On the blog:
- A curation of good online reading from last week
- A celebration of Fridays, my once-again favorite day of the week
- A book review of several recent titles I’ve read for grown-ups
- A round-up of recent nonfiction picture book reading
- A slice of life about my writing process
My son’s interest in picture books continues! It makes me so happy to read a big pile of picture books with him. Today, I’m highlighting seven of my favorites from last week:
Cecil the Pet Glacier is probably not a book for everyone. It’s an oddball little story about Ruby, who longs to be normal. Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot of normal on display at her home. Her mother designs and wears tiaras; her father creates topiaries; and her best friends are three identical dolls named Jennifer. She dreams of getting a pet, but nothing normal like a dog or cat will do for her parents. On a family trip to Norway (her mother brings a different tiara to wear each day), Ruby is adopted by a very sweet little glacier. Her mother insists on bringing Cecil the glacier home with them, and it follows Ruby around longingly while Ruby ignores it. When one of the Jennifers gets left out in a storm, Cecil rescues her and Ruby suddenly finds some value in her unusual pet. Giselle Potter’s illustrations are brilliant. If you like quirk, you will certainly like this book.
I would never have believed that anyone could explain fossil fuels to me in a way that makes sense, but Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm managed to do it. Buried Sunlight: How Fossil Fuels Have Changed the Earth is a very informative and readable book as well as a very important book. A lot of complicated scientific information is presented with great clarity and simplicity. I would have been happy to leave this book with nothing more than a basic understanding of how fossil fuels were created, but I left the book with much more than that. The authors explain how our use of fossil fuels is changing our environment and persuasively argue that we need to drastically reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and look for alternative sources of energy. An absolute must-own for every classroom and library.
Mr Putter and Tabby Pick the Pears is another near-perfect easy reader from Cynthia Rylant. This one might be my second favorite in the series.
Prolific picture book author and illustrator Marie-Louise Gay draws on her experiences presenting at schools to create Any Questions? The school children she has met have MANY questions about her, her work, her process, and, especially, how she comes up with ideas. Any Questions? is an interactive story between Gay and some of her readers as they work together to create a picture book. This is a wonderful examination of how artists come up with their ideas and develop creative projects.
Red Riding Hood gets the James Marshall treatment. There are the usual Marshall idiosyncrasies that make the story special, but it’s also still very much the Little Red Riding Hood story that you know.
Otto’s Orange Day is a fine entry-level graphic novel from Frank Cammuso and Jay Lynch. When he frees a genie from a magic lamp, Otto’s one wish is that the whole world be turned orange, his favorite color. At first it’s just as wonderful as he imagines, but problems quickly arise, and there are several obstacles to turning the world back into its many hues.
I have no idea how I managed to miss Zen Ties until now. It’s another gorgeous and thoughtful title from Jon Muth featuring Stillwater the panda and introducing Stillwater’s nephew, Koo, who speaks in haiku. Stillwater encourages the children to help out a grumpy neighbor, and of course lessons in compassion and connection are learned by all.