Showing posts from April, 2020

The Clouds by Rosemary Wells

The Clouds

Some clouds fill with sunshine Some are dark with sorrow. Some are left from yesterday And some are for tomorrow.
The clouds go proudly sailing by. I love their proper names.
Stratus, Nimbus, Cirrus, Cumulus and James.
-Rosemary Wells

The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen

The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen Purchased from Barnes & Noble During this time of staying safe at home while schools are closed, I've had the opportunity to join a few virtual classrooms and read to my students. The best part is getting to see their faces again, and the second best part is perusing my personal library to find something I have never read to them before that also works well when being held up to a computer camera. While the rich, color saturated illustrations are lost a little, reading by Chris Van Dusen's 2009 picture book, The Circus Ship was a treat to revisit and a hit with the kids. Hopefully, you know Van Dusen's work already. When authoring his own picture books, he is a masterful, playful rhymer. And, whether illustrating his own work of that of others (most notably Kate DiCamillo's Mercy Watson series) his illustrations are always full of energy and detail, color and complexity.
Inspired by a true, but tragic story (see the author's note…

Donut: A Haiku

Like gems behind glass, frosted, sprinkled and crumbed. Waiting to be boxed.
- Tanya Z. Turek

The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams

The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends upon
a red wheel barrow
glazed with rain water
beside the white chickens

-William Carlos Williams

This image was part of the Free Verse competition held by the Academy of American Poets.

That's Good, That's Bad by Joan M. Lexau, illustrated by Aliki

That's Good, That's Bad by Joan M. Lexau, illustrated by Aliki Review Copy from Presetel Publishing Back in 2012, I reviewed four "reversal of fortune" picture books that spanned almost five decades. I never get tired of reading this kind of picture book, and in my experience, kids never get tired of having them read out loud. I think one of the most fun (and teachable) things about a book like this is the way the story prompts readers/listeners to make predictions, even though making an accurate one is almost impossible because of the nature of the story itself. That's Good, That's Bad was originally published in 1962, two years before Remy Charlip's superlative Fortunately. If you can't tell by the title, the main character of That's Good, That's Bad experiences a series of positive and negative events. Lexau begins her story with a boy, sitting on a rock, who is approached by a tiger licking its lips. Tiger tells Boy to run so that he can chas…

This Is Just to Say by William Carlos Williams

This Is Just to Say

I have eaten the plums that were in the ice box
and which you were probably saving for breakfast
Forgive me they were delicious so sweet and so cold

-William Carlos Williams

Don't miss the wonderful collection of non-apology apology poems by Gail Carson Levine with fantastic illustrations from Matthew Cordell,  Forgive Me, I Meant to Do it: False Apology Poems, many of which have a fairy-tale flair to them...

There is also a very fun book of poems by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, titled, This is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness in which an imagined sixth grade class apologizes for everything from broken windows and stolen doughnuts to lost pets and crushes. The students then take the bold move of asking for responses to their poems. 

Dodge Ball Crazy
(to Reuben) by Kyle

for belting you

as hard
as I could
in dodge ball

I'd like

First Fig by Enda St Vincent Millay

First Fig

My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends- It gives a lovely light!
-Edna St Vincent Millay

(photo by gfpeck)

Snowball by Shel Silverstein

I made myself a snowball As perfect as could be. I thought I'd keep it as a pet And let it sleep with me. I made it some pajamas And a pillow for its head. Then last night it ran away But first - it wet the bed.
- Shel Silverstein
(suggested by zoey)

Taming Plastic: Stop the Pollution by Albert Bates, 48 pp., RL 5

Planetary Solutions - Taming Plastic:  Stop the Pollution by Albert Bates Review Copy from GroundSwell Books (an imprint of Book Publishing Co., a community owned press dedicated to  publishing books the promote a healthy and sustainable lifestyle)
Back in January, I reviewed a handful of books for kids about plastic pollution and shared my own efforts to reduce single-use plastics in my life. I was surprised to find that the books I found most engaging and current were released by British publishers and not available in America - I had to order mine directly from the U.K. Then Taming Plastic: Stop the Pollution turned up on my doorstep. As I skimmed Taming Plastic: Stop the Pollution, I wanted to know who wrote this book and what his background was. Before I share the fascinating facts from the rabbit hole these questions took me down, my review of Bates's book for young readers.
Taming Plastic: Stop the Pollution is a solid, much needed reference book that covers all of the material…

Plastic Sucks! How You Can Reduce Single-Use Plastic & Save Our Planet by Dougie Poynter, 183 pp, RL 4

Plastic Sucks! How You Can Reduce  Single-Use Plastic & Save Our Planet  by Dougie Poynter Review Copy from Macmillan Kids

Plastic Sucks! How You Can Reduce Single-Use Plastic & Save Our Planet reads like a more complex, older kid's version of Kids Fight Plastic: 50 Missions to Help Save the Oceans by Martin Dorey, founder of the 2 Minute Foundation, which is dedicated to cleaning the plastic off the our beaches, among many other eco-conscious missions. Plastic Sucks! has everything it takes to reach a big audience - in England. And hopefully America. Originally published in the U.K. in 2019, author Poynter is a musician, model and environmental activist who dedicated his book to Sir David Attenborough. While I am very grateful that Macmillan chose to publish a U.S. version of this book - it is fantastic, from content to graphics to trims size - I hope that someday very soon an American celebrity who is also an environmental activist, especially when it comes to single use pla…

Whenever by Mary Ann Hoberman


Whenever I want my room to move I give myself a twirl And busily, dizzily whiz about In a reeling, wheeling whirl. Then I spin in a circle as fast as I can Till my head is weak from churning Like a tipsy top... And then I stop. But my room goes right on turning.
-Mary Ann Hoberman

We Are the Water Protectors written by Carol Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goode

We Are Water Protectors Written by Carol Lindstrom Illustrated by Michaela Goade Review Copy from Macmillan Kids We Are Water Protectors is a stunning picture book that and a call to action. It is also a work that is powerfully poetic and straightforward in its message and richly layered and complex for readers ready to dive deeper. Through the voice of her narrator, Lindstrom introduces readers to the ancestry, inheritance and communal responsibility of Native Nations, starting with these words, "Water is the first medicine, Nokomis [Grandmother, Ojibwe] told me. We come from water. It nourished us inside our mother's body. As it nourishes us here in Mother Earth. Water is sacred, she said." The narrator recounts the Anishinaabe prophecy that warns of a "black snake that will destroy the land. Spoil the water. Poison plants and animals. Wreck everything in its path," and Goade expands on these words with illustrations of a snake/oil pipeline hybrid with a fiery to…

Disappearing Alphabet: Q, by Richard Wilbur, artwork by David Diaz

What if the letterQshould be destroyed? Millions of U's would be unemployed. For Q and U belong like tick and tock, Except, of course, in places like Iraq.

-Richard Wilbur
-illustration by David Diaz
From the book Disappearing Alphabet

My Friend Earth written by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Francesca Sala

My Friend Earth  written by Patricia MacLachlan illustrated by Francesca Sanna Book Design by Sara Gillingham Studio Review Copy from Chronicle Books
My Friend Earth is an enchanting picture book filled with flaps and die-cut designs that perfectly emphasize the wonders of nature. MacLachlan's poetic text follows an anthropomorphized Earth as she walks through the seasons, tending to the flora and fauna she loves - definitely a friend you would want to spend the day with. Sanna brings Earth to the page in the form of a playful, cherubic giant with brown skin and rich, dark flowing tresses. Earth begins her journey, waking from her winter nap, and rides the wind, makes the rain and wrings out trees when there is too much. She guards and guides her creatures through the world, settling down with them to sleep again for winter.
MacLachlan, a beloved author with decades of awards, takes readers on a marvelous journey, but it is Sanna's bright, bold illustrations and the character she cr…

Earth Day by Jane Yolen

Earth Day

I am the Earth And the Earth is me, Each blade of grass, Each honey tree, Each bit of mud, And stick and stone Is blood and muscle, Skin and bone.
And just as I Need every bit Of me to make My body fit, So Earth needs Grass and stone and tree And things that grow here Naturally.
That's why we Celebrate this day. That's why across The world we say: As long as life, As dear, as free, I am the Earth And the Earth is me.
-Jane Yolen, 1995