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Showing posts from March, 2020

Story Time with Ms. T.! Books About Books...

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Inside this Book (arethree books)  by Barney Saltzberg Published by AbramsAppleseed

Open this Little Book by Jessie Klausmeier, illustrated by Suzy Lee Published by Chronicle Books
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My Jasper June by Laurel Snyder, 304 pp, RL 4

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My Jasper June by Laurel Snyder Cover art by Ramona Kaulitzki Purchased from First Book for my school library
In 2017 I reviewed Snyder's unforgettable Orphan Island, where a green boat emerged once a year from the surrounding mist, bringing one new child, roughly four years old, and departing with the oldest of the nine children, each a year apart in age. In the absence of adults, Orphan Island is an intense window into the world of a child on the cusp of adolescence and all that comes with it. The children learn to take care of themselves, but they also learn the responsibility of taking care of others and the sacrifices that sometimes requires. Main character Jinny, newly the eldest on the island at the beginning of the novel, rebels against her new responsibilities and almost sends the island into chaos before ultimately coming to understand and accept them. The novel ends with Jinny boarding the green boat and heading out into the cold mist, unable to see all that is ahead of he…

The Deep & Dark Blue by Niki Smith, 256 pp, RL 4

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The Deep & Dark Blue by Niki Smith Purchased at Barnes & Noble With The Deep & Dark Blue, Niki Smith world builds quickly and completely. Readers will fall into this world where the Communion of Blue, an order of magical women, learn to spin the blue threads that allow them to shape reality to their will, and the ruling families share a delicate balance of power. On the day of the solstice, after secretly watching the sisters perform a special blessing, twin brothers Hawke and Grayson's lives are changed forever when their cousin, Mirelle, stages a coup and kills their grandfather and their cousin, Reyden, rightful heir to the House of Sunderlay. Knowing that they are next in line, and next to be killed, Hawke and Grayson run for their lives. Knowing that solstice is also initiation day for the Communion of Blue, the boys disguise themselves as girls and hide amongst the girls.  Once initiated into the Communion of Blue, Hawke, now Hanna, is selected to train as a guardian…

Story Time with Ms. T.! TRIANGLE, SQUARE and CIRCLE by Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen, published by Candlewick Press

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WATCH ME FIRST!



*This post & videos will be deleted once schools reopen

Everyone's Awake, written by Colin Meloy & illustrated by Shawn Harris

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Everyone's Awake byColin Meloy illustrated by Shawn Harris Review Copy from Chronicle Books

When I was a kid, well before the internet, back when we had to consult an encyclopedia or write a letter and send it through the postal service if we wanted to get an answer, my favorite kind of book was the kind that referenced other, real books. That's how I educated myself - by reading the flaps, the dedications and author's notes and following them like a trail of bread crumbs to a new literary adventure. Reading Meloy and Harris's Everyone's Awake took me back to those days and sent me down a rabbit hole, albeit one with millions of facts (and fictions) just a few keystrokes away. There are so many superb adjectives and superlatives to describe the bouncing, boundless creativity and energy that sings and zings off every marvelously rhyming page of this picture book, and there are plenty of reviews highlighting this fine quality. What I want to feature in my review are the …

Charlie & Mouse Outdoors by Laurel Snyder & Emily Hughes, 48 pp,

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Charlie & Mouse Outdoors by Laurel Snyder illustrated by Emily Hughes Review Copy from Chronicle Books Book four in this fantastic series that perfectly straddles the world of picture books and beginning readers finds these siblings stuck in the backseat as they head out on a camping trip with mom and dad. Over the course of four chapters, they make up a story to beat boredom, find some great sticks and defend themselves from monsters as they hike the path, fight fear as they wait alone in the tent by conjuring up imaginary kittens (because kittens are never scary) and finally toast marshmallows and feel the joy and comfort of being with family as they gather around the campfire.  While I definitely love the chapter titled, "Kittens," I think that the first chapter, "Boring," is my favorite. Bored, Dad tells Charlie to make up a story because, "Stories aren't boring." I love the simple but powerful way Snyder shows the act of storytelling: how an idea …

Aster and the Accidental Magic by Thom Pico & Karensac, 224 pp, RL 3

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Aster and the Accidental Magic  by Thom Pico & Karensac Purchased from Barnes & Noble Published by RH Graphic
Published by Dupuis, the almost 100-year-old French publisher of comics, as Aubépine (Hawthorn), the first in this quartet of graphic novels by Thom Pico and Karensac debuted in 2018. Happily, the determined, opinionated, adventurer has made her way to America by way of the superb new imprint, RH Graphics. In the first of two stories in this book, "Aster Makes Some Poorly Thought-Through Wishes," we learn that Aster is a city girl transplanted (temporarily, she thinks) to the mountains in the middle of nowhere in anticipation of a great and potentially dangerous migration of an ancient, oversized, angry flock of birds. Aster adjusts to her somewhat lonely rural life grudgingly as her older brother returns to the city for college and her mother works tirelessly on a solution of the rapidly approaching problem of the birds. Forced outdoors, Aster meets a shepherd a…

It's a Great Big Colorful World by Tom Schamp

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It's a Great Big Colorful World by Tom Schamp Review Copy from Prestel The title and trim size of this book say it all. This gorgeously illustrated picture book is filled with detail, humor and fun facts about colors, places, people and culture from all over the world. Otto the cat wakes to a grey day, feeling blah. His friend Leon (a chameleon who changes with each turn of the page) takes Otto on a tour of the world of colors and the geographical world, celebrating the many marvelous things connected to each hue.  Leon and Otto head out into the grey day where coziness is everywhere, from a snow covered cottage where a sleeping goat is counting sheep to grey cats and a silver toaster to the Eiffel Tower and a pack of elephants.  From there they head into the world of black and white, sharing a two page spread where paint tubes stand in for the monochromatic dresses of some of the humans and cats on the page. Among four pages featuring yellow foods, flowers and winner's yellow jers…

Hello, World! by Ethan Long

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HELLO, WORLD! by Ethan Long Review Copy from MacMillan Kids
HELLO, WORLD! is the first in a series of picture books set in Happy County, inspired by Richard Scarry's Busytown, a staple of my childhood and my children's. In fact, I almost named my son Huckle, but ended up giving that name, probably more appropriately, to our cat. Long definitely captures the spirit of Scarry's work while also updating it and making it his own. Like Busytown, Happy County is populated with anthropomorphized animals, many of them with playful names like Ballpark Franky and Cheese Louise along with Mr. Rhinehorn (the rhino)  and Mrs. Longnecker (a giraffe) and Monkey Mantle, a baseball player. I especially like Lucy Livingood, who is a "super-duper volunteer." After introducing the inhabitants and taking the scenic route through the county (with everything labeled) where a wind farm and a drone can be seen, readers get an up-close look at life in town. Long includes a fantastic amount …