Saturday, June 12, 2010

Picture Book Saturday

It is hot and sticky outside today, so I'm making no moves to do anything productive. Well, that's not totally true...I went with a friend to her new gym this morning, to try it out, and I absolutely fell in love with it. Too bad I can't even remotely afford a membership there. Anyways, this post is as motivated as I get for a humid June day, after 10am. Enjoy!

Whopper Cake by Karma Wilson and illustrator Will Hillenbrand

I am a huge Karma Wilson fan, but had somehow never come across Whopper Cake. Kudos goes to Abby (the) Librarian for bringing it's fabulousness to my attention!

An absolutely perfect read aloud, Wilson takes the topic of making a cake for Grandma to an entirely new level. Grandpa is determined to celebrate Grandma's birthday in a big way, so enlists everyone to help build the biggest cake ever! Also includes a recipe in the back to make your own Whopper cake!

A funny story, with great pacing and rhyming text that adds to the humor of the illustrations. Everything flows together really well, which really does make it a great read aloud choice. Simple enough for young children, but older kids will love it too. Librarians can add a coloring craft (color a picture of the cake you would build your grandma or something like that) to storytime...or if you're feeling adventurous, bake the cake!

Overall rating: 5 out of 5

Whopper Cake
Karma Wilson
40 pages
Picture Book
Margaret K. McElderry
June 2006
Book borrowed from my local library

Biblioburro: A True Story from Colombia by Jeanette Winter

Now I love hearing stories about people making reading possible for children in remote areas of the world and boy, is this a nice one!

Simple enough for little ears, yet powerful enough to inspire every reader, no matter the age, Winter takes us on a journey to Colombia, as Luis Soriana begins a library of sorts. He, along with his trusty burros, take trips into remote villages, lending out books to the residents...people who would typically not have access to any reading material at all. Soriana's "Burro Library" started very small and has grown to house over 4800 books.

The story is easy to understand and the bright illustrations accompany the simplistic text very nicely. And such a great message! The work of one person can make such a difference! A brief section in the back of the book explains more of Luis Soriana's mission to bring books to Colombians.

Overall rating: 4 out of 5
A nice choice for classrooms. Could be used for a unit on traveling libraries or just on its own.

Jeanette Winter
32 pages
Picture Book
Beach Lane
June 2010
Review copy received from publisher

Lin Yi's Lantern: A Moon Festival Tale by Brenda Williams and illustrator Benjamin Lacombe

Teachers, rejoice! This fantastic book is perfect for your units on different cultures and customs. Focusing on the Chinese Moon Festival, we see a boy that really wants a rabbit lantern, but is careful to follow the instructions his mother gave him for spending money. He may buy a rabbit lantern if he bargains well enough at the market and has money left over after buying necessary things.

Children will get a lesson (follow directions and you will be rewarded), as well as a beautiful description of the Moon Festival. I love the work of illustrator Lacombe (his work in Cherry and Olive last year was marvelous) and his pictures definitely do justice to the imagery and beauty of Williams' story.

After the story, readers will find a couple of pages on the legend of the Moon Fairy, as well as an activity for creating your own paper lantern (great for a storytime activity), and a description of market life in China.

Overall rating: 5 out 5
An excellent resource for classrooms and libraries.

Lin Yi's Lantern: A Moon Festival Tale
Brenda Williams
32 pages
Picture Book
Barefoot Books
September 2009
Book borrowed from my local library

Sally's Great Balloon Adventure by Stephen Huneck

This is not the first "Sally" story to be written by Huneck, but I think it may just be the cutest! Sally (an adorable dog that I would happily take home with me, if she were real), is lured into a hot air balloon basket by the scent of hot chicken and proceeds to take quite the balloon ride. All sorts of different rescue attempts are made, but Sally isn't even concerned with being so high in the air...she's just concerned that the chicken is ok (and still edible). Sally finally rescues herself, in a very dog-like way, and everyone is happy to have her safe on the ground again.

Everyone loves a good dog story and like the "Carl" books by Alexandra Day, young readers enjoy a series, as much as adults. It's fun to see Sally's antics and what she's up to next.

The illustrations of these books aren't my favorite, but their bold colors are certainly eye-catching and will hold your little ones' attention. Just a personal preference.
Overall rating: 4 out of 5

Sally's Great Balloon Adventure
Stephen Huneck
32 pages
Picture Book
April 2010
Review copy received from publisher

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Abby said...

Yay for Karma Wilson love! :D

Biblioburro's been on my TBR list, too. I've got it on order at my library, so hopefully it will come in soon!

Sarah said...

I haven't heard of Whopper Cake either! Will have to seek it out. I love Karma Wilson. I did one of her books for my storytime that I had to do in my interview for my current job and I credit her partly for getting the job!

CoffeeShopBloggers said...

I love picture books too!

I wanted to share my favorite picture book list with you from my blog at

It's Favorite Picture Books that You've Never Heard of.

Pragmatic Mom
Type A Parenting for the Modern World
I blog on children's lit, education and parenting

Kirsten said...

I am always looking for great picture books - thanks for reviewing these!