Two Books of the Week:
Click on a cover to request
Tried and True
Escoffier, Michael; illus. Kris Di Giacomo. Take Away the A. NY: Enchanted Lion Books, 2014. Ingenious idea: give a word for each letter and take the letter away to learn a new word and a new letter – such as, “Without the A the Beast is the Best” and “Without the L Plants wear Pants.” Each word pair makes an association silly and clever, accompanied by illustrations of animals engaging in mischief. Watch for the amorous ants and the sauntering seven. Glorious. To the alphabet!
The Best of What's New
Paul, Alison; Barbara Lehman. The Plan. Boston & NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015. There’s nothing better than playing with letters, and Paul starts right where Escoffier left off. She starts with one word, “plan,” and switching letters in and out, moves through words and plots the adventures of a girl and her dog and her Dad, from “plane” to “planet” and “post” and “paint” and again. The girl wants to fly, and Lehman’s watercolor, gouache, and ink illustrations are in on it, simply stepping along to each word, helping to tell the whole story. “Plan!”
For more fun with letters and words and the art of constructing one into the other, read Harriet Ziefert’s Flip-a-Word series, especially Crab Cab (Maplewood NJ: Blue Apple Books, 2014). And then look up and see local fisherman and artist Myron Taylor’s painting of crabs driving in cabs, generously gifted to the library. In this case, words can barely cover the pleasure, no matter how many letters. Thank you, Myron!
Two Books of the Week-
(click on a cover to request)
In honor of Wellfleet Elementary School’s “One Book, One School, ” program – this year reading the 2013 Newbery Award winner The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate - this week I am thinking about all things gorilla. There can never be enough gorillas, just like there can never be enough really good children’s books. Thankfully, there are also some extremely talented and hardworking children’s literature artists and writers who feel the same way.
Here's two Tried and True
Browne, Anthony. Gorilla. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, 2002 (1983).
Browne was the Children’s Laureate of the United Kingdom from 2009 – 2001. Author and illustrator of over 40 books, gorillas are a frequent subject. “I am fascinated by them [gorillas] and the contrast they represent – their huge strength and gentleness. They're thought of as being very fierce creatures and they're not.” His watercolors are realistic in detail with a touch of the surreal. In Gorilla he tells the story of young girl Hannah who “loves gorillas” but has never seen a real one because her father “didn’t have time for anything.” Browne’s slashes and tightly scribbled shapes and crosshatches of grey show her loneliness and depression, until she receives a toy gorilla the night before her birthday, and the colors turn to broad portraits of various shades of banana. As it’s not a real gorilla, she initially throws him off her giant bed and goes back to sleep. But then, “In the night something amazing happened.” And in the morning, something even better. Be sure to also read Voices in the Park (1998), Little Beauty (2008), and One Gorilla: A Counting Book (2012), all published by Candlewick Press.
Rathman, Peggy. Good Night, Gorilla. NY: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1994.
Though Rathman didn’t win the Caldecott Medal until 1996 for Officer Buckle and Gloria, it is this almost wordless gorilla tale that has many of us coming back again and again. It’s bedtime at the zoo, and the zookeeper visits each animal, saying “good night.” Except mischievous little gorilla is following with the keys and letting each animal out to follow the zookeeper home and say tuck in there. Fortunately or unfortunately the zookeeper’s wife is paying attention and walks them all back, wearing her nightgown and matching nightcap and slippers and holding little gorilla’s hand. The illustrations are affectionate and clever, resembling cartoons that come with a sly and silly and giggly wink. Good night, gorilla!
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