It is almost officially my favorite time of year. This past weekend marked the beginning of the American football season and the weather here in NYC was well-suited as it has finally started to feel like fall with its crispy wind and crackling leaves. It is time to fluff the light sweaters and patterned tights, open the windows, and dream of all the pumpkin and apple-flavored things we can make. And what better way to greet the coming of autumn, officially next week, than with a marvelously fall-themed book. This one is packed with fall, from its color palette to its title. Please enjoy Fall Ball by Peter McCarty, 2013.Continue reading “Book Review: Fall Ball By Peter McCarty”
Two years ago, while I was acting as a judge for the Cybils and reading even more books than normal in a given year, I noted the inordinate amount of wordless picture books that had come out in 2013. It even turned out to be the Caldecott year for wordless picture books as the 2014 honor awards went to three wordless picture books: Journey, Flora and the Flamingo, and Mr. Wuffles!. It was an unheard-of year for wordless picture books. I even frequently refer to 2013 as “The year of the wordless picture book.” Clever, no?
I’ve discussed wordless books occasionally, the most important for me being South by Patrick McDonnell; but I tend to avoid discussing them as they are intimidating as a reader, and especially as an illustrator. They can be lovely and they can also be frustrating. The tendency to just barrel through each page and not pause too long is even greater because there are no words to guide you. They can be delightful to savor by yourself, but groan-inducing when brought to you by a child with full expectation of you putting on a great ad lib read.
But, a well-executed wordless picture book has gone beyond creating lovely pictures and has buried a story so deep that words cannot express it. The illustrations must do double-duty. They must draw you in, yes with their actual drawn nature; but also with their ability to tell the story with every detail, every expression, every movement and page turn.
I do not have what I would consider the ultimate grasp on how to read a wordless picture book, but I thought I would share a few pointers I have gleaned to help make them less intimidating and perhaps invite you to experience them more fully. I plan on sharing a wordless picture book review every Wednesday for a while, and so I hope this serves as an intro on how to approach all the amazing picture books that come out “quietly.” I took a ton of pictures from the cast of 2013 wordless picture books, so I am going to illustrate my reading tips using those books. Taking a cue from 6 of the stellar wordless books from 2013, here are my 5 tips to reading a wordless picture book:Continue reading “How To Read A Wordless Book”
April is a crazy fun birthday month for us nowadays. Both my daughters were born in April so this month has proven to be particularly festive. What a perfect occasion for a book grouping and I am particularly fond of these three. The first is newer and by a current illustrator obsession of mine, the second is one of our oldest’s very favorite books and was also one of my husband’s favorite childhood books, and the third was one of my favorite childhood books. I love when books stay around like that. We tend to think books are a part of our lives, but sometimes, we are just a part of theirs!
Come join the party and read three books celebrating birthdays!Continue reading “Let’s Read Three: Birthday Books!”
Welcome to Part 2 of my crazy dragon piles of books. If you missed Part 1, check it out for information on the chapter book we read, My Father’s Dragon, and all the crafts we ended up making with my South Bronx storytime group.
As promised, here is the rest of the pile of dragon books we ended up loving. It is quite a varied assortment, my only criteria being that there must be a dragon in it in some way. Themes work best when there is great variety among the books instead of feeling that they drag out. I’m going to do my old, big lists thing and just give one picture and a brief statement about each. So let’s read some dragon books!Continue reading “Let’s Read A Pile Of Dragon Books, Part 2”
The long, cold winter days are starting to wear thin around here. Now is when I start grabbing for books that ask more from the reader. I’m calling this grouping “Search Books,” but perhaps that title is a bit lacking still. Each of these are descended in some form from the Where’s Waldo genre of books; but I love these more because they carry a solid storyline as well. You don’t have to search when you read them, but they are exponentially more fun if you do. Grab your magnifying glasses and let’s read three books that make you search!Continue reading “Let’s Read Three: Search Books!”
Happy New Year friends! It is that time of year where everyone seems to have some kind of refresh on their mind. Be it resolutions, lists, a determined thought – the new year tends to give us some extra gusto to do something. With these new resolves in mind, I think this set of three is perfect to encourage and motivate on whatever project you long to create.
I toyed with calling these “Perseverance Books,” but it sounded too cheesy. I also realized that adults don’t really talk about “inventing” things, unless that is their actual occupation. Children’s books are full of inventors and inventions of all sorts. I think we need to get back to believing we can create a solution to something, no matter our age. So, let’s read three books celebrating the failures and surprising successes of inventing!Continue reading “Let’s Read Three: Inventing Books!”