Friday, April 22, 2016

The Well Read Guess (Week 7)

Each week I'll post quotes from 2 picture books - a new(er) picture book and a classic picture book. Be the first to identify a quote, and earn an entry into the current monthly giveaway! Identify both the book and the author for a quote, and you'll get two entries. Identify both for both quotes, get four entries. 

Want a shot every week? Sign up to follow me to be alerted to new posts via email on the sidebar!

Quote #1 (Brand-Spankin'-New-Book): Teeny, Tiny Toady by Jill Esbaum
"Teeny tried to keep from crying as she scrabbled up the road, 
wishing she could be a bigger, stronger, hero kind of toad."


Quote #2 (Classic Book): Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss!
"Let's have a little talk about tweetle beetles..."


Monthly Giveaway: Winner's Choice! 

The winner of this month's giveaway can choose any one (1) of the books previously reviewed or quoted in the Well Read Guess!
 
Stumped? Check out Facebook and Twitter for clues.

Good luck and happy reading!

Rules Governing Sweepstakes



Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Well Read Review: Arctic White

Arctic White
Danna Smith (Author), Lee White (Illustrator)
Henry Hold and Company, LLC
IndieBound
BookPeople


The day I purchased this book at the bookstore, I sat and read thirty or forty recently published picture books. I only bought one: Arctic White by Danna Smith (and three or four chapter books, and a couple of novels, and a board game, and...#bookstoreproblems).

Arctic White tells the tale of a little girl who hopes and waits for something more than white in all of the white of the Arctic, until the day her grandfather takes her on a journey to view the Northern Lights.

Like several of the books I've recently reviewed, the text is spare. In this story however, the spare text helps to emphasize the seeming lack of depth in the Arctic tundra in winter, where "everything is a shade of white" and "winter days are dark as night." Yet even with so few words, Danna Smith manages to imbue the text with subtle glances into deeper subjects, and reminds us that nature is never really lacking.

She neatly juxtaposes the warmth the little girl feels for her grandfather with the cold that "always finds a way to sneak inside your warmest parka." She reminds us of the hope the little girl feels, on the longest journey where "even footprints are white in the Arctic" through her grandfather's glowing lantern. Smith ties the wondrous beauty of nature and the Northern Lights back to the little girl's love of her grandfather, as the Northern Lights not only remind her to welcome the dark but also help her see "the twinkle in his eye." And since the little girl has an artist's eye for color (the blue-white versus the yellow-white versus the silver-white), of course she remembers the beauty through art.

Several reviews of this book mention that there isn't enough (or any) space given to setting or culture. While this is true, I don't feel that the story really needs it. There is always pressure to put more into our stories, to make them more useful for school readings and to teach children about the world. But there is so much more to teaching children than teaching history and place. There is hope, patience, trust, family, wonder, nature, art...and these are the lessons that Danna Smith teaches beautifully. 

What did you think about Arctic White? Would you recommend it?

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Friday, April 15, 2016

The Well Read Guess (Week 6)

Each week I'll post quotes from 2 picture books - a new(er) picture book and a classic picture book. Be the first to identify a quote, and earn an entry into the current monthly giveaway! Identify both the book and the author for a quote, and you'll get two entries. Identify both for both quotes, get four entries. I'll review the Brand-Spankin'-New-Book on Tuesday!

Want a shot every week? Sign up to follow me to be alerted to new posts via email on the sidebar!

Quote #1 (Brand-Spankin'-New-Book): ARCTIC WHITE by Danna Smith
"Every day you hope for more color. Grandfather says hope is golden. You can only see it when you look into a snowy owl's eyes."

Quote #2 (Classic Book): FREDERICK by Leo Lionni
"'Who scatter snowflakes? Who melts the ice? / Who spoils the weather? Who makes it nice? / Who grows the four-leaf clovers in June? / Who dims the daylight? Who lights the moon?..."

Want to play along, but this week's quotes were already identified? Check back every FRIDAY for new quotes, or sign up to follow me by email to be automatically notified!

Monthly Giveaway: Winner's Choice! 

The winner of this month's giveaway can choose any one (1) of the books previously reviewed or quoted in the Well Read Guess!
 
Stumped? Check out Facebook and Twitter for clues.

Good luck and happy reading!

Rules Governing Sweepstakes



 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

It's National Bookmobile Day (plus a giveaway)!



Happy National Bookmobile Day!

National Bookmobile Day "celebrates our nation’s bookmobiles and the dedicated library professionals who provide this valuable and essential service to their communities every day. National Bookmobile Day is an opportunity for bookmobiles fans to make their support known—through thanking bookmobile staff, writing a letter or e-mail to their libraries, or voicing their support to community leaders."

Have you ever visited a bookmobile? 

To celebrate National Bookmobile Day, I'll be giving away a copy of Judy Sierra's Wild About Books, a fun picture book about the shenanigans that occur when librarian Molly McGrew accidentally drives her bookmobile into the zoo!

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post by midnight (CDT) tomorrow, Thursday, April 14! I'd love to hear if you've ever visited a bookmobile! Congratulations, Gabrielle S! You've won a copy of Wild About Books!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Well Read Review: When Green Becomes Tomatoes

When Green Becomes Tomatoes
Julie Fogliano (Author), Julie Morstad (Illustrator)
A Neal Porter Book/Roaring Brook Press
IndieBound
BookPeople


If I am being honest, I often wonder if I even like poetry. I took several poetry courses in college. I subscribe to the Poetry Foundation's Poetry magazine. I even write poetry. But I often find myself lost in the meter, the non-meter, the superfluous words, the lack of words, the form, the lack of form, and so on and so forth. And, if I am being really honest, a too-high percentage of the time I find myself wondering how a particular piece ended up published.

But when I read the poetry in When Green Becomes Tomatoes, I consistently felt myself thinking about Julie Fogliano's ability to say such beautiful things in so few words, wishing I had been able to write something so beautiful, so eloquent, and finding myself inspired to write more poetry. While these are poems intended for children, they are in no way unsophisticated.  This is what poetry should be, and I am delighted that these poems will be some of my daughter's first exposure to poetry.
 
The book is divided into seasons, with each poem titled by a simple date. The first time we read it, I told my daughter to pick a season. I planned to just read one season, and leave the others for the next time we read (we had a stack of 4 other books to read, as well). She picked Spring (no big surprise, for my garden loving daughter). We read, and read, and read...until I realized we had read Spring, Summer and most of Fall. We got so caught up in the words, so immersed in the seasons, that the end of the season on the page didn't bring about a natural ending point. The end of the season just swept us right into the next season, subtly, with a quiet nod. Just like in real life.

A few of our favorites: 
"If you could take a bite / out of the middle of this morning / it would be sweet / and dripping / like peaches" (excerpt from "august 30")

"and even the birds / and all their singing / sounded brokenhearted / inside of all that gray" (excerpt from "april 3")

"a star is someone else's sun / more flicker glow than blinding / a speck of light too far for bright / and too small to make a morning" ("september 10")

Thank you, Julie Fogliano. Hat's off to you.

Have you read When Green Becomes Tomatoes? Which poem is your favorite? And since I am feeling inspired, don't forget the 3 Word Challenge: send me any three (clean) words, and I'll write you a poem or short story!




Monday, April 11, 2016

Happy Birthday, Beverly Cleary!

Tomorrow (April 12) is Beverly Cleary's 100th birthday!

Happy Birthday, Ms. Cleary!

In those years, more than 91 million copies of her books have been sold and she has written almost a book a year for 50 years!

Tomorrow is also D.E.A.R. Day ("Drop Everything and Read" Day)!


The concept of "Drop Everything and Read" is referenced in the second chapter of Ramona Quimby, Age 8, and Ramona is the campaign spokesperson. The aim of this nationwide initiative is to encourage families to designate a special time to "drop everything and read" at home. So, on April 12, families will be encouraged to take at least 30 minutes to put aside all distractions and enjoy books together.(http://www.readingrockets.org/calendar/dear#clearyinterview)

In honor of Ramona Quimby, D.E.A.R, and of course, Ms. Cleary's 100TH BIRTHDAY (!), I'll be giving away a copy of Ramona Quimby, Age 8 to one lucky winner! To enter, simply leave me a comment on this post by midnight (CDT) Tuesday night (4.12.16)! Congratulations to Candy W.! You've won a copy of Ramona Quimby, Age 8!

So, tomorrow, "don't eat a reader!"...drop everything and read (after you enter of course)!

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Well Read Guess (Week 5)

Each week I'll post quotes from 2 picture books - a new(er) picture book and a classic picture book. Be the first to identify a quote, and earn an entry into the current monthly giveaway! Identify both the book and the author for a quote, and you'll get two entries. Identify both for both quotes, get four entries. I'll review the Brand-Spankin'-New-Book on Tuesday!

Want a shot every week? Sign up to follow me to be alerted to new posts via email on the sidebar!


Both quotes have been identified! Check out a review of When Green Becomes Tomatoes under REVIEWS on Tuesday, April 12 and check back Friday, April 15 for a new Well Read Guess challenge!

Quote #1 (Brand-Spankin'-New-Book): When Green Becomes Tomatoes by Julie Fogliano (selected poem "april 3")

...
and even the birds
and all their singing
sounded brokenhearted
inside of all that gray

Quote #2 (Classic Book): Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein (selected poem "Lester")
...
And they counted the lot and found that not
a single one was missing.
All shiny and new--here take a few
And think of Lester as you do.
In a world of apples and kisses and shoes
He wasted his wishes on wishing.


Y'ALL! IT'S THE LAST WELL READ GUESS BEFORE THIS GIVEAWAY ENDS! 
Monthly Giveaway: $25 BookPeople Gift Card
Congratulations to Meghan D.! Meghan is this month's giveaway winner! Runner up Lindsey Q. won a copy of her next-to-be-read book (as posted on Facebook)! 
 
Stumped? Check out Facebook and Twitter for clues.

Good luck and happy reading!

Rules Governing Sweepstakes

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Even MORE Story Theater for Kiddos!

Last month I posted about several great performances in the Austin area based on children's literature. This month there are even more! Go check one (or all!) of them out!

Saturdays and Sundays, February 19, 2016 – April 10, 2016
TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE FOR SATURDAY AND SUNDAY!
Select Saturdays: 11 AM and 2 PM, Select Sundays: 2 PM
This show is for children ages 5 and up.

The Long Center Presents: Where the Wild Things Are
Wednesday, April 13 - Sunday, April 17, 2016
Wed, Thurs: 11 AM & 4 PM, Fri: 4 & 7 PM,
Sat: 10 AM, 1 & 4 PM, Sun: 1&4 PM
This show is BEST for ages 4-7.
February 15, 2016 – April 30, 2016
Performances at various times
This show is recommended for children ages 4 and up. 

ZACH Theater Presents: Alice in Wonderland
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, March 4, 2016 – May 15, 2016
Select Fridays: 6:30 PM; 
Select Saturdays and Sundays: 11 AM and 2 PM
This show is for children ages 5 and up.


Bonus Performances!

Pollyanna Theatre Company Presents: Jamie Doesn't Want to Take a Bath
(not based on kid's lit, but a fantastic intro to theater for littles!)
April 7, 2016 - April 9, 2016
Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 9:30 AM and 11 AM
Best for children 2 - 4 


Austin City Ballet Presents: Peter Pan
(Austin City Ballet specializes in performances for children, by children. 
Peter Pan was first mentioned in an adult novel, before appearing as the main character in a play, and finally appearing in Peter and Wendy, a novel expanding the play, in 1911.)
April 16, 2016 - April 17, 2016
1:30 PM and 4 PM


Austin Scottish Rite Theater Presents: The Town Musicians of Mumbai 
(A Bollywood adaptation of the Grimm tale, the "Town Musicians of Bremen")
April 2, 2016 - May 1, 2016
Saturdays and Sundays, 11 AM and 1 PM

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Well Read Review: Hoot and Peep

Hoot and Peep
Lita Judge (Author/Illustrator)
Dial Books for Young Readers
Lita Judge's Shop - SIGNED (Also, AMAZING artwork)
IndieBound
BookPeople


Oh, Lita.
Lita, Lita, Lita. 
You had me at Flight School. And Red Hat. And Red Sled. And...now this? Adorable, poetic, delightful.

Little Peep sees and hears beauty, mystery and magic everywhere. Despite older brother Hoot's well-intended efforts to impart all of his owly wisdom upon her ("Hooo is the only way to say EVERYTHING!"), Peep knows that an owl's song can't pay homage to this magic with a simple Hooo. It requires a schweeep...and a coo...and a dingity dong.

Judge personifies animals in ways that allow all of the mystery and beauty of the animal to be retained - allowing readers to learn a lesson while still remembering that these are animals with their own sets of rules, desires and intentions. We follow Hoot and Peep into the lessons that older siblings don't always know everything, that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and that sometimes by doing only what is expected we lose out on beauty. And magic. And creation. Yet even as Judge delivers all of this wisdom, Hoot and Peep are still allowed to be just owls, doing what owls do - flying through the city, hanging out on rooftops and singing owly songs.

I could go on and on about Judge's artwork. But I think I'll stick with this: Hoot and Peep is an illustrated reminder to find the beauty in nature, in the city and in life itself.

My only criticism - it ends a little abruptly. I would have loved a few more schweepty peeps, and in all honesty, I would have liked to see Hoot's way of singing ("Hooo") a little more incorporated into the final duet...a schweeepty peep hooo-whoo dingity dong bong. And whether or not it is printed on the page, my reading of it will probably always end with my own version of an owly duet...

Have you read Hoot and Peep? Did you love it?


Friday, April 1, 2016

The Well Read Guess (Week 4)

Each week I'll post quotes from 2 picture books - a new(er) picture book and a classic picture book. Be the first to identify a quote, and earn an entry into the current monthly giveaway! Identify both the book and the author for a quote, and you'll get two entries. Identify both for both quotes, get four entries. I'll review the Brand-Spankin'-New-Book on Tuesday!

Want a shot every week? Sign up to follow me to be alerted to new posts via email! Check out Facebook and Twitter for clues.

(Monthly Giveaway: $25 BookPeople Gift Card)

Quote #1 (Brand-Spankin'-New-Book): HOOT AND PEEP by Lita Judge

"Soon the night wind rang with songs of joy and love and magic things."

Quote #2 (Classic Book): A BABY SISTER FOR FRANCES by Russell Hoban
"'Where are you running away to?' said Father. 
'I think under the dining-room table is the best place,'...'It's cozy, and the kitchen is near if I run out of cookies.'"

Good luck and happy reading!

Rules Governing Sweepstakes