Farm by Elisha Cooper

An  inviting mix of vistas across flat farmland and isolated bits of the farm on white backgrounds, Cooper has created a book that really captures the seasons on a farm.  From the family, animals, buildings and equipment to the everyday world of chores and work, this book is honest and accurate about farm life.  Children will delight in the small moments of the farm, especially those involving the tractors and the animals.  The book is laid out as a cycle, moving from spring through fall, encapsulating the growing season.  This is a great introduction to farm life for children, both rural and urban.

Cooper’s text gives small details constantly, seeding the book with facts large and small about farming in general and about this family farm in particular.  Simply telling the names of the different cats is time well spent and interesting.  Cooper’s art is done with simple lines and earthy colors.  His mix of landscape vistas with small images is dynamic and keeps the book fresh and interesting.  Because of the small size of many of the illustrations, this book will be best used by one child at a time who will take the time to wonder along with Cooper about what animals are thinking and whether they are deep in thought when not eating.

This is a book to linger with, turn the pages back and forth, breathe in the country air, and also take your time thinking deep thoughts.  Appropriate for ages 4-7.

Reviewed from copy received from Scholastic.

Also reviewed by Young Readers, Back to Books, and A Year of Reading.

Oh, Daddy!

Oh, Daddy! by Bob Shea

Told from the point of view of a very busy little boy, this book highlights the antics his father with undergo to get his son moving along.  In order to get him dressed, his father puts underwear on his head and asks if that is right.  Climbing in the car window, gets him to get into the car quickly.  Juggling carrots leads to the boy eating them eagerly.  This is inspiration for parents, especially fathers, to get silly to get things done.

This positive and silly parenting style is a pleasure to read about.  It got me thinking about the antics we would undergo when my sons were in preschool and Kindergarten.  Laughter is a great way to speed getting dressed along.  I always ended up with rabbit ears made out of sweatpants and my toes peeking out of tiny sleeves. 

It is also nice to see a father depicted as this involved with his child and the mother making appearances but not as a featured character.  There is no instance where the dad is not the one dealing confidently and positively with his son. Very refreshing to see. 

Shea is the author of several successful picture books.  His writing is filled with great short sentences that are simple but also filled with humor and a sense of fun.  His illustrations are bright colored, simple and modern.  This round blue family is sure to be a hit with preschoolers.

A perfect Father’s Day read, this is also a great book to read aloud just for laughs.  Guaranteed to get you and your audience giggling.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from HarperCollins.

Children’s Choice Book Awards

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The winners of the third annual Children’s Choice Book Awards have been announced by The Children’s Book Council in association with Every Child a Reader, Inc.  Children from across the nation voted for their favorite books, author and illustrator.  Here are the results:

Author of the Year – JAMES PATTERSON

Illustrator of the Year – PETER BROWN (The Curious Garden)

Books of the Year

Kindergarten to 2nd Grade – Lulu the Big Little Chick by Paulette Bogan

3rd Grade to 4th Grade – Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

5th Grade to 6th Grade – Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life by Rachel Renee Russell

Teen Choice – Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins