When an everyday item seems alien, you have yourself a Thingamabob. With humour and playful repetition, Il Sung Na‘s expressive elephant ponders what to do with the red pointy object we know as an umbrella.
Take a look around for curious objects in your world. Is there a story waiting to be told?
Storytelling with young children has many benefits. Read this article and go forth, telling stories.
When Zack buys a monster, the monster doesn’t keep his sister away as promised. “Sorry. No Returns. No Exchanges,” the manager tells Zack. More and more monsters don’t fix the problem–instead they create new problems. The Monstore is a fun romp for siblings, monsters and people who want a refund.
Written by Tara Lazar, illustrated by James Burks and sure to be loved by kids everywhere, this is a great book to discuss setting and mood.
Ducks and opposites. Simple. Cute. Chubby board book pages. Great for a fast read or slow picture study. This book is intended for the very young, but try it as a model for elementary students making their own simple word books. Then go on a field trip to a local daycare and have your students read those books to toddlers.
Author/illustrator Tad Hills‘ ducks are expressive and tell a sub-text story of personality.
As always, click on the links for more information.
Some places in North America are still getting snow even though it’s officially spring (and summer’s right around the corner, right?). Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit by the fabulous Il Sung Na follows an arctic hare who changes from white to tan in spring.
Vibrant colours, intricate line work and texture that pops make this book a treasure.
Translated from Italian, I Wish I Had… retains its poetic imagery of animals in the wild. “I wish I had the forest of thoughts of a deer listening in the woods…and the voice of a whale singing as it crosses the wide ocean.”
Written by Giovanna Zoboli, illustrated by Simona Mulazzani and translated by Leslie Matthews, this book celebrates unique attributes of animals.
“Today, my big sister is in charge of the house, the lunch, and me.” And all this boy wants is his sister to read his book to him. Without his sister’s attention, the boy launches into an inventive exchange with the tiger from his unread book. Jeffrey Ebbeler‘s illustrations perfectly capture the imaginative romp of Kashmira Sheth‘s text. Celebrate tigers and imagination with Tiger In My Soup.
And keep a look-out for tigers in unusual places.
A novel in verse for younger readers, Gone Fishing by Tamera Will Wissinger and illustrated by Matthew Cordell, includes the ballad, cinquain, curse poem (gotta love that one) and triolet, among others. All poem types are explained in the end pages.
What stands out is the deceptively simple poetry that tells a full-fledged story about fishing with Dad when a little sister tags along. Quaint, this is, although I’m sure many people go fishing today. I get the sense this is more about the author going fishing when she was a girl than a child of today fishing, and that is just fine because it has sweet nostalgia and spot-on language.
It is Spring here in Michigan: the star magnolia is blooming, the lilacs are budding and my first tulips are opening up to the sun. That is why I’m featuring a book on sleep. Yes, sleep! With the daylight hours stretching into evening, it’s hard to get those little ones to bed. Never fear. Read them A Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na. The illustrations are exquisite. An owl wakes up as other animals sleep. When daylight comes, the owl…sleeps.
Simple and elegant, worthy of long contemplations, A Book of Sleep is timeless.
Hidden, a novel-in-verse by Helen Frost, has two perspectives and two time-frames. Wren and Darra meet at summer camp, but they’ve already had a life-changing interaction at age seven even thought they didn’t see each other face-to-face. Poignant poetry unravels the crime that intersected their lives.
Hidden explains more than just the title; there are hidden narrations within Darra’s poems (which the author explains how to decode in the end notes), Wren was hidden at age seven for self-preservation, both characters keep thoughts and fears hidden.
Helen Frost‘s Crossing Stones consists of poems from three perspectives, each a stepping stone through the lives of teens who live in Michigan in 1917, go to war, picket for women’s rights in Washington DC and take on adult-sized responsibilities. Family and friendship become essential for survival.
Each poem has a unique footprint–Emma’s and Ollie’s are cupped sonnets, and look rounded like smooth pebbles in a river. Muriel, the main character, speaks in poems that are jagged-edged and raw, bridging the novel’s characters and history with honesty.
Above all, this is a lovely story, the perfect historical fiction poetry novel for those that neither read historical fiction, nor poetry.