dairy Quadrant. As Space Dog tackles things in the Breakfast Cluster like a milk-drought on Cornflake 5 and a milk surplus on Bottleopolis, he finds that he is just a little bit lonely when he returns to his ship, the SS Kennel. 



Space Dog isn't alone for long, though. After Astrocat needs rescuing and comes aboard the SS Kennel, Space Dog begins to see some good in his cake-baking-Dogopoly-playing sh…

Treasury of Norse Mythology: Stories of Intrigue, Trickery, Love and Revenge by Donna Jo Napoli, illustrations by Christina Balit, 192 pp, RL 4

With the recent movies from the Marvel Universe featuring Thor, along with Rick Riordan's new series Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard in which the titular character discovers he is the son of a Norse god (and why couldn't it have been Astrid Chase discovering she's the daughter of a Norse goddess, Rick?) Norse mythology is hot enough to melt a fjord right now. And, while the I love the D'Aulaires and their own collection of Norse mythology, it doesn't always grab the attention of readers. With Treasury of Norse Mythology: Stories of Intrigue, Trickery, Love and Revenge, children's book author Donna Jo Napoli brings the same wonderful storytelling skills to  that she brought to the Treasury of Egyptian Mythology and the Treasury of Greek Mythology, all three of which are marvelously illustrated, with beautiful borders on every page, by Christina Balit.

Napoli's introduction is superb, providing insight into the nature of Norse mythology that will help youn…