Poem Mobilesby J.Patrick Lewis (Author), Douglas Florian (Author), Jeremy Homes (Illustrator)
Crazy Car Poems
Crazy poems? Car poems? You got them both in this one delightful little book. 22 fantastical, futuristic, clever poems by an U.S Children’s Poet Laureate (Lewis) and an award-winning children’s poet (Florian) will capture the imagination of the youngest in your house!
Train means train, bus means bus,
Truck means truck, for most of us.
So auto out to mean, you see,
But someday our fantastic cars
Might look like cool dark chocolate bars,
Banana splits, hot dogs or fish-
Or any kind of ride you wish.
And so we’d like to offer you
A futuristic sneak preview
Of wacky cars, fender to fin.
Now turn the page and take a spin.
So begins this “Fun”-tastic book of poems on crazy cars! Take a ride in the “Fish car” which looks like a fish with a tremendous fin! This car is complete with sharp teeth and gills down its side. Take a ride to the bottom of the sea in this “Fish Car”.
Maybe you would like the “Bathtub Car”. This car comes with hot water heating and porcelain seating! With all the sudsy bubbles, you’ll forget all kinds of troubles J I know I want one!
My favorite pick would be the “Giant Bookmobile of Tomorrow”. Why you ask? For one, the driver is the Gingerbread Man, and the Fuel: Imagination Power !! Lewis and Florian say:
“My bookmobile has just one goal:
To entertain on cruise control”
And if none of these satisfy your futuristic palette, then how about these:
- Mini-Mini car
- Eel-ectric Car
- Jurrasic Park (ing)
- The Dragonwagon
- The Paper car
- The Backwards Car
- High-Heel Car
- 23rd Century Motors
- Balloon Car
- The Caterpillar Cab
- The Egg Car
- Hot Dog Car
- The Sloppy-Floppy Nonstop-Jalopy
- Grass Taxi
- The Love Car
- The Banana Split Car
- The Supersonic Ionic Car
- The Rubber Band Car
These quirky, inventive poems, masterfully illustrated with highly detailed artwork is a delight to read to every child. A unique book of poems!
Kid Lit Blog Hop #34
Welcome to the 34th Kid Lit Blog Hop where twice per month (the 1st and 3rd Wednesday) we continue to develop a dynamic and engaged community of children’s books bloggers, authors, publishers, and publicists. So, you are always more than welcome to join us by popping in a post and hopping around to meet some of your fellow Kid Lit bloggers and authors!
Happy Hopping everyone and enjoy the Hop!
Kid Lit Blog Hop Rules *Please Read*
1. We ask that you kindly follow your hostesses. You can follow us any way you choose (Email, GFC, Twitter, Facebook, G+, Pinterest, etc.), but we’ve added our preferences below. If you could just give us a quick “follow” or “like” that would be much appreciated! Make sure to leave us a message if you are following us (i.e., on Twitter or Facebook or on our websites) and we will be sure to follow you back. Thanks!
2. Link up any Kid Lit related post. This can be a link to a children’s book review, a discussion about children’s literature/literacy, or a post on a recently-read children’s book or one that you love from your childhood.
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3. Please visit AT LEAST the TWO LINKS directly ahead of your own and leave them some love in the form of a comment. We are trying to build a community of bloggers, readers, parents, authors, and others who are as passionate about children’s literature as we are so please CONNECT and follow any or all of the blogs that interest you!
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I Am Abraham Lincolnby Brad Meltzer (Author), Christopher Eliopoulos (Illustrator)
“We can ALL be heroes!”
New York Times bestselling author Brad Meltzer’s series of Ordinary people changing the world is one of a kind. Known for his popular adult thrillers, Brad Meltzer now enters the children’s Non Fiction genre with his new series for kids on “everyday heroes”. In his interview at Comic Book Resources, Meltzer discusses the need to change the perception of “hero” from a star personality to people who made a difference in the lives of many.
The book “I Am Abraham Lincoln” opens with Abraham Lincoln as a child. We read about Lincoln as a boy who loved to read. Kids were expected to help their parents out in the farms and the fields. Lincoln was always caught reading!
The books continues to show Abraham Lincoln at playtime. Once he finds the neighborhood kids “playing” around animals. With great empathy he put a stop to the cruelty. When the same kids gang up on him, Lincoln stands firm.
With simple to understand language and absolutely delightful illustrations, the author/illustrator duo demonstrate characteristics that made these “everyday heroes”. The author highlights how Lincoln perceived cheating as unfair, how hurting animals was wrong and how important it was to stand up simply because it was the right thing to do. The picture book further walks through Lincoln’s work in ending slavery.
Christopher Eliopoulos does a brilliant job on artwork. Drawn in “Peanuts/Calvin Hobbes” style, Eliopoulos’ art work immediately draws the reader in. The cartoon style art and call out bubble dialogues capture the essence of the characters and adds the fun factor to story telling.
What really surprised me was how the author who wrote Super Hero comic book stories transitioned into heroes of a different kind. We read this one over and over again. “I am Amelia Earhart” was another great read. Looking forward to the third in the series “I am Rosa Parks” releasing later this year. Our favorite part in this series, hands down, was the ending page.. a message from each of these characters that truly describe what they were at heart.
Educational and inspiring, this is a MUST have series. Like Meltzer, I really believe we need to inspire our children to become heroes not just “famous personalities”
Volcano Risingby Elizabeth Rusch (Author), Susan Swan (Illustrator)
Destructive? Not quite!
Volcano Rising is a non-fiction picture book where Rusch and Swan demonstrate that volcanoes do not just destroy. Elizabeth Rusch explores volcanoes in a fresh new perspective, explaining how they can be the best thing to happen for new life. We often read about volcanoes as being destructive, noisy or violent. Elizabeth Rusch shows us the other side of the coin.
Volcano Rising Underwater
“Volcano Rising” opens with a colorful “Pow” and “Spurt” of a live volcano bursting lava into the air. The book goes on to describe super volcanoes of Yellowstone, undersea volcanoes and the crater creation of Paricutin in Mexico. While the author opens with a destructive scene, she focuses more on the creative power of the volcanoes. Rusch explains how the bursting of volcanoes creates new lands, islands and mountains where none existed before. Rusch explains how ashes from the after effects actually help farmers to fertilize their fields.
What really caught my eye is the arrangement and use of text in this book. The bold first words and lines of the text is intended for younger readers, whereas a more detailed secondary text gives in-depth information for mature readers or for read alouds. This was a clever way of capturing multiple age-groups and keeping kids interested for longer.
Packed with information, Volcano Rising is made even more dramatic by Susan Swams artwork. Susan uses hand painted pages, digital paintings and scans and combines them with bold lines and colors. This mixed media collage illustrations work superbly in the context of volcanoes. Vivid, bright colors truly capture the bold mountains and mighty powerful burst of volcanoes. The book also has a wonderful glossary and useful resources for those who want to know more.
A wonderful book to add to your home or school library!
The Boy Who Loved MathBy Deborah Heligman (Author), LeUyen Pham (Illustrator)
The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos
This is a picture book biography of the famous mathematician Paul Erdos. Heligman/Pham explore Erdos’ life and work around Math.
Paul Erdos was only four when he realized that he loved numbers. Paul played with numbers in his head almost all the time. As a child he would add them and subtract them. Once he subtracted a rather large number from a smaller number and realized that the answer was a negative number. And Paul thought that was super cool!
As a child Paul did not work well with rules. There were rules with his nanny and rules at school. Soon enough Paul’s mama realized that school was not the best fit for him. So she decided to stay home and coach him, along with a little help from the nanny.
And while Paul “played” and learned his numbers at home, his mother and nanny cut his meat, buttered his toast and got him dressed. This was perfect! Now Paul could think of numbers all day long!
Paul loved numbers! Most of all he loved Prime Numbers. They fascinated him. He worked on them for a long time. Soon Paul had to go to high school. And this time, he really liked it there. He found that he made many friends, people who loved numbers just as much as he did. And by the time he was 20, Paul became very famous for his skills and knowledge in math.
So Paul travelled the world. He showed other famous mathematicians what he knew about numbers. He solved many difficult problems and taught many new things. And while the famous Math Magician could do some very difficult math, he still needed his toast buttered, his meat cut and his laundry done!
The Boy who Loved Math is an excellent picture book biography. It is probably THE perfect picture book biography that I have read in a long time. Here is why:
Heligman draws the character of Paul Erdos in his full brilliance and eccentricity. While she describes him to be a genius, she does not hide the fact that Erdos had difficulty in doing simple things in life. At the same time, she helps guide the reader to how he survived and thrived despite his little shortcomings.
In doing so, Heligman sends a powerful message to young readers. That is ok to be different.
This book is also about Paul Erdos’ math. Through brilliant and well researched illustration work, Heligman and Pham demonstrate that Math can be fun and exciting. The picture book is filled with illustrations of numbers and games, sequences and puzzles. The end notes include a detailed description page by page of what Math nuggets one can “find” on each of the pages.
Finally, this book is a celebrations of a life which was complex and difficult to explain. Heligman and Pham worked as a team to create this wonderful memoir. Their big win was take Paul Erdos’ life and make it approachable and understood for the youngest of readers!
An achievement indeed!
Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyardby Annette LeBlanc Cate (Author, Illustrator)
This year I had the AWESOME privilege to be on the panel of judges for the Cybils Children’s and Young Adult Boggers’ Literary Awards (www.cybils.com). The Cybils panelist’s intention is to reward children’s and YA authors and illustrators “whose books combine the highest literary merit and kid appeal”. Besides this, it allows us, seriously addictive bloggers, to hang out together for a little while. The awards are announced (appropriately) on Valentine’s Day every year!
This year I volunteered and judged on the Non Fiction genre, my favorite of all! We had some terrific books to read through and the competition for the top spot was tough. “Look Up! Bird Watching in Your Own Backyard” took the top spot! Here’s why:
“You don’t have to go anywhere fancy to watch birds!” And it seems you don’t need to know their fancy Latin names either! What about binoculars? Do you really need one?
Annette LeBlanc Cate’s “Look Up! Bird Watching in Your Own Backyard” invites you into your own backyard to look up and around and spot some birds. But before you begin, she gives us a useful list of Bird Watching Do’s and Don’ts, what Not to bring with you and what you need to make this activity useful and fun.
Look up! is not a run-of-the-mill guide for bird watching. With its tongue-in-cheek cartoon illustrations, friendly banter between birds of various kinds and conversational and humorous verse, this “guide” book presents various facets of bird watching to readers.
For example, Annette uses this handy “Rainbow of Color” chart for quickly identifying birds just by knowing what color group they belong to.
Or this “Shapes” guide, which you could use for sketching out birds when you are out bird watching.
And if you ever so venture out to other places specifically for bird watching, then one would notice different birds at different places. For example, the roadrunners thrive in a desert environment and one can learn very much about what it likes to eat and how it survives by observing its natural habitat.
We loved “Look Up! Bird Watching in Your Own Backyard” for so many reasons. I have to admit that I have never ever considered bird watching as an entertaining or educational activity. However, from the time I picked up this book, I was hooked! The friendly conversational style writing, the easy to read comic book style illustrations and the engaging information kept me going. Each of its busy pages presents information in form of charts or maps or comic strips. The humorous dialogues from the birds breaks up the tempo and keeps the book from becoming a monotonous “how to” guide. Annette Le Blanc Cate’s passion for drawing and bird watching comes together in a brilliantly executed book, accessible and entertaining for every age group!
At the end, this book is not just for budding ornithologists! Anyone who has an appreciation for nature and art will delight in this book.
Highly engaging and loads of fun! This book is a HIT!
The Invisible Boyby Trudy Ludwig (Author), Patrice Barton (Illustrator)
Brian feels invisible. His teacher hardly notices him as she is busy with other more noisy kids of the class. At lunch, he sits alone to eat his food. At recess his friends don’t include him any games they play. So Brian finds something he can do all by himself. He draws. He does it at recess and in the class exercises. He gets lost in his little world of pirates and space aliens and superheroes.
One day a new boy Justin joins his class. Brian hopes desperately that Justin and he could be friends. Justin is different too. He eats a Korean dish called Bulgogi and promptly gets laughed and teased at by others. Feeling sorry for the new boy, Brian sends him a small note with a neat drawing of himself eating Bulgogi. It says “Justin, I thought the bulgogi looked good. Brian.”
Later that day, Justin and Brian get together for a class project and they do a great job at it too. It seems to Brian finally, that he is no longer “invisible”!
What at first seems to be a simple story about bullying and classroom dynamics is really a wonderfully narrated and brilliantly illustrated picture book. Ludwig’s story tells of how simple acts of kindness and inclusiveness can help children to flourish.
Barton cleverly uses pencil sketch illustration to work through the emotions that Brian is feeling. One notices in the beginning of the story that Brian is colored and sketched in shades of gray, whereas the rest of the world around him are colored in bright colors, thus, highlighting the “invisibility” theme of the story. But as the story moves and Brian starts to feel more comfortable and included, color seems to creep into Brian. Finally he is revealed in full color.
What I liked the most is the how perfect this book is as a read aloud in a classroom. During our session, kids immediately noticed the graphic difference between Brian and the rest if the kids. Kids (surprisingly) immediately could tell what “The Invisible Boy” title really meant (that he is not really invisible, just not noticed). And as the story progressed there were strong empathetic comments shared by the kids.
Ludwig and Barton’s “The invisible Boy” is a great addition to any school library. There is a page full of Questions for Discussions for parents and teachers alike. On a final note, the author includes recommended reading for both adults and kids.
A truly poignant book on classroom relationships. This one is a MUST READ!
Xander’s Panda Partyby Linda Sue Park (Author), Matt Phelan (Illustrator)
How to host the Perfect Party!
Panda planned to throw a party. He makes invitations and decides to send them to all his “Bear” friends at the zoo. But Koala objects! She is not a bear.. can she still come to Xander panda’s party?
Xander was not sure what to do? So he thinks really hard. Finally Xander decides to expand his guest list And invite more animals!
However, Rhino has a slight problem. He won’t come without his bird. Well, Xander does not want to disappoint and feels really blue. What to do? He thinks and thinks some more. Then he has a brilliant idea! And makes fresh NEW invitations. Its time to invite ALL birds and ALL mammals at the zoo to his party
With the help of his new friend Amanda Salamander, Xander arranges a fun party for everyone at the zoo. The party is in full swing when a truck arrives. At the back, there is a large wooden crate. Who could it possibly be?
There is SO much going on this lovely picture book Xanders Panda Party. The verse rhymes but without a childish feel so that it keeps older kids reading. As a matter of fact the language introduces wonderful new combinations of rhymes.
“Xander felt a little blue.
He chewed bamboo, a stalk or two.
He fidgeted and paced the floor, then scratched an itch and paced some more.
Finally, a firm decision: Xander’s brand-new party vision!”
“From her tree Koala hollered, ‘Xander, I am not a bear.’
Xander didn’t understand her.
‘Koala Bear, you’re not a bear?’
He stared at her in consternation.
‘Sorry for the complication.
I know I’m called Koala Bear.but I am not a bear, I swear.
I am a marsupial. Marsupials –we’re rather rare.
Will I not be welcome there?’”
Apart from the unique rhyme for verse, Xanders Panda Party has a hidden learning agenda. Remember the technique of sorting, grouping, classifying and ordering? Through clever story telling, Linda Sue Park introduces the idea of grouping animals in various ways.
Yet another theme is the theme of inclusion. While Xander ponders over who to invite, one is engaged in the idea that all animals tall and small, feathered or not, are invited and included in Xander’s party.
Clever execution, wonderful learning, and absolutely wonderful/engaging art work! This picture books is a perfect 10!
Newbery Medal 2014
The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.
2014 Medal Winner
Flora & Ulysses
by Kate DiCamillo (Author), K.G. Campbell (Illustrator)
Comic book fan and natural-born cynic Flora Belle Buckman and Ulysses, a flying, superhero, poetry-writing squirrel, join forces to overcome Ulysses’ arch-nemesis, Flora’s mother and encounter a quirky cast of characters. Through poignant, laugh-out-loud episodes, this homage to comic books is a testament to the power of love.
2014 Honor Books
by Holly Black (Author), Eliza Wheeler (Illustrator)
Caldecott Medal 2014
The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.
2014 Medal Winner
by Brian Floca (Author, Illustrator)
by Aaron Becker (Author, Illustrator)
Finding a magical red crayon, a bored and lonely girl draws a new door on her bedroom wall that leads her to a wondrous but perilous new world. Her drab, sepia-toned, humdrum reality gives way to sumptuous, lushly-hued watercolor and pen and ink landscapes
Flora and Flamingo
by Molly Idle (Author, Illustrator)
by David Wiesner (Author, Illustrator)
Look Up! Henrietta Leavitt Pioneering Woman Astronomerby Robert Burleigh (Author), Raul Colon (Illustrator)
When there is a will..
Little Henrietta Leavitt loved to gaze up at the stars. Night after night, she would sit on her porch and wonder “How high is the sky?” Its vastness, its wonderful bigness fascinated her. She wanted to know everything about the sky.
So when she grew up, she decided to study Astronomy. Most of her classmates and teachers were male. But this didn’t bother Henrietta. She wanted to follow what she loved.
After Henrietta graduated, she found a job working in an observatory. The observatory was the place where people came to study stars. But Henrietta’s job was to work alongside other women in a small room for long hours recording and measuring and calculating. Their job was to work, not think. But Henrietta had other ideas.
Each day, after her regular work, Henrietta peered through her magnifying glass at the tiny star dots on the photographs taken. What did she see? What were the stars saying?
Henrietta quickly learned new words, read about great astronomers such as Galileo and Copernicus. She looked at the stars for many long hours. She could still see them when she closed her eyes!
Day after day after day she looked and looked and looked. Until slowly she started to see something different between those tiny star dots. She found that some very bright stars blinked more slowly than the less bright stars! What could this mean? So she started making a careful chart. Patiently she kept working, checking and observing until she was sure that she had found a pattern!
And when she laid out her ideas and theories to the head astronomer, he was amazed! “Yes, I am an astronomer!” she thought to herself. It was indeed a breakthrough!
This is the amazing true story of the life and work of Henrietta Leavitt. In the age where women were expected to “work, not think” Henrietta in her quite confident manner, found a way to work as an astronomer would. Her breakthrough lead to some spectacular discoveries such as measuring distances beyond our Milky Way galaxy!
Through soft, warm and glowing illustrations, the author/ illustrator duo does an excellent job of capturing the beauty of the sky as well as gentle character of Henrietta. This lovely picture book is a great read for any girl or boy who feels challenged or limited in what they seek out to do.
This is an excellent picture book biography for inspiring young minds!
Penguin Cha-Chaby Kristi Valiant (Author, Illustrator)
At the Romping Chomping Park and Zoo, there is much to see. Julia loves to visit as often as she could. Most of all she loved to visit the Zoo on the weekends. That’s when she would get to watch all the performances.
One Saturday, Julia watched the dancers move and groove. She watched them whirl and twirl. She watched them hip-hop and boogie-bop! But wait! Julia’s eyes catch a little flipper swiping away a feather costume backstage!
“Just what are those fishy penguins up to?” Julia thinks to herself as she decides to follow them to the Penguin Cove.
At first Julia sees nothing. No clothes. No scarves. No costumes! So she spies on them from high up. And what does she see?
The penguins! They are whirling and twirling, moving and swinging! They are dancing! So Julia grabs a dance hat and runs to the Penguin Cove. “Lets dance!” she shouts.
But these naughty creatures don’t lift a flipper. They just stare at her! But when no one was around, they danced and swirled!
Julia decided that maybe they are shy. So she dresses up as a penguin to try and make her way as a penguin in the Penguin Cove. Still, the penguins don’t dance.
So penguin decides to get a dance partner. Still no luck!
Julia is disappointed. She is about to give up. But the next day, she comes up with another idea. This time she knows that the penguin won’t be able to resist!
This is a lovely picture book, colorfully illustrated, well narrated and most of all a great read-aloud. Kids and adults will love the swinging, dancing, feet tapping rhythm of the Penguin Cha Cha.