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Archive for the ‘Chidlren’s Books’ Category

For those of you who loved the Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, Enzowe now have the children’s version, Enzo Races in the Rain. With text by Mr. Stein and artwork by R. W. Alley, this picture book is adorable. I finished the book wanting Enzo as my dog.

ArtOfRacingThe story line is sweet. The artwork is colorful and I can see children wanting their parents to read this book over and over. If you are looking for a holiday present, this is the perfect gift (for a young child or for the child in your adult self).

P.S. There’s also the chapter book version geared to the 8 – 12 year old crowd, Racing in the Rain: My Life as a Dog.RacingInTheRain

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By all reading standards, I’ve been deprived. I never read Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White.CharlottesWeb  That is until now. The copy I read was born the same year I was, so that made it even more charming as did the fact that Susan bought it for me as a birthday present…at my request. Susan said it’s the first book she read on her own. I guess it’s not really a ‘guy’ book that young boys would flock to. But, for an old geezer like me, it was adorable. It didn’t cause a torrential outpouring of tears, but it made me smile and fall in love with Wilbur and Charlotte and the g-g-goose and g-g-gander, and of course the rat. The illustrations by Garth Williams were simple and added so much to the story. Charlotte’s Web is a book for all ages. It’s a great read aloud, so if you’ve got a child or grandchild, put him/her/them on your lap, open up to page 1. You and your audience will be as radiant as Wilbur.

YearOfBillyMillerOn the other end of the spectrum is a new release: The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes. We all know what kind of stress and anxiety second grade can cause and Billy is right there on the stress-o-meter. Will he be smart enough? Will he say the wrong thing? Mr. Henkes has penned a book that will make you smile. Broken up into four segments: Teacher, Father, Sister, Mother, we suffer along with Billy as he thinks he inadvertently insulted his teacher on the first day of school, helps his artist father get his ‘breakthrough’, decides whether he loves or hates his younger, demanding sister and finally write a poem about his mother, all the while dealing with Emma, a crabby classmate.  There’s nothing sinister going on, no major hurdles to jump over, just the normal, everyday worries of a second grader. If this book doesn’t make you smile, then you’re crabbier than Emma.

In conclusion, if you want two feel good books, I heartily recommend Charlotte’s Web and The Year of Billy Miller.

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ChildrensBookWeekMay 13-19 is Children’s Book Week. Per the Book Week Online website, “Brian Selznick – Caldecott winner, 2012 Children’s Choice Book Awards Illustrator of the Year, and creator of The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck – has created a commemorative masterpiece that beautifully illustrates the idea that books can take you anywhere. The poster pays homage to two of children’s literature’s legends: Remy Charlip, author and illustrator of more than 38 books, including modern classics like Hooray for Me, I Love You, Arm in Arm, Mother Mother I Feel Sick, A Perfect Day, and Fortunately, the latter of which has been in print continuously for over 48 years; and Maurice Sendak, Caldecott Medal winner for Where the Wild Things Are, creator of children’s classics including In the Night Kitchen, Chicken Soup with Rice, Alligators All Around, and illustrator of the Little Bear books.”

RocksInMySocksSo, what are some of my favorites?  There are Rocks in My Socks Said the Ox to the Fox by Patricia Thomas definitely heads the list. As I’ve said before, Lisa, Abbe and I each have our own copy. Her Stand Back, Said the Elephant, I’m Going to Sneeze! is a close runner up. Senkak’s Night Kitchen is a winner. I even have a poster of it in my kitchen. The classic Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown has been a favorite since I was reading picture books to the kids. I still thrill when I find the mouse. Jamie Lee Curtis’ LeaveYourSleepbooks line my library shelves. (I do have an autographed copy of one.) And Herb the Vegetarian Dragon by Jules Bass holds a special place in my heart. It was picked out by Lisa on one of our picture book shopping sprees. Madlenka by Peter Sis was a recent purchase and well worth it. And finally, Leave Your Sleep by Natalie Merchant, is a charming compendium of older poems for children with Barbara McClintock’s wonderful artwork.

SplendorsAndGloomsNo children’s booklist should exclude Shel Silverstein’s wonderful poems and artwork. Lauren Oliver’s The Spindlers, a new addition to great children’s books, is a thrill. Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz was an Abbe recommendation and was fun. And I’ll close with Brian Selznick’s Invention of Hugo Cabret and InventionOfHugoCabretWonderstruck. The artwork will blow you away.

So, now that I’ve bored you to death, let me say that you’re never too old to read and enjoy children’s books. It’s only been the last dozen years, when I began library school, that I read them as part of my normal reading. If you don’t have a child to read to, don’t be ashamed to read them to yourself. You’ll enjoy the trip.

Monologue over. Get reading. Let me know what are some of your favorite children’s books. My niece has already chimed in with Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett.

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