Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Elliott's Picks: Weather and Seasons

It's been cold and cloudy here in Northern Virginia and our family is currently working with just one car. This means Elliott and I have been spending a whole lot of time inside our house trying to make the days pass. Lots of playing with trucks and trains and, of course, lots of reading.

We've been making our way through piles and piles of picture books, both review copies and library books, and these are the ones Elliott really loves and seems to request over and over.

Blizzard by John Rocco is the true story of the author's experience during the Blizzard of 1978, which brought over 50 inches of snow to Rhode Island. Simple text and Rocco's amazing illustrations helped my 3-year-old truly understand what was happening on the pages and exciting him about the prospect of "so much snow, Mama!"

On each page spread we talked about what the boy was doing during the blizzard and what happened once the snow stopped. We talked about how he performed a good deed for his family and neighbors by walking through all the snow to pick up supplies and how the plows would eventually be able to do their jobs and life would go back to normal.

A great story to read together during these cold, dreary days.

After the story about too much snow, I was anxious to read about spring, so we picked up Finding Spring by Carin Berger (out on 1/27). The illustrations are what initially drew me to the book and the story was just as charming.

A sweet bear named Maurice really wants to find spring. It's all his friends can talk about and, despite being almost time to hibernate, Maurice is determined to find it. What he finds and believes is spring is completely adorable and resulted in lots of giggles from Elliott. He also noticed the illustrations being different than "typical" illustrations. Mixed-media, made into beautiful collage scenes, they definitely are different then paint or drawing illustrations and I was impressed with his noticing.

The story allowed for us to talk about the different seasons and why winter was different than spring and why Maurice was silly to think that what he found was a sign of spring. It also made this winter-weary mama desperate for some spring sunshine!

Caldecott medalist Beth Krommes illustrated Elliott's next pick: Blue on Blue by Dianne White. This one is perfect for reading inside on a stormy day, whether that storm is snow or rain, as in the story.

The illustrations are perfection, depicting each rain drop, cloud, and puddle beautifully. The text is incredibly simple - just a few words on each page to describe the scene - allowing for the illustrations to really tell the story of this family and the thunderstorm on their farm.

For me, the mark of an amazing book is pacing and the author and illustrator absolutely got it right with this story. I read it aloud slowly, letting each page sink in before turning to the next, and we then went back and started right over again. When we were finished, we immediately picked up our library copy of Rain by Peter Spier, one of our absolute favorites, and spent time comparing the two storms.

Caldecott winner, maybe??

More picks to come soon!

Thank you to Disney-Hyperion, Harper Collins, and Simon & Schuster for the review copies!

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