And I Love You

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And I Love You by Ruth Krauss & Steven Kellogg

A celebration of parental love, this book has verse that pairs large and small together in relationships.  The big forests love little trees.  Big seas love little shells.  And my favorite: Big stories love little words to fly around in.  Each large element is shown and then the page turns to reveal the other smaller element that matches it.  Krauss’ poem is lovely, gently showing the devotion of a parent in ways that are tangible and in relationships that children will understand.  The book will work equally well for any adult with a child, whether it is a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or guardian. 

Krauss’ poem is very brief, just a few words per page.  Her verse captures love in so few words that it is amazing, making it very accessible for young readers. 

Kellogg’s art has his signature style, but also an added dimension that is very interesting.  His usual characters with their bright eyes are featured.  On some of the pages, where appropriate, a texture has been added to the illustrations, sometimes organic like grass clippings and other times thicker paint that is built up for the background.  His friendly characters are shown on these textured pages as well, creating a wonderful mixed media picture book.

The perfect book for a new baby gift or for adoptive parents, this book would also make a great board book too thanks to its few words and gentle spirit.  Appropriate for ages 2-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Scholastic.

The Very Best Pumpkin

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The Very Best Pumpkin by Mark Kimball Moulton, illustrated by Karen Hillard Good

This is a great fall story that focuses not on Halloween, but on pumpkins and autumn.  It is a story about how one perfect pumpkin can create a new friend.  Peter lives with his grandparents on Pumpkin Hollow Farm.  They grow different crops other times of the year, but in the fall they specialize in pumpkins.  Peter helps care for the pumpkins throughout the summer.  One day when out in the field, he noticed a vine that went out of the field.  Following it, he found a pumpkin all by itself.  He started taking care of that pumpkin too.  Nearby, a girl, Meg, moved into a new home and noticed Peter caring for his special pumpkin.  But she stayed out of sight so he wouldn’t notice her.  Peter also thought that no one was seeing him and his pumpkin.  When it was time to harvest the pumpkins, Peter offered his special pumpkin to Meg and they both realized that this one secret pumpkin had already made them friends.

Moulton portrays an idyllic farm life in this book.  Peter does work hard and diligently throughout the summer, so children will see that farming and growing plants does take time and care.  There are several touches that make this book work very well.  One is that the pumpkin is not the largest, but a special one that is perfectly round.  Another is that there are wonderful moments in the text where pumpkins and autumn are dwelled on.  The prose fills out with descriptions of the vines, the growing pumpkins, and the joy of the harvest. 

Good’s illustrations bring a winning element to the book.  Her illustrations are done on paper that is wonderfully splotched and textured, creating a real feeling of autumn as well as intriguing textures.  On top of this interesting background, her illustrations are done in crisp black outlines and warm earthy colors.  The friendly characters pop against the very natural feel of the book. 

A great addition to fall story times and units, this book celebrates autumn in all of its colors.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Simon & Schuster.

Larklight – The Movie

The director of Let the Right One In, Tomas Alfredson, has been signed to direct Larklight, based on the book by Philip Reeve.  This steampunk book will be one of the first YA books of the genre adapted to film by a major studio.  Another to keep your eye on.

Thanks to /Film for the news.