Lawrence in the Fall by Matthew Farina, illustrated by Doug Salati (9781484780589)
When Lawrence finds out that his teacher wants the students to bring in their collections to share, he is very worried. He doesn’t have a collection at all. At home, he tells his father about not having a collection and his father has an idea. The two of them head into the forest together to see what they can find. But Lawrence doesn’t want to collect bugs the way the spider does and he can’t reach the shiny, smooth rocks that the river has collected. When a sudden storm begins, Lawrence gets separated from his father and finds himself standing near a large tree full of bright-colored leaves. Lawrence calls to the tree and it drops a beautiful leaf down to him. Now Lawrence knows exactly what to collect!
Farina captures the emotions that can accompany an assignment at school, including sadness and isolation. Thanks to the warmth of his father’s response, the two of them tackle the problem, taking action rather than despairing. In the end, Lawrence delights all of the children in his class by sharing his collection freely with them. The book has a touch of magic about it as Lawrence requests leaves from the trees, and they freely offer them.
The art by Salati captures Lawrence’s emotions beautifully. The double-page spreads of the forest are dramatic and could be seen as something frightening, particularly when Lawrence is separated from his father. In the end, the forest becomes something very special, a place where Lawrence discovers nature.
A lovely picture book with delicate illustrations and a strong story. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from ARC provided by Disney-Hyperion.
Underwear! by Jenn Harney (9781368027939)
A worn out father bear tries to get his little bear into underwear after his bath, but it’s not going to be easy! Told entirely in a rhyming dialogue between the two characters, the story is rollicking and lot of fun to read aloud. Using homonyms for plenty of humor, the little bear asks “Under where?” and then heads into a rhyming series of lines about where the underwear might actually be. When the underwear is finally located, the fun isn’t over as the little bear immediately puts it on his head as hair and also pretends to be superbear! A new change of underwear is necessary after all this fun and then a bedtime story. But even lights out can’t stop the puns.
Full of lots of laughs, particularly for preschool audiences, this picture book seems simple on the surface. Harney though has taken a single rhyme and used it throughout the entire book, weaving in puns and fun along the way. Her rhythms are dead on, her characters speak as individuals, all within a strict rhyming format. Harney’s art is bold and big on the page, making it a great story to share aloud. The expressions on both bears’ faces are funny and often priceless.
A great bedtime romp, this will also make a great closer to any story time. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Reviewed from ARC provided by Disney Hyperion.
The Eisner Award Nominees for 2019 have been announced. Here are the nominees for the categories that are specifically for children and teens. Explore many of the other categories for great picks for young readers who love comics!
BEST PUBLICATION FOR EARLY READERS (up to age 8)
Johnny Boo and the Ice Cream Computer by James Kochalka
Petals by Gustavo Borges
Peter & Ernesto: A Tale of Two Sloths by Graham Annable
This Is a Taco! by Andrew Cangelose and Josh Shipley
Tiger vs. Nightmare by Emily Tetri
BEST PUBLICATION FOR KIDS (ages 9-12)
Aquicorn Cove by Katie O’Neill
Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol
The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell
Crush by Svetlana Chmakova
The Divided Earth by Faith Erin Hicks (also nominated for Best Coloring)
BEST PUBLICATION FOR TEENS
All Summer Long by Hope Larson
Gumballs by Erin Nations
Middlewest by Skottie Young and Jorge Corona
Norroway, Book 1: The Black Bull of Norroway by Cate Seaton and Kit Seaton
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang (also nominated for Best Writer/Artist)
Watersnakes by Tony Sandoval (also nominated for Best Writer/Artist and Best Painter/Multimedia Artist for interior art)
Focused by Alyson Gerber (9781338185973)
Clea loves to play chess; it’s her favorite thing to do. She likes it a lot better than her classes at school where she struggles to pay attention and follow directions. She’s also having a lot of emotional outbursts now that she’s in middle school. Clea knows that it’s because she’s just stupid and that she doesn’t try hard enough. She thinks that no one around her wants to tell her the truth. Then Clea gets tested for ADHD, and she discovers the reason for her issues at school. Still, it isn’t as simple as just taking medication and having a written schedule. In fact, before she realizes it, Clea has managed to drive her best friend away with her behavior. Clea must start figuring out how to manage her ADHD, her personal life and keep her schoolwork in hand, all while trying to be chosen for chess tournaments on the weekends.
Gerber has once again created a female protagonist who struggles with something beyond their control. I deeply appreciated Gerber’s focus on Clea finding a voice to ask for what she needed and her ability to fall down and get back up again. The book also shows ADHD not as something to blame but as a true issue that a person must manage and deal with on a daily basis. Gerber writes with a sensitivity about ADHD that comes from experiencing the issues herself.
As with her first book, readers will discover a lot to relate to with Clea. Simply understanding invisible disabilities more clearly is helpful for all readers. Those who face similar challenges will find a main character worth cheering for on these pages. Clea works incredibly hard even when she fails, thinks of others often, is a great sister and friend, and still can’t fix this issue on her own. It’s a testament to the power of getting help on a variety of levels.
A personal look at ADHD, this novel is a compelling and thought-provoking read. Appropriate for ages 9-12.
Reviewed from ARC provided by Scholastic.
Fearsome Giant, Fearless Child by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Julie Paschkis (9781250151773)
This is the third book by this author and illustrator pair that looks at worldwide stories and myths focused around a single type of story. In this picture book, they look at the prevalence of underdogs and fearlessness in the face of danger from around the world. Fleischman takes elements from stories from around the world and weaves them together into a multi-stranded story that pays homage to the differences in the tales while at the same time noting their similarities. Stories are pulled from Denmark, Italy, Ethiopia, Japan, Russia, Mongolia, Indonesia, England and several other countries. Together they tell the story of a young person who stands up to power and greed, often proving his own family wrong along the way. These are stories that will make you cheer for the child and their worth.
A master storyteller, Fleischman manages to create a singular story here while never taking away the signature pieces from each of the countries. Some pages have multiple threads that appear together on the page, noting the differences. Other pages carry the story forward, offering unique elements from that country’s version of the story. Along the way, there are ogres, kings, monsters, horses, bulls, jewels and harps. Still, the entire story works as a whole as well, creating a riveting tale of ingenuity.
Paschkis has created enthralling illustrations that tell each thread of the story in turn. The illustrations are framed by images that represent the country the story comes from. The Chilean pages has boars and guinea pigs. The Greek page is done in the signature blue and white with fish. At times, the images flow together just as the stories do to create a unique whole that still works as separate images.
Cleverly written and designed, this is one for every library. Appropriate for ages 4-7.
Reviewed from copy provided by Henry Holt.
Alex Rider TV show reveals who’ll play the teen spy buff.ly/2GCOBkW#kidlit
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Reading While White – An Open Letter to the Children’s Book Guild buff.ly/2Gy8ObT – please sign your support for Carole Lindstrom and Dr. Debbie Reese #kidlit
Why Harry Potter and Paddington Bear are essential reading … for grown-ups – https://t.co/4JUdtrzW8d
‘Extraordinary’ 500-year-old library catalogue reveals books lost to time buff.ly/2G997cG#libraries
Ignore the click-bait headline. Inside you will find a look at the homelessness crisis in America as it plays out in public libraries across the country – https://t.co/6tRR0SYbUV
‘It brings them closer to home’: Winnipeg Public Library wants to modernize its multilingual book collection | CBC News buff.ly/2vjnxCj#libraries
Why Libraries Make Excellent Coworking Spaces For Entrepreneurs buff.ly/2PwbDhB#libraries
Smile: How Young Charlie Chaplin Taught the World to Laugh (and Cry) by Gary Golio, illustrated by Ed Young (9780763697617)
Growing up on the streets of London, Charlie Chaplin was raised by a single mother who performed as a singer. At age five, Charlie himself started to perform in place of his mother as her voice quit. The family ended up in the poorhouse and when they managed to get back out, Charlie went to school. That was where he learned of his love of attention and the spotlight. At age nine, Charlie joined a boys theater troupe and among other jobs, he worked his way up on stage. Eventually, he made his way to the United States. He starred in a movie but when people in the industry saw how young he was, they doubted him. With one clever costume choice though, Charlie Chaplin invented his iconic tramp character.
Golio’s poetic approach to this nonfiction picture book suits the subject completely. It has a sense of lightness and playfulness with plenty of optimism in the face of hardship. Even as Charlie’s childhood turns bleak, there are moments of light and wonder too. The writing is rich and invites readers to better understand the subject and where he came from. I’d recommend sharing some Chaplin clips with children so they can watch the genius at work. Young’s illustrations are exceptional. The images are bold and full of strong graphical elements. Using colorful silhouettes, they play with light and dark, whimsy and reality.
A mix of humor and sadness, just as Chaplin would have wanted it. Appropriate for ages 6-9.
Reviewed from copy provided by Candlewick Press.
The third annual Anna Dewdney Read-Together Award winner and honor books have been announced by Penguin Young Readers, the Children’s Book Council, and Every Child a Reader. The award is given to “a read-aloud picture book that sparks compassion, empathy, and connection.” Here are the winners:
The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld
Drawn Together by Minh Le, illustrated by Dan Santat
Dreamers by Yuyi Morales
I Am Enough by Grace Byers, illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo
Julian Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora
The winners of two awards by The Bank Street Center for Children’s Literature were announced. The Cook Prize is given to the best STEM picture book for 8-10 year-olds and is selected by children. The Irma Simonton Black and James H. Black Award is given to “an outstanding book for young children—a book in which text and illustrations are inseparable, each enhancing and enlarging on the other to produce a singular whole.” Here are the winners and honor books:
COOK PRIZE WINNER
Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 by Helaine Becker, illustrated Dow Phumiruk
COOK PRIZE HONORS
Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur Bones by Sara Levine, illustrated by T.S. Spookytooth
If Polar Bears Disappeared by Lily Williams
Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain by Cheryl Bardoe; illustrated by Barbara McClintock
IRMA BLACK AWARD WINNER
We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins
IRMA BLACK HONORS
Stumpkin by Lucy Ruth Cummins
Sun! One in a Billion by Stacy McAnulty, illustrated by Stevie Lewis
The Wall in the Middle of the Book by Jon Agee