Posts Tagged ‘picture books’


Storytime Recap: Royal Wedding Celebration

by Anne Wilmoth on May 23rd, 2018

Children’s storytimes over the weekend and early this week were designed to celebrate the wedding of Prince Harry and Miss Meghan Markle on May 19 in Windsor, with books, songs and rhymes focused on princes and princesses, British culture, and fairy tales.

We read the Robert Munsch classic The Paper Bag Princess, in which a princess saves her prince from a dragon, only to be rejected by him for not looking princess-like enough, prompting her to call him a “bum” and happily skip off into the sunset alone. Children also enjoyed hearing The Queen’s Handbag by Steve Antony, in which the Queen chases a swan who has made off with her handbag around the United Kingdom, stopping in at such vaunted British landmarks as Stonehenge, Oxford, and Edinburgh Castle.

We sang songs that allowed us to practice bowing and curtsying like princes and princesses; recited Mother Goose rhymes about serving and drinking tea; marched like the Grand Old Duke of York; tapped our boots like knights; made hats out of scarves; and had some color identification and math practice with flannel stories about a rainbow of sparkly crowns and a troupe of multicolored dragons.

The British library recently put two medieval manuscripts on display that feature stunning images – gold and ermine, gifts and feasting – of royal weddings of the past. Take a look and compare royal weddings then and now. Also, in case you missed it, enjoy the best candid photos of the recent royal wedding published by Harper’s Bazaar and view the official photographs shared by CNN.

Storytime Recap: Intergenerational Storytime at Emerson Point Assisted Living

by Anne Wilmoth on May 4th, 2018

In honor of National Children’s Book Week, a special storytime was held this week at Emerson Point Assisted Living.

Children of all ages came with their parents and arrayed themselves on the floor in the activities room. Behind them, care facility residents sat in a large half-circle of chairs.

We started with books, songs, and rhymes, focusing on classics that all ages were likely to know – we read oversized book versions of Little Red Hen and The Three Little Kittens, recited some nursery rhymes with the help of flannel board pictures, and sang “Old McDonald,” “The Grand Old Duke of York,” “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” and others. Erin Moore, the activities director at Emerson Point, accompanied the singing on her guitar.

After enjoying stories together, snacks were laid out. A May basket craft incorporating watercolors and sparkly pipe cleaners was also available. Parents, children and residents mingled, chatted, and made connections as they felt comfortable – though there was no pressure to do so. Simply being together with community members in all phases of life offered social benefits to all in attendance.

Around the country, a handful of public libraries hold periodic storytimes at nursing home facilities. There are even several preschools located within the walls of an elder care facility. A 2017 documentary film, Present Perfect, explores one such intergenerational learning center. Filmmaker Evan Briggs points out how “generationally segregated” American society has become – a phenomenon the preschools and events like this week’s Intergenerational Storytime are trying to combat.

According to The Atlantic, “Numerous studies have linked social interaction with decreased loneliness, delayed mental decline, lower blood pressure, and reduced risk of disease and death in elders. Socializing across generations has also been shown to increase the amount of smiling and conversation among older adults, according to one Japanese study from 2013.”

It was clear at ICPL’s Intergenerational Storytime that the Emerson Point residents found the children a source of joy, and the parents, too, were enthusiastic. One mother commented that without grandparents living nearby, this was a rare and valuable opportunity for her toddler to have meaningful interaction with the elderly. Residents, in turn, were already asking if the children could come back another time.

Mock Caldecott Review: The Antlered Ship

by Casey Maynard on January 12th, 2018

Related imagePrepare to go on a quest seeking the answers to Marco the fox’s world of questions. The journey may be tough, and you may go hungry. But in the end you’ll be much wiser, though the questions have changed and many have gone unanswered. The Antlered Ship serves as a lovely reminder that the journey is just as if not more important than the destination.

As lyrical as it is visually stunning The Antlered Ship delivers a narrative packed with multiple juxtaposed tones. Humor and gloom walk hand in hand, existentialism meets realism and whimsy, danger. The art and text perfectly compliment each other with the Fan brothers bringing great emotive depth to their otherwise non anthropomorphic animal characters.

Be sure to check out the Terry and Eric Fan’s works from 2016, The Night Gardener and The Darkest Dark and if The Antlered Ship is your favorite be sure to vote in our Mock Caldecott awards by January 31st. Related image

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Mock Caldecott Review: Grand Canyon

by Casey Maynard on January 5th, 2018

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This week we are taking a look at Jason Chin’s Grand CanyonIf you are unfamiliar with Chin’s nonfiction works, I encourage you to give Gravity, Redwoods, Coral Reefsand Island a look as well.

Grand Canyon is a fabulous story about a father and daughter exploring this natural wonder and serves as a young reader’s reference guide to the canyon’s geology and ecology past and present. Readers of all ages will find something to enjoy from the narrative and the immersive artwork to the heavily researched back matter. Chin’s book design soars using every piece of the pages to further illuminate life in and the history of the canyon. His use of marginal imagery is particularly lovely. Also be sure to note the wonderful fossil cutouts that set up page turns to the distant past and the fantastic gatefold vista at the end.

Check this one out and let us know if it’s your favorite by voting in ICPL’s Mock Caldecott Awards by January 31st.

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Mock Caldecott Review: Wolf in the Snow

by Casey Maynard on December 29th, 2017

Given the current conditions in Iowa City, our next Mock Caldecott review is fitting. It has been almost a year since the publication of Matthew Cordell’s Wolf in the Snow and somehow it remains as fresh and vibrant as it was when I first saw it last January. It was also just given a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor. Though stylistically reminiscent of Cordell’s other works, Dream and Bob, Not Bob!  specifically, the juxtaposition of realistic pen and ink wolves with cartoonesque watercolor characters is something entirely new. Cordell takes risks here and they all pay off, turning narrative and artistic tropes we see in many picture books and fairy tales on their heads. Be sure to look out for his consistent use of shape and color as well as the incredible expressiveness he manages to show with our protagonist’s very limited facial space. There’s also a special surprise under the dust jacket you won’t want to miss. If you love this book be sure to vote for it as our 2018 Mock Caldecott winner by January 31st.

 

ICPL Top Staff Picks for 2017: Children’s Books

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 25th, 2017

“When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.” — Kathleen Kelly, You’ve Got Mail

We salute all the amazing children’s book writers and illustrators who enrich our lives with their stories. Today, we share with you the children’s book titles that grabbed our attention — and imaginations — in 2017.

  • Pup and Bear by Kate Banks
  • A Christmas for Bear by Bonny Becker
  • See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng
  • Grand Canyon by Jason Chin
  • City Moon by Rachael Cole
  • Big Cat Little Cat by Elisha Cooper
  • The Wearle (Erth Dragons No. 1) by Chris d’Lacey
  • Windows by Julia Denos
  • Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers
  • Baabwaa and Wooliam: A Tale of Literacy, Dental Hygiene, and Friendship by David Elliott
  • Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines by Jeanne Walker Harvey
  • Here We Are: Notes For Living On Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers
  • A Greyhound, A Groundhog by Emily Jenkins
  • Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus
  • A Small Thing … but Big by Tony Johnston
  • Binny Bewitched by Hilary McKay
  • We’re All Wonders by R.J. Palacio
  • Full of Fall by April Pulley Sayre
  • Charlie & Mouse by Laurel Snyder
  • Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

Mock Caldecott Review: Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines

by Casey Maynard on December 22nd, 2017

Related image Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines is one of the most successful picture book biographies that I have seen to date.  Not only is the text fantastic, illuminating Lin’s childhood experiences and passion for art and the earth, but Dow Phumiruk’s illustrations soar. This is her debut picture book and it is simply stunning. Phumiruk’s use of a soft color palette, crisp edges and incredible perspective along with Harvey’s succinct blocks of text mirrors Lin’s minimalist nature inspired structures.  Phumiruk also utilizes large negative space inviting readers to approach Lin’s life and work with the same quiet introspection inspired by Lin’s art. Overall this nonfiction title is wonderfully accessible and is a beautiful tribute to one of the most influential modern artist-architects. Related image

Mock Caldecott Review: Now

by Casey Maynard on December 15th, 2017

Image result for now antoinette portisAntoinette Portis consistently creates delightful read alouds for children and her latest, Nowis a treasure. A young girl shows us her favorite things including a paper boat, a song, a worm and mud. As we follow her throughout her day it becomes apparent that everything she does and has is her favorite, because it is what she is experiencing in the moment.

The exception emerges at the end of the title with her “favorite now”. Pay particular attention to Portis’s masterful use of negative space, vibrant colors and exaggerated brush strokes encouraging breath and space throughout.  Not only is this picture book a joy to read, but much like Wait before, it serves as a reminder to slow down and live every moment to its fullest potential.

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Mock Caldecott Review: Full of Fall

by Casey Maynard on December 8th, 2017
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Librarians and educators are constantly seeking books about seasons and revisit perennial favorites for storytimes and classroom use year after year. Full of Fall has quickly become one of those favorites.

Utilizing short rhyming text with breathtaking photos of fall foliage, animals and scenes, April Pulley Sayre gives readers a lush reminder of why fall is so lovely. Combined with a hearty amount of backmatter including information regarding why leaves change color, how animals prepare for winter and which trees are marcescent, this title is perfect for older readers looking to glean more information about seasonal change as well. A photo illustrated book has never won the Caldecott, Full of Fall would be a perfect first.

On a personal note, as a fellow Hoosier, from the northwest part of the state, I loved seeing some of my childhood stomping grounds represented here. In particular Sayre has used fantastic scenes from Potato Creek State Park and Warren Dunes . Also, sometimes I really miss seeing the red pine squirrels featured in this title–they’re just so cute!

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Mock Caldecott Reviews: Little Fox & Little Cat

by Casey Maynard on December 1st, 2017

Since last week was Thanksgiving, I am starting the reviews of our ten mock Caldecott titles with a two for one. This week I will be taking a look at Little Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin and Big Cat Little Cat by Elisha Cooper. With these reviews I aim to discuss why a book has been chosen for mock Caldecott consideration without giving too much away–I want you to form your own opinions about these wonderful titles. Without further ado let’s take a look at Little Fox in the Forest  and Big Cat Little Cat. 

Earlier this year I posted a short blog about Stephanie Graegin’s Little Fox in the Forest. Not only is this wordless title absolutely adorable, but the message is heartfelt. Graegin’s use of color as narrative structure is lovely and the movement between spreads and panels sets the pacing of this title apart. Clearly written with children’s sensibilities in mind, the intricate details wrought on every page lend depth to characters and the world Graegin has made. Immensely successful artistically and emotionally, the emotive power of this text is palpable without becoming pedantic.

However, library packaging is problematic here. The endsheets are paramount to the narrative, since the dust jackets have been taped down for circulation some of the intricacies of the story can be lost. I suggest being very gentle and taking a peek under the beautiful wrap around jacket to get a glimpse of both the cover and the endsheets.

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Elisha Cooper’s Big Cat Little Cat is a beautiful homage to love, loss and the nature of change. Set in black and white, utilizing deceptively simple illustrations and large negative spaces, Big Cat Little Cat also serves as an exploration of Yin and Yang.

A black kitten is brought into a family with an adult white cat. We see these two learn, play, grow and of course nap together. The cats are opposites in many ways, coloring, size, age, personality and yet are also completely complementary much like Yin and Yang. The visual reference to the ancient Taoist symbol is made more than once with full bleed illustrations on a striking yellow background. Like Yin and Yang, the cats are separate entities yet create balance and harmony together. The dualistic and transformative nature of Yin and Yang comes into play by the end of the narrative as well.  Simple, powerful and universal, Big Cat Little Cat tackles a tough issue with beauty and tenderness.

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