Pandemic-perfect picture books Part Four: Books about feelings and self-care

 

Being at home during the pandemic is difficult for adults, and for many children, it’s a confusing time. They aren’t going to preschool or school, they aren’t seeing their friends, they aren’t getting to go to the playground to expend energy. And some may not understand why. These picture books will address a range of needs from acting out, feeling inadequate, and making a mistake, to enjoying this new slowed-down life. Some will teach important lessons and others will just be enjoyed as lovely, clever reads.

Continue reading

‘What I Lick Before Your Face and other haikus by dogs’ by Jamie Coleman

what i lick

Dog lovers will be charmed and amused by this little literary gem, with an adorable photo of a dog licking its face on the cover, and more adorable photos of dogs on every page. From pit bulls to pugs, the faces of the dogs and the haikus on each dog’s page are carefully selected for maximum effect. The lovely white poodle with the fancy lion haircut adorns a haiku that reads:

‘Names
Within me there lies
The blood of a million wolves
You named me “Fluffy”‘

Some haikus are so clever and ambiguous, only dog parents will know what they are really referring to. “Lunch, no longer lunch/ Pooling in autumn sunshine/ Becomes again lunch”

There’s many references to poop and balls. The toilet might also be mentioned a few times. After all, it’s a dog who “wrote” these poems. Right? But there are also references to the companionship and love we have for our dogs and they have for us. But mostly, it’s humor. With some poignant exceptions like on poem titled “Going to Live on the Farm:” “Guys, there is no farm/ I wish there was, but there is/ Only nothingness” Heartbreaking haiku.

What makes these poems so enjoyable and so relatable is that they really do seem to express the feelings of our dogs. Loving, resigned, stoic, even disgusting at times, in all ways like our four-legged (usually) best friends.

And to answer the title question? It’s what remains after the surgery to neuter one’s dog, only expressed in rather less technical language.

First posted on Bookreporter.com.

 

Picture books filled with love: the love of a friend, a parent, or oneself

Books about love are perfect read-aloud books for children at any time of the year, but what better gift of love than to bring a child (or parent) a lovely picture book about the many kinds of love we share and need. There are books that celebrate a mother’s love for her child and picture books that celebrate the love of a friend and how important that love can be, and also picture books that celebrate appreciating — and loving — our differences and our uniquenesses. Here are some exemplary choices for reading and gifting to your own loved ones.

Friendship can make a difference.

Continue reading

12 fabulous nonfiction picture books about animals

 

Kids and animals — I love fabulous picture books about animals that will get kids hooked on reading. These nonfiction picture books are filled with color and animals, some about specific animals that fly or swim and about a plethora of other animals. One is even poetry about animals. Enjoy this list of books that are perfect for animal lovers and great for any library or bookshelf. Be prepared to read them time and time again for your young animal lover. It’s a long list, but it’s a wonderful one.

Continue reading

Four picture books about work vehicles, on land and on sea, that kids will love

“Little Yellow Truck” is by prolific and talented author Eve Bunting and illustrated by little yellow truckKevin Zimmer with a bright cheerful palette. It’s the story of a red dump truck, a green flatbed truck, a blue concrete mixer, and a little yellow pickup truck, all working together to build a children’s park. Little Yellow waits impatiently as the other trucks carry away trash, mix concrete, and bring in lumber. Then Big Green brings in the swings and slides, benches and tables. What will there be left for Little Yellow to do? Don’t worry, Little Yellow has an important job to make the park just perfect! Zimmer manages to create great expressions on the vehicles and kids will love the story of the little guy, worrying and impatient, who finally gets to do his job. (Sleeping Bear Press)

Continue reading

‘All Our Wild Wonder: A Poem’ by Sarah Kay and Sophia Janowitz

wildwonder

“All Our Wild Wonder” is a small book, but the brilliant tangerine cover surrounds the rectangle containing the title and an illustration of a hand holding a dandelion that is releasing its seeds into the world. It’s a small package containing a powerful poem.

At the center of the poem is Mrs. Ribeiro, “an Indian woman the size of a nightlight,” who glided through the school so effortlessly that children thought she floated. This diminutive principal was so devoted to the students at her school that she would leave meetings whenever a child needed her — even just to read to, or to show a gold star, or to see a finished project.

Continue reading

‘I’m Just No Good at Rhyming and Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups’ by Chris Harris and Lane Smith

no good at rhyming

There’s a new poet in town, and he’s going to give Jack Prelutsky a run for his money. Chris Harris’s “I’m Just No Good at Rhyming and Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups” is filled with many poems and other miscellaneous nonsense (like a “How-are-these-two-pictures-different?” puzzle where — spoiler alert! — both pictures are the same!).

The poems are all filled with humor and are deftly illustrated by Lane Smith. Two pages are filled with the beginnings of poems and a running commentary by Smith about how the poems are too ridiculous and would Harris please try writing a different poem instead. After four no-gos, Smith suggests that Harris write a poem about a monster under the bed, which Harris writes, and which is fabulous (and illustrated).

Continue reading

Three Must-Have Picture Books for Young Animal Lovers and Others

There are three astonishingly beautiful picture books for children which should be considered for every school library or bookshelf.

howtoheal

“How to Heal a Broken Wing” by Bob Graham is the fictional account of a pigeon who flies into a skyscraper in the middle of a large city and falls to the sidewalk. People walk past, unseeing and uncaring, but when Will and his mother walk by, Will sees. Will cares. Will breaks away from his mother and goes back to the hurt bird. He gently picks it up and holds it out to his mother.

This touching story of one boy’s compassion for a bird many consider dirty and vermin-like is beautifully told and illustrated. The text is quite spare as are the illustrations. Both parents make identical gestures when they first see the bird — their hands on their heads as if to say, “Really?!” But both wholeheartedly join in the rescue attempt, the mother giving up her scarf to carefully wrap the bird for its trip to their house and the father going out to buy the injured bird a cage to recuperate in. And slowly — the author shows the passage of time through illustrations of the changing moon — the bird heals.

This is a story that will not soon be forgotten, and it might just be the book that changes a child’s life and view of those who are helpless, those whom others don’t notice, those who desperately need help. It’s a story that would certainly facilitate productive conversations about helping others and the value of life.

Quite different from the fictional story of one pigeon is the nonfiction book “Many: TheIMG_3282 Diversity of Life on Earth” by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Emily Sutton. In “Many,” the author presents the incredible diversity, the incredibly enormous numbers and types of plants and animals and even microbes that exist alongside of us on our planet. From two kinds of huge elephants (African and Asian) to more than 600 kinds of oak trees; from over 100,000 kinds of mushrooms to thousands of microbes in one teaspoon of dust, and from deserts to islands, from treetops to the bottom of the ocean, the author states:

“We have learned that every kind of living thing is part of a big, beautiful, complicated pattern.

The last part of the book warns about the danger of continuing to disrupt the beautiful, natural pattern that is life on Earth. “The trouble is, all over the world, human beings are destroying pieces of the pattern…” Examples are chemicals poisoning our air, rivers and oceans and fishing boats emptying the oceans and people cutting forests resulting in the extinction of animals and plants.

This book is perfect for starting a conversation or project about the environment and what we must do to protect it for our children and future generations.

IMG_3281Another nonfiction picture book is “Song of the Wild: A First Book of Animals” also by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Petr Horácek. This picture book is organized by “Big and Small,” “Color and Shapes,” Animal Homes,” “Animal Babies,” and “Animals in Action.”

The largest bird, the African ostrich, is compared to the tiniest, a hummingbird just bigger than a bee. It could fit inside the ostrich’s eye. The information is presented in rhyme, which makes this a lovely book to read aloud.

“The ostrich lives in Africa
in grasslands hot and dry,
the biggest bird in all the world —
in fact, too large to fly.”

There are giraffes and lions and elephants and ants. One sepia and taupe monochromatic page titled “What Am I?” presents information about mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish, and more. The next page begins “Colors and Shapes” and has brilliant color illustrations of beetles with the information that there are more than 300,000 kinds of beetles. Camel with their humps, zebras and tigers resplendent with stripes, and a panda grace the pages of this chapter.

This is not a picture book for a quick read. Rather, this is a picture book that youngsters will want to peruse slowly as they absorb all the information. They will learn that even a crocodile is tender when it comes to her babies.

“No one thinks of crocodiles as gentle;
tenderness is something for the doves.
But when baby crocodiles are hatching,
it’s hard to say they don’t get Mother’s love.”

Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover books provided by Candlewick Press for review purposes.