Sunday, June 24, 2007

Picture Book Saturday!

Only two reviews this week due to the craziness of my life the past few days. I only had a chance to pick up a few picture books and only two caught my eye enough to review. Hopefully I'll have a whole bunch next weekend. Anyways...enjoy these two!

If Nathan Were Here by Mary Bahr is a story about loss in a young boy's life. After the death of a friend (the logistics of the death are never revealed), the boy must learn to move on and adjust to life without him. At first the story is based on the boy's grief and how "Nathan is not here" to participate in any of their former fun activities. Bahr slowly shows the boy beginning to simply think of Nathan in terms of the good memories of their friendship and how he can best continue to remember him in the future.

The story is very sweet and must be read with caution, knowing that it will probably evoke questions from children about where Nathan went, why he didn't come back to play with the little boy, and why the little boy is so sad. However, even with those questions, I feel this is an important book that can not only hold the interest of young children, but get them thinking about questions or thoughts they may have about death. It is a great conversation starter and a really well written book.

The second book of the week is titled The Friday Nights of Nana by Amy Hest. This book is incredibly sweet and just gives the reader that comforting feeling while it's being read. A very nice bedtime story I believe!

It's Friday and Nana and Jennie must spend their day preparing for the Sabbath. The work very hard washing the china, polishing candlesticks, shopping, make dough for the challah and getting all dressed up. When the rest of the family finally arrives that evening and are gathered peacefully around the table, Nana and Jennie say the Sabbath prayer together, while lighting the candles.

This is a rich story steeped in tradition and family love. It can help children learn about other religions, in the event the readers are not Jewish and/or do not understand what Sabbath means. The story also exhibits a lot about family values and the truly important things in life in terms of family and tradition. I thought the story was great and the illustrations were well done.

That's it for this week, but I'll try and find some good ones for next week. As for an update on the rest of my reading...I'm about 3/4 of the way through a fantastic juvenile fiction book, Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos and am loving every minute. The book is great and the character of Theodosia is incredibly witty and sarcastic. A great book I will be sorry to see end. I'm about to start another Summer Reading Challenge book, The Mysterious Benedict Society, will also be starting HP #6 around July 1st for the Book Award Challenge and of course because July 21st is fast approaching! I may even reread #5 just because the movie is coming out soon as well. We'll see! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


LiteracyTeacher said...

They both look like great texts. Thanks for the recommendations!!!

Becky said...

Amanda, I see you've been added to JacketFlap!

Becky said...

I'll have to look for the Amy Hest title. I really enjoyed her Remembering Mrs. Rossi that was published earlier this year. And I'm curious to see what you think about The Mysterious Benedict Society. I thought it was good. Maybe not a "wow, this is the absolute best book of the year" kind of book, but I really enjoyed it.

Debi said...

Oh, I so hope our library has Friday Nights of Nana! I love exposing the munchkins to a variety of faiths. As always, thank you for the wonderful reviews!