Children have bad moods, they have emotions that swing on a large pendulum, and anyone who has ever encountered a two-year old tantrum thrower will un...moreChildren have bad moods, they have emotions that swing on a large pendulum, and anyone who has ever encountered a two-year old tantrum thrower will understand that it is part of them. Few will grow up to have the mental issues that Virginia Wolf faces, but these strong emotions are pretty universal.
How do we treat the kids around us who do have these strong emotions? In this picture book Vanessa has a number of suggestions for ameliorating her sister's ill temper, from music to food. What works is giving her a gift of a world borne of her imagination, Bloomsberry. Arsenault's illustrations come alive here in a tribute to the famous 20th century painter, Vanessa Bell.
The writing is superb, just like in the duo's 2010 book Spork. The cadence mimics the changes in mood as Virginia goes from grim to glad.
My kids enjoyed this book and have asked for it many times since we got it. My daughter loves Bloomsberry with its cupcakes and adorable animals. My son seems to have adopted Maclear's writing into his vocabulary and cheerfully announces that his sister is feeling wolfish when she wakes up grumpy.
I enjoyed the references to Virginia Woolf's real life writing and have been inspired to revisit Kew Gardens. It's not often that you find a book equally beloved by parents and children and this is what will make this is classic.(less)
This book hits the preschooler's favourite subjectes seasons and a healthy dose of nature. Slither, Slide, What's Outside? also has adorable children. What sets it apart though is that each two-page spread has a photography of nature on the left side, and an illustration of an activity for that season with a corresponding verse on the right. From wriggling like a worm to leaping like a frog, there are plenty of indoor and outdoor activities for preschoolers to connect with nature. We've already tried making a star shape and checking the wind with pinwheels! I love books with activities, like The Big Green Book of the Big Blue Sea and this definitely fits into this category.
I also love kids with rosy cheeks in illustrations. These adorable kidlets have that, as well as having a retro 80s kind of look about them that I like. I'm not sure what that is from, the hair maybe? Whatever it is, it works.
What worked for my kids is the humour. They liked the fact that the bear might eat the dad and would like to act that out. I should have warned my husband before he got attacked by two little bears who bared their little teeth. Ooops. Well maybe that will teach him to skip storytime!
In 1994, a humpback whale was caught in the rope that was left behind by a fishing boat. It was so entangled that the whale researchers feared it coul...moreIn 1994, a humpback whale was caught in the rope that was left behind by a fishing boat. It was so entangled that the whale researchers feared it could not move and needed to be rescued. Captain Jim of the Gikumi and Captain Mike of the Blue Fjord, whale watching boats that were nearby, came close to the whale to rescue her. Captain Mike jumped in the ocean without so much as a SCUBA tank to try to loosen the rope. Under the watchful eyes of some dolphins, Captain Mike is finally able to cut the rope loose.
It states that this picture book is for 9 and up but my kids had no problem understanding any of it. They liked that the names "Nanoose" and "Gikumi" sound like Japanese words despite no relation at all.
Mostly they were fascinated with the place where this all occurred (and the huge knife used to cut Nanoose free!). Telegraph Cove is a tiny place on the northern side of Vancouver Island, near Port Hardy. The population is only 20! Captain Jim runs Stubbs Island Whale Watching with his wife Mary, who co-authored this book. My children have ordered me to rent a cabin there on our next trip to Canada! It looks like it would be a great vacation.
This was a great book to see that humans have the power to not only mess up the oceans and hurt the animals in it, but also help them. I hope it reminds my children that we need to respect the ocean that is our neighbour.(less)
That's what this book does well, makes you feel like you are exploring a whole new world above, below, and around the sea.
This is written like nonfiction picture book, with emphasis on descriptive phrases and new vocabulary, like curling eddies, tide pool, and long craggy finger. Photos accompany the introduction of beach life, like sand dollars, Queen Anne's Lace, and abalone shells. Also, like my favourite nonfiction books, this has activities the reader can experience for himself, in this case sand mermaids (the summer equivalent of snow angels).
The pages are a mix of mermaid illustrations on photographs of beach scenes, ala Little Einsteins. Normally this is not my favourite style, but in this case it works to differentiate real from not real in the nonfiction style.
This is a fun book with adorable mermaids as your guide to the wonders of the beach! It makes me excited for the weekend so we can explore our own beaches, armed with the right vocab and a mission (finding Japanese mermaids!).(less)
When a young shoeshine boy and his cat decide to reunite a beautiful red cloth with its owner, they unknowingly embark on an adventure that promises t...moreWhen a young shoeshine boy and his cat decide to reunite a beautiful red cloth with its owner, they unknowingly embark on an adventure that promises to ease his loneliness.Who would have thought this simple piece of cloth could be so versatile? It becomes an apron, a blanket, a zipline, a food procurement device, a headscarf, and a marketing tool. This is a testament to the imaginations of children as well as the multitude of ideas that come with a diverse population.
The urban adventure of this young boy and his feline companion are reminiscent of Peter Sis' Madlenka, complete with unique views of the city and welcoming, multilingual neighbours. However, the vibrancy of the illustrations and the meddling of a well-intentioned neighbour push Laundry Day to a higher level.
Manning's previous book, Kitchen Dance, was a tribute to the joie-de-vivre of a passionate family who loved to dance. She has brought the same depth of feeling and sense of movement to Laundry Day, with a great deal of historical flavour as well.
Laundry Day is a vibrant addition to Maurie J. Manning's excellent portfolio of books. The intrepid hero's adventure through a diverse neighbourhood shows a young man of excellent moral character who is rewarded for his thoughtfulness. It celebrates diversity, imagination, and honesty in a format that calls for kids to love it. MadlenkaKitchen Dance
Originally published in France in 2010, it was published in English by Chronicle Books along with companion books Yumi, Amigos, and Kimono.
This picture book is aimed at young children but could easily do double duty as a coffee table book. The texture is fantastic. The cover features a pleather print kokeshi (wooden bridal gift doll) and that is just the start. My daughter loved the flaps to lift and adorable bentos. My son loved the fold-out Shinkansen (marked Kyoto on one side and Tokyo on the other!).
The design is modern and magnificent. If only Japan was really this beautiful!
This isn't just beautiful, it's educational! There are kanji characters woven in through the text and the background. It has a lot of geographic information as well, and even the famous Asahi Beer Building, normally known as the Golden Turd, makes an appearance during a taxi ride.
I have only one complaint, and that is that there is an oven in the kitchen of one of the kitchens, and that's not at all common! Of course there are crazy people like me who have regular-sized ovens so I guess it gets a pass. (less)
Franklin Rides a Bike features the friendly Franklin in a new adventure. This time all his friends have already taken their training wheels off, and F...moreFranklin Rides a Bike features the friendly Franklin in a new adventure. This time all his friends have already taken their training wheels off, and Franklin wants to join them. He is, however, still Franklin, and as envious he is of his friends, he is too apprehensive to work on it and wants to be able to do it automatically without practice.
This is probably the Franklin book I like the most just for the sentiment. I like the message that you need to put effort in to get results, and that people all have different experiences and we shouldn't be envious of them. My son thought it was sweet that Franklin could ride off with his friends. I'm also happy that Franklin and his friends were all wearing helmets. My boy did wonder why a turtle who has a shell also needed a helmet though!(less)
This is a great little book for introducing a variety of animals and their ecosystems. Every page has a variety of familiar and new animals for children to wonder over. There are many different areas and climates within, from oceans and deserts to forests and towns.
The author introduces a great deal of new vocabulary, from niche to phytoplankton, in easy-to-understand terms. All of the animals on the page are related to the new vocabulary words.
The illustrations are very unique in that they are pieced together to look like different quilts, so in addition to scientific information there is a soft introduction to various shapes as well as crafts. The pages are, like many quilts, quite busy, so this is more suited to sitting down and reading rather than reading aloud to a number of children.
The back of the book has a supplemental section with illustrations of famous environmentalists like Wangari Maathai and David Suzuki. Teachers and parents will especially like the game suggestion for role-playing the animal food chain.(less)
Stuck With The Blooz gives the grumps a face, and a personality. The Blooz is big and wet and wrinkly, and absolutely adorable for someone so unwelcome.
Our hero does everything possible to get rid of The Blooz. Food, care, attention, and even a bumpy bicycle ride. It turns out that fun is an essential ingredient to getting rid of The Blooz.
This story was a great hit at read-aloud time this weekend, and so much fun for me to actually read. How could you not love that they "made a song out of sighs"? This adorable monster gives an amazing visual for the emotions preschoolers experience so often without being able to verbalize it.
Levis' rhythmic text pairs beautifully with Davis' fetching characters, creating a character sure to delight young readers as much as other unwelcome visitors like The Cat in the Hat. The only problem with this book is that the wrinkly old monster is so adorable you're likely to want to invite The Blooz around to your house. (less)
This Showa-esque picture book takes us into a small boy's dreamscape. The aptly named Sora soars through the sky on cloud his friend Kumo-kun. Toys fr...moreThis Showa-esque picture book takes us into a small boy's dreamscape. The aptly named Sora soars through the sky on cloud his friend Kumo-kun. Toys from his room become objects in the landscapes he sees on his adventure. An adventure we hope continues now that he's introduced his baby sister to his friend, Kumo the cloud.
The watercolour and mixed media illustrations are perfect for both the sky and the dreamscape. I enjoyed the retro feel, which for me evoked both my visions of post-war Japan and the classic toys of my 70s childhood. The facial expressions, from the exasperated mother trying to wash the floor with a child on her back (I've been there!) to Kumo the cloud's aping of the tiger plane are subtle but realistic. Kumo's toys come to life with retro cars and the bugs pre-school boys love. I see something new every time, and my kids and I loved searching for the squirrel here and on all the other pages.
The boy and the cloud are drawn with the same red cheeks as in my beloved Spork. Here though, the red-cheeked boy looks like he's having a long winter nap, curled up in his futon. The red-cheeks to me symbolize winter, and flying kites is indeed a January activity in Japan. But they work just as well in windy spring in English-speaking countries when kids get out their kites.
I put this book to a real test last week when I read it, in Japanese, out loud to a group of 4-6 year old boys who (other than my son) do not speak English. The pictures and the Japanese held their attention for the longest I have ever seen it held. The translation is divine. "Kites swirl and squeal" becomes ぐるぐる きゅるきゅる 飛んでいる。(guruguru gyurugyru tondeiru), just as evocative in Japanese as in English. I had to practice beforehand, knowing that these boys would tell me if I messed up, and I enjoyed every run-through. Somehow Hoshino has hit just the right note of onomatopoeic words, giving a Japanese picture book feel even to the English words.
I loved the illustrations, the writing, and the translation. But the genius in this book is the way it portrays the passage of time. While Sora is growing up he appears 2, 3, even 4 times on the same spread. It goes so fast! But when he's flying with Kumo the cloud, time slows and Sora himself is bigger and appears less often- as any parent can tell you some afternoons with your kids seem interminable! How does that saying go? "The days are long but the years are short."
This is the perfect book for a Japanese-English bilingual family, anyone interested in introducing other cultures to their kids, and both Japanese and English monolingual families. I hope this will become a classic, it has all the hallmarks of an award winner.
This book is a nominee for the 2012 Canadian Children's Book Centre Awards.
Barbara Reid has a long history of Canadian picture book successes. Every Canadian picture book bestsellers list I have seen at Quill & Quire has included at least one of her books. Read Me a Book is a personal favourite.
The reason Barbara Reid is so loved is because her Plasticine illustrations are so unique and inviting. The textures her plasticine scenes provide add extra dimensions to every single one of her books and this one is no different.
A tree seems like a simple thing, and it's one of the first things kids learn to draw. But the trees Reid portrays are more than just a green and brown thing off by itself. She gives us so many different perspectives on trees. These trees are habitats, community members, shades, and mimics of humans.
This is the kind of book that is perfect for the new core curriculum standards. It introduces nature, seasons, a child's place in the world and their neighbourhoods, and new ideas about art. We all really enjoyed all the details.(less)
Maud Lewis was a Canadian folk artist whose struggle with poverty and physical disabilities is inspiring to many. This book captures Maud's life as a...moreMaud Lewis was a Canadian folk artist whose struggle with poverty and physical disabilities is inspiring to many. This book captures Maud's life as a wife and artist, and shows how throughout all her struggles she was still able to paint joyful pieces, even covering her tiny one room cabin with paintings. The colours of Maud's paintings included in this book are bright and appealing to children. The illustrator, Mark Lang, gives a great amount of detail into her struggles as he illustrates the hardships of her life.(less)
Funny look at how a bit of reverse psychology from a cheeky spud can make an imaginative girl realize just how awesome it is to be a kid. Debbie Ohi's...moreFunny look at how a bit of reverse psychology from a cheeky spud can make an imaginative girl realize just how awesome it is to be a kid. Debbie Ohi's illustrations are a standout, we need to see more from her.(less)
Utterly unique picture book that shows how perseverance and believing in yourself can lead you to shine. The text is lyrical and the photographs are t...moreUtterly unique picture book that shows how perseverance and believing in yourself can lead you to shine. The text is lyrical and the photographs are theatrical, so you feel like you are dropped into a circus play. A new classic for lovers of Canadian picture books.(less)