* Summer Reading 2015 *
Every Hero has a Story
Starting to Grow
Reading List: Ages 0–4 years old
Summer Reading for other ages? Look right!
All selections and annotations by
WPL Librarian Anna L. Nielsen
Click on a book cover to reserve the book in CLAMS or
Click here for printable list
Coat, Janik. Hippopposites (2012) and Ryhmoceros (2015). NY: Abrams Appleseed. Growing up is hard to do, and Coat believes in helping us with the foundations. It’s all about perspective. How can we know what dark is if we don’t know what light is? How can we know what empty is if we don’t know what full is? French graphic designer Coat doesn’t stop there: she gives us visible and invisible, and free and caged. Her minimalist illustrations continue her philosophic inquiry in Rhymoceros, this time with a blue rhinoceros who knows stinky from inky and lemonade from shade. Coat knows connections are everywhere.
Ipcar, Dahlov. Dahlov Ipcar’s Farmyard Numbers. Yarmouth, ME: Islandport Press, 2014. Ipcar has been writing and illustrating since 1945 when she collaborated with Margaret Wise Brown on The Little Fisherman. She’s also been living and working on her farm for over seventy-five years. 98 now, she’s still making books, showing us how she lives on her terms, and teaching us how to count. We all have to start somewhere.
Franceschelli, Christoper; illus. Peskimo. Countablock. NY: Abrams Appleseed, 2014. Franceschelli and Peskimo are a perfect team. They teach us to count while showing us what change is, too, with muted, cut-out illustrations reminiscent of retro animation. To paraphrase Tennessee Williams, “to live is to change, to change is to live.” One acorn becomes on oak tree, two snowmen become two puddles, three boxes become three forts, etc. Check out Alphablock (2013) in which each page is cut into the shape of each letter and Dinoblock (2015), too, in which UK husband-and-wife illustration team Peskimo show us in fold-out pages what Brooklyn writer Franceschelli means - that a Brachiosaurus stretches like we do up high on a ladder and an Argentinosauras is heavy like three full cement trucks. Excellent concept entertainment.
Guettier, Benedicte. I Am the Wolf… And Here I Come. Wellington, NZ: Gecko Press, 2015. French import. We really do all have to start somewhere, and with this dashing wolf, it’s with getting dressed. He’s got big bright yellow eyes and a grinning mouth full of big, big teeth and he introduces himself with a super big, “Hello!” And then step one: “I am putting on my underpants.” And he does - great big underpants with lovely little pink hearts. This simple concept French import is full of humor and makes getting dressed fun, even up to the feathered cap.
Samoun, Abigail; illus. Sarah Watts. How Tiger Says Thank You! and How Penguin Says Please! NY: Sterling Children’s Books, 2015. Add these to Samoun’s first titles in her Adventure in Eight Language series, How Gator Says Goodbye! (2014) and How Hippo Says Hello! (2014) and young readers will learn to take on the world by civilized storm. And given the temptation of tantrums, for all ages, this is heroic stuff, indeed.
Thiele, Bob; illus. Tim Hopgood. What a Wonderful World. NY: Henry Holt & Company, 2015. What better way to start a day of reading than with a board book based on the famous tune sung by Louis Armstrong? The trees of green are a bright, bright green; the colors of the rainbow are so pretty in the sky; and the world is truly wonderful. Treat it as a bedtime read, and end the day singing.
Gavin, Ciara. Room for Bear. NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2015. Bear and the ducks lived together, happily, except they didn’t quite all fit, exactly, in the same place. So they looked for a place that would work for the big bear and the tiny ducks, except nothing quite fit. So they decide to live separately, except that’s definitely no good. With quick sentences that logically propel the narrative and sympathetic watercolor and pencil illustrations, Gavin tells a story of different kinds making a family and a home, together. Lovely.
Hatanaka, Kellen. Work: An Occupational ABC (2014) and Drive: A Look at Roadside Opposites (2015), Berkely, CA: House of Anansi Press, Groundwood Books. Digital illustrations with hand-drawn patterns and textures and sepia tones show perspectives we all need to grow. Worm’s-eye view and bird’s-eye view in Drive, in the middle of a long journey of a packed station wagon through near and far and long and short. In Work there’s a bit more whimsy – a roly-poly butcher chases sausage-stealing raccoons for the letter B, and more disrupting of prescribed gender and cultural roles – a woman is a K-9 Office for K and another woman is a Naval Architect for N and still another an Oceanographer for O. It’s never too late to start dreaming and working towards who and what we get to decide to be.
Konnecke, Ole. You Can Do It, Bert! Wellington, NZ: Gecko Press Ltd, 2014. Bert is a bird. A tiny orange bird with a pretty big slightly-less-orange beak. He is balancing on a branch. “It’s his big day.” He goes forward, he goes back, he stops for a snack. “Come on, Bert. Bert? BERT!” the minimalist illustrations stick to one bird on one branch on cream- colored pages that create wide expanses of encouraging possibility. Can he do it? Yes!
Miyares, Daniel. Float. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2015. A young boy on a grey day folds a newspaper into a boat, puts on his yellow raincoat, lifts his face high to the raining sky, and ventures forth until he finds a puddle in which to float his boat. And what a puddle! It goes and goes, through the neighborhood and across the street, down the drain to the stream below – swoosh! Miyares’ illustrations give expression and narrative to this wordless picture book in tones that range through the emotions of a day at play, and the next sunny morning, too.
Morstad, Julie. How To. Vancouver, BC, CAN: Simply Read Books, 2013. Tall white pages provide the backdrop and space for delicately drawn figures carefully colored in to simply express learning how to do one thing at a time. “How to go slow” is lying in the grass and reading with butterflies. “How to see the wind” is children flying balloons and kites in an endless field. Minimalist and meaningful. Take a breath and read, nice and slow.
Van, Muon; illus. April Chu. In a Village by the Sea. Berkeley, CA: Creston Books, 2015. This circular, rhyming tale tells the story of a family in a small house by the sea thinking of the fisherman father, and the fisherman father fishing and thinking of a small house by the sea and a family inside. The illustrations are warm and detailed, textured to recall woodblock prints and to provide the color and expression of the warmth of home and the vibrancy of the sea and shore. Beautiful and lyrical.
Zolotow, Charlotte; illus. Tiphanie Beeke. Changes: A Child’s First Poetry Collection. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2015. Charlotte Zolotow was the author of more than ninety books for children, including two Caldecott honors and the groundbreaking William’s Doll (illus. William Pene Du Bois, NY: Harper & Row, 1972). She was also one of the most important editor-publishers in children’s and teen literature for over four decades. She would have turned 100 this year, and so her daughter shares this, Zolotow’s first published collection of poetry. Enjoy.