Friday, May 30, 2014

Book: Oh So Brave Dragon by David Kirk

Oh So Brave Dragon by David Kirk. Feiwel & Friends, 2014. 40 pages.

David Kirk, author of Miss Spider books is back with another keeper featuring Red Dragon, whom was introduced to readers in Oh So Tiny Bunny. The thing about Red Dragon is that despite its ginormous size, big teeth and claws, and loud ROAR, Red Dragon is really gentle, kind and maybe just a little scared. One day, when showing off just how brave Red Dragon is, it roars a particularly loud ROAR that echoes back through the forest leaving Red Dragon worried about the big, scary monster that must be lurking in the woods. Red Dragon goes checking in with all of the other woodland creatures to see if they know about the monster, sure that together they will be able to scare it away.

Full of bright, colorful illustrations, this book is perfect for reading together as kids are introduced to the concepts of fear and bravery. The strong theme of friendship runs throughout the book as the woodland creatures huddle around Red Dragon in order to protect each other. David Kirk limits the amount of text, making this a great book to use to strengthen reading skills; Kirk's illustrations help explain new vocabulary words and tell of Red Dragon's courage.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Book: Olivia by Ian Falconer

Olivia by Ian Falconer. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, 2009. 40 pages.

Olivia is an energetic little pig; she likes to get into everything and likes to try everything out. Olivia gets frustrated about her copycat brother who always hangs around. Olivia can seem like she is everywhere at once; despite occasionally being naughty and driving her mother ragged, she is deeply loved. Ian Falconer manages to show Olivia's personality through his clever use of words and illustrations. The mostly black and white sketches are brought to life through careful shading and the occasional splash of red color that brings the reader's attention to Olivia's antics. Readers can appreciate the story of a precocious little pig and her adventures. Children will laugh at Olivia's behavior but will see the value of a good imagination and the unconditional love of a parent.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Book: Jazzy Miz Mozetta by Brenda C Roberts

Jazzy Miz Mozetta by Brenda C. Roberts. Illustrated by Frank Morrison. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2004. 32 pages.

The light of the full moon makes Miz Mozetta want to go out for a walk; she gets dolled up in her best clothing and sashays outside. She hears a beat that makes her want to dance and tries to get her neighbors dance with her, but they decline and give an excuse about old age. Soon Miz Mozetta sees young dancers showing off their moves and that is when she realizes that she is too old for those types of flashy moves; Miz Mozetta claims she has a cold and retires for the night. All of a sudden, a knock on the door announces her neighbors who want to dance; the music attracts the young dancers who want to learn the jitterbug from the elderly dancers. The illustrations are moody and yet the color choice gives the story a dramatic flair. The story has a jazzy feel and references to music and dance related vocabulary offers children a look into a different era.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Book: There Is a Bird On Your Head by Mo Willems

There Is a Bird On Your Head! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems. Hyperion Press, 2007. 64 pages.
Elephant and Piggie are on another adventure. Elephant is woken from his nap when something lands on his head; Elephant yells for Piggie to tell him what it is. Piggie has no tact as he explains that there is a bird on Elephants head. Poor Elephant does not want anything on his head and is shocked to learn that there are two birds, a nest and baby chicks on top of his head. Piggie suggests that Elephant asks the birds to move; the final location of the nest irks Piggie to no end. Mo Willems creates a hilarious story of two friends who get into all sorts of silly situations. The illustrations focus on what is going on between the two friends and use only a few colors on a white page. This book is great for emergent readers but can also be read to children; the story is easy to follow and the combination of text and images tells Elephant and Piggie's story. Children will laugh at Elephant's predicament and his attempts to dislodge his guests.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Wordless Book: Flotsam by David Wiesner

Flotsam by David Wiesner. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Trade & Reference Publishers, 2006. 40 pages.

A trip to the beach turns into a treasure hunt; a little boy explores the various creatures he finds on the beach. A rogue wave hits the boy and when he regains his bearings, he finds an antique camera in the sand at his feet. With his parents, the boy looks for an owner but when no one claims the camera, the boy takes the pictures to be developed and finds very interesting shots. The pictures developed offer a look at the fantasy world under the sea; the last picture is of a girl holding a photograph of a boy, who is holding yet another photograph of another child. The boy uses a microscope to view the images and discovers pictures of children throughout the years, starting from the time that the camera was new; the boy takes his own picture and tosses the camera back into the sea to be found by another child. Wiesner's beautifully painted wordless book tells a magical story of a travelling camera; children will enjoy the illustrations and be able tell the story in their own way.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Book: Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat (Caldecott Medal Book) by Simms Taback. Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated, 1999. 32 pages.

Simms Taback writes a story based on a Yiddish folk song, this book tells the story of Joseph and his overcoat. Joseph starts out wearing his favorite overcoat; the coat is worn so much that he has to make something else out of it and makes a jacket out of the good parts. The piece of fabric that was once an overcoat gets smaller and smaller, from vest to tie to button. One day, Joseph is left with nothing when he loses the button; Joseph is smart and writes a book that shows something can be made out of nothing. Throughout the book, the reader turns pages with a shape cut out that reveals a smaller and smaller piece of the original plaid garment. Colorful illustrations showing Yiddish culture span the pages; readers will appreciate the use of patterns that add whimsy to the story. The repetitiveness of the text makes this an ideal book for young children who are learning to read or enjoying listening to a story.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Book: The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson

The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson. Illustrated by Beth Krommes. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2004. 40 pages.

There day is getting dark, lights are being turned on in the houses. The story follows a child that returns home and prepares for bed. The child goes through the bedtime rituals of dressing for bed and reading a story that sparks the imagination. This book's scratchboard and watercolor illustrations are simple yet vivid; highlighted items in the house are a bright yellow that draw the reader's eye to nook and crannies in the house. With each page turn, the text uses words from the previous page and builds on the story, forming a pattern that is easy to follow. Easy to read text makes this an ideal book for children to either listen to or use to learn to read.