Twelve-year-old Princess Sylvie's storybook kingdom really is a storybook, where nothing ever changes, even the character's mad scramble to reach theiTwelve-year-old Princess Sylvie's storybook kingdom really is a storybook, where nothing ever changes, even the character's mad scramble to reach their places whenever the book is opened, until Sylvie discovers she can enter new worlds with the Reader, and find new adventures.
I fell in love with this book upon reading the first line: “Sylvie had an amazing life, but she didn't get to live it very often”. I immediately identified with the character, as would many teenagers. However, traveling between the two worlds and adhering viewpoints, time, and change is demanding for the reader. The story may be put down and, ironically, the greatest fear expressed by the characters (vanishing) realized unless there is an absolute buy-in by the reader. I would recommend this book only to the intermediate to advanced reader.
Interest Level: 4th-8th Age: 10-14yrs Genre: Fiction Subject: Fantasy
From School Library Journal Grade 4-7-The characters in a fairy tale are also the major characters in this novel, and they become involved in the lives of its readers. Within the pages of a storybook, 12-year-old Sylvie, a princess, refuses to consider marriage until she accomplishes one "Great Good Thing," and goes off to aid several animals in distress. Sylvie also violates the cardinal rule of storybooks and looks her Reader right in the eye, establishing a lasting bond with her. She lives the role of an adventurous heroine, rescuing her story when Claire's brother sets the book on fire. She ventures in and out of Claire's dreams. In hazy transitions, the story moves to a subconscious level with all the book characters only alive in the oral retelling, eventually in danger of being forgotten. Numerous supporting characters float in and out of the scenes: Claire's menacing brother; her grandmother (the original Reader who gave her the book); and, eventually her daughter Lily, who saves Sylvie's story from disappearing. However, the movement of characters in one person's dream or waking world to the mind of another is difficult to follow or swallow. This is an extremely clever and multilayered concept, but one has to question the child appeal, even among the most ardent fantasy fans. Most young readers will lose interest in this book long before its admittedly happy conclusion. Debbie Whitbeck, West Ottawa Public Schools, Holland, MI
From Booklist Gr. 4-6. When it comes to fairy tales, it's hard to find much new under the sun. But try this. Princess Sophie lives inside a book called The Great Good Thing with her parents, thieves, a prince, the usual suspects. When the Reader opens the book, the story begins, and Sophie plays her spunky role. Unlike the other characters, however, Sophie has an adventurous spirit that leads her outside the margins of her book. In that other world, she befriends the Reader, a girl named Claire, the granddaughter of the first Reader, who is old and ill. Years later, as Claire is dying, Sophie must find a way to implant herself in Claire's daughter's memory so the characters of the book can survive. Sophie is a dynamic character who stays true to her fairy-tale roots even as she literally pushes the boundaries of her world. Less successful are the human characters; it seems their role is to show the impermanence of the temporal world, not a natural topic for kids. What's most interesting here is the concept. Townley sets a difficult task for himself. He must maintain the integrity of the storybook world--lights must go on when the book covers close, and one-dimensional characters must still show some life--and at the same time, integrate the storybook characters into the "real" world. He mostly succeeds, but even when he doesn't, it's fun to watch him try. Ilene Cooper
This is one of the first bilingual I've found that successfully translates, in both Spanish and English, the alliterative quality of the ABC book: "BeThis is one of the first bilingual I've found that successfully translates, in both Spanish and English, the alliterative quality of the ABC book: "Benito bota el balón bajo el balcón...Benito throws the ball under the balcony." Steeped in pattern with chunky cut-paper illustrations, each page, also, has questions (both directed and open-ended)for young readers to discover. This book would make a great bilingual Spanish/English flannel board activity ...more
This is the classic tale of an old couple, with no children of their own, who bake a gingerbread boy to keep them company. This Gingerbread Boy eludesThis is the classic tale of an old couple, with no children of their own, who bake a gingerbread boy to keep them company. This Gingerbread Boy eludes the hungry grasp of the little old woman, the little old men, the horse, the cow, the threshers and everyone else in the is pastoral setting, until he happens upon a very clever fox. In very satisfiying ending, the gingerbread boy "at last went the way of every single gingerbread boy that ever came out of an oven . . . He was all gone!”.
This is the traditional telling of the story. It is, also, an edge of your seat thriller at story time!! Despite the harsh ending, sequencing, repetition and rhyme of the text encourage children to “read-a-long”, following the story. In addition, the story includes many sight words for early and transitional readers to scan.
Interest Level: PreK-2nd Age: 3-8yrs Genre: Fiction Subject: Fantasy
From School Library Journal A wonderfully frenetic cross-country chase is depicted in Galdone’s broadly humorous color wash drawings. Of the eight editions of this well-known story now in print, this hilarious version is the most delectable.
From Kirkus Reviews Galdone has already proven many times over that he is perfectly at home with those traditional nursery tales that are still preschoolers favorites, and his expressive, unassuming style just right for their very young audience. . . . Children will follow along breathlessly . . . right up to that last snip snap snip when the Gingerbread Boy goes “the way of every single gingerbread boy that ever came out of an oven”. ...more
This is an especially fun after hour’s trip to the zoo for the toddler set. Colorful pastel illustrations and playful details supported by repetitiveThis is an especially fun after hour’s trip to the zoo for the toddler set. Colorful pastel illustrations and playful details supported by repetitive text make for a lively bedtime story. I know, contradiction you may say, but it is a great book to share as your family prepares for slumber. After just a few reads, wobblers and toddlers will recognize the pattern and bid each animal, name, “Sweet dreams”. Each time I pick it up, I find something new...the character Babar in the elephant cage, the giraffe thwarting the mouse's movement. This story has many angles to keep it fresh on your bookshelf! ...more
Put simply, it is the story of what happens when a camera becomes a piece of flotsam. It is also a story of discovery and imagination at the beach. ItPut simply, it is the story of what happens when a camera becomes a piece of flotsam. It is also a story of discovery and imagination at the beach. It was the 2007 Caldecott Award Winner.
Wiesner’s illustrations are phenomenal. Many pages remind me of the surrealist paintings of Hieronymus Bosch (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hieronym...) and Salvador Dali (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvador...). Without text, the reader generates the story to meet the mood. This book is accessible to even the nascent storyteller. There are many threads to follow from simply a boy playing on the beach with found things to the elaborate underwater communities who curate the collection.
Dot and Jabber and the Big Bug Mystery by Ellen Stoll Walsh is a picture book about two mouse detectives trying to solve the mystery of the disappeariDot and Jabber and the Big Bug Mystery by Ellen Stoll Walsh is a picture book about two mouse detectives trying to solve the mystery of the disappearing insects. Cut paper illustrations support the story’s theme of camouflage. The books includes a discussion about insects and camouflage. This is a strong example of a Pre-K-2nd grade picture book.
The “bugs” delightfully blend into the cut paper illustrations driving the curiosity of the two mice. They sort out the mystery through their dialog with each other and their companion animals among the rocks.
From School Library Journal PreSchool-Grade 1-The mouse detectives are back in another eco-mystery. When all the bugs in their meadow suddenly disappear, the mice interview a sparrow and a rabbit and observe some butterflies, finally discovering that the bugs have used camouflage to hide from their predators. The story is simple and unremarkable, but Walsh's illustrations add interest. The distinctive cut-paper collages step nicely off the page for a 3-D look, and the earthy greens and browns are gentle and calming. A note on insects and camouflage is included. Shelley B. Sutherland, Niles Public Library District, IL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Kirkus Review An outstanding combination of preschool/kindergarten story with nature information…Excellent. ...more
Go Outside! presents outdoor activities and creative projects, organized by the seasons, providing year-round fun for urban, suburban and rural childrGo Outside! presents outdoor activities and creative projects, organized by the seasons, providing year-round fun for urban, suburban and rural children alike. The book is written to motivate kids, but also to inspire their parents to get involved.
This wonderful book, Go Outside!, has loads of great play ideas. Open to any page and you will soon be smiling with inspiration. There are things to do at home, the beach, the pool, and every season of the year. The photographs are full of smiling school-aged children. Most can be done with everyday items and comes with a "What You'll Need" list so you will be sure to have all your materials gathered and any adult assistance necessary.
From School Library Journal Grade 4-6-Creative outdoor activities for urban and country dwellers are grouped by season. Each spread describes one project, listing all of the supplies and/or equipment needed and offering safety considerations and step-by-step instructions. Some spreads include "Explore More!" sections with additional ideas. Activities range from cooking to games to crafts and sports; adult assistance is recommended for a few of them. Numerous, large black-and-white photographs show youngsters participating in the fun and visuals of the projects. Adults and children looking for some different outdoor activities will find this book helpful. Janice C. Hayes, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
There Is a Bird on Your Head! is a story of honesty, finding the silver lining in everything and asserting yourself. The story is told in conversationThere Is a Bird on Your Head! is a story of honesty, finding the silver lining in everything and asserting yourself. The story is told in conversation bubbles between two friends: Elephant and Piggie. This picture book won the ALA Geisel Award for 2008. The Geisel Award is given annually to “the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States”. http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/als...
This book caught me by surprise. Simple, slapstick humor. Strong characterization drives the story. The plain illustrations draw attention to the variation in each character’s emotion as the story grows. Touted as an award winning beginning reader, it has the requisite illustration to text connection, typical sight words for K-3 children and short sentences. However, I would recommend it for a transitional reader rather than a beginning reader/decoder as a “silent reading” book. The beginning reader might need support of an adult for the first few times reading through. Many of the words require higher level strategies to decode. Nonetheless, Mo Willems is a comic genius. I have not laughed this hard since reading Don’t Let the Pigeon drive the Bus.
K-Gr 2–After two lovebirds settle down on frustrated, then angry Elephant's head, his friend Pig comes up with the perfect way to send them packing. Through a few well-chosen words and expertly crafted cartoons, Willems offers a funny story that is in perfect harmony with the sensibilities of emerging readers. (from schoollibraryjournal.com) There Is a Bird on Your Head by Mo Willems (Hyperion) In this humorous account of Elephant Gerald and Piggie's ongoing friendship, Gerald learns that there is something worse than having a bird on your head - having two birds on your head! Trying to help her friend, the always-playful Piggie ends up with a problem of her own.
Willems' balanced design of color-coordinated speech bubbles, expressive cartoon art and familiar vocabulary create an engaging, laugh-out-loud experience for young readers. The charming characters, whimsical tone and accessible language come together in this fresh and memorable celebration of friendship. (from the Association for Library Services to Children ALSC) ...more
The concept of death is not generally discussed until there is an event and questions that follow. Once children have moved beyond self to include theThe concept of death is not generally discussed until there is an event and questions that follow. Once children have moved beyond self to include the awareness of another, they will benefit from the gentle scaffolding of the concept. Whether a ladybug, a ponderosa pine or family member, this book reveals through uncomplicated text and subdued illustrations that “each (living thing) has its own special lifetime.” Lifetimes provides the candid language for a time when words may be difficult to manage. ...more
This book presents an overview of West African culture and provides step-by-step instructions for using simple household materials to make such traditThis book presents an overview of West African culture and provides step-by-step instructions for using simple household materials to make such traditional items as a mask, a coiled pot, block-printed and woven cloths, and a drum. The book includes a resource section—listing books, websites, and museums for further exploration—and an index.
This is a great book for crafty children and, more specifically, their crafty parents. The author shares West African culture, as well as extra little side notes of interest. There are many full color photographs to give you a feeling for what the process entails and how to use the item appropriately. Most children love a good hands-on project, especially when that project produces something they can display proudly. In addition, children will learn about another culture without feeling force-fed.
From School Library Journal – Gr 3-6 This combination travel memoir/craft book helps children to understand the meaning of the crafts and their importance to West African culture. Color photos, most of which were taken by the author during her visit to Ghana, appear on every page. A brief history of West Africa and Ghana is included. Children will learn that Adinkra printing (done with blocks carved from a gourd) has 53 designs, each with its own meaning and name. Kids can print their own Adinkra cloth using a potato stamp, and they'll see how to wear it and on what occasion. Adult help may be needed for some projects and steps. Other projects include pot coiling, making masks, and weaving kente strips. Children will also learn how to make and play a drum and about the role of music in Ghana today. With its combination of history, culture, and activities, this beautifully designed book will be a useful and popular addition to most collections.-Augusta R. Malvagno, Queens Borough Public Library, NY ...more
Familiar characters from Mother Goose rhymes present lessons in good manners, such as Little Jack Horner remembering that he should have used a fork tFamiliar characters from Mother Goose rhymes present lessons in good manners, such as Little Jack Horner remembering that he should have used a fork to eat his Christmas pie. This book is geared for preschool story time and might make a fun beginning reader.
First of all, Mother Goose verse is recognizable. It makes for a comfortable transition text for new readers. However, this book will be a favorite in the preschool classroom despite the lackluster illustrations. Open-ended questions, on the flap, lead children to discover the “answer” in their own terms, opening the discussion door when sharing this book with children. The lift-the-flap surprise variation to the classic Mother Goose verse will reinforce the expectation for appropriate behavior as they continue to read on their own.
From School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2—Twelve nursery rhyme characters are taken to task in this picture book on decorum. A traditional verse is presented on the left, and the right-hand page questions the action, folding out to reveal a large, colorful spread with a more "polite" scene. "What should Jack have said" when he pulled out that plum with his thumb? "Next time I'll use a fork." Some lessons are silly. For example, the visiting pussycat who frightened the mouse under the queen's chair should have said, "Excuse me, mouse. Don't be scared. I won't hurt you." And when this little pig went to market, the last little pig should have helped carry the packages instead of whining. The color cartoon art contains comical details, but overall the images don't rise above the ordinary. This thin book struggles to serve as an etiquette manual or as comedy.—Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA
The 2004 Newberry Award winning novel, The Tale of Despereaux, is made up of four short stories. These “books” within the novel are not only the backgThe 2004 Newberry Award winning novel, The Tale of Despereaux, is made up of four short stories. These “books” within the novel are not only the background stories of the major characters but work to entwine the lives of the mouse, rat, girl, and princess.
Kate DiCamillo’s monochromatic novel of light and darkness blends to a satisfying "happily ever after" end. She explores, in this novel, the powerful nature of love, hope, and forgiveness. The novel is also told as a cautionary tale, implying directly to the reader that there are lessons to be learned. The author also explores how the most mundane things can cause great change in our lives. The story is quite dark and menacing in places. The sensitive child with a vivid imagination may be troubled by the strong imagery. I would recommend this book for an emotionally mature child.
Newbery Award Chair Eliza T. Dresang “With finesse, DiCamillo masterfully weaves drama, mystery and intrigue with high humor and fun into a cohesive, captivating and distinguished tale. Time-honored themes of good versus evil, light versus dark, unrequited love, loyalty and search for identity have roots in many mythic and literary classics familiar to children. This story is sure to entice, challenge and delight readers of all ages.”
From School Library Journal Grade 3 Up-A charming story of unlikely heroes whose destinies entwine to bring about a joyful resolution. Foremost is Despereaux, a diminutive mouse who, as depicted in Ering's pencil drawings, is one of the most endearing of his ilk ever to appear in children's books. His mother, who is French, declares him to be "such the disappointment" at his birth and the rest of his family seems to agree that he is very odd: his ears are too big and his eyes open far too soon and they all expect him to die quickly. Of course, he doesn't. Then there is the human Princess Pea, with whom Despereaux falls deeply (one might say desperately) in love. She appreciates him despite her father's prejudice against rodents. Next is Roscuro, a rat with an uncharacteristic love of light and soup. Both these predilections get him into trouble. And finally, there is Miggery Sow, a peasant girl so dim that she believes she can become a princess. With a masterful hand, DiCamillo weaves four story lines together in a witty, suspenseful narrative that begs to be read aloud. In her authorial asides, she hearkens back to literary traditions as old as those used by Henry Fielding. In her observations of the political machinations and follies of rodent and human societies, she reminds adult readers of George Orwell. But the unpredictable twists of plot, the fanciful characterizations, and the sweetness of tone are DiCamillo's own. This expanded fairy tale is entertaining, heartening, and, above all, great fun. Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY
Vibrant color photos and delightfully musical text pepper this scientifically based lifecycle of pumpkins. A great disservice will be done to the effoVibrant color photos and delightfully musical text pepper this scientifically based lifecycle of pumpkins. A great disservice will be done to the effort of the author and photographer if one might only crack this book in autumn. A “great” pumpkin begins in the warm, loamy soil of spring. The intense photographic concentration on the specific elements of the lifecycle (seed leaves fat & green, twisty tendrils stretching out to cling, flower buds appear-brilliant sunlit bowls, finished fruit ripe & fully grown, sinking & shrinking back to the earth you go) lead the reader naturally along. By the end, the reader can almost taste the pungent fruit....more