My Father Knows the Names of Things

 

With a colorful airplane on the cover, this book welcomes you to the world of a father and son.  The father knows all sorts of facts.  He knows the names of each and every thing from birds to dogs to cheese to bells.  He knows facts about things like which beetles are smallest and which mosses are fuzziest.  His son follows merrily after him, soaking up the knowledge of his father.  A great book for Father’s Day.

Yolen’s poem is clever, silly and great fun to read.  It’s couplets are merry and jaunty.  The rhyme is never overpowering and the rhythm adds to the appeal.  Jorisch’s watercolor and gouache illustrations also have a wonderful sense of play.  They have a quirky modernism that captures the feel of the poem and adds to it. 

This book celebrates knowledge and imagination as well as the father son relationship.  It is a treat for any time of year.  Appropriate for ages 4-7.

Reviewed from copy received from Simon & Schuster.

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My Father Is Taller than a Tree

My Father Is Taller than a Tree by Joseph Bruchac, illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin

Ideal for a Father’s Day read, this book features pairs of fathers and sons who spend time together.  They do so many different things from boating to painting to playing games.  The father son pairs are diverse not only by being from different cultural and racial backgrounds but also in their relationships.  There are father who wrestle, fathers who need help, father who are artists, fathers who read books.  This is a true celebration of the importance of fathers and the many ways that men can be fathers to their sons.

Bruchac’s poem flows over the bottom of the pages, knitting them together.  The poem is simple and enjoyable with rhyming couplets that offer the inspiration for the illustrations.  Halperin’s illustrations are exceptional.  Done in crayon and pencil, they have a delicacy of line combined with a pleasing density of color.  Each double spread offers one large image of the father and son and then four smaller images showing details of the time they are spending together.  Because of the detail of the pictures, this book is best shared one-on-one and really looked closely at and talked about.  The illustrations invite readers in, tell them a story beyond the poem, and allow us to really understand fathers and sons.

A beautiful book that should not be saved just for Father’s Day.  Appropriate for ages 4-7.

Reviewed from copy received from Dial Books.

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Thunder Rolling and Rainbows Shining

There are times that the entire universe seems to be thrumming with the same woes, the same prejudice, and the same amazing people standing up to it all.

Liz B tells us about book banning in the Burlington County Public Library of Revolutionary Voices, a GLBT title.  The banning was done quietly, on the sly.  In other words, it was done spinelessly as a way of avoiding confrontation.  Frankly, I think this is the most prevalent type of book banning happening in libraries today.  Someone makes complaining noises about a book and it conveniently disappears so there is no reason for complaint.

Let’s ignore the fact that libraries have request for reconsideration forms for just such a situation.  It is sooo much easier if the forms are not even used and the library can just “fix” the problem quietly.

Also today, I had the pleasure of reading a great piece on Pinched Nerves by Brent, a gay teen book blogger who fought for the right to read books about kids like him at his school and his public library.  He’s my hero!

I have other heroes, who make me proud to be a librarian:

The West Bend Public Library here in Wisconsin who went through a horrible time with someone who wanted to ban around 80 books from the library.  They followed their policies to the letter, which allowed them to retain all of the titles in their collection.  The battle was fought very publicly and strengthened libraries around the state in our resolve to stand up for books.

Currently, the Fond du Lac School District also here in Wisconsin, is working their way through a list of books being questioned in their school libraries.  So far all of the books have been retained without changes.  Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the neighboring community of North Fond du Lac where a sticker was added to a book deemed appropriate for high school students.  Man, what a slippery slope that is!  And what a sad decision to make.

Let’s remember in the midst of all of this, we can all find the heroes to give us courage to stand up, insist on the freedom to read, and not bow to pressure to make our libraries something they are not.

Wake – The Movie

Cinematical has the news that Lisa McMann’s YA novel Wake will be made into a film.  Wake will be adapted by Christopher Landon who co-wrote Disturbia.

But the biggest news is that Miley Cyrus is going to star in the film.  Sigh.  Why?  Why? Why?