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Showing posts from May, 2021
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Be a Tree! by Maria Gianferrari illustrated by Felicita Sala Review Copy from Abrams Kids I picture-walked Be a Tree! three times before I actually read the words. Felicita Sala's illustrations for Maria Gianferrari's poetic text are mesmerizingly immersive and richly colorful within a palette of earth tones. Throughout the text, Gianferrari, who shares her inspiration for this book in the author's note ( Peter Wohleben's The Hidden Life of Trees ), gently maintains the human connection to trees and the connections (and communications) trees share with each other.  Be a Tree!  begins exuberantly, inviting the reader to "Be a tree! Stand tall. Stretch your branches to the sun. Let your roots curl, coil in the soil to ground you." From your spine/trunk to your skin/bark and your heart/pith, the words carry you inward and then zoom outward and up to the canopy and ultimately, the forest. "You are one of many trees," and our roots "twine with fung

Bindu's Bindis by Supriya Kelkar, illustrated by Parvati Pillai

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  Bindu's Bindis  by Supriya Kelkar , illustrated by Parvati Pillai Review Copy from Sterling Books Bindu's Bindis is a marvelous book about differences and finding the courage sometimes needed to be comfortable with being different. It's also a lovely story about the love and connection shared between granddaughter and grandmother, vibrantly, expressively illustrated by Pillai.  Bindu's Bindis  begins with an exuberant Bindi finding joy in the bindis that her nani sends her every month. As with the main character in Kelkar's other picture book, The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh , readers see children engaging with a cultural or religious custom in creative and meaningful ways. Where the color of Harpreet's daily choice of patka (the turban Sikhs wear to signify their commitment to service) reflects his many moods, Bindu's choice of bindi is a sign of her connection to her nani as well as an expression of her experience. When Nani comes to visit, a joyous e

Newton and Curie: The Science Squirrels by Daniel Kirk

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  Newton and Curie :  The Science Squirrels   by Daniel Kirk Review Copy from Abrams Books for Young Readers Daniel Kirk's picture books have been engaging and enchanting my family since Chugga-Chugga-Choo-Choo , written by Kevin Lewis, became a staple in our home in 1999. Shortly thereafter, Kirk's authored, illustrated & performed picture book about transportation of all kinds, GO! , went into heavy rotation and remains some of the only music for kids (along with They Might Be Giants) that I can tolerate. During story times as a bookseller, then as an elementary school librarian, his Library Mouse series was essential for entertaining and inspiring. Now, in what feels like a perfectly natural progression, siblings and science squirrels Newton and Curie are here for what I hope is a series of picture books that blend storytelling and STEAM as seamlessly as he presented themes of literacy, research skills and writing in Sam and Sarah, library mice. At forty pages,  Newto

Have You Eve Seen a Flower? by Shawn Harris

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  Have You Ever Seen a Flower?  by Shawn Harris Review Copy from Chronicle Books Part imagination, part meditation, Have You Ever Seen a Flower? could also have been titled, "Have You Ever Been a Flower?" Harris, making his debut as author AND illustrator, does a stunning job recreating the experience of my childhood favorite (and long gone) ride at Disneyland, Adventure Thru Inner Space (presented by Monsanto). And, while nothing can take the place of sitting in that pod-shaped-people-mover car, Harris' book actually does the ride one better.  First of all, you truly have to hold this book in your hands to experience it. Harris' textured, oil-pastel-crayon like illustrations (they were made with pencil and colored pencil) employ a neon pink, the vibrancy and energy of which cannot be reproduced in images seen here. Beginning in a grey cityscape, the narrator runs to a car (with a white dog waiting inside) that drives through the city and out into the countryside, th