It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week. Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.
After an extremely busy and eventful week (some amazing events and a few not!) I am grateful I had the chance to take some time out to read some fantastic new picture books that I will be sharing with my students and staff in the coming weeks as we prepare for spring break and the last term of school.
Hi, Koo! A Year of Seasons – Jon Muth
What is not to love about this book? Jon Muth is one of my favorite writer/illustrators. I adore his soft watercolor pallet of colors and his gentle words. This latest book is a charming collection of haiku poems to celebrate the seasons. From careful observations of nature to insightful moments to nudge our thinking , I love every corner of this book. Delightful.
Maple – Lori Nichols
In another charming book about seasons, we meet Maple – a sweet girl who is has a special bond with her namesake tree that her parents planted when she was born. As Maple grows, the tree becomes an important part of her life and as she grows and changes through the seasons, so does her tree. And when a baby sister arrives and won’t stop crying, Maple takes her outside and introduces her to her tree. This is a wonderful book to celebrate a new baby. An impressive debut picture book!
A Book of Babies – Il Sung Na
I loved Il Sung Na’s book Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit so was excited to see this new picture book about baby animals. I am so drawn into his soft, charming illustrations and simple, poetic text. A baby duck takes the reader on a tour of different baby animals. I like how each animal is distinguished by one unique feature: father seahorse carry babies in their pouch, a baby zebra walks right away, baby fish are born with lots of brothers and sisters. This would be a wonderful share for kindergarten and grade one students.
Spring is Here – Heidi Pross Gray
While there are numerous books about spring, I love the way this one weaves together both nature and family time. The watercolor illustrations (have you inferred I am drawn to watercolor?) and rhythmic text creates a book that feels wholesome and excited about the coming of spring.
Poppleton in Spring – Cynthia Rylant
I have so many wonderful memories of dear Poppleton and his friends Cherry Sue, Filmore and the wonderful characters in these beginning chapter book series by the profound Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Marc Teague. Each book has three chapters – 3 short stories written featuring Poppleton the pig and his neighbours. Some are funny, others tender and thoughtful. In this book Poppleton does some spring cleaning, buys a new bike and stays up all night in a tent “noticing”. I have many fond memories of reading Poppleton stories to my boys when they were younger and continue to spread Poppleton joy to the children at my school. If you have never read a Poppleton story – I highly recommend it.
The Highest Number in the World – Ray MacGregor
I live in a household where hockey takes precedent over pretty much anything else! We were all up at four am to watch Canada play for gold at the Sochi games. The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier is one of my all time favorite picture books. There have been many hockey stories since but I have yet to find one that compares to it – until now. This book is a gem. It tells the story of a little girl who obsesses over the number 22 for her hockey jersey because it’s the number of her hockey hero, Hayley Wickenheiser. Unfortunately, her new hockey team gives her the number 9 instead. She hates the jersey and wants to quit. Enter her grandmother, who explains the important history of the number nine in hockey. This is so much more than a hockey story – and the relationship between the granddaughter and grandmother brought tears to my eyes. The illustrations are wonderful and full of detail – down to the NHL quilt set on her bed! Whether you love hockey or not, this is a wonderful story.
Going Place – Peter and Paul Reynolds
Peter H. Reynolds pairs up with his brother for a their first book together, filled with the same creative free-spirit theme of Reynolds’s other books. It’s time for the annual “Going Places” go-cart contest. Time to grab a kit, put together your go-cart and race to the finish line. Each child grabs a “go-cart kit” and puts together identical carts. Maya, however, decides to be creative and think outside the box, creating her own version and crossing the finish line in her own way. A perfect book for encouraging children to march to their own drum on their way to the finish line!
Say Hello Like This! – Mary Murphy
The Kindergarten teachers at my school do a farm unit in the spring so I was excited to find this new book by Mary Murphy for them to use! It is a wonderful, interactive book that will make a perfect read-aloud to introduce the different sounds that animals make. I love the funny adjectives Murphy uses in this book which is a follow up to her book A Kiss Like This! A wonderful book for younger students – prepare yourself for a noisy read-aloud!
Orangutangled – Sudipta Bordham-Quallen
This book is simply a fun, frolicky, read-aloud! Two hungry orangutans climb a tree for some mangoes and end up falling together in a sticky, goey mess. Other animals try to help but end up getting tangled up as well. The rhyming text works perfectly and I love the word play and the bright illustrations. Another great read-aloud choice for the younger folk!
Hokey Pokey – Jerry Spinelli
I am a big fan of Jerry Spinelli – Maniac Magee one of my favorite books to read to my class. This one took me a while to get into – I was very confused at first and had to go back and reread several sections. I was once again amazed at his ability to weave characters we can identify with so well into a completely imaginative setting. Hokey Pokey is an adult-less world of childhood and play – where kids play games, ride bikes, have adventures and follow the simple laws of the land. Jack, the main character, experiences his world turn upside down when his beloved bike is stolen by a girl. Without his bike, Jack feels lost and things start to go very wrong for him. This book is reminiscent of Peter Pan – a boy who is struggling in the place between childhood and adolescence. This story is unusual, it’s confusing in parts, and I’m still a little on the fence about it. But it is certainly a book that is lingering in my thinking – a place where many great books have taken up residence. I’d love to know what you think about it!
Bear – A Novel – Claire Cameron
This book is quite extraordinary. It is written in first person, present tense in the voice of a 5 year old girl. She and her brother are left alone to survive the elements after their parents are killed by a bear while out camping. I was riveted by this story – many reminders of the child’s voice in ROOM. I was also caught up by the emotional roller coaster of the story. The description of the bear attack in the first 40 pages was completely terrifying – I had to stop reading it a few times. While this book is considered an adult novel – I could really see it being read to a middle school class. It is a story of survival and courage and I loved every moment of it.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. What have you been reading lately?