Book #265: The Gardener

I don’t know how you can talk about children’s books and the spring season without mentioning Sara Stewart and David Small’s The Gardener, published in 1997 and winner of a Caldecott honor (Rapunzel won the medal that year, in case you were interested). This is a depression-era piece about a young girl who goes to […]

Book #264: The Ugly Vegetables

A thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining read from 1999, The Ugly Vegetables is a first person story about a little girl who wishes her mother would plant something besides “ugly vegetables,” or Chinese greens, during the spring months. While the neighbors are busy watching and smelling their beautiful flower blooms, the narrator is dismayed to see […]

Book #263: The Dandelion’s Tale

I’m so happy to see spring that I’ve decided to devote a few days to books that celebrate the season.  The Dandelion’s Tale feels a bit springlike in that it’s about birth and renewal — the circle of life, if you’ll forgive the term. But it’s also about death and memory and yes, writing, too, […]

Book #262: President Taft is Stuck in the Bath

Nobody knows if this is true or not, but rumor has it that President Taft, an enormous man, couldn’t get out of his bathtub one day. In Mac Barnett’s iteration of this version, Taft called upon everyone from his cabinet for advice on how to get himself out. “Blast it,” Taft bellows, repeatedly, when the members of […]

Book #261: Coming Soon

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Book #260: Coming soon

Previous               Click here to read Book #261

Book #259: Coming Soon

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Book #258: A Fine St. Patrick’s Day

Yes, I know that St. Patrick’s Day was a while ago, but I never had a chance to share this book and now it’s due back at the library. It was such a great read, too — well-written with interesting illustrations — that I felt bad just returning the book without a mention. You really […]

Book #257: If Anything Ever Goes Wrong at the Zoo

Here’s a book from 1993 that I plucked from the library display a few weeks ago. I think it’s an engaging and entertaining story, and besides that, it’s about the zoo.  What child doesn’t want to hear a story about the zoo? The book opens with the simple announcement that Leslie and her mother go […]

Note to My Book Review Readers…

I am out of town for some days this week visiting a close friend in the hospital.  Please check back for more book talk soon…ABZ

Book #248: Sparky!

Here’s that same monochromatic illustrative style we are seeing in so many books these days, but I happen to like this style and don’t mind seeing a similar color palette from book to book. And this one is such a great book, too. It’s one of those picture books that makes a great present for anybody, […]

Book #247: Stay Tuned

    Coming soon… Previous  Click here to read Book #248

Book #246: Rechenka’s Eggs

You can’t get through a list of books for Easter without getting into Rechenka’s Eggs, by Patricia Polacco. I’ve written about her before, but I’m especially excited to tell you about this book, my favorite of all Polacco’s work. Babushka is known for painting the most exquisite eggs around. Every year she brings her eggs […]

Book #245: Minerva Louise and the Colorful Eggs

Janet Stoeke has written a whole bunch of these inviting books about a silly chicken, and I love them all. The illustrations are bright and appealing, the writing is excellent, and Minerva Louise is sort of unforgettable. She’s naive and sweet, maybe a little on the dense side, which to me feels about right for […]

Book #244: The Golden Egg Book

Margaret Wise Brown wrote over a hundred books in her lifetime and was most famous for Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny, but here’s a little Easter story that would seem ordinary if you didn’t know who wrote it. If you look at the book closely, you can see the same control of language and mastery […]

Book #243: The Tale of Peter Rabbit

This book discussion is still a rough draft, since it’s taking me longer than usual to complete.  I thought I’d put it up here while I work on it, since it’s a good enough introduction for now… Since this is Easter week and I’m writing a lot about bunnies, it seems only logical to include a […]

Book #242: The Story of the Easter Bunny

From 2005.  Stand by for the full discussion. Previous      Click here to read Book #243

Book #241: The Carp in the Bathtub

I found this book under a pile of papers in my closet about ten months ago and set it aside to talk about this Passover. Though I’d forgotten about it for many years, The Carp in the Bathtub was a story I loved as child. It’s hard to find books about a particular holiday that […]

Book #240: The Passover Lamb

I had been meaning to write about this book in anticipation of Passover, but hadn’t been able to grab it from the library in time. Just this morning I found that someone else had beaten me to the punch. Until I can actually get the book into my own hands, here’s a discussion of The […]

Book #239: Miriam’s Cup…

A Passover Story. By Fran Manushkin, illustrated by Bob Dacey. Published in 1998. So much of Passover has to do with Moses. Moses this and Moses that. Moses was a hero, Moses saved the Jews. Enough!  Fran Manushkin wrote about the story of Passover with some discussion of Moses, certainly, but with our beloved Miriam […]

Book #238: The Moses Basket

Happy Passover! I’ve been feeling especially biblical lately in light of our upcoming trip to Philadelphia to celebrate the holiday with friends. Nothing wrong with a little Old Testament review, right? (Please check back for a discussion of this book, and some more about Passover here) Previous Click here to read Book #239

Book #237: Louis The Fish

Does 1980 count as a vintage book? Probably not. But here’s an old one by two children’s book giants: Arthur Yorinks and Richard Egielski. Poor Louis, a child born of butchers who were born of butchers, detests meat. When he turns seven, his parents give him a giant salami. When he turns thirteen he gets […]

Book #236: The Invisible Boy

This is the story of the little kid — we all know him — who is ignored in the class. He’s quiet.  He sits at his desk and draws. Nobody picks him to be on their team for kickball. When a new boy, Justin, joins the classroom, the children make fun of him for his […]

Book #235: Outfoxed

Here’s a nutty piece of tomfoolery by New Yorker cartoonist Mike Twohy, published last year. Someday I’m going to collect picture books that focus on the relationship between foxes and chickens; I’ve seen a number of them just this year. This one is pretty funny and made Ray laugh out loud, the twist of the […]