The Show and Tell Lion

The Show-and-Tell Lion by Barbara Abercrombie and Lynne Avril Cravath.

Under the pressure of having to come up with something for show-and-tell, Matthew blurts out that he has a pet lion at home.  Of course this is entirely made up, but before Matthew can admit he is telling a story, his classmates are quizzing him about the lion.  Matthew finally admits to his mother what is happening and she insists that he tell the truth about the lion.  In the end, Matthew finds a way to tell the truth and save face with his class. 

What a great picture book!  So many children tell stories without meaning to tell a lie and find themselves in this position.  This book demonstrates that it happens to other people and that when you tell the truth it solves the problem.  Even more importantly, the book features a child with a vivid imagination who allows it to get out of hand and then finds a solution himself.  It is a very empowering story for children.  I really enjoyed the illustrations with their soft blends of color.  I also liked the fact that as Matthew’s lie grew and grew so did the imaginary lion until finally he was so big he had to leave the house. 

This would be a great addition for preschoolers and kindergarteners learning about honesty.  It can also be added to any storytime about lions or imagination. 

Galaxies, Galaxies!

Galaxies, Galaxies! by Gail Gibbons.

Gibbons has once again created a winning nonfiction picture book with just the right amount of information on each page and charming illustrations.  This book focuses on galaxies from the Milky Way to other types of galaxies in the universe.  It looks at how galaxies are studied, types of telescopes, and ends with the fact that more galaxies are constantly being formed. 

Many children love astronomy and this book is ideal for units on planets and space.  The focus on galaxies themselves makes this different than solar system books and is a welcome addition to library collections.  As with most of Gibbons’ nonfiction, it can successfully be read aloud to classes from kindergarten through second grade. 

Kampung Boy

Kampung Boy by Lat. 

Amazing, amazing, amazing.  This is a graphic novel that reveals a lost lifestyle of small villages in Malaysia.  Mat recounts his life from birth to when he leaves the village to go to school.  It is filled with details of rural Muslim life and brims with good humor and the grace of a simple life. 

This one belongs in all graphic novel collections.  It will be enjoyed by children in elementary school, but will be most appreciated by those older than that who will see the difference in the culture and life that Mat lives. 

I can’t wait for the next volume!

The Higher Power of Lucky

The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron.

This winner of the Newbery Medal is a quiet book with a deep soul.  It is reminiscent of Because of Winn Dixie in many ways. 

Lucky is worried that her guardian is going to return to France.  Every time Brigitte’s mother calls on the phone, Brigitte cries.  Lucky is convinced that she is going to be left behind, so she plans to be the first to leave.  Of course, that means that she won’t be able to continue her friendship with the knot-tying Lincoln or the cookie-loving Miles.  But unlike being put into an orphanage, she will be able to keep her dog with her.

The glory of this book is in its staying power.  I am so happy that I didn’t have time to review this last week, when I read it, because this story stays with you and percolates in your brain.  It is such a quiet story but the setting is vivid and unique, the joys of a small town on the desert are wonderfully displayed, and the deep feelings of Lucky linger.  I enjoyed smiling at all of the great analogies in the story, reading a book that takes the show don’t tell philosophy and runs with it, and finding a heroine this complex in a children’s book. 

I agree with the Newbery Committee.  This one is a winner.  Even better, it has a lot of kid-appeal and I predict it will become one of the favorites in the Newbery units at school.

Not Posting Much

I really want to find time to talk about the great award winners that were announced this week. How thrilled I am that a graphic novel won the Printz, how much I enjoyed the Newbery and how happy I am that Flotsam won. But it has been one of those weeks at the library, from visiting legislators on Tuesday to a personnel situation that is affecting my every work hour. Perhaps tomorrow I can find a few minutes to review the books piled on my desk. Balancing love of children’s books with directing a library can be a trick. Please bear with me and know that I am busily reading books and hoping to share them with you soon!

John Green Honored

Author John Green, winner of a Printz honor for An Abundance of Katherines, was caught on video learning about the award. (It’s the one dated January 22nd.)  It is priceless!  John and his brother are exchanging videos back and forth on his blog, giving a wonderful, humorous glimpse at a teen-book author. 

Caldecott and Newbery

The Caldecott has gone to Flotsam!! Hip hip hooray!!
Honors are Gone Wild and Moses.
The Newbery has gone to a book that I just returned to the library this morning thinking I didn’t have time to read it. Time to run down and see if it has left the building yet! Higher Power of Lucky.
Honors are Penny from Heaven, Hattie Big Sky, and Rules.

Printz Winner

Hurrah! The YALSA blog has announced the winner of the Printz Award:
Honor Books:
Octavian Nothing
Abundance of Katherines (HURRAH!)
Book Thief (YIPPEE!)
WINNER: American Born Chinese
Well done, Printz Committee, well done!

Awards Today

Well, last year I had the great joy of typing at lightning speed and trying to get the awards up almost live on this blog. This year, the webcast is full, so I can’t get in. I will just have to wait until 10 am for the press release to be made public. I can’t wait to see what wins!