Friday, July 6, 2012

Library Round-Up #6

Brief reviews of some of the poetry and picture books we have out from the library right now. My 7-year-old is whipping through chapter books so quickly I can't keep up but maybe soon she'll write her own reviews!

Press Here by Herve Tullet.  Worthy of all the buzz it's been getting, this interactive book has readers press and rub dots on the page, shake the book, and perform other acts in order to get the dots to move, multiply, or change in other ways on each successive page.  My 4-year-old loved being in on the joke: "You don't really have to press.  There's already more dots on the next page but I still like doing it." 

Sunflakes: Poems for Children edited by Lillian Moore and illustrated by Jan Ormerod.  I picked up this poetry anthology after having read and loved the title poem in a different anthology.  I didn't even realize at first that the illustrations are by one of my favorite children's book illustrators!  While the title poem, about building sunmen out of sunflakes and other such reversals, by Frank Asch, is probably still my favorite, this compilation captures the essence of childhood and is definitely worth a look, if not a purchase. 

The Art of Miss Chew by Patricia Polacco.  Another sophisticated autobiographical winner by Patricia Polacco.  Perfect for the aspiring artist and the teachers in your life.

All the Way to America: The Story of a Big Italian Family and a Little Shovel by Dan Yaccarino.  A lovely story about immigrants, tradition and family and the power of things to convey memories and values.

How Much Is A Million? by David Schwartz.  Similar in concept to How Many Jelly Beans? this book explains big numbers by showing how high a tower of a million, billion or trillion children would be, how large a bowl would be needed to hold a million, billion, or trillion goldfish and, perhaps most amusing, how long it would take to count to each number (and which of the counters would be dead, shown by gravestones, by the time the count was complete!).  Unlike How Many Jelly Beans? this book doesn't actually show a million, billion or trillion of anything, although it does show 100,000 tiny stars.  My 4-year-old is obsessed with both of these big-number books but I prefer this one.

Chloe, Instead by Micah Player.  My expectations for this one were so high they were bound to be disappointed and they were.  I love the cartoon-y, big-eyed children and the brightly colored illustrations but Chloe turns out to be a rather typical mischievous younger sibling who eats crayons and the like.  But the demonstration of how the underlying sibling relationship is a loving one is very sweet. 

The Mitten by Jan Brett.  A classic retelling of a Ukranian folktale.  My girls recognized that it was by the same author-illustrator as that of The Hat right away.

The Honeybee Man by Lela Nargi.  Award-winning, yet it didn't grab our attention and I found myself tripping over the words as I read it aloud.

Follow the Line Around the World by Laura Ljungkvist.  Not my favorite of the Follow the Line books in terms of the illustrations, but it held my 7-year-old's interest, rare for non-fiction for her.

I Feel Better With A Frog In My Throat: History's Strangest Cures by Carlyn Beccia.  After renewing this one from the library 5 or 6 times, I thought we'd never read it.  But then my 7-year-old picked it up the other day and was fascinated and loved the multiple choice format.  Another non-fiction winner.

My No, No, No Day! by Rebecca Patterson.  Adored by my younger daughter, I can't help but think of this as a pale imitation of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day (which is actually one of the results retrieved when you search for the Patterson book on Amazon).  However, it has its place as it is definitely geared toward a younger audience than that classic.

Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It: False Apology Poems by Gail Carson Levine.  The second book of poems we've read inspired by the famous William Carlos Williams poem, This Is Just to Say.  This one struck me as repetitive and required a good deal of background knowledge to get all the allusions.  However, I loved the first one we read, This Is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness  by Joyce Sidman, fictional apology poems and responses to them.

Don't Want to Go! by Shirley Hughes.  Ms. Hughes always captures the daily minutiae of childhood so perfectly and this book is no different.  A young child who doesn't want to go to a family friend's house while her mom has the flu ends the day by not wanting to leave the friend's house.  This one doesn't have any of the familiar Hughes characters like Alfie and isn't my absolute favorite of her books (that would be Dogger) but it's still a lovely, relatable story with Ms. Hughes trademark warm, realistic illustrations.  I had no idea she was still writing until we found this 2010 work at the library! 

What have you been reading from the library?


  1. I love Press Here! We bought it last year and I read it to my son's preschool class and my daughter's kindergarten class. It was a big hit. :)
    Yesterday was our library day (we try to go once a week.) I love seeing what my kids pick out.

  2. Press Here is one of my go-to bread & butter presents for households with small children, although even my 13 year old enjoyed it.

    We have the opposite take on the two apology books -- we kept laughing through Levine's but found Sidman's dull. Good thing there are both versions! Maybe it was my older audiance; my boys got all the references, and we appreciated the different things she did within the poem's format, while Sidman let herself try different kinds of poem while offering true apolgies. Also, we are a fairly sarcastic family, and the false apology is not an unknown thing around here.

  3. Thanks Beth - so interesting to hear your opinion on the apology books!