It’s a lovely autumn day outside, so Papa Bear tells his seven baby bears to get their sweaters on. They head upstairs to get ready while Papa sits downstairs knitting. But it turns out that the baby bears need some help getting dressed successfully. After some disentangling, Papa gets them ready. All except for one, whose sweater unravels and he to be tucked into the stocking cap that Papa had been knitting. By the time they are all ready to go, it’s evening. The bear family makes the most of the nighttime, watching their breath frost the air and seeing a comet cross the sky. Then it’s time for pajamas on and bed.
Every parent will recognize the joy of getting ready for a day outside the house. This book is so cozy that the frustration of not getting ready quickly makes time for knitting and some extra hugs. Papa Bear is a delight of an adult character, seemingly on top of it all until the door opens and reveals how long it has actually taken for them all to get ready. With few words, the book relies on the illustrations to tell the story and share the love of this furry family.
Cozy, funny and full of autumn spice. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Reviewed from e-galley provided by Greenwillow Books.
The Blue Peter Book Awards celebrate the best authors and illustrators in children’s fiction and nonfiction. The award is given by BookTrust in the UK. The 2022 longlists for the awards have been announced and will be shortened to three books per category on November 11th. The winners will be selected by over 200 children from schools across the UK with the winners announced in March 2022. Here are the longlisted titles:
This is the second book in the Sato the Rabbit trilogy. In a series of chapters, Sato explores the world around him. When the moon disappears into a nearby thicket, Sato pulls it out and makes it into a boat. Exploring a brown, dry field, he discovers a green sprout that turns like a screw and soon green is popping up all around. On a rainy day, Sato sets up a rain party where he captures the sheets of rain with ribbons. Other stories have fallen leaves that roll up into a rug, the moon turned into a blanket, and the wonder of a hole in a hat.
This Japanese picture book series is surprising and surreal. Just when you think you know where each of the short chapters is headed, a page turn takes it in an entirely different direction. It’s these little surprises along the way that make the book so charming. Each chapter features Sato doing amazing things with regular items we interact with in our world too.
The illustrations add to the fun of the surreal stories. They make what is being said in the brief text come alive as wondrous things happen in each story.
A charming addition to the Sato series. Appropriate for ages 4-7.
Reviewed from copy provided by Enchanted Lion Books.
Borders by Thomas King, illustrated by Natasha Donovan (9780316593069)
When his older sister decides to move to Salt Lake City, a boy and his mother take her to the border between Canada and the U.S. His mother decided one day to make the trip to Utah to visit. They got dressed up and ready to leave the Blackfoot reserve. When they reached the border though, his mother refused to say that she was Canadian, giving her citizenship as Blackfoot. Caught between two countries, refusing to deny her true citizenship, the boy is caught with her as they demonstrate the power of their identity and family.
Written by an award-winning author of Cherokee and Greek descent, the graphic novel is illustrated by a well-known Métis illustrator. The book insists that readers see Native identity and recognize it as valid in a way that neither country is willing to. The story is immensely uncomfortable as readers wait for a resolution to come along with the boy and his mother. There is a brilliance to this discomfort, allowing readers to sit with it and learn.
The illustrations honest and simple, portraying the love among the family, even when his sister leaves for the United States. The focus on the people allows the illustrations to move beyond the desolate border and into the people being impacted.
An important middle-grade graphic novel that will inspire thought and discussion. Appropriate for ages 9-12.
The An Post Irish Book Awards 2021 Shortlists have been announced. These Irish book awards include awards for top bookshops and poetry as well as fiction and nonfiction for adults and juvenile titles. Here are the shortlisted titles for the two children’s awards and the teen awards.
The author/illustrator team who created Every Color of Light returns with a picture book celebrates a different element: water. A parent and child head off on a journey along the waterways. Water has no color of its own, but can be any color based on where it is. It forms to any shape, but you can’t slice it or hold it in your hands. It reflects us back when we look into it and also the sky and clouds. It flows, rains, cascades and overflows. It is simple, but vital to life on earth.
Translated from the original Japanese, this picture book is beautifully poetic. It looks at the many aspects of water through the eyes of a child who is interacting with it on a journey along the river. The ending of the book adds a child’s question about whether water is the pee-pee of the gods. After such a lyrical poem, the question is marvelous in its honesty, simplicity and wonder.
Arai’s illustrations are exceptional. Filled with the beauty of water, they capture it both in its impact on landscapes and as it flows through one’s fingers. The large landscapes are deep green and dramatic while the close ups are personal and capture small moments of discovery. The combination of the two make the importance of water in our lives clear.
Another winning elemental picture book from Japan. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy provided by Enchanted Lion Books.
The 2021 PM’s Literary Awards Shortlist has been announced. The book awards celebrate the best in Australian books of the year. The awards are given to adult and juvenile titles. Winners will be announced in December. Here are the shortlisted titles for the children’s and teen awards: