Archive for the ‘wordless books’ Category
Posted in fiction, picture books, wordless books, tagged book reviews, children's literature, families, grandmothers, love, parents and children, picture books, Valentine's Day on February 13, 2017| Leave a Comment »
Posted in fiction, non-fiction, picture books, wordless books, tagged animals, baseball, book reviews, children's literature, deafness, Edith Houghton, gardening, goblins, migration, picture books, William Hoy on August 8, 2016| 1 Comment »
I’ll start this week’s list with three gorgeous books about wildlife…
Wild Animals of the North, written and illustrated by Dieter Braun, English translation by Jen Calleja
published in 2016 by Flying Eye Books
This spectacular piece of work by German illustrator Braun introduces us to feathered, scaly, antlered, furry, sleek, tiny and enormous creatures who inhabit the great northern tier of the globe.
Stretching across North America, Europe, and Asia, on land, air, and sea, the 80 amazing animals in this catalog range from the unusual markhor to the well-known striped skunk; from the mysterious snow leopard to the lounging walrus.
Braun’s arresting shapes and muted, natural colors flood these pages with awe and dignity, while small patches of text converse with us engagingly about quite a number of the entries. It’s a beauty to pore over again and again for ages 3 to 100.
Animal Doctors: Incredible Ways Animals Heal Themselves, by Angie Trius and Mark Doran, illustrated by Julio Antonio Blasco
published originally in Spain; English edition published in 2016 by Laurence King Publishing Ltd
Did you know that capuchin monkeys rub their fur with bits and pieces of various plants in order to rid themselves of parasites? Or that African elephants know just what to munch in order to kickstart the birth of a calf?
This fascinating book explains some of the extraordinary, clever ways creatures use nature’s pharmacy to rid themselves of fleas, clean wounds, neutralize venom, disinfect nests, and lots more! Just the right amount of information, masterfully laid out in a pleasing format, covers 14 widely-varied animals and their cool skills. A brilliant approach for curious persons ages 5 and up.
Amazing Animal Journeys, by Chris Packham, illustrated by Jason Cockcroft
originally published in Great Britain; published in the U.S. 2016 by Sterling Children’s Books
Charming, pleasant illustrations make this book about intriguing migration habits a perfect fit for young children, ages 2 and older. Lovely!
Discover the forths-and-backs of some of the planet’s migration stars, from the pretty little Golden Jellyfish to the mammoths of the seas, the Blue Whale. Perfectly-pitched, brief bits of text feed the curiosities of children and make them more nature-aware.
We’re in the midst of baseball season, so here are a couple great titles for young fans:
The Kid from Diamond Street: The Extraordinary Story of Baseball Legend Edith Houghton, by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Steven Salerno
published in 2016 by Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
This lively biography of a spunky gal introduces Edith Houghton who began playing professional baseball when she was — I am not making this up! — 10 years old. The focus of this story is the slice of her life from ages 10 to 13 making this immensely relatable for young readers.
Edith played for the Philadelphia Bobbies back in the 1920s and even made an epic journey with the team to Japan where they played before tens of thousands of fans. Salerno’s vivid, colorful illustrations whisk us into the 20s and around the world. Enjoy it with kids ages 5 and up.
The William Hoy Story: How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game, by Nancy Churnin, illustrated by Jez Tuya
published in 2016 by Albert Whitman & Company
Perhaps you know the story of William Hoy, a ballplayer from Ohio who was immensely popular back at the turn of the century. Hoy had to overcome ridicule and unusual obstacles in order to play professional baseball. Because Hoy entered the sport before there were any hand signals used. And he was deaf.
This brief, upbeat account shows Hoy’s perseverance and the bright idea he had for umpires to use hand signals instead of only shouting out the calls. Where would baseball be without ’em?! Happy, cartoon-style illustrations keep things light. Ages 4 and up.
And a final, eclectic, fivesome:
City Shapes, by Diane Murray, illustrated by Bryan Collier
published in 2016 by Little, Brown, and Company
I love the decades of work Tana Hoban did, photographing urban sights that invited children to observe and delight in their world. This new book reminds me of her vision.
Collier’s strong, vibrant collages swizzle us into summer in the city. Murray’s upbeat verse draws our attention to shapes to be spotted in those scenes. Marvelously diverse, inviting us to look and see in new ways. Great mind fodder for ages 2 and up.
Nobody Likes a Goblin, written and illustrated by Ben Hatke
published in 2016 by First Second
Oh, Ben Hatke, what you do with a pen!!
Atmospheric, personality-laden, magnetizing illustration work pulls us effortlessly into this story of a plucky little goblin and his frantic search for an old friend, pursued by hosts of folks who really, really don’t like goblins!
Pandemonious delight! Read it again and again! Highly recommended for brave children ages 3 and up.
Now You See Me, Now You Don’t, a wordless book by Silvia Borando
originally published in Italy, 2013; first U.S. edition 2016 by Candlewick Press
This book is a complete hoot!
Put a crew of Crayola-bright creatures onto Crayola-bright pages and watch the ones whose skin color matches the background fairly disappear. It’s camouflage like you’ve never seen before, with just a pair of eyeballs left to blink out at us.
No matter what the background color, though, there’s one creature that never seems to materialize. Who could it be? Jolly good fun for little peepers ages 18 months and older.
The Mixed-Up Truck, written and illustrated by Stephen Savage
published in 2016, a Neal Porter Book from Roaring Brook Press
Stephen Savage is back with another earnest, amiable truck. You just can’t help loving these guys!
This time it’s a cement mixer who’s new on the job. His task is to mix up some white powder and water to make cement for the construction site. This is not as straightforward as it sounds. Watch, groan, smile, cheer! A delight for ages Under-Two and up.
Alfie Outdoors, written and illustrated by Shirley Hughes
published in 2016 by Red Fox
Here’s another classic Alfie story, republished by Red Fox who is bringing (thank you!!!) all the Alfie stories once again into U.S. markets. No reason for any child to not know Alfie and Annie Rose!
This story fins Alfie and Dad prepping and planting a new vegetable garden where Alfie is growing carrots as a treat for a special friend of his named Gertrude.
Simple, non-electronic, outdoor play is a lovely element in so much of Hughes’ work and this certainly exhibits that. Get inspired for some gardening of your own, with ages 2 and up.
Posted in fiction, picture books, wordless books, tagged book reviews, children's literature, dragons, grandmothers, humorous stories, mothers, paris, picture books, polar bears on January 25, 2016| 2 Comments »
How’s Old Man Winter treating you? A stack of warmhearted books is probably what you need…whichever way the wind is blowing.
Grandma’s House, written and illustrated by Alice Melvin
published in 2015 by Tate Publishing
Peek through clever windows, slip through doors, and climb into the unfolding-attic in this quaint household where a young girl is searching for her grandma.
She often stops at Grandma’s after school, pouring up a glass of milk from the blue-and-white china cow, fetching a chocolate biscuit from the tartan tin on the top shelf. But today, Grandma is nowhere to be found, until the girl scurries through a hole in the hedge and discovers…a lovely surprise! From an acclaimed Scottish illustrator, this is an absolute delight for ages 3 and up.
Ketzel, the Cat who Composed, by Lesléa Newman, illustrated by Amy June Bates
published in 2015 by Candlewick
An adorable black-and-white kitten named Ketzel plinkety-plunks her delicate paws down the piano keyboard in this story, based on true events.
Her musician-owner, Morris Moshe Cotel, listens to her miniature melody, jots down black notes on white paper, and turns that cat into a bonafide, prize-winning, composer. Read this surprising, serendipitous tale with kids ages 4 and up. Amy June Bates’ warm-as-toast illustrations will steal your heart.
Lost. Found. by Marsha Diane Arnold, illustrations by Matthew Cordell
published in 2015, a Neal Porter Book from Roaring Brook Press
One blustery winter’s day, a burly brown bear’s cranberry-red scarf skivvers off — whoosh! — in a blast of wind. Lost.
A couple of rapscallion raccoons find it, but — whap! zoom! — they get into a tiff and race off without it. Lost. Again.
Follow that scarf through forest and field; watch it switch hands like a hot potato until, alas!, it turns into a woeful mess. Is there any hope of restoring its cozy redness? Madcap, humorous, and redemptively-warm illustrations by Matthew Cordell tell this raucous, two-word story. A blast for ages 2 and up.
Where’s Walrus and Penguin? a wordless book by Stephen Savage
published in 2015 by Scholastic Press
It’s starting to rain at the zoo. All the patrons are scurrying home. Walrus and Penguin seize their chance to slip out the gate, too, and cavort around the city for the day. Can you spot them in all their tricksy hiding places?
Following his huge success with Where’s Walrus, artist Stephen Savage has created another handsome, jolly book in which we cheer for the two escapees and their savvy, silly disguises. Plus, discover the surprising turn-of-events for our tusky friend! Ages Under-Two and up will love this.
The Story of Diva and Flea, as told and shown by Mo Willems and Tony DiTerlizzi
published in 2015 by Hyperion Books for Children
Diva is a small white dog living in a posh Parisian mansion who very seriously guards his cobblestone courtyard.
Flea is a scrawly Parisian cat with a precise occupation –he is a flâneur. That is to say, he “wanders the streets and bridges and alleys of the city just to see what there is to see.”
When these two cross paths one felicitous day, one of the dearest, sweetest friendships results, happily documented here for our pleasure.
Read this small chapter book — 65 pages including un début, 13 teeny chapters, and a happy ending — with children 4 and up or give it to a 2nd-grade-ish reader. Tony DiTerlizzi’s retro illustrations masterfully capture the Parisian ambience ala The Aristocats, from the endpapers straight on through. Charming.
The Bear Report, written and illustrated by Thyra Heder
published in 2015 by Abrams Books for Young Readers
If only every homework assignment could turn out like this!
Sophie’s short worksheet on polar bears feels dull and tiresome, so she zips off a few lame remarks and plops down to watch TV.
But when a glorious bear named Olafur shows up in the next-door-armchair and whirls her off for a tour of his Arctic home, Sophie’s outlook is dramatically changed.
Stunning artwork, perky personalities, and an exquisite glimpse of the Far North. Really lovely for ages 3 and up.
Ace Dragon, Ltd., story by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Quentin Blake
published in the UK in 1980; first US edition in 2015 by Candlewick Press
While strolling down a street, young John hears a “KLONK” coming from beneath a manhole-ish kind of lid. Turns out it’s a dragon. Wearing wellies. And what an affable dragon he is!
Champion battles, flying stunts, and an emergency landing on a little golden moon — all in a day for these two pals. It’s a rambunctious tale, with Quentin Blake’s marvelous, off-kilter illustrations to match, infused with a splash of Affection. Ages 4 and up.
Mother Bruce, written and illustrated by Ryan T. Higgins
published in 2015 by Disney Hyperion
Silly and warmhearted. If that sounds like just the ticket for your brood, come meet Bruce, a grumpus of a bear who gets saddled with a brood of his own, most unwillingly!
I mean! A bear turns his back for one second and — whamo! — a batch of goslings erupt on the scene calling him Mama! What?! An Un-bear-able situation if there ever was! You don’t want to miss Bruce’s muddlesome pathway to motherhood in this ridiculous, zippy story. Read it with ages 3 and up, and prepare to laugh right along.
Posted in fiction, picture books, recipes, wordless books, tagged book reviews, children's literature, comics, ghost stories, halloween, picture books, trolls, witches, wordless books on October 26, 2015| Leave a Comment »
Halloween was always a much-anticipated holiday for me and for my kids. Carving pumpkins, inventing costumes, collecting sacks full of candy from friendly neighbors, then settling in for The Great Candy Swap — “I’ll give you 10 Laffy Taffies for one giant Snickers!” — all made for a pretty great night.
Here are a few titles to help set the mood for your Halloween adventures:
It’s Raining Bats & Frogs, by Rebecca Colby, illustrated by Steven Henry
published in 2015 by Feiwel and Friends
A little witch named Delia has been waiting all year for the annual Witch Parade, but when it begins to pour, everyone’s spirits are sadly dampened.
With a flick of her wand and a little hocus pocus, Delia makes it rain cats and dogs instead. This cheers her fellow witches up only a short while, though, so she resorts to hats and clogs, and bats and frogs. What is the ideal weather for a Witch Parade, anyhow?
Delia is a delight, the pandemonium at the parade is silly and imaginative, and Steven Henry’s friendly illustrations are not the least bit shivery. Good fun for kids ages 2 and up.
Boo-La-La Witch Spa, by Samantha Berger, illustrated by Isabel Roxas
published in 2015 by Dial Books for Young Readers
After all the commotion of Halloween, a witch needs some serious pampering. That’s why these gals are heading on down to the fab-BOO Witch Spa complete with toadstool-scented candles, bat-whisker tea, and a sauna heated by dragon breath air.
Trolls and gnomes, warlocks and werewolves, are all in attendance here, ready to cater to the needs of their harried clients. No wonder these witches come back year after year.
Ridiculous and clever beauty treatments in an other-worldly spa are illustrated in vibrant colors that scream of jollity. Ages 4 and up.
Leo: A Ghost Story, by Mac Barnett, pictures by Christian Robinson
published in 2015 by Chronicle Books
Leo is a small house-ghost who has been occupying himself quite nicely in a deserted house for many years. Now he’s looking forward to warmly welcoming the new residents.
Much to Leo’s chagrin, these folks don’t seem at all happy to have a ghost around. Off he goes to search for other spots to ghost about, whereupon he meets Jane. Will Jane accept Leo as a true friend? Or will she disdain his ghostliness like the others?
It’s a friendly, sweet swirl of a ghost story. Christian Robinson’s dynamic artwork brings a contemporary, urban vibe and pluckiness to this little tale that you will love. Ages 2 and up.
Troll is raucous and bulgy and blue. Oliver is puny and carefree and quick.
Every day at lunchtime, Troll valiantly attempts to eat Oliver! But every day, Oliver is too quick, too sneaky, too elusive for Troll.
Until!!! Egads!! One day Troll lunges out of the cupboard and GULP! Note: This is a Very Scary Moment in the story. If you can brave your way past it, however, you are in for a most delectable surprise!
Lots of laughs, plenty of hair-raising moments and a bombastically-sweet ending in this zingy story for brave children ages 3 and up! Includes a recipe for Troll Cupcakes.
Bow-Wow’s Nightmare Neighbors, a wordless book by Mark Newgarden and Megan Montague Cash
published in 2014 by Roaring Brook Press
This sophisticated, wordless book has a Buster-Keaton-meets-The-Twilight-Zone feel to it and will captivate older readers than the other titles on today’s list.
Bow Wow is a little terrier with some mighty odd neighbors — a creepy mansion-ful of ghost cats. At the outset of our story, several of these neighbors enter Bow Wow’s house and in one well-executed swoop, steal his teal doggy bed right from under him.
After a terrific howl of despair, Bow Wow sets out to retrieve his cushion, but he’s entering the Fun House and his surreal expedition will be full of weird passages, bizarre sights, a robber, a wicked storm, and one Seriously Large Cat.
Don’t let the clean, bold look of these illustrations fool you into thinking it’s a simple story for the preschool crowd. Loads of clever details and gags are tucked in which you’ll find in subsequent readings — the first time, you’ll be turning pages quickly to find out what on earth happens next! Ages 8 through adult.
Posted in fiction, picture books, wordless books, tagged beach vacations, beachcombing, book reviews, books for toddlers, children's literature, families, grandmothers, humorous stories, picnics, picture books, summer, summer holidays, wordless books on July 27, 2015| 2 Comments »
This week — ten gracefully-aging books celebrating summer at the beach.
a beloved Frank Asch favorite
Sand Cake, written and illustrated by Frank Asch
originally published in 1978; this edition 2015 by Aladdin
One of my favorites from when my kids were small, this story shines with imagination and warmth.
Baby Bear and Papa Bear concoct one clever, make-believe Sand Cake, while Mama Bear provides a scrumptious alternative. Soooo imaginative and affectionate. A bunch of Frank Asch’s old titles are being republished. My advice: Scoop them up! Ages 2 and up.
a pleasant Swedish beach story
Will Goes to the Beach, by Olof and Lena Landström
originally published in Sweden in 1992; English edition 1995 by R&S Books
Will and Mama are heading to the beach in this carefree, comfortable tale from the team giving us the Pim stories.
After a long bike ride, they finally arrive just in time for the rain to start. But does that stop Will and Mama? Not a bit! A briefly told, calm & happy story of seashores and swimming and picnics. Ages 2 and up.
heading down under for an Aussie holiday
Greetings from Sandy Beach, written and illustrated by Bob Graham
published in Australia in 1990; first U.S. edition 1992 by Kane/Miller Book Publishers
Quintessential Bob Graham goodness here, with this marvelously-average family jaunting off to the beach for a couple of days.
Carsickness. A motorcycle gang. A busload of schoolkids. Difficulties with tent set-up. Graham excels at making the mundane feel as endearing as it truly is. Enjoy this sweet, funny glimpse of real family life, with ages 4 and up.
off to the Oregon coast with Grandma
Grandma Summer, written and illustrated by Harley Jessup
published in 1999 by Viking
Young Ben is being whisked off to spend time with his grandma at her old cottage on the shore. Ben is not a fan of this plan.
It doesn’t take long, though, for the simplicity and beauty of this place, and the moxie and joy of his most excellent grandma, to capture Ben’s heart. A delightful, warm, and refreshing read for ages 4 and up.
British beach superheroes, up next
Traction Man and the Beach Odyssey, written and illustrated by Mini Grey
published in the UK in 2011; first U.S. edition 2012 by Alfred A. Knopf
If you haven’t met Traction Man yet, you’ll want to make his acquaintance. He’s a small action figure whose best pal is his pet Scrubbing Brush. Together, these two have some mighty adventures.
This time it’s off for a holiday at the beach where they encounter underwater creatures, accidentally wash out to sea, and meet some dollies named Beach-Time Brenda! Funny and action-packed, with a bit of a Toy Story feel, for ages 5 and up.
a tender toddler tale from Helen Oxenbury
Tom and Pippo on the Beach, written and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
published in the UK in 1992; first U.S. edition 1993 by Candlewick Press
Tom and Pippo are some of Helen Oxenbury’s most enduring and endearing characters. If you have toddlers, you should seek out some of these little books; they’ll be loved to death.
In this episode, Tom and Pippo (his snuggly monkey) spend a day with Dad at the beach and have some interesting encounters with hats. Extremely simple and simply perfect, for ages 1 and up.
sheer craziness, along the coast of Maine
Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee, written and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
published in 2000 by Chronicle Books
Chris Van Dusen’s electric-bright illustrations, bursting with vigor, sunshine, and pandemonium will draw anyone into this wild tale.
Magee and his faithful dog Dee are heading out to sea for a pleasure ride when they run amok with a pod of whales and Whoa Nellie! — does the day ever turn out unexpectedly! A blast of crazy adventure and humor, for ages 4 and up.
one helpful chicken at the beach
Lottie’s New Beach Towel, written and illustrated by Petra Mathers
first published 1998; this edition 2001 by Aladdin Paperbacks
Lottie the chicken receives a cheerful new beach towel — cherry red with white polka-dots — just in time for her beach picnic with her pal, Herbie.
And what a handy towel it turns out to be! Find out all its fortuitous uses including saving the day for a beach wedding, in this perky little story, for ages 2 and up.
town mouse and the country mouse — the beach sequel
Charlie and Tyler at the Seashore, written and illustrated by Helen Craig
published in 1995 by Candlewick Press
From the illustrator of the darling Angelina Ballerina books comes this second episode in the lives of Charlie, the country mouse and his cousin, Tyler, the town mouse.
This time they’re off to the beach and what a lot of adventures await them! Far too many for Charlie’s tastes. Boat rides, toy theaters, and a peckish spell in a seagull nest! Home sweet home never felt so good. Ages 4 and up.
an epic adventure for some kittens, courtesy of John Goodall
The Surprise Picnic, a wordless book by John Goodall
published in 1977 by Atheneum
No one does wordless quite like John Goodall. With his half-page turns that change the scene and advance the story, and his adorable small creatures in their charming English environs. Fantastic.
It’s a beautiful day and Mama Cat is taking her kittens on a picnic. Off they row across the bay to a secluded beach where they spread out the tea and tarts. That’s when the surprises begin however, as the most extraordinary sequence of adventures unfolds! Will this trio ever return to their comfy home? A treat for ages 2 and up.
More beach and summer titles are listed in the Subject Index under Seasons — Summer.
Why not beat the heat with some lemonade and a good book!
Posted in fiction, picture books, wordless books, tagged beauty, best kids books, book reviews, books for preschoolers, children's literature, family, friendship, geography, humorous stories, imported children's books, moving, picture books, squirrels, wildlife photography, wordless books, yard sales on June 1, 2015| 9 Comments »