Thursday, January 31, 2008

What To Do About Alice?

(Written by Barbara Kerley and illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham.)

I like it.

I like the subject. I didn't remember much about Alice Roosevelt from history lessons before I read this book tonight, but she seems a very interesting person. Now I want to know more.

I like the writing. Take this part: "Her mother had died in 1884, two days after Alice was born. Father was sad. Everyone was sad for Alice. But she didn't remember her mother. She did not want to grow up hearing them say, 'the poor little thing!' She wanted to see how high the springs sprang on her grandparents' favorite sofa."

I like the illustrations. Never heard of Edwin Fotheringham (what a name!) before, but I like his style. I especially like this illustration:

just because those sixteen girls in two straight lines and "Miss Spence" remind me so much of Miss Clavel and her twelve little girls in two straight lines (one of which was Madeline)!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Grams are here!

We just received an order of three special titles. The books are called Love-U-Grams, Lunch Grams, and Grand-O-Grams. Grand-O-Grams contains 40 tear-out postcards to send to grandchildren. Some are seasonal (Valentine's Day, Easter, summer vacation, etc.), while others are suitable for any time of year. Lunch Grams are little cards to stick in a child's lunch box, while Love-U-Grams are an assortment of postcards, lunch notes, and coupons for things like "one extra serving of dessert," "a trip to the bookstore," or "Family Game Night: You pick the game!"

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Guess What I Found in Dragon Wood

Guess What I Found in Dragon Wood, by Timothy Knapman, is one of my favorite new picture books. It's always nice when a book lives up to the expectation generated by a nice cover, as this one does. Narrated by a dragon, it tells the story of how he meets a Benjamin and takes it to school one day, to the curiosity of all the other dragons. The Benjamin explains to the dragons about his home, and even teaches them a very strange game--soccer! Eventually, though, he has to go home. His dragon friend takes him home--the other dragons are all too scared--and returns with more surprising details of the strange world of the Benjamins.

Monday, January 14, 2008

2008 Award Winners

This morning the American Library Association announced its award winners for 2008!

The John Newbery Medal winner is Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village, by Laura Amy Schlitz.

The three Newbery Honor books named are Elijah of Buxton, by Christopher Paul Curtis; The Wednesday Wars, by Gary D. Schmidt; and Feathers, by Jacqueline Woodson.

The Randolph Caldecott Medal winner is The Invention of Hugo Cabret, written and illustrated by Brian Selznick.

The Caldecott Honor books are Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad, written by Ellen Levine and illustrated by Kadir Nelson; First the Egg, written and illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger; The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain, written and illustrated by Peter Sis; and Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity, written and illustrated by Mo Willems.

For more information and many more awards, see the news on the ALA website.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

First National Ambassador for Young People's Literature

According to this NY Times article, Jon Scieszka is to be named national ambassador for young people's literature by the librarian of Congress. Scieszka (pronounced "SHEH-ska," apparently. I've always wondered.) has written many books for children, including the Time Warp Trio books, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, and The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs. His job as ambassador for children's books will be to "travel and speak to groups of children, parents and teachers to 'evangelize the need for reading.'"

The article also mentions Scieszka's "web-based literacy program aimed at boys called Guys Read," which can be found at

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Pippi Longstocking

I love Lauren Child. Her illustrations have such a simple, happy style; they make me want to get out lots of fabric scraps and pretty papers and markers and go to town with them.

Recently Lauren Child has added her touch to a classic children's book: Pippi Longstocking, by Astrid Lindgren. Her illustrations are the perfect match for this peppy tale of an odd little girl with braids that stick out who lives with a horse and a monkey and only decides to go to school because she wants to have school vacations.

This gorgeous edition of Pippi Longstocking is a great gift idea for girls of almost any age. The reading level is approximately grades 4-6, but the story is appropriate for ages 6 and up.