Archive for December 4, 2012


tell me about your day today

Tell Me about Your Day Today by Mem Fox, illustrated by Lauren Stringer

This is the story of a little boy who looked forward to bedtime.  He loved the kisses, the stories, the good night.  But most of all he loved the conversations he had with his stuffed animal friends.  Each of them took a turn telling about what happened during their day: “the who, the what, the why, and the way… the whole wild thing…turned out okay.”  As each character describes their day, it is told solely in pictures with the refrain above as the only words.  And each one builds on the last, creating a picture of a complete day together.  Then the little boy went last, describing his day and filling out the last of their day spent together.

This is such a warm and friendly book.  While it may be unusual for a child to look forward to bedtime, it’s great to have a book that celebrates that part of the day so fully.  Even better, it’s a celebration of a very busy day spent in wonderful play.  Fox’s use of a repeating refrain in each character’s story makes for a book that is gentle and reassuring. 

Stringer’s illustrations tell a lot of the story.  Each character had a slightly different day, told from their point of view.  When the boy’s part comes, they all reach a cohesive whole.  Stringer’s art is done in bright and warm colors, with the deep blues of night a welcome part of the book.  The characters glow on the page, some even seeing to shine light themselves. 

What a great bedtime read!  This book is best shared with your own stuffed friends gathered around and listening too.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Beach Lane Books.

The final list from Amazon for Best Books is for teens.  Here are their 20 top books of 2012 for teen readers:

  

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth E. Wein

Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor

  

The Diviners by Libba Bray

Dodger by Terry Pratchett

Every Day by David Levithan

  

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

  

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

The Kill Order by James Dashner

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

  

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Reached by Ally Condie

  

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Son by Lois Lowry

 

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

bear has a story to tell

Bear Has a Story to Tell by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead

Fall was ending and winter was coming, but before he hibernated, Bear had a story to tell.  Unfortunately, the other animals were too busy to hear the story.  Mouse was gathering seeds and when Bear helped Mouse find lots of seeds, Mouse tunneled underground for the winter.  Duck was getting ready to fly south and all Bear had time to do was check the wind direction for him and say he would miss Duck before he flew off.  Frog too was looking for a warm place to sleep.  Bear helped dig a hole for him to sleep in.  Mole was already way underground and asleep.  So Bear too headed off to sleep.  When spring came, Bear still had a story to share.  Soon his friends were gathered around him to listen, and you will have to read the book to find out what story he shared!

The husband/wife team behind the Caldecott winning A Sick Day for Amos McGee have returned with a book that has a quiet, contemplative beauty that is haunting.  It’s one of those picture books that can be read as a quick bedtime story, but has so much more depth than that.  Bear’s rather lonely start to his hibernation also has a series of close connections to friends.  His spring wake up is filled with a warmth that echoes the seasonal change. 

The writing is gentle and filled with small details that really show the slowing nature of the start of winter.  There is time to count the clouds and look at the color of the leaves, at least for Bear.  The connections between Bear and his many friends are also written with a richness that adds much to the story.  The circular nature of the ending is also an invitation to start the book all over again.  One that readers will be happy to accept. 

Erin Stead’s illustrations have a beautiful delicacy to them.  The rounded shoulders of the very furry Bear show a patience and yet a weight too.  There are moments of celebration, when Bear is rolling in the newly lush grass that are filled with cheer.  It is especially remarkable near the lonely and poignant image of Bear alone as the first snow begins to fall.  Lovely.

It’s the perfect time of year to read this book, ease yourself into the winter months and quietly wish autumn farewell.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from library copy.

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