Thursday, April 18, 2019

Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow & Illus by Ted Rand

Listen my children, and you shall hear
of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.
On the eighteenth of April in 'seventy five
Hardly a man is still alive who remembers
that famous day and year.

I loved this poem when I was a kid. As a history nerd, I loved the story of Paul Revere, but I also liked the rhythm and cadence of the words that seemed to mimic the galloping hoof beats of the horse.  

And then, I tend to be a fan of Ted Rand's work in general. 

A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar.
And a huge black hull, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.

Spying on the powerful British, outwitting the stronger nation, outfighting the best trained fighters in the world--the Revolutionary era is just chockful of romantic, beating the underdog stories. And Paul Revere's story is the linchpin to the successful begin of the war when we beat back the British in Lexington and Concord, inspiring pride and passion on the side of the colonists. 

Those redcoats

Climbing the belfry of the North Chapel

Paul Revere waiting for the light

One if by land, two if by sea

The fate of a nation was riding that night

And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at that bridge would be the first to fall
Who that day would be lying dead
Pierced by a British musket-ball.

That first shot "heard round the world" always interested me. No one could pinpoint who shot, which side was the instigator. They just know a shot was fired and a bloody six year long struggle was begun. 

As an adult, there is less romance and more agony in these stories. You understand the cost a little more--the children without fathers, the boys who would never grow up, the lives irretrievably altered by this political disagreement with the King of England. The abstract ideas of men's rights and independence having very real life consequences for a farmer's wife in the small town of Concord. 

So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm.
To every Middlesex village and farm,--
A cry of defiance and not of fear.

Monday, April 15, 2019

My Village Sturbridge by Gary Bowen

This is an interesting book. When I first saw it, I assumed it was a non-fiction. I mean, wood engravings and details about old New England villages? 

But it was made as a work portfolio a young fictional engraver would have sent to a prospective employer. 

So it is fiction, but full of historical detail.

And cool wood engravings.


...a supplier of the unusual. Silks, ivory, combs, coin-silver spoons, and even my writing quills.

As a bit of history nerd, I enjoy this book. 

Pretty sure it would be a hard sell to any non-history nerd.  

A stenciled floor and a granite fireplace


Maple tapping!!

Mostly I like this book because it has sheep and maple tapping. My high editorial standards. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

A world of Cities by James Brown

This is a terrific oversize book about... surprisingly, the cities of the world. 

Each city has a two page spread with limited color palette, which makes the colors they do use, pop.

I am pretty sure that if I was an actual book/art reviewer, I would have a great set of words to use in discussing art, but since I am just a pretend book reviewer, I will just stumble along with weird phrases. 

Around each page, small facts are wedged into the design. The white band around each page is even filled with information.

These pictures remind me of vintage travel posters. 

I have always been interested by this giant statue. Why so big? 

Love this quote.

Seriously, so much reading on each page.

Stockholm! I went there! I went there!

Okay. But there are a lot of orange and brightly colored buildings in Stockholm. It made me wonder why American buildings are all so monochromatic.

Paris, the city of lights

I know I put too many of these pictures in, but they were all so COOL. 

Toronto, our neighbor to the south. One of our friends just moved to Toronto and we now ask her how things are going "down there." We are so north, we are even north of (parts of) Canada. 

And the interesting endpapers. 

Monday, April 8, 2019

City by Ingela Arrhenius

This is an outrageously big book with limited words, but glorious pictures! 

Ingeela Arrhenius has previously created an Animals book that I loved. Both of these books I reviewed for my library. Of course, at 18 inches tall, neither of these books is actually suited to sending home with kids in their bookbags. But that is okay, because these books are totally worth owning just for look at books in the library. Oversized books, as well as tiny books, are always major draws. Just like tall, skinny books and short, fat books. Kids like funny shaped books. 

I am always slightly tempted to chop these books up and use them to decorate the library. Because how cool are these pictures? 

Ingela Arrhenius is Swedish, which makes her that much cooler. Because I have a love affair with Swedish anything. 

I also have a love affair with bookshops. And look! There is Ingela's other oversize book Animals in the window of the Bookstore!

Throughout the book, we see all the things people do all day in the city.

I want to be the flamingo in the fountain. 

Did you notice quite a few of the shop keepers are older? Is that a thing in Sweden? Only old people own stores? Except for the bookstore. Because everyone knows hip young people always own bookstores. 

The end. 

For some reason, students always like books that say "the end." It is so nice and tidy. 

Terrific endpapers! 

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Pomelo's Opposites by Romano Bedescu and Benjamin Chaud

In keeping with the book I did on Monday, this is another cute little book. This one though, is hefty and thick. Pomelo, being a small, garden elephant who has reached a mild amount of fame in his native France, is not content to just dabble about in the usual up/down, left/right opposites. He thinks up loads of opposites.  

Pomelo was once so small, smaller than the small elephant he is now, that he didn't understand opposites. 

With such a simple concept, the pictures are pretty vital. 

They could have gone with a door for this one. But how much more adorable is an open and closed thistle?

So basically, I went through and took a lot of pictures because the illustrations were so amazingly cute I felt you should see them. 

And what a perfect way to describe a somewhat abstract concept like "extraordinary."

This made the kids laugh. 

This one made me laugh! 

While this book does not have a cohesive plot line from start to finish, you do learn that Pomelo has a bit of an unrequited love for this frog. 

"....errr. Um....." 

Poor Pomelo. So embarrassing to be expected to make conversation with your crush. 

Alrighty. I still forget which is which, so it is important to include this information. 



Poor Pomelo!

And what a perfect way to end a book!

So super simple concept, but brilliant execution!