I had seen this book on the Guardian's children books readers had read for April or May 2015, and hoped that we had a copy at our library. We did, soI had seen this book on the Guardian's children books readers had read for April or May 2015, and hoped that we had a copy at our library. We did, so I grabbed it for me to read to my son. I love Shaun Tan's work usually, but this one just didn't grab me the way he others have in the past. The book gave rules that two boys learned during one summer, and shows an event and the the effect of that event. For example, they boys go to catch some shooting stars and one of the boys drops his jar, and the text says "Never drop your jar". The pictures got darker the further the story went. I think my son enjoyed it more than me. Recommended for ages 5-8, 3 stars...more
This book was the first book I read for the new all-female bookclub I recently joined with a colleague from work. It wasn't so much of a memoir as a sThis book was the first book I read for the new all-female bookclub I recently joined with a colleague from work. It wasn't so much of a memoir as a stream-of-consciousness glimpse into Ms. Poehler's life and career as a comedienne. Plus a lot of name-dropping. I honestly knew next to nothing about her other than she was on SNL and also that show "Parks and Recreation," which I didn't find all that funny. The only things I could latch onto with this book was a quote she made early in the book on page 20, about being a plain girl and learning to accept that, and her sentiments regarding her kids and being a mom. 2 stars. ...more
This was an adorable little rhyming board book I found in the storytime room before doing my Toddler Storytime. I just love the smiling piggie and hisThis was an adorable little rhyming board book I found in the storytime room before doing my Toddler Storytime. I just love the smiling piggie and his painting skills. He paints big and small, a cat and two pigs, another pig (polka-dotted this time), frogs, and sheep. Then he is tired and goes to bed. Recommended for ages 1-3, 4 stars. ...more
Dog loves reading and books, which is why he opened his own bookshop. One day his aunt sends him a blank book to draw in, so he starts creating a fantDog loves reading and books, which is why he opened his own bookshop. One day his aunt sends him a blank book to draw in, so he starts creating a fantastical adventure with some new friends. This was a cute follow-up to "Dog Loves Books," which I adored. Recommended for ages 3-6, 4 stars. ...more
I was doing an Art Toddler storytime when I saw this book. It is way too advanced for them. But this would be good for a slightly older child. Emily'sI was doing an Art Toddler storytime when I saw this book. It is way too advanced for them. But this would be good for a slightly older child. Emily's parents are getting a divorce and live in separate houses. Emily is studying Pablo Picasso at school and learns about his blue period, which she immediately adopts for herself as a way to deal with the divorce. This is followed by her collage period and she creates a collage of "the home of her heart", which features objects from both of her parent's houses and symbolizes their family and Emily herself. Recommended for ages 4-8, 5 stars. ...more
When I saw this book in the library, I just had to pick it up. Famous graphic designer Saul Bass, who created the opening sequence for the movies "VerWhen I saw this book in the library, I just had to pick it up. Famous graphic designer Saul Bass, who created the opening sequence for the movies "Vertigo" and "North By Northwest", as well as the logos for famous name brands. This is his only children's book, originally printed in 1962 and reprinted in 2012, the story was created by former librarian Leonore Klein. I loved the illustrations, but wasn't a fan of story.
Henri is a small boy who lives in Reboul, France just outside of Paris, and dreams of visiting the famous city. His town is small and only has one bus and park, and a small population. After reading a book on Paris, he decides to go there with some lunch. After traveling for awhile, he stops in a wood and falls asleep. He gets turned around and thinks he is heading towards Paris, which looks remarkably like his town (it is) and then returns home. Recommended for ages 3-6, 3-1/2 stars. ...more
"I, Juan de Pareja" is about a black slave boy born in Seville, Spain in 1607, who belongs to a wealthy older woman. His mother, also owned by the wom"I, Juan de Pareja" is about a black slave boy born in Seville, Spain in 1607, who belongs to a wealthy older woman. His mother, also owned by the woman, died when he was a boy. His mistress treats him well and teaches him the alphabet and how to write letters. Sadly she and the rest of the household die from the plague. Juan is sent to live with the woman’s nephew, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (known predominantly as Velazquez in the book), a painter in Madrid. Juan longs to paint, but is unable to because of a law forbidding slaves to learn the arts. So he helps his master in any way he can, by prepping the master’s canvasses, paint, and arranging props. Eventually Velazquez becomes the court painter to the Spanish King Phillip IV, and his studio is moved into the palace. He meets the famous painter Peter Paul Rubens, and on Ruben’s recommendation travels to Italy with Juan, to copy and buy Italian works for the king. While there, Juan secretly teaches himself to draw and paint.
After much practice, he is able to paint a Virgin Mary, though his secret shames him so much that he finally tells an apprentice of his master Bartolomeo Esteban Murillo (great name, right?) the truth. Thankfully Murillo is kind to him, and praises his skill, but tells him to hold off telling Velazquez until later. Juan goes with his master to Italy a second time, and Velazquez ends up getting a commission to paint Pope Innocent X’s portrait, along with many Roman nobles and their families. Disaster almost strikes Juan’s master before they get to Rome when his painting hand becomes infected, but Juan’s prayers to the Virgin Mary are heard and his master is healed. Of course, Juan had promised the Virgin that he would tell his master his secret if he became well. They come back to Spain and paint for several more years before Juan finally admits, before the King, that he has been painting secretly and begs forgiveness. He is forgiven and freed by his master Velazquez, who then hires him as an assistant. He soon after marries his former mistress’s slave and they live with the Velazquez family until they die. Recommended for ages 9-12, 5 stars.
I picked this up after a quick browse of the children’s audiobook section. It looked interesting as I saw it was about painters, specifically Velasquez, whom I did not know much about. I had no idea until after I finished the book that it had won the 1966 Newbery Medal, and rightly so. The visual description and rich language of the story is what makes it so well-done, as it really draws you in from the beginning. The reader can really imagine what life was like in 17th Century Spain and Italy. I thought maybe the narrator had a speech problem as she read the text, but according to my mother (who has lived in Spain), the lisping is an affectation, particularly for Castilian Spanish people. Learn something new every day. The only slight downside to this book is that it is a bid dated in the “modern” terminology at the end of the book. In the afterword by the author, she notes that major points of the story is true, although not much is known about Velazquez himself or Juan de Pareja. Juan was owned by the master, who did later free him and add him on as an assistant. The King Phillip IV did have a good solid relationship with his court painter and did posthumously bestow upon him the Knighthood of the Order of Santiago (St. James), the highest honor in Spain. See here for more information: http://www.galicianflag.com/saint_jam.... ...more
I like the idea of a tiny pink Elephant named Pomelo, the illustrations were super cute (they would be great for individual prints to decorate a childI like the idea of a tiny pink Elephant named Pomelo, the illustrations were super cute (they would be great for individual prints to decorate a child’s bedroom), and the ideas for color descriptions were very original. However, I think this book, like its predecessor (insert title) fell a little flat. Let me explain. The book is all about Pomelo and his friends learning about different colors and how amazing it is to live in a multi-colored world. That part is fine. It seems like the intended audience for this book is toddlers/preschoolers who are just learning their colors, and despite the small pages, I don’t think this age group will pay attention for the entire length of the book. It is something like 70 pages. My 2 ½ year old lost interest somewhere around the second color. They definitely thought outside the box when picking the color descriptions, like “the mysterious blue of dreams”, “the comforting white of dandelions” and “the foamy white of hot milk”. The book would make a fun creative book for older kids, maybe do a lesson on colors or poetry. Recommended for ages 3+, 3 stars....more