Book #273: Farfallina and Marcel

I’m one of those people who thinks that anything you wish to say of any importance can be perfectly expressed in a picture book. For this reason, I’ve pretty much always given children’s book as gifts to adults, and nobody has complained. Good friends will… Continue reading

Book #272: Elsie’s Bird

Sorry to be redundant, but it’s David Small’s magnificent illustrations that compel me to write about a 2010 book called Elsie’s Bird. It’s about a little girl who moves from Boston to Nebraska during the time of the American pioneers. The words, by Jane… Continue reading

Book #271: A Boy and A Jaguar

An illustrated autobiography of a naturalist, A Boy and a Jaguar tells the story of a boy who is set apart from others because of a debilitating stutter. The book opens with the boy leaning toward his favorite animal, about to speak, but he… Continue reading

Book #270: Lion vs. Rabbit

Lion is a bully that must be stopped. He gives Buffalo a wedgie, he sticks silly notes on Zebra. He steals Hyena’s lunch monkey!  The animals are exasperated, so finally Baboon runs an ad offering a reward for anyone who can get Lion to… Continue reading

Book #269: Have You Seen My Dragon?

Just ink with a splash of color on each page, Have You Seen My Dragon is a counting book, a find-the-object-book, and a paean to Manhattan rolled all into one. Since the dragon is really not that hard to find, I figured the book… Continue reading

Book #268: An Egg is Quiet

Another book I forgot to mention this past Easter is An Egg is Quiet, written by Dianna Aston and illustrated by Sylvia Long. I tend to write largely about fictional or biographical picture books, so this is a nice break. An Egg is Quiet, published… Continue reading

Book #267: Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site

A crane truck and a cement mixer nod off and fall gently to sleep. Other heavy machinery, too. This one is a nice break from sleepy animals and babies, and somehow the rhyming narrative isn’t bothersome. He lowers his bed, locks his gate, Rests… Continue reading

Book #266: The Giant Carrot

Originally a Russian folktale called “The Turnip,” Jan Peck decided to rewrite the story in a southern vernacular and switch out the turnip for the “tasty, versatile carrot.”  What you get is a wonderful retelling of an old tale and a recipe for carrot pudding… Continue reading

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… Continue reading

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… Continue reading