Draw! by Raúl Colón

Draw!

Rating: ★★★★

Genre: Children’s lit

Medium: Hardcover

Synopsis: A little boy wants to explore and explore and explore.  Luckily for him, he has quite a pretty good book that sparks his imagination…

Review:  Books with no words always astound me.  And Raul Colon is a heckin’ master at writing books with no words.  There is a level of creativity and imagination that is necessary to tell a story with so many levels of nuance and then get it published, and dang, Colon is well above and beyond that.  The illustrations are detailed, engaging, and hold a great balance between action-packed, serious, and humorous.  Colon’s work is truly one of a kind, and I can’t wait to read more.

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How To Make Friends with a Ghost by Rebecca Green

HT Make Friends with a Ghost

Rating: ★★★★★

Genre: Children’s lit

Medium: Hardcover

Synopsis: This little girl meets a ghost–but making friends with a ghost is a science.  If you follow these steps, maybe you can make friends with a ghost, too…

Review:  This picturebook is the perfect fall/Halloween themed book.  It’s a little spooky, but mostly sweet and adorable.  The instructions on how to make friends with a ghost are just creepy enough to seem true, but not gross enough to actually be disgusting.  Most of the instructions, however, are just kind-hearted and sweet–fully focusing on what is truly important: friendship.

Life Update! 10/08/17

Hey all!

As you’ve all noticed, I’ve been posting a lot of reviews for children’s literature/picture books.  And I mean a lot.  Which is quite different from my usual reviews varying between YA lit, fiction, Shakespeare, and nonfiction!

Not too worry, though–I’m still reading all of that!  However, as I should prrrobably update on my about me page, I was indeed accepted into the MA/MS CHL/LIS program at Simmons College!  Which is incredible, so far.  However, for my first children’s literature class, one of the term-long assignments is to read 2 picture books illustrated by a specific illustrator for 60 illustrators.  This means I’m reading 120 picture books in addition to the other picture books I’m already reading!

When I’m not reading those, I’m usually reading the kinds of books you’ve seen on this blog before while I’m on public transportation.  So there’ll still be those to look forward to if picture books aren’t your thing!

Anyways, I’m hoping your fall is turning out to be one of a kind!

xoxo,

Amy Anne (the little lady librarian)

The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee

The Farmer and the Clown

Rating: ★★★★★

Genre: Children’s lit

Medium: Hardcover

Synopsis: A little clown accidentally gets left behind from his family.  What happens when a farmer finds him?

Review:  This book.  Is.  So.  Cute.  I’ve spent so long trying to figure out why picturebooks have the ability to just make me melt into a puddle and weep.  And, moreso, how can a book with no words can do that?  Well, this one does it, folks.  And it’s because it’s so pure and wholesome and just GOOD.  The storyline, the colors, EVERYTHING.  Which, by the way–the colors.  I just love how the palettes of the two characters–muted, earthy tones for the farmer and bright, fun tones for the clown–come into play with each other and create a connection between the two characters as the story progresses.

Basically, I love this book, and I will probably be emotional about it for a very long time.

All Different Now by Angela Johnson, illustrated by E. B. Lewis

All Different Now

Rating: ★★★★★

Genre: Children’s lit, historical fiction

Medium: Hardcover

Synopsis: Through the eyes of a young narrator, readers are allowed to view what is a momentous day for all slaves: the first Juneteenth, the day freedom finally came to the last slaves of the south.

Review:  Honestly, weeks have passed since I first read this and right now, reviewing it.  And I just got goosebumps.  That’s how powerful this story is, the history is, the images are.  This is a beautiful book, one that culminates in happiness and freedom.  It’s inspiring, and so incredibly momentous.

The illustration I best remember from this book is when they are celebrating at night–on the verso, there’s a fire, with embers trailing to the recto, where they’re dancing.  This fire is not symbolic of destruction: it’s creation, illumination.  And that’s ultimately what this book is: illuminating.  All Different Now is a must-read for anybody and everybody.

Firebird: Ballerina Misty Copeland Shows a Young Girl How to Dance Like a Firebird by Misty Copeland, illustrated by Christopher Myers

Firebird

Rating: ★★★★1/2

Genre: Children’s lit, biography

Medium: Hardcover

Synopsis: Dance is energizing, elaborate, passionate.  Misty Copeland is a professional dancer who’s worked hard at what she does.  In this story, Misty encourages a young performer to keep going, and to continue working towards her passion.

Review:  Since when do books about dancing make me so emotional??  I don’t even dance!  But, I gotta say that this book has an amazing message accompanied by amazing illustrations.

This story is about a young girl who’s questioning her abilities and confidence–something I’m sure we can all relate to, at some point or another.  Both the story and the illustrations encourage the reader to not only continue reading the book, but to keep moving forward.

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

The Right Word

Rating: ★★★★★

Genre: Children’s lit, biography

Medium: Hardcover

Synopsis: Roget was always a fan of lists.  He was also a fan of words.  Roget wasn’t a fan of not being able to think of the right word to properly express what he wanted to say.  So Roget did something about it.

Review:  Have I ever loved a book more?  I’m not gonna lie–there was a summer in my life where I read my children’s thesaurus just so I could learn more words.  So this book was basically a huge throwback to that simpler time in my life, and with great illustrations to boot!  Also, has reading a biography ever been that much fun?  I learned so much–I even learned new words!

I had always wondered how a book like a thesaurus came to be–after all, who would have been able to think up an idea like that, much less do it?  And, I don’t think I even actually recognized that Roget was an actual person.  His name had always been attached to the thesaurus, so in my mind, I guess I figured that the two just went hand in hand.

This is a great book, and I will probably be screaming about it for days–in a good way, obviously.

My Grandfather’s Coat by Jim Aylesworth, illustrated by Barbara McClintock

My Grandfather's Coat

Rating: ★★★★

Genre: Children’s lit

Medium: Hardcover

Synopsis: This is a tale about a grandfather and his well-loved coat.  As the grandfather gets older and older, his coat transforms into smaller and smaller pieces of clothing.  It passes through seasons, years, even generations–until the same fabric finds itself in a tiny set of hands.

Review:  This book is so sweet on so many levels.  I love hearing about people’s most well-loved items, I love seeing books with dog ears and broken spines, I love seeing where sewing kits have done their jobs.  And, I love stories.  My Grandfather’s Coat combines all of those things.  With Aylesworth’s story and McClintock’s illustrations, this is the perfect book for a child.  Thanks to the illustrations, the story reads as though it’s your own well-loved memory.

This is definitely a picture book you should add to your TBR list.

Lenny & Lucy by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead

Lenny & Lucy

Rating: ★★★★

Genre: Children’s lit

Medium: Hardcover

Synopsis: Peter and his father move to a new house in the middle of the woods, and Peter doesn’t like it one bit.  The only thing separating his new house and the woods is a small river, connected by a bridge.  So Peter gets creative and sews a lookout…

Review:  I love the art style, I love the story, and I love the friendships.  When a small boy moves to a new house, he’s afraid of what might be in the woods, so he sews up a watchman.  But then, he’s afraid that the watchman might get lonely…so he sews up another.  After doing so, he meets the next door neighbor, and he becomes a little less frightened of what lays beyond.

The use of color (or lack thereof), the use of grayscale, the use of geometrical composition…it’s so good.  SO GOOD, Y’ALL.  This is definitely the perfect story to read with your little one on a stormy day with some hot cocoa!

Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales

Viva Frida

Rating: ★★★★

Genre: Historical fiction, children’s lit

Medium: Hardcover

Synopsis: Frida Kahlo was a phenomenal force of creation and love.  This is her story.

Review:  This book is a force to be reckoned with.  There’s a beautiful duality in all aspects of this book, and most notably within its language and illustrations.  The text is written in both English and Spanish, keeping true to Kahlo’s heritage while also giving children a chance to learn/reinforce some words in a different language.  Morales’ artwork, additionally, is mixed media, involving both puppetry as well as painting, which makes complete sense given that the puppets give a lifelike quality to book-Kahlo, and the painting is an expression of Frida’s artwork and creative outlook on life.

Though this book may seem simple, do remember: it’s anything but.