Shivers in the Fridge

Shivers in the Fridge by Fran Manushkin, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky.

I consider this one of the best picture books of the year.  I love its rather twisted concept which is matched by the illustrations by Zelinsky.  It reads aloud like a folktale with repetition, but has a unique setting and modern feel.

Papa Shivers, Mama Shivers, Grandpa and Grandma Shivers and Sonny Shivers all live in the cold and dark.  Occasionally a monster with long claws appears along with a huge light and snatches something out of their world.  As children listen to the story, they will soon realize that the Shivers live in a refrigerator and that the monsters are really humans.  But what are the Shivers and why are they in the fridge?  And what happens when the humans discover them?

This story builds and builds towards a final moment that is hinted at more and more clearly throughout the book.  Adults may pick up on it quickly, but children who are not trying to solve a mystery will just go along with the story and be happily surprised at the end. 

This is such a successful book with great language, nice pacing and wonderful illustrations.  It is a read aloud to share with kindergarteners and first graders who may wonder what is shivering in their fridges at home.

First Music

The First Music by Dylan Pritchett, illustrated by Erin Bennett Banks.

This is the perfect book for a crowd of rowdy preschoolers.  It is the story of how the first music started, and the book is filled with all sorts of animals sounds.  Elephant drums on a hollow log with a padada boom.  Crocodile’s scales are played by Crane, and Monkey dances and makes the leaves rustle.  All of the noises come together to form music.  Except for the silent frogs who don’t join in the earth-moving beat.  It is not until the seventh day that the frogs break into song themselves. 

The beat of the language is what creates the music here.  It is fast-paced, jaunty and lots of fun to read aloud.  Paired with the gorgeous deep paintings, this book will be a real crowd pleaser. 

The book can also be easily used for group participation in a more formalized way with different members of the audience making different noises.  Or that could be done afterwards with rhythm instruments.  Oh, the options are endless!

Webcasting Awards

ALA will once again be presenting a webcast of the Newbery, Caldecott, King, Printz and many other awards for teens and children. The webcast is live and is a lot of fun for those of us who won’t be at Midwinter to see it in person. I do plan on blogging the awards as they are announced. I only hope I manage to get a spot on the high speed access again. I know that many people were left out last year.
Tune in to the webcast on January 22nd at 7:30 am PST.
The lists of best books will also be released!