Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson

This book!!

Well I mean, what would you expect from two rock stars in the kid lit world? 

Kwame Alexander wrote this poem for his newborn daughter in 2008, right after Obama had been elected. 

He wanted to honor all the African-Americans that had faced so many obstacles and leapt over them like Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympics. 

Those who survived America by any means necessary...

And those who didn't. 

This blank page--so powerful. 

This is for the undeniable
the ones who scored
with chains 
on one hand
and faith 
in the other.


...To save an imperfect Union.

Kadir Nelson's pictures are amazing! Every time I pick up one of the books he has worked on I am blown away by the attention to detail, the intensity of each subject. 

And this page really gets me right in the gut. The lives given to fight for this country that enslaved them because they refused to believe that men could be that unremittingly vile forever. 

The audacity of hope. 

...the unspeakable.

Modern unpeakables.

A roll call of famous African-Americans athletes....

...and the undiscovered.


How does Kadir Nelson get that glimmering, almost-crying look in people's eyes so perfectly? HOW? 

There is so much hope and love and optimism on this page that it gets me every time. 

This is for you. 

Monday, October 14, 2019

Kate, Who Tamed The Wind by Liz Garton Scanlon & Illus by Lee White

I was all set to fall deeply in love with this book, but it wasn't quite what I was expecting. I think I thought this disproving girl was going to tell the wind a thing or two, but really, this book is about the benefits of creating windbreaks. Granted, it is told in a charming and interesting way, but it was definitely different from what I thought I was going to get. 

We start out with a farm on the tip top of an outrageous hill. I would like to see the farmer who decided that was an ideal farm....

And here he is, doing laundry and losing laundry. 

Surprisingly at the tip top of the hill, the wind was very whippy. 

It even stole his hat. 

What to do?

Fortunately for Farmer Bad Choices, Kate lives in the town at the base of his hill. She knows a thing or two about the wind. 

So she applies her knowledge to this problem and comes up with a workable plan. 

And up she goes to the tip-top to share her plan with the farmer

Together they planted trees all around the hill.

Over time, the trees grew and grew until they were grown up. 

Kate and the farmer got older as well. 

And with the cleverly designed wind break, they could eat outside without any bother from the wind.

I should love this book more. I mean, trees, problem solving, nature, weather., ecologically responsible solutions.. but somehow I am just not crazy about it. It is a useful book that I will definitely read to school classes, but it isn't a book I am going to buy so I can treasure it on my bookshelf at home. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak

I am a little overdue with this one, but... we just had our first killing frost, so really, not too far behind. 

I picked some leaves and flowers to take pictures and while I was setting them up, I saw this little stowaway. For my daughter's sanity, I relocated her (the spider, not my daughter) to the great outdoors. But she fit into the color scheme rather well. 

Kenard Pak always has such a soft and gentle palette, rather dreamy. 

Overall, this book is rather soft and gentle. There isn't a real driven plot, just a kid walking through his world, noticing the changes happening around him. It is a nice read, but it isn't a MUST READ NOW kind of book. 

Pak has a book like this for each season now--this main character goes through his world, noticing all the little signs of the approaching season. He interacts with the animals who tell him what they are doing to prepare for the upcoming fall.  

Even the clouds get into the conversation, 
My low rumble from far away, My clouds loom over the open fields and quiet hills. 

And then he heads into town to see all the town signs of approaching fall.


Cozy, evening light...

....and crisp fall morning. 

Fall has been casually sauntering towards us for a few weeks now, but tonight, when I headed into the woods with the dogs it was like it had started galloping and I hadn't noticed. Leaves are so deep and vibrant right now, geese flying over, leaves all over the ground, ferns dying, that fall wood smell....

Fall is here!  

Hope your fall is beautiful! 

Monday, September 16, 2019

Books by Murray McCain & Illus by John Alcorn

This book is outrageously colorful. A toy shop we were in near Philiadelphia had five copies of this on top of the bookshelves to announce the book area and believe you mean, it was rather powerful! 

This book is a joyous celebration of all things books! 

Glancing through this I was amazed how completely the illustrator nailed that weird 1960s-70s Monty Python vibe. Then I checked the publication date and realized it WAS published in the 1960's. Hence the vintage feel. 

This book celebrates all the things we love about books.

Look at that dust jacket

Most books are just right for holding.

Look at the font variations and the coloring. 

A list of things books can be about.

These illustrations! The insane pink eyed lion! 

Books can be for coloring (or is that colouring?) or singing. 

Then we get into the words in the books. Here are some hard words

Some happy words. 

I think every person would have a different list of happy words. But I love reading other peoples! 

Funny words! 

All the different potential fonts

Thursday, September 5, 2019

We Don't Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

This is a favorite in our house! 

A story about learning self-control, trying new things, and about how difficult it is to make friends if you are always eating potential friends. 

Little Penelope Rex is nervous about her first day at school. 

What if her classmates had more teeth than she had?! 

Her father packed her a filling and nutritional meal of three hundred tuna sandwiches and one apple juice. 

To Penelope's great shock, her classmates were CHILDREN.

You might not be able to see, but there is the cutest little double decker reading area over there in the top right hand corner. I covet one of those for my library. 

Penelope did what T-Rexes do and ate those children up.

Mrs. Noodleman wasn't standing for that nonsense. 

Everyone is covered in dinosaur spit which is not a particularly auspicious beginning. 

I adore the skinny little girl at the front there shaking her fist at Penelope. She is who I want to be when I grow up.

Penelope tries to make friends, but somehow, her efforts don't seem to inspire friendship in her classmates. 

She shares her friend difficulties with her father

"Penelope Rex," her father asked, "did you eat your classmates?"

"Well...maybe sort of just a little bit."

Penelope's father shares wisdom with her--

"Children are just like us on the inside. Just tastier." 

The next day, Penelope tried. But William Omoto was irresistibly delicious looking.  

Giving up on human, Penelope tries to make friends with Walter the classroom pet.

Walter tries to eat Penelope, giving her a taste of her own treatment. 

Penelope learns compassion through her own brush with someone trying to eat her.

She stopped eating her classmates....
(Even when Cece Woodman spilled BBQ sauce all over herlself)

And if she is ever tempted to forget, she can just look at Walter licking his lips and remember.