My Forever Dress

My Forever Dress by Harriet Ziefert, illustrated by Liz Murphy.

A little girl has a grandmother who is very good at sewing.  Each year, the grandmother makes her a special dress.  The little girl gets to pick the fabric and help in other ways like pressing the pedal on the sewing machine.  The next year, the grandmother and the little girl discuss being more eco-friendly.  So they reuse the dress and add pink leggings to make it more of a smock.  The year after that, the dress is too small to wear any more, so they take it apart and reuse the material.  Adding a knitted cardigan, the dress is once again reinvented.  In the end, there is just no way for her to keep on using the dress, so she gives it to her younger cousin and start again with a new outfit.

This is a great tangible way for children to see greener living at work.  There is no drumming of the reduce, reuse, recycle mantra though it is obviously the theme of the book.  Ziefert never lapses into didacticism, rather letting the story itself make the point. The excitement of the story is seeing each reinvention of the dress as the years pass.  Illustrator Murphy has used collage to great effect here, creating great patterns for the dress, but also throughout the story as wallpaper, tablecloths, and backgrounds.  She has an eye for colors and patterns that really shows here.

A very nice green choice for story times.  For any child who enjoys clothes and fabrics, this is a treat of a book as well.  Appropriate for ages 4-7.

Reviewed from library copy.

A Bunch of Board Books!

I find myself with a wonderful tall stack of board books to share!  All of them are just right for babies and toddlers and their format will stand up to the abuse from children that age.

Busy Bear Cubs by John Schindel and Lisa and Mike Husar.

Filled with clear and well-composed photographs of bear cubs of all sorts, this book is a bundle of furry fun.  Each page has a photo of bears in their natural habitat, playing and acting like bears.  There is no personification, just short explanatory lines about what the cubs are doing in the picture.  Great for toddlers, this book would make a great present along with a teddy bear.

Daddy, Papa, and Me by Leslea Newman, illustrated by Carol Thompson

Mommy, Mama, and Me by Leslea Newman, illustrated by Carol Thompson

I was thrilled to find two books that show gay and lesbian parents for such a young age.  I was even happier to find that they are well-written and nicely illustrated.  Both books are about a normal day where parents play, children nap, and the world is a gentle and loving place.  The focus is on family time, being together and happy days.  Appropriate for all families, these books are sure to be happy finds for families using public libraries.

Both books have Google Previews which show the entire book.  Take a look!

Daddy, Papa, and Me Preview

Mommy, Mama and Me Preview

Duck & Goose Find a Pumpkin by Tad Hills

The charming pairing of Duck and Goose continues in this latest board book.  In this fall-themed book, Duck and Goose spot Thistle walking past with a pumpkin and decide that they want one too.  The trouble is they don’t know where to find a pumpkin. Could it be in a tree?  Under the water?  Hills characters are just as sweet, silly and adorable as in the previous books.  A real winner of a picture book for fall.

Sun by Natalie Jane Prior and Anna Pignataro

Star by Natalie Jane Prior and Anna Pignataro

A pair of poetic board books, these titles focus on morning and nighttime respectively.  Sun features a repeating format with the phrase “This is where the sun shines…” completed by different animals waking to the new morning.  Star uses the phrase “This is what the star sees…” in a similar manner.  Both books have repetition perfect for young listeners.  They are both wonderful first poem books for babies.  The illustrations by Pignataro are watercolor landscapes.  One awash with the brightness of the morning and the other deepened by evening.

1 2 3: A Child’s First Counting Book by Alison Jay.

When I first saw Jay’s 1 2 3 book in picture book form, I immediately thought that it would be an ideal picture book.  Well,I was right.  The book counts forward to ten and then backward to 1.  It is set in a magical land of fairy tales where you will see beloved characters from many tales.  The illustrations are done in a folk-art style that works very well with the subject matter.  The crackle effect of the pictures adds a great vintage feel as well.  This one is just as much for the parents as the baby.  One you will be willing to read again and again.

All from publishers except the pair of Leslea Newman books which were from the library.