Archive for December, 2007

book review

Fiona Loves the Night by Patricia MacLachlan and Emily Charest, illustrated by Amanda Shepherd

Fiona Loves the Night

Some are scared of the night, but not Fiona.  She awakes in the middle of the night, when “half a moon shines through her window”, and turns off all the lights so she can “see the night”.  Her dog watches as she goes out the door and into a night that’s described as silent and safe, and seems quite magical.  Fiona counts stars and listens to all the sounds of the night.  She runs through fireflies and tries to touch a luna moth and finds “moonflowers that bloom only in the night”.  The lyrical text is gorgeous in its simplicity, and feels like poetry when read aloud, but kids will understand and feel the same wonder that Fiona experiences on her night time adventure.  Heavily textured illustrations, done in glowing tones on a velvety black background, are a perfect match for the text.  Extreme closeups of bats and fireflies and other night time creatures emphasize the immediacy of the story, and along with the finger-painted backgrounds, create an overall feeling of being enveloped in a pleasant dream.   This lovely book is prefect for sharing together at quiet times.

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book review

Who’s Hiding? by Satoru Oni

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Need a quick distraction or a fun way to talk about colors and even animals?  This animal search and find book with a twist begins on the inside cover with a cartoon animal lineup that has behinds turned to the reader, something that will definitely appeal to most kid’s senses of humor.  The first set of pages shows the animals now facing forward and in bright colors on a stark white background, with the animal name beneath each drawing.  Be sure to point to each animal name as you read the book–this is a great way for kids to learn that you are reading words, and not just the pictures.  Then the search and find aspect of the story kicks in on the next page as the author asks “who’s hiding?”  The white background becomes a yellow one, rendering the animal colored in yellow invisible except for its facial features.  In alternating pages the backgrounds turn green, red, brown and blue, forcing kids to find the animal of the same color who is “hiding”.  Then comes the twist–on other pages the questions become a little more challenging, such as “who’s crying?”, “who’s angry” and “who’s sleeping”.  The search at the end of the book is a doozy.  Kids will love the brightly colored animals and pages, and will have fun searching for animals.  This is a book that can be read together, but kids may have even more fun reading it on their own. 

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book review

First the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

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Books can so often be the stepping stone that leads to parent-child discussion, and this deceptively simple book is a perfect example.  Each page rarely has more than three words, yet perfectly aligned die cuts in every other page focus the readers attention on the compelling process of change.  The first set of pages presents the age-old dilemma (that will still be new to a child) of “First the Egg” with a die cut shape of an egg and a blueish white color showing through the die cut to further create the oh-so-recognizable egg shape; on the next page that white color becomes the feathers of a chicken that illustrate the words “then the chicken”.  Other examples include seed/flower and caterpillar/butterfly.  But it gets even more interesting, with words leading to a story and paint contributing to a picture.  The vibrant illustrations contain surprises on each page, and will certainly inspire kids to flip the pages over and over to see the exciting transformations take place. 

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book review

Only You by Robin Cruise, illustrations by Margaret Chodos-Irvine

During this busy and hectic holiday season, kids and parents may need some quiet time just to be together.  This calming book is the perfect accompaniment for that special time.  Simple rhymes express the love that a parent has for a child and all that the child does, from morning to night.  The oversized illustrations were done using printmaking techniques, and show a variety of children and parents.  Simple lines and a mix of both subdued and bold colors, along with plenty of white space, create a combination that is both restful and arresting.  Be sure to check this one out when you need a little quiet parent/child interlude in your busy days.

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