Staff Picks Grades K-2
So long, summer. Green, goodbye! begins this picture-book celebration of trees transforming during the fall. Close-up photos highlight the changing hues of leaves, while in a picture of the forest's edge, color differences reveal the shapes of individual trees. Not only are the striking pictures beautifully lit and composed, they also illustrate the ideas in the text with precision and grace.
This book holds all kinds of information, from what to wear in the fall, what grows at that time of year, and even migration. Beautiful photos are balanced with relatively short bursts of text that young children will find manageable.
A child goes through a day at preschool, feeling many moods along the way. Each pagebspread highlights one hue, and items follow that change deliciously from page to page: The pajama top that was checked pink becomes checked teal; a picture of an ice cream cone, previously pink, turns teal. Some colors have traditional mood connections: gray or blue for sadness, red for anger. Some carry other meanings: "every golden, warmy shade" shows the warmth of the preschool's vibe and claims racial diversity for the class.
Children will have a field day spotting all the ways in which the author works double o's into the illustrations of this exceedingly clever picture book. In fact, every word in the book telling the story contains a pair of o's, which means that this book works equally well as an easy-reading primer as it does a picture book. The illustrations, which incorporate handmade paper, stencils, and printing techniques, have a fuzzy, friendly feel. This really is a cool book for language-loving kids. For all readers, it's a visual treat that's wonderfully effective in encouraging its readers to appreciate the look of words.
In this fresh, unconventional story, the text emphasizes that there are ways to feel better, that it's okay to let yourself be sad, and that the burden of sadness eventually lightens. This is an accessible picture book that delicately handles the subject of sadness in children.
The complete opposite of the delightful The Quiet Book (Houghton Harcourt, 2010), this deliciously worthy companion title earns "applause loud." The familiar fuzzy little bears and bunnies act out snapshots of "loud," such as fire truck day at school, which finds a bucket full of critters atop a tall ladder, and giving a "surprise loud" at an unexpected arrival of a skeleton from an anatomy class.
In rhyming text, a boy and a girl describe how they will like themselves whether things are going right or wrong. She says, "I'm gonna like me/when I'm called on to stand./I know all my letters/like the back of my hand." He says, "I'm gonna like me/when my answer is wrong,/like thinking my ruler/was ten inches long." They're going to like themselves, too, when they try new things, work on their good behavior, play with baby brother, or help around the house. The heavily detailed pictures have hidden humor that will be much more entertaining to adults than to children, such as the titles of the books scattered around the children's room.
Two young children were promised a trip to the park by their eccentric grandfather, but he needs to find a few things before he can leave. The only problem? Grandad's house is not only full of stuff but it is terribly, wonderfully messy. This seek-and-find book is a visual marvel, begging readers to pore over each and every vibrantly colored page to find Grandad's missing glasses, umbrella, and satchel.
Charlie dislikes school so much that on Sunday nights, he can't sleep. Looking enviously at his snoozing dog, Norman, Charlie sighs, I wish I was a dog. The next morning, Charlie wakes up on the floor and sees Norman in his bed. He watches his mother pat the dog's head and tell him that it's time for school. The two switch places for an entire week before Charlie decides that he's had enough and wishes to be a boy again.
Taking a cue from Mary Poppins, Rachael's Momma sports a hefty handbag that's plainly larger inside than out. Rachael insists that it's magic, and after a notably misadventurous outing in the park that brings out bandages, jackets, rain gear, and rope--not to mention a full picnic, a goat, the kitchen sink, and considerable else--even scoffing cousin David is convinced. Purple plastic purses make fine fashion statements, but young readers will agree that a bag like Momma's is far more useful in the clutch--so to speak.