Day: December 2, 2013

Review: Winter Is for Snow by Robert Neubecker

winter is for snow

Winter Is for Snow by Robert Neubecker

A brother and sister have very different reactions to the newly fallen snow outside.  The boy opens the curtains and quickly announces that “Winter is for snow!”  But his younger sister is not convinced.  The boy tries and tries to explain how wonderful winter can be, but she remains grumpy.  She does get on her coat, books, hat, mittens and more to head outside though, still protesting about how it is too cold outside and she’d rather watch TV.  Once the two reach the sledding hill, her resistance is starting to crumble and she puts her tongue out to catch some snowflakes.  Back home warm in front of the fire, it is now her turn to talk about how amazing winter and snow are. 

Written in clever rhymes, the book also has a wonderful rhythm to it that makes it great fun to read aloud.  The entire book is written in the dialogue of the two children as they go back and forth about winter.  The little boy has so many examples of why winter is incredible, including ones from the Arctic, sledding and skating, snowmen, and holidays.  It is a wonderful, jolly take on winter that we don’t see enough.

Neubecker’s illustrations are simple and large, perfect for sharing with a group.  The two children have bright orange hair, and more colors come in when the outdoors is shown.  I love that winter outside is more than blues and whites, it is filled with the colors of a community celebrating snow themselves.

This is a great book to share for a non-holiday winter story time with its rhyming text and exuberant love of snow.  Appropriate for ages 2-5.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: Africa Is My Home by Monica Edinger

africa is my home

Africa Is My Home: A Child of the Amistad by Monica Edinger, illustrated by Robert Byrd

Based on a real person from history, this fictionalized account is told through the eyes of Margru, one of the few children aboard the Amistad.  Due to a famine in Mendeland, West Africa, Margru’s father was forced to pawn her out to feed the rest of the family.  From there, Margru is taken captive and put upon a slave ship with many other people heading for a plantation in the Caribbean.  But on the journey, the captive men rebelled against their captors and took over the ship, attempting to sail it back to Africa.  Deceived by the ship’s navigator, they landed in Long Island, NY and the adults were put on trial.  The children were kept as witnesses to the crimes aboard the ship.  Margru longed for her African homeland but also ended up learning not only to read but graduating from college as a teacher.  This is Margru’s story of fear, bravery, slavery, captivity and freedom.

Edinger beautifully captures this famous moment in history from Margru’s point of view.  The use of the first person perspective makes the book read as easily as fiction, but throughout the reader can also feel the weight of the historical research behind the story.   The use of historical information throughout the book is very helpful and combined with that first person view it is a book that is compelling reading with a heroine who is equally fascinating.

Byrd’s art is stunning.  He uses moves gracefully between historically-accurate images that capture important historical moments to more stylized pictures that flow with lines and dream of Africa.  He starkly contrasts the worlds of the greens of Africa and the cold, formality of the United States. 

Beautifully written and illustrated, this book gives a first-person account of the Amistad, looking beyond the revolt into the trial and what happened to one little girl caught in history.  Appropriate for ages 8-10.

Reviewed from library copy.