Posts Tagged ‘farmer’s markets’

Take a piece of prose.

Filter out all sawdusty, throat-clearing, bush-beating, throw-away words. That rich, full-bodied elixir remaining? That’s poetry.

Small but mighty.

Whether you’ve shied away from poetry in the past or cherish poetry like the scent of a spring peony, I invite you to check out these superb new books, plum full of the power of words.

First up, for the youngest among us…

The Owl and the Pussy-cat, by Edward Lear, illustrated by Charlotte Voake
poem first published in 1871; illustrations copyright 2014; first U.S. edition 2017 by Candlewick

Feast upon this classic, delectable verse accompanied by the gloriously swishy, Oz-ishly emerald, tropical illustrations by one of my favorite illustrators, Charlotte Voake.

What child can resist that beautiful pea-green boat, the moonlit guitar-strumming, a land sprouting up in Bong-trees, slices of quince and one mysterious runcible spoon?

Introduce children ages 15 months and up to the ticklish wonders of words, dancing rhythms, luscious colors with this thoroughly happy piece. It’ll nestle down in their minds and entertain them their whole life long.

Steppin’ Out: Jaunty Rhymes for Playful Times, written by Lin Oliver, illustrated by Tomie DePaola
published in 2017, Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers

This collection of small poems for small people radiates charm, simplicity, and childish innocence. Wide-eyed, we step outside our door to discover, greet, soak up the sparkling pleasures of life. What a lovely breath of fresh air!

The glory of the ordinary is here. Library visits and Sunday pancakes. A dipping, diving elevator and snippety barber shop. Friends. Grandparents. Ants. Rainy days. Lin Oliver captures the grandeur of the small in her light, playful rhymes.

Tomie dePaola needs no introduction. Eminently warm and friendly illustrations, with the marvelous diversity you’d expect from him; he makes each page sing. Perfect for preschoolers. I’ve reviewed an earlier volume by this team here.

Fresh-Picked Poetry: A Day at the Farmers’ Market, poems by Michelle Schaub, illustrated by Amy Huntington
published in 2017 by Charlesbridge

The sun’s just rising. Wooden crates of plump tomatoes and bundles of basil are loaded into the pick-up as this farm-fresh crew heads out.

All the bustle of an urban farmers’ market — stalls laden with colorful produce, tables groaning under mouthwatering bakery fare, earthy mushrooms, fiddling buskers, speckled eggs — calls to us from these short poems and sunny, lively watercolors.

While you’re enjoying the events narrated in the poetry, there are also a couple of dogs whose antics are revealed throughout the day — great fun for children to spy on. It’s an enticing, cheerful collection and a great way to get motivated to visit the farm-fresh markets popping up all over starting now. Ages 4 and up.

Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets, written by Kwame Alexander, Chris Colderley, and Marjory Wentworth, illustrated by Ekua Holmes
published in 2017 by Candlewick

Take a look at that cover and you’ll get a taste of the explosion of wonder, the celebration of life that’s bound up in the pages of this stunning new collection.

Award-winning author Kwame Alexander here introduces us to twenty of his favorite poets —  a marvelously-diverse grouping as you would expect — by ingenuously riffing off of their famous styles, ideas, and ethos.

The innovative lowercase lackofpunctuation styling of e.e. cummings is adopted by Alexander in a blooming poem about shoes (but really companionship). A poem basking in the earthy loveliness of a Chilean forest echoes the subject matter of Pablo Neruda. An explosion of rainbow-sherbet color, a soaring joy, thunders from a poem expressing the indomitable spirit of Maya Angelou.

Twenty original poems; twenty homages to poets. Brilliant. But that’s not all, because the heartbreakingly-beautiful artwork of Ekua Holmes — Oh, I love her work!! — thrills, rejoices, commands every page. Excellent short bios of each poet take up six additional pages. A stunner for a wide age range — 6 through teens.

Emily Dickinson: Poetry for Kids, illustrated by Christine Davenier
published in 2016 by Quarto Publishing Group

One  of the poets featured in Out of Wonder, Emily Dickinson is an American treasure, a homebody with an outsized knack for observation, a naturalist who reveled in the beauties of nature surrounding her Massachusetts home, a gingerbread-baker who treated neighborhood children but kept herself mostly to herself.

This gorgeous volume of her poetry is part of a series from MoonDance Press and Quarto introducing a variety of poets to children. It’s arranged by seasons and includes almost 3 dozen of her small poems.

French artist Christine Davenier’s exquisite watercolors fill these almond-cream pages with gems of color, graceful line, fragments of fragile beauty, as well as exultant gladness. Beautiful layouts and typography add to the immense sensory delight. Several pages of explanatory notes aid in understanding the poems. Splendid for ages 8 and older.

One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance, poems by Nikki Grimes, artwork by Cozbi A. Cabrera, R. Gregory Christie, Pat Cummings, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Ebony Glenn, Nikki Grimes, E.B. Lewis, Frank Morrison, Christopher Myers, Brian Pinkney, Sean Qualls, James Ransome, Javaka Steptoe, Shadra Strickland, Elizabeth Zunon
published in 2017 by Bloomsbury

This phenomenal volume is so powerful, I really just want to say nothing more but urge you to experience it for yourself.

An amalgamation of the ideas and energy flowing out of the Harlem Renaissance, the poetic mastery of Nikki Grimes, and the artistry of a roster of gifted African American illustrators — that’s what’s bound up in this small, thought-provoking book.

I had never heard of the Golden Shovel form of poetry. Even if I tried to explain it to you, the audacious difficulty of it and ingenuous nature of it will not really land on you until you experience it in poem after poem here. Suffice it to say, it is another of the elaborate structures of poetry which frame poets in, force them to chisel and plane and bevel their words to fit the form, all of which ramps up their potency, augments the ideas.

You can see by reading down the bolded words that the Golden Shovel form involves repurposing lines from others’ poems, using them as the framework for something new. Illustration by Frank Morrison.

Grimes employs that in her riffs off of a number of poems by Renaissance poets. The original poem stands alongside Grimes’ innovation. These are deep, rich pieces with themes relevant to real children living in this challenging world. They are accompanied by gorgeous artwork in a wide variety of styles.

Illustration by Shadra Strickland

Short bios of each of the Renaissance poets and each illustrator, background on the Harlem Renaissance, and an explanation of the poetic form round out the volume. Highly recommended for ages 10 to adult. Many children will want to try their hand at this poetry form, I’m sure.

Many more wonderful volumes of poetry are listed in my Titles index — it’s the last section entitled Poetry and Lyrics.


Read Full Post »

Hope you’re enjoying some leisurely moments this summer. Here are 10 awesome 2016 books to while away the hours.

tell me a tattoo story cover image

Tell Me a Tattoo Story, by Alison McGhee, illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
published in 2016 by Chronicle Books

This warm story has to be one of the first that stars a parent’s tattoos. In affectionate conversation, Dad tells his son the special significance of a number of his inkings.

tell me a tattoo story interior mcghee and wheeler

And no wonder his little boy never tires of hearing these stories! They are brimming with love for the special people in his life. Illustrated with buttermilk-fresh beauty by the talented Eliza Wheeler. This charmer will be the perfect fit for many, and a delightfully warm family tale for all, ages 2 and up.

on the farm at the market cover image

On the Farm, At the Market, written and illustrated by G. Brian Karas
published in 2016, Christy Ottaviano Books, Henry Holt and Company

Impeccably timed for the farmer’s market season, this marvelous book tracks the gorgeous, farm-fresh produce from the field to the market stalls.

on the farm at the market interior g. brian karas

Vegetables, cheeses, mushrooms — the hard work of raising and preparing them for us is a glory to witness, as is the joy of putting these goods into our hands and the delicious meal made from them all at the Busy Bee Cafe. Written and illustrated with joy and friendliness, this is a treat for ages 3 and up!

treat cover image

Treat, words and pictures by Mary Sullivan
published in 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

And speaking of treats, any of you who are dog-lovers will snicker mightily over this little dog’s passionate pursuit of a dog treat!

treat interior mary sullivan

Only one word is used in this story, and it’s music — at times tortuous music! — to this little dog’s ears. Treat!! Laugh along at his frantic obsession in this funny, oh-so-fetching story. Ages 3 and up.

crossing niagara cover image

Crossing Niagara: The Death-Defying Tightrope Adventures of the Great Blondin, written and illustrated by Matt Tavares
published in 2016 by Candlewick Press

This is the absolutely stunning story of a tightrope walker in the 1800s who crossed the Niagara Falls gorge not just once, not just with his slender balancing pole for company, but more than a dozen times with increasingly-impossible added burdens and twists.

crossing niagara illustration detail by matt tavares

To put this in perspective, the Twin Tower walk was 140 feet; Blondin walked 1100 feet. Your jaw will drop when you read this incredible story, masterfully told and illustrated by Matt Tavares. Ages 5 and up.

buddy and earl go exploring cover image

Buddy and Earl Go Exploring, by Maureen Fergus, illustrated by Carey Sookocheff
published in 2016 by Groundwood Books, House of Anansi Press

Second dog story of the day, and this one is so funny and charming. Buddy the dog and Earl the hedgehog are pets in the same household and very good friends.

buddy and earl go exploring interior fergus and sookocheff

When Earl wants to go a-roving in the nighttime, however, his slightly-dim wits and ignorance of the household rules are quite alarming to Buddy! Watch the disaster unfold and fall in love with that good dog, Buddy. Illustrated with imagination, humor, and buckets of personality. Ages 3 and up.

can i eat that cover image

Can I Eat That? by Joshua David Stein, illustrated by Julia Rothman
published in 2016 Phaidon Press Inc.

I’ve never seen anything quite like this exuberant, off-beat exploration of food! Curious questions and surprising answers. Ways to eat a sea urchin and maybe-possibly something that at least sounds like a tornado.

can i eat that? interior stein and rothman

Do eggs grow on eggplants? And where does one go to pick pickles? Have a blast wandering and wondering through this book, illustrated with blasts of lively color and cool design. Ages 2 and up.

Groundwood Logos Spine

Tokyo Digs a Garden, by Jon-Erik Lappano, illustrated by Kellen Hatanaka
published in 2016 by Groundwood Books, House of Anansi Press

A whimsical, fantastical, eco-friendly story awaits you in this gorgeous book coming to us from our good neighbors in Canada.

tokyo digs a garden illustration kellen hatanaka

Tokyo’s grandfather remembers when the vast city they live in was a place of “hills and forest and meadows and streams.” Now it’s a concrete jungle. Until a mysterious old woman appears, on a bicycle, hauling some earth, and handing out seeds to Tokyo. Crazy things ensue in this strikingly-handsome story for dreamers ages 3 and up-up-up.

hannah and sugar cover image

Hannah and Sugar, written and illustrated by Kate Berube
published in 2016 by Abrams Books for Young Readers

Third and final dog story for the day. (Can you tell I love dogs?!)

Hannah is quite shy of dogs. Timid of their teeth perhaps. Alarmed by their bold wagging and playfulness. So every day when the rest of the kids get off the school bus and happily greet Sugar (as sweet a dog as her name suggests), Hannah walks the other way. Quickly.

hannah and sugar interior kate berube

One day, though, Sugar is lost and as it turns out, Hannah is the only one who can save her. Watch what happens in this tender, warm story. I love it. Ages 2 and up.


Yaks Yak: Animal Word Pairs, by Linda Sue Park, illustrated by Jennifer Black Reinhardt
published in 2016 by Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Language that’s ticklishly playful. Fascinating pairings to ponder for children who revel in the wonders of words.

yaks yak interior park and reinhardt

Humorous, spectacular illustrations of yaks yakking, bugs bugging bugs, ducks ducking, and oodles more. Brain-fizzing, imagination-sparking cleverness galore spills forth on every page of this ingenuous book. Great fun for ages 4 or 5 and up.

my book of birds cover image

My Book of Birds, written and illustrated by Geraldo Valério
published in 2016 by Groundwood Books, House of Anansi Press

This oversized beauty is a cover-to-cover gorgeous sampling of birds, impeccably presented by Groundwood Books.

my book of birds interior geraldo valerio

Brazilian artist Valério has always been fascinated by birds. When he moved to Canada he met a whole new group of them who reside in the northern hemisphere. Here he presents his favorites via his stunning collages.

my book of birds interior 2 geraldo valerio

Revel in the shape of the Great Blue Heron, the vivid red of the Northern Cardinal, the streamlined swoop of the swallow family. And read snippets of information that sparkle with the wonders of each bird. Visually-sumptuous — a bit of a Charley Harper feel — for ages 2 to 100.

Read Full Post »

To Market, To Market, written and illustrated by Nikki McClure

It’s Market Day; time to grab a basket and head down to see what beautiful goods await us at the farmer’s market.

First on the list are apples.  A stand run by Michael has bushels of them –crunchy, juicy, delicious.  He picked them just yesterday from his large, lovingly-tended orchard.  Michael has hundreds of apple trees which he has cultivated by grafting, pruning, pinching.  Before we meander on to the next stand, we take a minute to find out a bit more of how this all works.   We learn about gathering the best scions, and what a scion is, and how Michael splices that to a rootstock, and what a rootstock is, and why he does this, and what happens to this new tree.  We find out why apple trees need to be pruned and why some teeny apples get pinched off before they have a chance to grow.  In fact, we hear the story of how that apple comes to us, all told in a clear, concise, interesting manner.

Moving from one stall to another, we purchase dark green kale, plump pink salmon, golden honey, sweet purple-jammy blueberry turnovers, lovely cloth napkins, and tangy cheese.  At each stop, we meet the farmers and artisans and learn some of the intriguing steps that bring these items to us.  From smoking the salmon to dying the cloth, building up the soil to milking goats — so many discoveries!

Nikki McClure’s narrations of these processes are child-friendly, yet she does not talk down to us.  Thank you, Nikki.  She shares buckets of captivating details, but not so much that it’s information overload, even for a 5-year-old.  The tone she strikes is of deep respect for each of these talented, hard-working people, a wonder over all we enjoy from the earth’s bounty.  It’s a pleasant, inspiring, immensely-satisfying read.

Meanwhile, her illustrations.  Oh my.  I adore McClure’s work.   Her method is papercutting, and she describes it a bit on the endpaper of the book.  If you want to know more about her and her artwork, there’s a spectacular interview with gobs of pictures on one of my favorite children’s lit blogs here.  Anyway, these

We loved the beauty of the produce in Pike’s Place Market, Seattle.

are gorgeous pieces of art.  I see such strength and beauty and fullness in these people and the earth  in her style, perspectives, lines and  added colors.

Great title for preschoolers and up (you can skip some of the lengthier explanations with the youngest ones if need be) and a perfect time of year for this harvest-themed book as we prepare for Thanksgiving.  There is so much to be thankful for.

Here’s the Amazon link:  To Market, to Market

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: