Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Murder for Her Majesty

We all have them. Those books we love, but no one else seems to have heard of. A Murder for Her Majesty is one of mine. I read this book every year, preferably all in one sitting so as to be fully immersed, and practically have it memorized by now. I think it's a perfect comfort read--set in London, starring an orphan girl, full of mystery and choir music and Latin homework (Latin homework is much more fun in books than in real life)... What could be better?

What are your favorite lesser-known books?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Dog Who Belonged to No One

I have another cozy fall book for you today. This one is about a dog who, as the title says, belonged to no one, and a "little slip of a girl named Lia" who spends her time helping her parents in their bakery. Both dog and girl are lonely, with no one in particular to call a friend, until they meet one rainy night. Amy Hest tells their story in an interesting parallel fashion--a bit about the dog, a bit about the girl, and so on until their paths cross. There's nothing really surprising about the plot, but it's the kind of story I would enjoy reading to a child on a rainy day while curled up on a comfy chair with a blanket and maybe some homemade cookies fresh out of the oven. A sweet and cozy kind of book.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Birthday, Paddington!

Paddington Bear turns 50 today! Have some marmalade to celebrate.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Little Yellow Leaf

"It was autumn. In the hush of the forest a lone yellow leaf clung to the branch of a great oak tree." So begins Carin Berger's story of The Little Yellow Leaf. This leaf is afraid to fall like all the other leaves. He insists he's "not ready," as the autumn passes and snow falls. But then he notices another leaf, a little red leaf, still hanging on just like him, and together they are finally able to let go.

I think the reason I like this story so much is because I can so relate to that little yellow leaf, feeling like I'm not ready. And I know the reassurance that comes of finding a friend who feels the same way. But I can also imagine not liking this book if it weren't so well done--if the text were not as gentle or the illustrations so original. I love that mixed-media style--cut paper and paint and probably some materials I don't know enough to identify--and I love how these illustrations capture the feel of fall and early winter.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Nancy Elizabeth Wallace

We were pleased to have Nancy Elizabeth Wallace visit us last week. She is the author and illustrator of many picture books, including Leaves! Leaves! Leaves!; Apples, Apples, Apples; Paperwhite; Fly, Monarch! Fly!; Alphabet House; Look! Look! Look!; and many more.
During her visit, Ms. Wallace showed us some of the different kinds of paper she uses, including those recycled paper things you get with coffee--she used one of those for a road in one of her books.The kids who attended were also able to try their hand at some paper art by making butterfly magnets.