So the dust is settling after the past two months spent packing, moving, and unpacking my house all the while juggling a three year old solo. Things are slowly moving back to normal although I admit there are a few boxes that may never get reopened. I’m pretty sure those are the things you are supposed to get rid of before you move, but hey earthly attachments what can you do?
Buying a house is a major drain on expenses I am learning but because it’s summer I’ve been doing a lot of fantasizing about taking my little one on a nice long vacation but realistically neither are going to happen this year. Seeing everyone’s beach shots on Instagram isn’t helping matters but it doesn’t mean we can’t explore new places in books.
Here are a few recommendations for vicarious picture book traveling.
Dodsworth in Tokyo by Tim Egan
“Dodsworth was a little nervous. Japan is a land of customs and manners and order. The duck wasn’t very good at those things.”
A mild mannered mole travels with his duck companion to Japan for sightseeing. To the surprise of Dodsworth, the duck manages to control himself (most of the time) but occasionally slips up in full public view. This beginning reader book is peppered with Japanese language and culture with characters that both parents and children can identify.
Many first time air travelers are naturally a bit nervous about flying. Prepare for takeoff with this boldly graphic counting book that asks, “When taking a flight, what do you see?”
A lucky girl and her doll go on a journey documented in large photographic illustrations to the City of Light. They visit palaces, museums, a Parisian salon, and chic cafés. It will make you dream of visiting there yourself.
Sometimes I feel funny about liking a book solely for the illustrations. My dilemma is possibly the inverse of “never judge a book by it’s cover”. Lucky for you, I’ve decided to eschew that way of thinking and share a recently published work for young children simply because of its beautiful pictures.
Could a book designed entirely using computer software still be organic and elegant? Surprisingly, yes!
You may recognize the work of graphic designer Frank Viva who occasionally does covers for The New Yorker. If not, meet Along a Long Road whose title does nothing to mislead.
Inside, one seamless (pre-binding, 35 foot long!) scene is divided for readers into a panoramic glimpse of a two wheeled journey. A striking yellow bike trail courses throughout right alongside a lovely blue body of water. Both are accompanied by simple encouraging text. We meet towns and cities, pass through tunnels and go up hills, from day to shimmering moonlit night. We hit a bump in the road and fall off our bikes. Kids will see that it’s easy to get back on and continue your adventure.
Some Autumn read alouds & favorite new feltboard story in the vein of Brown Bear, Brown Bear….
Haunted House (Pop up book) by JanPienkowski
Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert
The Curious Little Witch by Lieve Baeten
This is Not a Pumpkin by Bob Staake
Brown Bat, Brown Bat what do you see?
I see a vampire looking at me!
I see a Jack o-Lantern looking at me!
I see a little witch looking at me!
I see a white ghost looking at me!
I see a green monster looking at me!
I see a trick or treater looking at me!
Children, children what do you see?
Just in time for Halloween! A fantastic new version of the ever maudlin, I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly is out and I need to get my fingers on it.
This one comes from Jeremy Holmes at Mutt Ink and appears to be one well designed and beautifully illustrated picture book.
Times are hard, so has been finding cute new picture books. The library’s budget for ordering isn’t what it used to be, so we’ve been receiving fewer and fewer new titles. Not to fear! Regardless of the sinking economy, I have managed to track down a couple of books to make you say, “Awwww!”
First up is for the cat people. Written by Linda Newbery and illustrated by Catherine Rayner, Posy documents the deeds of a playful kitten. It’s short on plot but heavy on the illustrations. Will definitely make you squeal with delight, “KITTENS!” Much like the little girl who stars in the video, “Kittens, Inspired by Kittens” which is totally off the subject but really funny.
Next up is a picture book that reeks of the amazing, Koko’s Kitten by Dr. Penny Patterson. If you’ve never read this to yourself, make it a priority to pick it up on your next trip to the library. If interspecies love gets your flies a flutterin, then you will go gaga over the TRUE story of a sign-language using gorilla who really, really, really wants a kitten. And when Koko finally coerces her handler to get one, it’s a sweet little tailless thing. I won’t tell you anymore about this emotional rollercoaster of a picture book so you can experience it with unopened eyes.
Now on to the book that shamelessly rips off Koko’s story, but that’s so endearing and well illustrated that I’m willing to overlook it. Anthony Browne starts his story, Little Beauty out much like Dr. Patterson’s telling, but gives it a silly little twist at the end.
This book has been passed around among the Children’s Librarians here for awhile and when it finally got to me, I found out I really needed it.
Pushkin Meets the Bundle by Harriet Ziefert
It begins with Pushkin a happy dog who loves the man and woman he lives with. Everyday his owners go to work, but in the evenings they listen to music together, go on walks, learn tricks. All is well until one day they don’t return home. When they do return they bring with them a bundle and everything changes for Pushkin.
Kate stays home. She pats the baby, but she doesn’t pat me. She plays with the baby, but she doesn’t play with me. She kisses the baby but doesn’t kiss me.
My Schnauzer Sam(sara) is such a loving dog, but he’s also jealous. I’m going to have to read him this every night until I bring home my own bundle. (Or perhaps birth my own bundle at home).