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Très drôle

18 Sep

The rain has finally returned to the Pacific Northwest. The smell of smoke in the air has been replaced by the scent of damp earth and I imagine those fighting fires are celebrating. Those of us who prefer cooler, wetter weather are celebrating, too. It is as though we have crossed a line: life before the rain, life after the rain.

And that gets me thinking about My Pictures After the Storm by Eric Veillé.

More witty than funny, this picture book proves that a picture is worth a thousand words.

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The book, which has a cover that is reminiscent of a board book, is simply a collection of before and after pictures, all of which have a

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We have Back to School Night tonight. The picture of me after BTSN will be more about exhaustion than humor.

 

 

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Dogs are people too

6 Jul

Lucy and I are spending a lot of time together these days. There are frequent walks and daily naps. We like it like that.

Ed, of Excellent Ed written by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach, also has an excellent life.

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However, Ed also has a problem. Everyone in the family is good at something. Everyone except ed, that is. And so begins his journey of self-discovery.

Publisher’s Summary: Dog lovers will adore this imperfect yet endearing mutt and his quest for excellence!

Everyone in the Ellis family is excellent–except Ed.

Ed wonders if this is why he isn’t allowed to eat at the table or sit on the couch with the other children. So he’s determined to find his own thing to be excellent at–only to be (inadvertently) outdone by a family member every time.

Now Ed is really nervous–what if he’s not excellent enough to belong in this family?

This funny and endearing story offers a subtle look at sibling rivalry and self esteem, and will reassure kids that everyone is excellent at something, and that your family loves you, just as you are.

It doesn’t spoil the ending to let you know that Ed’s journey ends with the discovery of his special talent.

 

Thinking about home

3 Jul

Because July 1st fell on Saturday, today is a statutory holiday for Canadians, giving most a long weekend, the first of summer.

Since today is an extension of Canada Day, I want to talk about my favorite Canadian picture book of 2017.

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Publisher’s Summary: A young boy wakes up to the sound of the sea, visits his grandfather’s grave after lunch and comes home to a simple family dinner with his family, but all the while his mind strays to his father digging for coal deep down under the sea. Stunning illustrations by Sydney Smith, the award-winning illustrator of Sidewalk Flowers, show the striking contrast between a sparkling seaside day and the darkness underground where the miners dig.

With curriculum connections to communities and the history of mining, this beautifully understated and haunting story brings a piece of Canadian history to life. The ever-present ocean and inevitable pattern of life in a Cape Breton mining town will enthrall children and move adult readers.

Why do I love this book?

*Sydney Smith’s beautiful illustrations.

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Good illustrations add a depth to the text and Smith’s do just that. The simplicity and openness of the young narrator’s life is contrasted beautifully with that of his father, a coal miner.

*Joanne Schwartz’s text is spare but evocative. The repetition of  “it goes like this—” invites the reader along for the journey in the life of this boy, this family, this town.

Although young readers’ lives might be very different from the narrator’s, Town Is By The Sea invites its readers to reflect on the pace, rhythm and events of their daily lives.

The Dynamic Duo

22 Jun

First, they gave us Extra Yarn.

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Then, they gave us Sam and Dave Dig a Hole.

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And now, Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen have given us Triangle.

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See how the cover ha no title and doesn’t list the author or illustrator? The back cover tells us more.

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Between the covers zaniness of the Laurel and Hardy variety ensues.

Publisher’s Summary: Meet Triangle. He is going to play a sneaky trick on his friend, Square. Or so Triangle thinks. . . . With this first tale in a new trilogy, partners in crime Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen will have readers wondering just who they can trust in a richly imagined world of shapes. Visually stunning and full of wry humor, here is a perfectly paced treat that could come only from the minds of two of today’s most irreverent — and talented — picture book creators.

This is the first book in a picture book trilogy. You can learn more in this video from the publisher.

 

Mini Mentors

14 Jun

Are you a cat person or a dog person?

Either way, these two picture books are sure to touch your heart.

In Elisha Cooper’s Big Cat, Little Cat an older cat mentors another.

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Goodreads Summary:There was a cat
who lived alone.
Until the day
a new cat came . . .

And so a story of friendship begins, following two cats through their days, months, and years until one day, the older cat has to go. And he doesn’t come back.

This is a poignant story, told in measured text and bold black-and-white illustrations about life and the act of moving on.

I really like the simple black and white illustrations. These , plus the simple text, give lots of room for bed time discussions.

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The second book, I Got a New Friend,  is by local author/illustrator Karl Newsom Edwards

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Goodreads Summary: When a little girl gets a new puppy, they have a lot to learn about each other. The new friends can be shy, messy, and sometimes get into trouble. They get lost, but they always get found. Their friendship may be a lot of work–but at the end of the day, they love each other!

Young readers will probably assume the little girl is the narrator, but they are in for a surprise at the end.

This is a great book for anyone who is shy or afraid of tackling new experiences or situations.

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And the expressions on the faces of this lovely pair touched my heart.

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I was that kid. I was very shy around strangers and in new situations. I think that is why I love this book so much. Like me, they learn confidence as their trust for each other blossoms. And it is a beautiful thing.

 

I hab a liddle toad

22 May

I woke up Friday morning in Hood River with a sore throat, the kind you get from post nasal drip. I was a little congested all weekend and felt worst Sunday morning, though I had a bad sleep last night.I medicated myself with decongestants and Emergen-C.

Little Louie, the main character of  Bob, Not Bob,  by Liz Garton Scanlon and Avery Vernick also has a cold, but he needs his Mom’s help. Unfortunately every time he calls her, his dog, Bob comes running.

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This is a great book to read aloud, with the voice of someone with a really bad cold. This could just be a silly book, but it is also a heartwarming read.

 

Lovely Louies

15 May

My Louie loved everyone.

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A cat once followed us home from the park. Fiona wanted to attack but Louie didn’t bat an eye. He was just that kind of guy. Needless to say, in the cat’s best interest, I did not invite it into the house.

Just like my Louie did, the eponymous Louie of Tony Fucile’s Poor Louie has a great life.

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Publisher’s Summary:Louie’s life is great! A walk on the leash every morning, ice cream on Sundays, snuggling in bed at night with Mom and Dad. Even the playdates with Mom’s friends — despite their little crawling creatures who pull Louie’s ears — aren’t all that bad. But then things get weird: cold food on the floor, no room in the bed, and lots of new stuff coming into the house in pairs — two small beds, two little sweaters, two seats in the stroller. Does that bode double trouble ahead, or could there be a happier surprise in store for Louie? With perfect visual pacing, Tony Fucile takes a familiar story and gives it a comic spin.

The expressive cartoon artwork takes and comic look at how childless people (like me) anthropomorphize their dogs , and at the the arrival of a new sibling.  This would be a great book to share with children about to be displaced by a new baby, or a childless couple who’s pet is about to be relegated to the floor, just like Poor Louie.

Fortunately, the ending provides an excellent solution to Poor Louie’s dilemma.

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