Skip to main content

Places to Be by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Renata Liwska

Places to Be, written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Renata Liwska reminds me of the meditatively lovely trio of books written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Liwska, The Quiet Book & The Loud Book and The Christmas Book. Barnett and Liwska, along with two foxes, take readers to literal and abstract places, urging readers on with a, "Hurry up! We have places to be."
There are places to be happy and, "blue and purple." Barnett's words are poetic and simple, giving Liwska space to tell a story with her illustrations that goes beyond the text. Two foxes, one big and one little, maybe siblings, maybe friends, start the story at a playground on a bike and a skateboard. Until the big fox ends up in a blue and purple place after his skateboard breaks.

The two carry on with their days of play and adventure, stopping at many places, experiencing more ups and downs. The pair comfort, entertain and encourage each other through thunderstorms, diving boards and the dangers of open manholes while walking and texting, or maybe catching Pokémon? As always, Liwska's illustrations are filled with details and wonderfully expressive characters, all presented in a cool, spring palette with occasional bursts of bold colors. Bringing the story full circle in the penultimate page spread, Liwska shows the pair of foxes planning to have a new skateboard made.

Source: Review Copy


Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers remains the most read post on my blog since I wrote it in 2012. Because of this, I have cleaned up this post, tightened the writing and added in any pertinent information that has come about since it originally ran. When I first started in August of 2008, I was scrambling for content, finding my purpose and my voice and not always doing my best writing. How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers was one of the first articles I wrote and, as a bookseller and a book reviewer, and now as an elementary school librarian where I have gone from working with kids reading well beyond their grade level to kids reading well below, this philosophy remains my organizing principle and central focus when reading and recommending books to parents and children. 

In the interest of my mission and the attention this article continues to receive, I have updated and expanded this article and included a guide to using …

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…