105 Ways to Give a Book

Poetry Friday: "The Snow Man"

I haven't done a pure Poetry Friday entry in a while, but I came upon this poem during this past week of bitter cold and it felt just right.
The Snow Man

One must have a mind of winter
to regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.
-- Wallace Stevens
For more verse, look to our Poetry Friday host, Mainely Right!


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Picture Book Donations

In December a local organization here sets up a Christmas shop for their needy clients to find presents for their children. For the past several years I've brought them books that I received as a reviewer and Cybils panelist. Now, since I haven’t been serving on the Cybils panel or receiving much for review, I’ve been weeding my shelves of older copies I didn’t give the first time around.

It always makes me feel bad that I can't review so many of the books that I have received, but I am grateful to the publishers who have sent me books over the years and allowed me to pass them on to others. Thank you, and know that your books went to a child in need


 All the Way to America All the Way to America
by Dan Yaccarino; Knopf Books, 2011

Story of a legacy of an immigrant and his little shovel.

Beaver is Lost
by Elisha Cooper; Schwartz & Wade, 2010

Beaver floats down the river to New York City.

Because You Are My Baby
by Sherry North, illustrated by Marcellus Hall; Abrams, 2008

Gentle imagining of all the things mom would do with her baby.

Big Words for Little People
by Jamie Lee Curtis, illustrated by Laura Cornell; HarperCollins, 2008

Words to learn, like Privacy, Celebrate, and Different, with context.

TITLE Black Beauty
retold by Sharon Lerner, illustrated by Susan Jeffers
Random House, 2009

Classic story made simpler with pretty pictures.

The Boat in the Tree
by Tim Wynne-Jones, illustrated by John Shelley
Front Street Press, 2007

Story of getting along with a new adopted brother, and of finding a boat in a tree.

Born to Read
by Judy Sierra, illustrated by Marc Brown; Knopf Books, 2008

A baby is born with a love of reading, which saves the day.

A Carousel Tale
by Elisa Kleven; Tricycle Press, 2009

A carousel dog’s tail is turned into something special.

The Day Leo Said I Hate You!
by Robie H. Harris, illustrated by Molly Bang; Little, Brown, 2008

Sometimes we all say mean things – and things we don’t mean – but it can be all right.

 Do You Have a Cat?</ Do You Have a Cat?
by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Geraldo Valerio
Eerdmans Books, 2010

Different historical figures with their clever cats.

Dog Loves Books
by Louise Yates; Knopf Books, 2010

Dog opens a bookstore to read and share great books.

Drum City
by Thea Guidone, illustrated by Vanessa Newton; Tricycle Press, 2010

An impromptu parade with makeshift drums and lots of noise through the city.

Ella May and the Wishing Stone
by Cary Fagan, illustrated by Genevieve Cote; Tundra Books, 2011

A wishing stone can’t always bring you what you want. Friends are better.

 The Firehouse Light The Firehouse Light
by Janet Nolan, illustrated by Marie Lafrance
Tricycle Press, 2010

A century passes around a firehouse, but the light never stops burning.

How to Clean Your Room in 10 Easy Steps
by Jennifer LaRue Huget, Edward Koren
Schwartz & Wade, 2010

Self-explanatory.

Huff & Puff
by Claudia Rueda; Abrams, 2012

Very simple three little pigs story.

It’s Picture Day Today!
by Megan MacDonald, illustrated by Katherine Tillotson; Atheneum, 2009

Making pictures to take a picture.

 The Longest Night The Longest Night
by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Ted Lewin
Holiday House, 2009

Animals in the coldest, longest winter night want to bring back the sun.

Ma! There’s Nothing to Do Here!
by Barbara Park, illustrated by Viviana Garofoli
Random House, 2008

A baby soon to be born is bored with the womb.

Mail Harry to the Moon!
by Robie H. Harris, illustrated by Michael Emberley; Little, Brown, 2008

Little brothers are annoying.

Mother Goose’s Little Treasures
by Iona Opie, illustrated by Rosemary Wells; Candlewick, 2007

The old rhymes you never knew you never knew.

 Mr. Pusskins and Little Whiskers Mr. Pusskins and Little Whiskers
by Sam Lloyd; Atheneum Books, 2008

Mr. Pusskins and the new kitten work things out.

Neville
by Norton Juster, illustrated by G. Brian Karas
Schwartz & Wade, 2011

A lonely boy in a new home ends up making friends.

Night Lights
by Susan Gal; Knopf Books, 2009

All kinds of lights at night.

Orangutans Are Ticklish
by Steve Grubman with Jill Davis; Schwartz & Wade, 2010

Fun facts about animals, with photos.

 POP! The Invention of Bubble Gum POP! The Invention of Bubble Gum
by Meghan McCarthy; Simon & Schuster, 2010

Fun story about bubble gum, with bonus facts pages.

Princess Baby
by Karen Katz; Schwartz & Wade, 2008

Some babies are just born to wear a golden crown.

Samuel’s Baby
by Mark Elkin, illustrated by Amy Wummer; Tricycle Press, 2010

A kindergarten class practices babies.

Seasons Seasons
by Anne Crausaz; Kane Miller, 2010

Nice things happen in all different seasons.

Seed by Seed
by Esme Raji Codell, illustrated by Lynne Rae Perkins
Greenwillow, 2012

Story of Johnny Appleseed, with lessons for us all.

Small Sister
by Jessica Meserve; Clarion Books, 2007

Sometimes it’s hard to be the small sister, but small people can do big things.

Snow Happy!
by Patricia Hubbell, illustrated by Hiroe Nakata
Tricycle Press, 2010

Fun in the snow!

 Splash! A Little Book About Bouncing Back Splash! A Little Book About Bouncing Back
by Maria Van Lishout; Fewel & Friends, 2008

When we’re feeling bad, giving a lift can help everyone feel better.

Spork
by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
Kids Can Press, 2010

Spork finds his place among the utensils when a baby starts eating.

Thunder - Boomer!
by Shutta Crum, illustrated by Carol Thompson; Clarion Books, 2009

Out in the countryside, a big storm comes in and cools off the summer day.

 Twelve Dancing Princesses Twelve Dancing Princesses
by Brigette Barrager; Chronicle Books, 2011

The fairy tale made lovely.

Wiggens Learns His Manners at the Four Seasons Restaurant,
by Leslie McGuirk, Alex von Bidder; Candlewick, 2009

Going out to dinner has a lot of rules, particularly for dogs it seems.


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Cybils Finalists 2013

It’s New Year’s once again — and that means it’s time for the 2013 Cybils Finalists! A lot of great books on this year’s shortlists, but I want to take some time to call out the ones from my Fiction Picture Books committee:


Count the MonkeysCount the Monkeys
by Mac Barnett

Disney Hyperion, 2013

Looking at the troop of monkeys on this cover, young readers may be in for a bit of a surprise as they begin to turn the pages. Where did all the monkeys go? No need to fret, though, for each page brings a new (and increasingly ridiculous) possible factor in their disappearance. Expect a rowdy story time experience with this hilarious, unique addition to the counting book genre.

If You Want to See a WhaleIf You Want to See a Whale
by Julie Fogliano

Roaring Brook, 2013

There’s a lot going on beneath the peaceful surface of this slow-building, contemplative deep blue sea of a picture book. As a small boy meanders toward his goal of seeing a whale, he must decide whether or not to pause in order to investigate insects, roses, smiling pelicans, or other things that are not whales. The deliberate pace, simple word choice and list-like structure mimics process writing, but unpredictable, stuttering line breaks undermine the authoritative tone with a jazzy rhythm. Charming, textured illustrations by Caldecott Medal winner Erin Stead subtly rock the boat — balanced, yet always with an off-kilter, asymmetric element, and sometimes revealing the boy’s actions to be at odds with the prescriptions of the text. Is this book about achieving a goal? Or about observation? It is certainly fertile — and beautiful — ground for conversation.

JourneyJourney
by Aaron Becker

Candlewick Press, 2013

With a subtle nod to Harold and his purple crayon, a bored young girl draws herself a door into a magical world using a red crayon she finds on her bedroom floor. Lush and detailed double page spreads draw the reader into the imaginary world, while well placed panels of action sequences along with picture clues lead the reader through this wordless adventure. Like the magic in the story, additional details seem to suddenly appear on re-reads, rewarding readers who are sure to take the Journey again and again.

Mr. Tiger Goes WildMr. Tiger Goes Wild
by Peter Brown

Little, Brown, 2013

Claiming Mr. Tiger Goes Wild is, perhaps, his most autobiographical book to date, Peter Brown shares a story about a tiger, growing up in a prim and proper place, who looks for that appropriate place to release his wild side. Once sent into the wilderness where being wild is most appropriate, Mr. Tiger feels lonely, misses his friends, and makes the decision to return and settle in to his own unique style. He decides to be himself. This story resonates with readers and celebrates an author-illustrator who is fully in charge of both brush and pen. Brown writes slim, allows art to support and carry the story, and paces this story well. Rhythm, repetition, and dramatic, comedic action on each and every spread beg for interactive attention to the details of story. Parallel house images, parallel text in the before and after of his “wild” and the repetition of one word: ROAR! make this book a performance kids will scream to experience again and again.

Open This Little BookOpen This Little Book
by Jesse Klausmeier

Chronicle Books, 2013

In an era of enticing digital media, here’s a book that celebrates the magic of paper and ink. A ladybug opens her little red book, and inside is nested a frog’s even smaller little green book, and so on through a series of quirky creatures until we arrive at the tiniest book of all — which happens to belong to a friendly giant, who will need a reader’s help to turn the itty-bitty page. With gorgeous, whimsical, richly detailed illustrations, this charming story pulls young readers right into the action, and may very well inspire them to create little books of their own. The final drawing of the animals curled up among stacks and stacks of books is an irresistible invitation to dive into another tome — or to turn back to the beginning and enjoy this one all over again.

Sophie’s SquashSophie’s Squash
by Pat Zietlow Miller

Schwartz and Wade Books, 2013

Which came first, the text or the illustrations? It’s difficult to tell in this picture book because the two work so well with — and off — each other. The story (created by both text and art) is tender and funny with a big dose of comfort. Kids, who so easily grant inanimate objects the ability to feel emotion, will relate to Sophie’s attachment to a butternut squash with a magic-marketed face. Parents will love the inside jokes (ex., mom prepares to make squash for supper, but after learning Sophie has named her squash Bernice, says she’ll “call for pizza”). The story smoothly transitions over time as Sophie’s fresh squash begins to soften, becomes planted, sprouts in spring, and grows two new butternuts that, as Sophie declares, “look just like your mom.” It’s a contemporary book with an old-fashioned storytelling feel that can be read again and again with pleasure.

The Bear’s SongThe Bear’s Song
by Benjamin Chaud

Chronicle Books, 2013

First sight of this book hints at its uniqueness with the large format bathed in deep colors and intricate illustrations. The Bear’s Song, by Benjamin Chaud, is a gorgeous French import with spare narrative text and humorously packed illustrations that have an almost Where’s Waldo? characteristic in a more sophisticated flair. Chaud’s lightly clever narration follows Papa Bear as he attempts to track down his bee-following Little Bear through forest and city, busy streets and bustling opera house; until a final hilariously misunderstood, climactic performance by Papa Bear clears the stage for an endearingly cuddle-worthy ending. The Bear’s Song begs for rereads; moves with powerful, yet lilting pacing; and invites lingering over each scene to relish the many added details as well as help spy on the trail of that adventurous little bear.

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