Windows with Birds

Windows with Birds by Karen Ritz

The cat loved his home.  It had windows filled with birds to watch, hiding places, stairs, and a mouse in the basement.  It also had the boy who filled the water dish and scratched just right.  The cat would wait for him to return from school.  But one day, the boy took the cat to a new home in an apartment building.  The cat was not happy.  He hid, meowed aloud, and avoided the boy but the boy did not take him back home.  The cat was very upset until the morning when he discovered that these windows had birds too! 

This is a book that explores the emotional effects of moving from the point of view of a family pet.  Children will see their own emotions reflected there in a tangible and relatable way.  The illustrations are realistic and filled with loving detail.  Sharp-eyed readers will spot a moving box and the moving van before the move comes.  Ritz has captured the movements and position of the cat perfectly both in action and repose. 

A lovely addition to moving books, this should find its way onto most library shelves.  Appropriate for ages 4-7.

Reviewed from library copy.

Feeding the Sheep

Feeding the Sheep by Leda Schubert, illustrated by Andrea U’Ren

Follow the process from sheep to sweater through the eyes of a young girl.  The book starts with feeding the sheep corn and hay on a wintry day.  Then it moves on to shearing, washing the wool, drying the wool, carding it, spinning the yarn, dyeing the yarn, and then knitting it.  Each step is done by the little girl’s mother to the refrain of “What are you doing?” The book uses gentle rhymes and repetition to show the steps as well as detailed illustrations where the young girl gets involved too.

This book is ideal for toddlers and preschoolers who will enjoy realizing where their sweaters come from.  The style of writing is approachable and gentle.  Nicely the book comes full circle back to the feeding of sheep, making the point that the cycle of sheep to sweater continues.  U’Ren’s illustrations are filled with homey touches and small details, yet they will work well with a group.  A wonderful touch is the changing of the seasons throughout the book, often glimpsed only out of the window.  This again underlines the cyclical nature of farming.

Short sentences with plenty of rhythm and repetition, make this a friendly choice.  It is also a joy to read aloud.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from library copy.

Making a Book Cover

Loving this glimpse of a designer at work on the cover of Blameless, the new book by Gail Carriger, due out in September 2010.  The design is done by Lauren Panepinto.