Archive for March 23, 2010


Where Is Catkin?

Where Is Catkin? by Janet Lord, illustrated by Julie Paschkis

Catkin heads out to hunt in the garden.  He sees and hears different animals in the garden but he can’t catch them.  There is a cricket, a frog, a mouse, a snake, and a bird.  After Catkin pounces them they disappear from view.  But sharp-eyed readers will be able to spy them hiding.  Finally, Catkin climbs a tree to catch a bird, but goes too high.  Now it is Amy’s job to find Catkin in the garden and rescue him!

The first thing you will notice about this book is its amazing illustrations.  Done in an almost Slavic motif, they are rich, deep colored and stylized.  As Catkin pounces an animal it appears in the yellow and red border, adding another layer to this book.  Lord’s text is brief and invites young readers to participate in the seeking and finding of the animals.  Readers will enjoy spotting not only the animals in the text, but also insects and other animals. 

A richly illustrated seek-and-find book that is perfect for the youngest listeners.  I would suggest using this with only a very small group, because the pleasure of the book is to look closely at the illustrations and talk about them. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Peachtree Publishers.

Also reviewed by Beth Fish Reads, 7 Imp, and We Love Children’s Books.

Boom Boom Go Away! by Laura Geringer, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline

Vintage toys combine with noise and mayhem to create a fabulous bedtime read!

When a small boy is asked to go to bed, he responds by starting up his toys one by one in response.  The little gnome is at the heart of it all as he bangs the drum with a “Go away, boom boom.  Go away!”  An elf dings on a gong, a prince screeches on his bassoon, a knight plays his bells, more and more toys join in, creating a great rhythm and song as they do.  But in the end, the noise is not enough to keep the little boy awake and they all wind down with a “Go away! Hush, hush… boom boom. Go away.”

Reading this book is great fun.  Geringer has created just the right mix of noises and sounds to make reading this book aloud a treat.  The rhythm makes it easier, the sounds are different enough to be interesting, and her framing of the story is done with a gentle touch.  Ibatoulline’s illustrations are beautifully done in a soft yet bright palette that really reinforces the vintage feel of the toys.  The writing, the fonts and the illustrations all work together to create a charmer of a book.

Highly recommended for pajama story times or a bedtime read, this book may become one of those books that is asked for again and again.  If you are going to use this with a group, consider handing out instruments or assigning noises to kids.  They are sure to love adding to the rhythm.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from book received from Atheneum Publishers (Simon & Schuster)

Also reviewed by The Excelsior File and Young Books.

IBBY logo

The 2010 Hans Christian Andersen Award Winners have just been announced!

David Almond from the UK has won the author award!

Jutta Bauer from Germany has won the illustrator award!

Now, I haven’t read the Jutta Bauer book above, but don’t you love that cover?  Makes me wish I could read German better!

According to Heat Vision, Angryfilms has optioned Cory Doctorow’s novel Little Brother.  Doctorow is the also the co-editor of the very popular blog BoingBoing.

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