What a Beautiful Morning

Levine, Arthur A. What a Beautiful Morning! Philadelphia, PA: Running Press Kids, 2016.
Life is delightful for Noah when he visits his grandparents. Every day starts with a song and leads to all sorts of adventures. But all that changes when one summer day Grandpa can’t remember how to cut his cinnamon French toast. A touching story of love for readers who are facing the consequences of dementia in their own families. Highly recommended for all ages.

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Be You!

Reynolds, Beter H. Be You! New York: Orchard Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., 2020.
An upbeat and encouraging story by a master storyteller. The illustrations, the font, the design of each page all contribute to create a picture book for readers of all ages. A perfect companion to Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go! 

More stories of individuality

“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” – Marie Curie

Because

Willems, Mo. Because. New York: Hyperion Books For Children, 2019.

An encouraging story showing how we are all connected to each other, how one action by one person can lead to inspiration for others. Cheerful illustrations by Amber Ren help tell a story of Franz Schubert composing a symphony that leads to a young girl becoming a composer. The front endpaper shows Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 in B-Minor, while the back endpaper features Hilary Purrington’s The Cold, a piece composed especially for this picture book. The back flyleaf intriguingly relates the chain of events that led to the author’s and illustrator’s own careers.  A wonderful story for readers six to eleven-years-old, a discussion starter for teachers of middle school students. 

Listen to the The Cold and learn more about the creative ideas that led to this story HERE.

More stories about music and musicians

Galloping to the rescue…

Hoban, Russell and Quentin Blake. Rosie’s Magic Horse. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2012.
What a silly story! A little girl dreams of a horse – Stickerino – that helps her find a treasure chest full of gold, which she presents to her parents the next morning.
What a brilliant story! The worries of bill-paying parents, after all, do affect their children. This not-unusual family situation is depicted with insight and sensitivity.
What a beautiful story! The lively illustrations and flowing text seem to be dashed off in a flash. But, of course, only exceptional creators such as Hoban and Blake can make it look and sound so easy.

Highly recommended for almost anyone who likes to laugh and loves language.

For analytical readers: note how sentences do not end with ‘said’ but rather with a character’s name: e.g. not “Rosie said.” but rather “…said Rosie.”Stories flow better visually when the final word of a sentence has that kind of weight.

More tips on critiquing stories HERE.

More picture books HERE.

Paris!

Take a trip to Paris
with these picture books!

Brunhoff, Laurent de. Babar’s Guide to Paris. New York: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2017.
Babar advises his daughter Isabelle on all the sights to see on her travels to the famed city of Paris. A lovely travel guide for younger readers! [Elephants; Paris (France); Voyages and travels]

Egan, Tim. Dodsworth in Paris. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2008. 

“When Dodsworth and the duck vacation in Paris, they have a grand time despite running out of money and accidentally riding their bicycles in the Tour de France.” – CIP. A cheerful and informative picture book for readers 7-years-old and up. [Ducks; Paris (France); Voyages and travels] 

Kraulis, Julie. An Armadillo in Paris. Toronto: Tundra Books, 2014. 

“Arlo feels it. The twitch in his left claw. The twitch that only stops when adventure begins…”  So starts this story of Arlo’s trip to Paris using the journal left to him by his grandfather Augustin. Arlo whizzes around the Arc de Triomphe, eats croissants in a cafe, visits the Louvre, watches boats pass underneath the bridges along the Seine, visits the Luxembourg Gardens, and gazes in wonder at the Eiffel Tower. The book’s illustrations – in oils and graphite – bring whimsical delight to a picture book recommended for children ready for an adventure of their own even if it is only in their imagination. 

 

Rubbino, Salvatore. A Walk in Paris. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2014. 

An illustrated guide sure to appeal to readers young and old.

Find more stories set in Europe HERE.

 

Thank you, Beatrix Potter!

A Celebration of Beatrix Potter: Art and Letters by More Than 30 of Today’s Favorite Children’s Book Illustrators. New York: Penguin Young Readers Group, 2016.
Artists pay tribute to Beatrix Potter in this celebration of her stories. Tomie de Paolo, Peter H. Reynolds, Rosemary Wells, David Wiesner and 28 more illustrators tell how the famous stories influenced them and share their own unique illustrations to commemorate the 150th anniversary in 2016.
The letters will intrigue older readers who fondly remember the stories from their own childhood. Both the letters and illustrations are highly recommended for teacher-librarians and classroom teachers to use as part of a unit on styles of illustration. [Animals in art; Authors; Illustrators; Beatrix Potter]

More books about art HERE.

More picture books for artists HERE.

 

Look at it another way…

Freedman, Deborah. This House, Once. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017.
Before your house was a house, what was it? Trees. Rocks. Mud. Sand. This elegantly illustrated picture book will intrigue readers and listeners 5 years old and up.
(If you like to analyze books, notice how the colour and style of the font complement the colour and size of the illustrations, creating a reflective tone that matches the mood of the story.)

More picture books HERE.

Stories that see life from more than one point of view HERE.

Tips on critiquing books HERE.