Saturday, September 12, 2009

Picture Book Saturday

After a week off to spend with my lovely family, Picture Book Saturday is back! Enjoy the goodies from this week folks!

Though not out until November, The Steel Pan Man of Harlem, written and illustrated by Colin Bootman, is a must have for your order cards this fall.

A fabulous retelling of The Pied Piper of Hamelin, Bootman takes the famous story and plops it town into the Harlem Renaissance, complete with rats, an instrument playing magic man, and a no-good mayor out to get something for nothing.

I love when authors retell famous stories, as it gives a whole new spin on something very familiar from childhood. With this particular story, readers get the beauty and magic of the Harlem Renaissance mixed with a bit of mystery and magic of the Steel Pan Man.

The illustrations are beautiful and the author's note at the end of the story is a very nice personal touch. Great to have on library and home shelves. Awesome for a project on fairy tales or as a backdrop for a unit on the Harlem Renaissance.

The Steel Pan Man of Harlem
Colin Bootman
32 pages
Picture Book
Carolrhoda Books
November 2009

If you're wishing for a wonderfully old fashioned treat, Pennies for Elephants, written and illustrated by Lita Judge, is the perfect title for your family. Even the cover has an old-timey look and with a simple, yet sweet, story based on true events inside the pages, it's a great one to share with the family.

The children of Boston take up a fund to raise $6,000 to purchase three trained elephants for their zoo. The kids contribute every penny they earn, from 2 cents to over a dollar, eventually convincing the entire town to get involved in the drive. $6,000 is a whole lot of money in 1914, but all the children work together and manage to reach their goal.

With a great inspirational message, Pennies for Elephants is one to share with your young toddlers up to middle schoolers. Use during a unit on life in America during the early 20th century!

Pennies for Elephants
Lita Judge
40 pages
Picture Book
June 2009

\My super silly choice for this week is written by Judi Barrett and illustrated by Ron Barrett, the collaborators on my all time FAVORITE children's book, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. In their latest piece of work, The Marshmallow Incident, food takes front and center once again, with equally silly results.

The town of Left and Right is separated right down the middle by a yellow dotted line, thoughy why, nobody knows. When an unlucky citizen crosses the line one day, the guard is instructed to take action....with marshmallows! 50,000 boxes of marshmallows in fact! What follows is incredibly silly, overly ridiculous, and a whole bunch of fun.

I love Ron Barrett's simple drawings that certainly illustrate the story, but without taking away from the silliness of the story. The Marshmallow Incident will make for a great read aloud, as well all need a little "ridiculous" in our lives sometimes!

The Marshmallow Incident
Judi Barrett
40 pages
Picture Book
Scholastic Press
August 2009

Finally, from one of my favorite publishing companies, Sylvan Dell, we have Moose and Magpie, written by Bettina Restrepo and illustrated by Sherry Rogers. I love the unique blend of fact and fiction that they effortlessly put out in each book they publish.

In this one, we have Moose and Magpie, two friends that love to be silly. Magpie is always telling Moose jokes, which though silly, elicit a fact about either moose or magpies at the bottom of the page. Your kiddos aren't only getting a cute story about the friendship between two species, but they're getting to learn on every single page.

The last few pages of the book include different activities to help young ones continue learning about the moose and the magpie, as well as more fun facts, and a "Moose Life Cycle" page. Another hit for Sylvan Dell!

Moose and Magpie
Bettina Restrepo
32 pages
Picture Book
Sylvan Dell
June 2009

All books were review copies from the publishers. Thanks to you all :)

To learn more about any of these books, click on the book covers above to link to Amazon.

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