Many mysterious creatures call the sea their home, including the Giant Spider Crab, the Angler fish, and the creepy Goblin Shark.
But there's only one in the ocean who can't seem to make friends. And that's the ENORMOUS, frightening KRAKEN!
Young children often inspire adults with their questions that make us think more deeply about the world and their clear-sighted and interesting interpretation of how and why things happen. The early years of a child’s life are not all about them inspiring us, though; it’s a two-way street, with adults inspiring children as much as they inspire us. The mind of a young child is fertile ground for ideas to take root, and books can be a great place to find new ideas that lead children to dream big.
It all begins in late winter when Matt finds a bubbling stream in an abandoned “pit” in the woods. From there, three friends, Matt, Pablo, and Katie, clear debris and build a dam, creating a large pond. Winter leads to spring, in which the children spend time building a boat to row on the pond. In summer, their lazy days are filled with climbing trees, discovering rocks, and enjoying the freedom of childhood. When winter rolls around again, the pond freezes over and all the neighborhood children have a place to skate. To read Pond, by Jim LaMarche, is to experience creativity, exploration, and the payoff of hard work. Each picture is a snapshot of the children enjoying nature through the seasons, all through the lens of the pond.
"ALWAYS follow the rules." How many times have you heard that command? Do you always follow them, or are you a risky rulebreaker?
In Mac Barnett's Rules of the House, Ian always follows the rules. "No shoes or food in the bedroom." "Dark and white clothing must be seperated." "Always pack a toothbrush!"
"Rules are meant to be followed," Ian likes to say.
April Pulley Sayre’s Best in Snow can be enjoyed by both younger and older children. The crisp, composed, and glowing photographs envelop readers and listeners very much as a nature walk in the snow would do. With only a word or a few to a page, listeners can be caught up in the Zen of a perfect wintry moment.
In this gift-giving season, I’m sure it is no surprise that my favorite gift to give is books. It gives me great pleasure to have a recipient come back to me later and say, “I loved that book!” Some of my friends and family receive books I know they want (a frequent request is for the next book in their favorite series), but the gifts I most enjoy giving are books they didn’t know about at all but that turn out to be perfect fits. Columns in the coming weeks will have lists of books published in the last year that I think would make great gifts for teens and elementary-aged children, but I’m starting this week with picture book suggestions for young children. Because these are newer books, published in 2016, I’m hoping they will help me accomplish that goal of giving gifts people didn’t even know they wanted.
"The cat walked through the world,
with its whiskers, ears and paws..."
When you see a cat, what do you see?
There are very few words in Joyce Sidman’s and Beth Krommes’ Before Morning, but more aren’t really needed. The story is simple, and the pictures work with the carefully chosen words to give all the emotional details about what is going on. A girl is sad one evening at bedtime because her mother, an airline pilot, is leaving very soon for work. While the rest of the family sleeps, a heavy snow blankets the town, making it so the planes are grounded. Mom comes home, and the family has a wonderful snow day together.
It is an uncomplicated plot, but there is much more to the story. The textured shapes of the scratchboard illustrations give a feeling of closeness and interconnectivity in each illustration. Before the snow, the people on the city sidewalks and on the streets in cars and on bikes are busy-busy. After the snowfall, everyone, including the squirrels in the trees, has slowed down and become playful as a holiday feeling settles over all.
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If you like books about space and the solar system, here are some titles that might appeal to you:
Cakes in Space by Philip Reeve
When ten-year-old Astra and her family move to a new planet, she must save the spaceship and its crew from man-eating cakes, aliens, and more. (catalog summary)
Dreambender by Ronald Kidd
Jeremy, a "dreambender," enters a dream of Callie, an unfulfilled "computer," and defies expectations and his assigned role to find her in reality so they can follow their own dreams. (catalog summary)