Tuesday, March 04, 2014



My Teacher is a Monster!  (No, I Am Not.) by Peter Brown.  A boy with a penchant for irritating his teacher encounters her outside of school and finds her to be an entirely different creature.  Brown's pictures are funny and Ms. Kirby's illustrated metamorphosis into a human being is gradual and pretty darn great.  This book, despite it's laughs, has an unexpected depth and speaks volumes about teacher/student relationships; the only disappointment is that when Robert regresses into his bad behavior back in the classroom at the end of the book, Ms. Kirby is depicted as the monster instead of Bobby. 
Link for information; please support your local independent bookseller.  

Friday, February 28, 2014


Sun's a roaring dandelion, hour by hour.
Sometimes the moon's a scythe, sometimes a silver flower.
But the stars!  all night long the stars are clover.
Over, and over, and over!
- Robert Wallace, "In the Field Forever"
What greater gift on the bookshelf than a perfect anthology of poems?  This lovely, over-sized tome of thirty six well-chosen treasures takes us through the wheel of the year with evocative and colorful full-edge mixed media. The only complaint might be wishing the "very short" ride would never end, but open it back up, and the seasons begin again.   A book that would be relished as a gift, and a lyrical read-aloud treat for teachers as well.
Link for information; please support your local independent bookseller.  

Friday, February 21, 2014



Aviary Wonders, Inc.:  Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual by Kate Samworth. 
Extremely creative and extraordinarily gorgeous build-your-own-bird guide that painlessly introduces children to high-level science vocabulary and explores biology part by beautiful painted part, while quirky Q&A and assembly instructions also introduce readers to wonderful expository writing.   Teachers, this is an out-of-the-box mentor text, as children will enjoy creating their own catalogs and order forms for creatures that inspire them.  Imagination takes flight.
Link for information; please support your local independent bookseller.  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014



Brother Hugo and the Bear by Katy Beebe, illustrated by S.D. Schindler.  Based on a real note found in a 12th century manuscript, a monk loses a library book when it is eaten by a bear, and makes penance by recreating the manuscript page by painstaking page.  But will the bear be waiting for another course?  An exciting read-aloud that teaches the process of how books used to be made, you don't have to be a bruin to find this book delicious.  I only wish the publisher had invested in a little illumination...ah, well, nothing a gold marker can't fix.
Link for information; please support your local independent bookseller.  

Thursday, February 06, 2014



Help!  We Need a Title!  by Henré Tullet.  Nothing's betta than a little meta.  An author climbs inside his own story to make peace with his characters and give them something exciting to do.  While this character-in-a-book awareness stunt has been done in various iterations in children's literature before (Henrik Drescher's unfairly out-of-print Simon's Book being one example, Mo Willems' We Are In a Book! and Mordecai Gerstein's A Book more recent explorations on the theme)  and my favorite writing-process-book-for-kids remains Mary Jane Auch's The Plot Chickens, naturally the author of Press Here has his own fun and cunning spin on things; expressive photos of the author himself pasted inside the book makes this a little fresh and lively lines are kid-friendly and worth a look.  
Link for information; please support your local independent bookseller.  

Saturday, February 01, 2014



Food Trucks by Mark Todd.  Each double-paged spread features a chummy vehicle, a poem and fun facts to fit every taste:  breakfast , burger, barbecue, falafel, salad, grilled cheese, cupcakes, sushi, curries, taco, pretzel, waffle, and, of course, ice cream.  While this title's content travels a bit all over the place with verse on one side and surprising non-fiction samples on the other, it offers an appetizing opportunity for children not only to choose a favorite but to design their own truck celebrating whatever culture and culinary tradition honks their horn.
Link for information; please support your local independent bookseller.

Monday, January 13, 2014



Secret Pizza Party by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri. Silly raccoon! Pizza's for kids! Can't blame a guy for trying, though. Count on this author to make us laugh out loud. Recommended by The PlanetEsme Plan.  Link for information; please support your local independent bookseller.  


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