My Favourites – June 2014

GravatarHello again everyone. Summer is always a good time to discover new books to add to my home and classroom libraries. Here are some of my recent favourite additions.

 


Bella's Blessings

Bella’s Blessings
Brenda Stokes, Trisha DesRosiers (Illustrations)
Simply Read Books

When Bella Beaver is born, Grandma Beaver gives her a special gift, a blessing stone. Each year Bella receives a new blessing stone, and each stone guides Bella through the difficult situations she faces as she grows up. But can the last blessing stone help Bella face the biggest challenge of her life?


Anna May's CloakAnna May’s Cloak
Christiane Cicioli
Simply Read Books

When Anna May is young, her grandmother makes her a beautiful blue cloak. When she wears it, Anna May feels like a queen. Soon the cloak is too small for her–but Anna May never forgets her favorite piece of clothing. Snip, snip, snip…see how Anna May’s cloak is transformed as her family grows.


Touch the Sky: Alice Coachman, Olympic High JumperTouch The Sky
Ann Malaspina, Eric Velasquez (Illustrator)
Albert Whitman & Company

A biography of the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal, from her childhood in segregated Albany, Georgia, in the 1930s, through her recognition at the 1996 Olympics as one of the hundred best athletes in Olympic history. Includes bibliographical references.


The Short GiraffeThe Short Giraffe
Neil Flory, Mark Cleary
Albert Whitman & Company

Geri is the shortest giraffe in the herd, which causes all kinds of problems when Bobo the baboon tries to take a photo. Can Geri stretch up tall enough to be in the picture? Or are the other giraffes looking at things from the wrong perspective? A very sweet story for pre-schoolers about difference and acceptance.


Kiss! Kiss! Yuck! Yuck!Kiss! Kiss! Yuck! Yuck!
Kyle Mewburn (Writer), Ali Teo (Illustrator), John O’Reilly (Illustrator)
Peachtree Publishers

Every time Auntie Elsie comes to visit she gives Andy two big sloppy kisses. Kiss! Kiss! on the left cheek. Kiss! Kiss! on the right cheek. Yuck! Yuck! Andy says to himself.

Andy is a fast runner. But not fast enough to outrun Auntie Elsie. Andy is good at hiding. But Auntie Elsie always finds him. When he ducks down in a pig pen, she climbs right over the fence. When he climbs a tree, she follows right after him.

But then Auntie Elsie breaks her leg and stops coming to visit. Andy realizes he misses Aunt Elsie and her sloppy kisses. One day, a taxi pulls by the gate and out come two crutches. Now it s Andy s turn to get Aunt Elsie. Kiss! Kiss! Hug! Hug!

Kyle Mewburn s funny story of an overly affectionate aunt and her long-suffering nephew will resonate with readers, who will instantly recognize the bond of love that unites the two characters. Ali Teo and John O Reilly s colorful and quirky multimedia illustrations, which combine freehand drawing and photographic collage, exaggerate the humor of the story.


What Do Parents Do? (When You're Not Home)What Do Parents Do? (When You’re Not Home)
Jeanie Franz Ransom
Peachtree Publishers

Two children set off to spend the night at their grandparents. Throughout the course of the day, the young boys imagination runs wild as he imagines what his parents are doing while hes away. Jumping on beds, he thinks, or sledding down the stairs on pillows. Watching hours and hours of television, playing ball in the house, dressing up the dog, eating junk food, playing video games, and in general making one VERY BIG mess! The next morning when the kids come home the house looks tidy. It was pretty quiet, says Dad… but was it? Mom is hiding something behind her back. And those socks hanging from the ceiling fan. They werent there yesterday. Cyd Moores antic illustrations contrast the wild adventures at home with the more wholesome fun at their grandparents house. Jeanie Ransoms clever tale will keep young readers laughing long after the story has ended.


A Sack Full of FeathersA Sack Full of Feathers
Debby Waldman, Cindy Revell (Illustrator)
Orca Book Publishers

Yankel loves to tell stories, as long as they are someone else’s. He does not see the hurt that his stories cause, the way they spread and change. Then the rabbi hands him a bag of feathers and tells him to place one on every doorstep in the village. Yankel is changed by what happens and finds himself with his best story yet, one of his very own.


AlphabetterAlphabetter
Dan Bar-el
Orca Book Publishers

Did you ever try to use an egg in place of a football? Or dress up a live quail in doll’s clothes when you didn’t have a doll? Or strap rag-dolls onto your feet in place of slippers? In Alphabetter, twenty-six boys and girls find themselves in twenty-six different predicaments when the alphabet refuses to cooperate with them. In the end, the solution turns out to be right on the next page, if only they can find it…
Did you find all the letters hidden in the pictures in Alphabetter? Some of them are very hard to find! These are the ones that we know about. Maybe you found others as well. Happy searching!


Must-Have Marvin!Must-Have Marvin!
Christy Ziglar, Luanne Marten (Illustrations)
Ideals Children’s Books

The second title in the Shine Bright Kids series, Must-Have Marvin! teaches children that people are more important than things. Marvin loves new thingshe especially loves finding the latest, greatest, most awesome new things! Soon Marvin finds himself focusing on a new robot that he wants, to the exclusion of his friends. He lets them down when they need his help and nearly loses their friendship. Through a chat with a wise neighbor and a second chance to help, Marvin learns the important life lesson that people are more important than things.


How to Clean Your RoomHow to Clean Your Room
Eileen Spinelli, David Leonard (Illustrator)
Ideals Children’s Books

A delightful adventure emerges as each little boy and girl goes about the task of cleaning his or her room–a chore no child likes! Eileen Spinelli spins a glorious tale as she inspires children to clean their rooms–not in a rush, but with the wildest imaginings and a tender touch. For the bedroom is where you laugh and cry, dream big dreams, and store your precious memories. This book could start a whole movement of children asking to clean their rooms!


Amber WaitingAmber Waiting
Nan Gregory, Kady MacDonald Denton (Illustrations)
Red Deer Press

“Amber makes a bid to catch her father’s attention.” Amber lo-o-o-v-e-s Kindergarten — painting, looking at books, tying her shoes, sliding when it snows. But the one thing she can’t control is being picked up on time. Her father is frequently late, so she must wait and wait and wait in the secretary’s office after everyone else has left. It’s so embarrassing.

To deal with her frustration, Amber concocts a world in which she sends her dad to wait for her — on the moon — while she has all kinds of wonderful adventures. This, she knows, would teach Dad a lesson he’d never forget, and all the dads from around the world would, like him, turn up on time to collect their children and embrace them. Back in the real world, Dad at last shows up and Amber makes a bid to catch his attention, to let him know what it feels like to be left alone in school — and finally, maybe, he gets the point.

This delightful picture book combines the work of two extraordinary talents.


179061How Smudge Came
Nan Gregory, Ron Lightburn (Illustrator)
Red Deer Press

Cindy is developmentally challenged and no pets are allowed in the home where she lives, so she must hide her new-found puppy in her room until she can find someone to care for him.


I hope you enjoy these new additions as much as I have. I would love to hear your new book discoveries. Please feel free to share them in the Reply box below. Thanks as always!

Lora

My Favourites – April 2014

GravatarHello Everyone. Spring is finally here (oh no – I hope I didn’t just jinx it). In honour of our late-comer, here are a few great reads. Thank you to everyone who sent in their suggestions.  Keep them coming.


And Then It’s Spring
by Julie Fogliano
Illustrated by Erin E. Stead
Published by Roaring Brook Press

Following a snow-filled winter, a young boy and his dog decide that they’ve had enough of all that brown and resolve to plant a garden. They dig, they plant, they play, they wait . . . and wait . . . until at last, the brown becomes a more hopeful shade of brown, a sign that spring may finally be on its way.
 


Spring Is HereSpring Is Here
by Will Hillenbrand
P
ublished by Holiday House

Spring is in the air. Mole can smell it. But Bear is still asleep after his long winter nap. How will Mole wake up Bear so they can celebrate together?

 


Continue reading

More of my favourite picture books …

Lora-Mauricio - 0018Here are some more of my favourite picture books.  In fact, you will find them all nestled in my kids’ book cases in their rooms.
Enjoy!


 

Back into Mommy's Tummy
Back into Mommy’s Tummy
Readers pick
by Thierry Robberecht
On her fifth birthday, a little girl has an unusual birthday wish. She wants to go back to being a baby in her mother’s tummy. That way she’d never have to go to bed early, and she’d always be close to her mommy. But when she realizes that babies in tummies can’t go to birthday parties or play with their friends, it suddenly doesn’t seem like such a good idea. Could the real reason for her wish be that there’s a new baby in Mommy’s tummy already?
Playfully exaggerated illustrations convey the child’s complex emotions about a new baby and capture the gentle humor of this fresh take on sibling rivalry.

Pete The Cat: I Love My White Shoes
Pete The Cat: I Love My White Shoes
by Eric Litwin
Pete the Cat goes walking down the street wearing his brand new white shoes. Along the way, his shoes change from white to red to blue to brown to WET as we steps in piles of strawberries, blueberries and other big messes! But no matter what color his shoes are are, Pete keeps movin’ and groovin’ and singing his song…because it’s all good.

 
 


Bear's Loose ToothBear’s Loose Tooth
by Karma Wilson

Bear and his friends are munching on their lunch when, all of sudden, Bear feels something wiggling and wobbling in his mouth. Oh, no! What can it be? It’s Bear’s first loose tooth!

From a cave in the forest
came a MUNCH, MUNCH, CRUNCH!
as Bear and his friends
all nibbled on their lunch. 

Bear and his friends are munching on their lunch, when all of sudden Bear feels something wiggling and wobbling in his mouth. Oh, no! What can it be? It’s Bear’s first loose tooth!

In the first Bear book in three years, Bear’s friends ease his concerns about his wiggly, wobbly tooth and help him understand losing a baby tooth is perfectly natural. This funny and reassuring story will delight anyone who’s ever had a loose tooth.


Where the Wild Things AreWhere the Wild Things Are
by Maurice Sendak
One night Max puts on his wolf suit and makes mischief of one kind and another, so his mother calls him ‘Wild Thing’ and sends him to bed without his supper. That night a forest begins to grow in Max’s room and an ocean rushes by with a boat to take Max to the place where the wild things are. Max tames the wild things and crowns himself as their king, and then the wild rumpus begins. But when Max has sent the monsters to bed, and everything is quiet, he starts to feel lonely and realises it is time to sail home to the place where someone loves him best of all.

My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother
My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother
by Patricia Polacco
There’s nothing worse than a rotten redheaded older brother who can do everything you can do better! Patricia’s brother Richard could run the fastest, climb the highest, and spit the farthest and still smile his extra-rotten, greeny-toothed, weasel-eyed grin. But when little Patricia wishes on a shooting star that she could do something — anything — to show him up, she finds out just what wishes — and rotten redheaded older brothers — can really do. Patricia Polacco’s boldly and exuberantly painted pictures tell a lively and warmhearted tale of comic one-upsmanship and brotherly love.

My Wild Sister and Me
My Wild Sister and Me
by Iris Wewer
Having a wild big sister—who can be a giraffe one day, a giant bear the next, and a racing rabbit the day after that—is just about the very best thing that can happen to little brother.  Iris Wewer’s rollicking illustrations perfectly match this playful story of imagination and adventure!

 
 


The Gruffalo's Child
The Gruffalo’s Child
by Julia Donaldson
The Gruffalo said that no gruffalo should Ever set foot in the deep dark wood. But one wild and windy night the Gruffalo’s child ignores her father’s warning and tiptoes out into the snow. After all, the Big Bad Mouse doesn’t really exist …does he? Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler are on dazzling form in this captivating sequel to the classic picture book “The Gruffalo”.

 


The Keeping Quilt
The Keeping Quilt
by Patricia Polacco
“We will make a quilt to help us always remember home,” Anna’s mother said. “It will be like heaving the family in backhome Russia dance around us at night.And so it was. From a basket of old clothes, Anna’s babushka, Uncle Vladimir’s shirt, Aunt Havalah’s nightdress and an apron of Aunt Natasha’s become The Keeping Quilt, passed along from mother to daughter for almost a century. For four generations the quilt is a Sabbath tablecloth, a wedding canopy, and a blanket that welcomes babies warmly into the world.
In strongly moving pictures that are as heartwarming as they are real, Patricia Polacco tells the story of her own family, and the quilt that remains a symbol of their enduring love and faith.

Penelope and the Humongous Burp
Penelope and the Humongous Burp
by Sheri Radford 
Let’s face it… kids think bodily functions are hilarious. Enter our charming little heroine, Penelope, who literally brings down the house with her boisterous belching.
Summon the doctors! Phone the fire fighters! Call the police! Too thirsty to heed her mother’s warnings, Penelope soon learns the disastrous consequences of gulping a few glass of grape soda too quickly! This first misadventure in the Penelope series will win kids over from the very first page and teach them a thing or two about manners by the last.

Don't Forget to Come Back!
Don’t Forget to Come Back!
by Robie H. Harris

With warmth, empathy, and a healthy dose of hilarity, Robie H. Harris captures the many emotions children feel when parents go out and a babysitter comes in!

Guess what? The babysitter is coming!

That means:

1. Mommy and Daddy are going out
2. the feisty heroine of this book is not going out . . .
3. and she doesn’t like that one bit!

Parents, kids, and babysitters alike will relate to and laugh at this all-too-familiar tale, wisely and wittily penned by an expert in child development and brought wickedly to life with detailed illustrations by a noted New Yorker cartoonist.


Franny B. Kranny, There's a Bird in Your Hair!
Franny B. Kranny, There’s a Bird in Your Hair!
by Harriet Lerner

Franny B. Kranny’s long, frizzy hair is big trouble. It ties itself in knots on the buttons of her dress and gets stuck in the refrigerator door! But Franny B. Kranny loves her hair. She refuses to cut it and is furious when she has to get a fancy new hairdo for a family reunion. Then a bird decides to make Franny B. Kranny’s hair its home, and suddenly Franny B. Kranny starts to like her new hairdo….

Best-selling author and psychologist Harriet Lerner and her big sister, biologist Susan Goldhor, co-authored the children’s book What’s So Terrible About Swallowing an Apple Seed?. They team up again here with this hilarious and heartfelt story about daring to be different. World-renowned British illustrator Helen Oxenbury brings Franny B. Kranny, her wild hair, and her unique family delightfully to life.

Children’s Choice Award winner for 2002.


Penelope and the Monsters
Penelope and the Monsters
by Sheri Radford
Penelope won’t go to sleep. Never ever not in a million trillion gazillion years. Her father doesn’t believe her, but Penelope knows there are monsters lurking in the dark. How else can she explain the dancing drawers, creeeeaking closet, and bounce-bouncing bed? Will Penelope have the confidence to turn on the lights and call out the things that go bump in the night?
Our spunky heroine takes on gnomes and trolls and giants with the same comic flair that brought down the house in Penelope and the Humongous Burp.

Do Not Open

Do Not Open
Miss moody lived at land’s end with Captain Kidd. Captain Kidd wasn’t the famous pirate; he was a cat. One morning after a storm, Miss Moody found him washed up on the beach. He was nearly drowned. She nursed him until he was well, and he repaid her kindness by keeping her cottage free of mice.

  
 
 
 


John Brown, Rose and the Midnight Cat (Picture Puffin)
John Brown, Rose and the Midnight Cat
Rose lived with her dog, John Brown. `Just the two of us,’ said Rose, until the mysterious midnight cat came along, and things began to change.

We were liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars
We were liars
by E. Lockhart
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard BookThe Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.
Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family.

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

*** Thank you Lee for this recommendation!

Top Readers’ Choices for 8-12 year olds

Lora-Mauricio - 0018Thanks to a follower’s suggestion we’ve put together a list of recommended reading for 8-12 year-olds.  (Thank you Sabina).

 

 


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald DahlCharlie and the Chocolate Factory
By Roald Dahl

Against all the odds, poor Charlie Bucket finds a golden ticket to a trip of a lifetime to visit Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. The tour round the factory is every child’s dream, but too much of a temptation for Charlie’s fellow golden ticket winners. A classic, magical, rags-to-riches moral fairy tale. Ages 8+


How to train your dragon by Cressida CowellHow to Train Your Dragon
By Cressida Cowell

A laugh-out loud romp of a Viking adventure set on the windy Isle of Berk, this is the first in a hugely successful 10-book series and is now being made into a film. Having just passed his dragon initiation program, Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, a young Viking searching for a way of becoming a hero, sets about the challenge. First, he must catch a dragon; then he will have to train it. Hiccup’s attempts are hilarious and charming, and the cold, soggy world of the Vikings provides an endless source of mirth. Ages 8+


Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Book 1 by Jeff Kinney

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Book 1 
By Jeff Kinney

Now a bestselling phenomenon, Greg Heffley’s diary captures the minutiae of his days as he starts middle school. In words and witty illustrations, Greg plots how to improve his life, avoid previous pitfalls – and how to increase his popularity with girls. Easy to read, touching and very entertaining. Ages 8+


Charlotte’s Web by EB White

Charlotte’s Web 
By EB White

How do words of praise such as “terrific” keep appearing mysteriously in the spider’s web above the pig pen in Farmer Zuckerman’s barn? These are the life-saving words that Charlotte the spider spins to save her friend Wilbur the piglet, the runt of a litter that is being reared for one purpose only. Watched over by Fern, a little girl who has adopted the pig as a pet, the interactions of Wilbur, Charlotte, Templeton the rat and the other barn animals as they campaign to save the pig’s life is an exceptional story of tenderness and triumph. Ages 8+


One Dog and his Boy by Eva Ibbotson

One Dog and his Boy 
Eva Ibbotson

All Hal has ever wanted is a dog. His parents refuse to contemplate the idea; a dog would mess up their beautiful house and disturb their busy routine. When they discover Easy Pets, they hire Hal a dog for a weekend thinking that will do the trick. But Hal discovers Fleck has to be returned, so he runs away, and all the dogs from Easy Pets escape with him. Soon, there’s a price on his head. How Hal makes his escape and the story of his adventures as a fugitive is both thrilling and moving. Ages 9+


Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief 
Rick Riordan (Puffin)

Percy Jackson was once an ordinary schoolboy, but his life changes for ever when he discovers he is the son of the Greek god Poseidon. Skateboarding and basketball are soon swapped for sword fights and monster hunts and the daily struggle to stay alive. And when Zeus accuses Percy of stealing his lightning bolt, life gets very dangerous indeed. Terrific adventure that seamlessly joins two worlds. Ages 10+


Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Millions * Words on a Limb Pick *Readers pick
Frank Cottrell Boyce

Boyce’s bittersweet novel is a delicious funny story with some serious things to say about what brings happiness. Damian and his brother Anthony find a bag full of money, but have only a few days before the currency becomes worthless. Initially excited at being able to have anything they want, the brothers quickly discover that they no longer know the value of anything. And anyway, money cannot bring back the one thing they want most – their mother. An entertaining, provocative and life-affirming adventure. Ages 10+


Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems

knuffle2bbunnyKnuffle Bunny by Mo Willems
Published by Walker & Company

Despite their good intentions, sometimes Dad’s don’t always do things right. Little Trixie finds this out the hard way when she accompanies her Dad to the Laundromat. Without knowing it, he throws her favorite stuffed bunny in the washing machine. Her baby talk doesn’t mean a whole lot to her Dad, but when they get home a perceptive mother is able to tell what is wrong instantly. With wonderfully odd illustrations this humorous book is bound to get laughs from both children and adults.

Are you mother? by P.D. Eastman

AreyoumymotherAre you mother? by P.D. Eastman
Published by HarperCollins

While a mother bird is away from her nest, the egg in it hatches. The baby bird’s first words are, “Where is my mother?” He jumps out of the nest, tumbles to the ground and begins looking for his mother. Since he doesn’t know what his mother looks like, he begins by approaching different animals, and asking each of them, “Are you my mother?” He talks to a kitten, a hen, a cow, and a dog, but he can’t find his mother.

The baby bird thinks the red boat in the river or the big plane in the sky might be his mother, but they don’t stop when he calls to them. Finally, he sees a big red steam shovel. The baby bird is so sure that the steam shovel is his mother that he eagerly hops into its shovel, only to be terrified when it gives a big snort and starts moving. To the little bird’s surprise, the shovel rises higher and higher and he is deposited back into his very own nest. Not only that, but he has found his mother, who has just returned from searching for worms for him.

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

love-you-forever-mainLove You Forever by Robert Munsch
Illustrated by Sheila McGraw
Published by Firefly Books

With a down-to-earth message of love, a mother sings the same song to her child even as he grows older and older.  Finally he is a grown man and she has become an old woman.  When she can no longer rock him and sing to him, he does the same to her.  A beautiful reminder for every child that their parents will love them no matter how old they are, no matter what they do, and no matter where they go.  Love You Forever is the sort of book to bring parents and their kids together after each reading.

The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein

978-0-06-025671-5The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein

Published by HarperCollins

The poor little circle is missing a piece. What is to be done? Off on a journey the circle goes, in search of the piece it’s missing. With many mishaps along the way, pieces are found that don’t quite fit – but come close! – and plenty of special consideration is given to what it means to be missing a piece, the story of this circle will touch everyone who reads the tale. Similar to many famous fables, the story deals with the nature of a quest, the fulfillment of the quest, and the unexpected lessons that are learned along the way.