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
A trip to my favorite children’s bookstore this week, Vancouver Kidsbooks, resulted in the discovery a few new treasures that I’m excited to share with you!
Elizabeth – Queen of the Sea – Lynne Cox
This is the amazing true story of Elizabeth, an elephant seal, who decides she wants to live in the warm Avon River near the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. At first, it is delightful novelty to have a seal living in the river, especially when she takes to sun bathing in the middle of the flat, warm road! But with the dangers of passing cars, the people decide to keep her safe and Elizabeth is towed out to sea. But somehow, Elizabeth makes her way back to the river. Each time she is carried farther and farther away, she comes back. (making a connection to “The Cat Came Back” song right about now!) The soft pen and ink watercolor illustrations by Brian Floca are lovely and the writing includes wonderful imagery that I would certainly use as an anchor book for writing: “Moving up the soft shore like a giant inchworm” (can you say simile?) I loved how there was factual information about elephant seals gently woven into the text. Background information and a photo of the “real Elizabeth” at the back of the book. A delightful book!
The Change Your Name Store – Leanne Shirtliffe
Themes of respecting differences, global awareness, multiculturalism along a great spunky character make this book a must read for all primary teachers! Wilma Lee Wu does not like her name. So she marches into the Change Your Name Store where she meets the outrageous owner Zeena McFouz. Zeena soon convinces Wilma to try on new names in the magical store. Each time Wilma selects a new name, she is transported to the country from which the name originates. Isn’t that the greatest premise for a picture book? (I wish I had thought of it!) The illustrations are delightful and the text is written in simple rhyme. A GREAT read aloud, perfect for making connections to names, a link to social studies (I am already planning a lesson to plot Wilma’s journey on a world map with my students!) and wonderful addition to your multicultural collection!
Picnic – John Burningham
I am a John Burningham fan. I love his simple, sparse text and his pen and ink watercolor illustrations. In this latest book, a boy and girl prepare for a picnic. On their way to find their picnic spot, they meet various animals and invite them to join the picnic. A uninvited bull interrupts and disrupts their picnic and there is a bit of a chase scene! Eventually, exhausted, they go home to bed! As the story unfolds, the reader is asked to spot lost items on the page. The items are easy to find but add an interactive feature for younger readers. Classic Burningham!
The Lion and the Bird – Marianne Dubuc
Sigh. This is a beautiful, sweet and moving story. A lion finds a wounded bird and brings it home to care for it. When spring comes, the bird flies away to join his flock. Lion is lost. Bird returns to spend winter with lion. Sigh again. This book is a treasure. It is a story of friendship told in a very honest and simple way. I loved the sparse text (one sentence per page) that leaves room for a lot of thinking. I loved the illustrations and the sweetness of the friendship that develops between these two unlikely creatures. I felt a quiet calmness when I finished. I wanted to hug it. (I think I did)
Pom and Pim – Lena and Olof Landstroem
OK – I’m a sucker for a cute cover – and this one definitely meets my criteria for cuteness! The story reminded me a lot of Michael Foreman’s”Fortunately – Unfortunately”. Pom finds some money and buys an ice cream (that’s good) but eats too much and gets a tummy ache (that’s bad). There is very little text and the illustrations are quite unique – lots of white space so you can focus on the action and Pom’s delightful expressions on each page. This would be a great anchor book to read to an early primary class and then have them create their own mini version of the “That’s good – That’s bad” pattern. This book is translated from Swedish – and I wish they had included a translation of exactly what type of toy Pim is! A cute blob with arms and legs and I want one!
Thanks for stopping by! I’d love to know which book caught your eye!