Thursday, December 19, 2013

Library Bag Fave: ON A BEAM OF LIGHT, A Story About Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne, pictures by Vladimir Radunsky

Vladimir Radunsky
I've always told adults that if you want to start researching or learning about something, start with picture books! I love when a really good picture book comes out about a famous person that I can share with my students, grandchildren, and friends. I was smitten with this one the moment I picked it up! I LOVE when a book makes me gasp and smile. Radunsky's illustrations are fun and the sepia background he chose makes it look old and really cool. But my favorite part of this book is how Jennifer Berne shows us that Einstein was a thinker and a dreamer. He wondered and pondered and LOVED to learn. His father put a compass in his hand when Einstein was ill and laid up in bed. It fascinated him that no matter which way he turned it, it always pointed north. "Albert was so amazed, his body trembled." He started asking questions, so many that his teachers said he was a disruption and would never amount to anything. "Albert Einstein wanted to discover the hidden mysteries in the world." And, boy howdy, did he! It's filled with fun facts, great illustrations, and we find out that he learned to his very last day. He left us with many questions still being pondered by scientists all over the world. I LOVE  the way she ended it. "Questions that YOU may someday wondering, thinking, and imagining." There are more facts in the back and some of the titles of the 50 books she researched. There's also this website: Albert Einstein
Jennifer Berne

Paperboy by Vince Vawter

Vince Vawter
This is on my list of  favorite books of all time with 5+ stars! It was one of those happy serendipity times when a friend recommended it because someone just raved, and raved, and raved but wouldn't give any details. He just said, "you just have to read it. That's all there is to it!" So I picked it up immediately.

1959, a hot Memphis summer...doesn't that alone just bring up so many images and wonder-ings? The narrator is an eleven year old boy. His family is well-off, and they have a housekeeper, whom he calls, Mam. His friend Rat has gone to a relative's farm for the summer and our narrator has to take over his paper route. He just happens to be the ace pitcher of the baseball team and knows that he'll be a good paperboy. But what will happen when he has to collect? Our narrator stutters...horribly. How is he going to ask his customers for payment every Friday night?

Our narrator encounters numerous characters while on his bike route that delight him, teach him, and put him in danger. I, too, am not going to tell you much more. There are so many surprises and twists and delights that I WILL NOT ruin them. All I'm going to say is read it! If you liked TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, THE HELP, and THE KING'S SPEECH, you will LOVE this book!

I listened to this one and I recommend that you do, too. I wondered how they were going to go about it. I mean, think about it...the main character stutters. The audio reader, Lincoln Hoppe is magnificent. The only thing that I don't like about audio, is that I'm usually listening in the car. So when I hear a quote, I can't stop and write it down. Heck, I can't even pause it, I'M DRIVING! So...of course this means that I have to own a copy of the book, too. Oh darn!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Library Bag Fave: NIGHTSONG by Ari Berk and Loren Long

4 of 5 stars. To say Nightsong is about bats would be true. And there is science to learn, also. But it's about so much more...the love between mother and child. There's trust and letting go, and believing in someone and oneself. We watch our children grow up and it happens so fast. And yet, it is life. We grow, we learn, we change. What we get out of it, is our decision. Will we choose to see nothing or everything? For our children, we hope that they choose well.

Loren Long's illustrations are dark and light and lovely. A wonderful book!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Library Bag Fave: TIGER IN MY SOUP by Kashmira Sheth and illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler

4 stars for the story, 5 stars for the pictures. Kashmira Sheth Jeffrey Ebbeler

It's the illustration on the cover that catches the eye. They are just magnificent throughout the book, the inside cover, and the end pages! The story is fun, too, about a little boy being babysat by his teenage sister. She has the earbuds in, reading a book of her own, and not paying much attention to her brother. He keeps begging her to read to him but she ignores him. So his imagination runs wild, jungle wild, since the book is about a tiger! She makes him lunch but still won't read the book to him. So the tiger comes alive and ends up in his soup! And then the real mischief begins!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Library Bag Fave: APPLESAUCE by Klaas Verplancke

Applesauce by Klaas Verplancke

5 of 5 Stars If the spelling of the author's name looks like it's probably from another country, I'm usually right that I'm REALLY going to like the book. I smile and snatch those off the bookshelves SO fast and place it in my bag as if someone else might spy it and take it! In my experience, foreign books that make it to American libraries are usually really good or really unusual or BOTH. Applesauce is the latter. The cover illustration struck me first. Does the man look a little bit like a monkey? I'm pretty sure it's a father and son? On the title page, it says, "My daddy was given to me. He was there when I was born. I still have him." I fell in love instantly before turning the page. THEN it's the pictures and the writing that makes it WONDERFUL! The story is from the little boy's point of view...what his daddy looks like, smells like, and acts like. The illustrations change with his thoughts. In his own words the boy tells us what his daddy is like. And then daddy gets mad and the illustration shows daddy as a very big, very ugly monkey-daddy. "A thunder daddy is no fun. STUPID DADDY, I think." It takes a while and some yummy daddy-made applesauce for the little boy to come around. I will have to order this for my son-in-law who is a GREAT daddy but might sometimes have to be a "thunder daddy".

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Library Bag Fave: MISS MOORE THOUGHT OTHERWISE by Debby Atwell

5 of 5 Stars to Miss Moore Thought Otherwise or How Anne Carroll Moore Created Libraries for Children by Jan Pinborough and illustrated by Debby Atwell     Did you know that children were not allowed to go into libraries in the late 1800's? "People didn't think reading was very important for children - especially not for girls." Also, some libraries were not free. This book tells the story of a girl who didn't follow the rules and became one of the founding champions for libraries and the right for children to use them.We, who love children and books, owe a debt to Anne Carroll Moore who made sure that yesterday's and today's children have access to the wonderful world of books. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Library Bag Fave: BRIEF THIEF by Michael Escoffier

5 of 5 stars to Brief Thief by Michael Escoffier,  and illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo.

Look at the cover carefully. What do you see? Are you sure? What does it look like? Make some predictions...go ahead...I dare you. I started giggling when I saw this on the library's New Picture Books shelf. Some books continue to make me giggle throughout, but not all. This one, however, not only made me giggle, but made me wonder how artistic, creative, imaginative people get these amazing ideas and bring them to fruition. I so envy them. Yes, yes...if you predicted that a gecko is the thief, you are right. But I bet the rest of your guesses aren't quite on target. You will have a rollicking good time finding out, though, I guarantee it! Yep, that's all I'm saying. You'll just have to check it out to find out why, Leon the gecko, stole these briefs!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Library Bag Fave: DOUG AND PUG by Steve Breen

4 of 5 stars to Doug and Pug by Steve Breen. Great friendship book about two dog-friends who couldn't be more different. A misunderstanding comes between the two good friends but all is well in the hijinks that follows! Hilarious illustrations in an almost graphic book type layout. A great discussion starter about how totally wrong we can be when it comes to our friends and our relationships. The Hating Book by Charlotte Zolotow from 1969 would pair nicely with Doug and Pug. One of the best last page illustrations EVER in Pug and Doug! Loved it!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Library Bag Fave

5 of 5 stars to Count the Monkeys! by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Kevin Cornell. Mac Barnett is a fave of mine (LOVE his Extra Yarn illustrated by Jon Klassen) and this book is ALL awesomeness! It's not your typical counting book...not by a long shot! It's a participation book like Willems' Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. Kids and other human beings will laugh at the craziness that is going on inside! Fun, fun, fun will be had by all who enter!
Mac Barnett

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Every Day by David Levithan

David Levithan has created one of the most unique young adult books I've ever read. A is 16, male, and for all of his life, has awakened each day in the body of someone else. At midnight, he is ripped out of his current host and enters the next. After 16 years of this happening 365 days a year, and, oh joy, an extra day in a leap year, he has rules he follows. Never interfere. Until the day he meets Rhiannon. He experiences all different kinds of sixteen year olds, male, female, happy, sad. You name it, he LIVES it. I'm interested in knowing WHICH type of people he omitted and why, besides the reason that this book would have been VERY long. Both hubby and I rated this 5 out of 5 stars. Ninth grade and up for mature content, BUT, in my opinion, all teenagers should read this.

This video has many, many authors talking about Every Day, who do YOU recognize?