Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Poem du jour

I love dark chocolate –
It makes me feel great
But if I ate less
I might lose more weight

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Poem du jour

Tonight, Tuesday
I was running late
I didn’t write my poem
Until almost eight

Monday, March 29, 2010

Book 21

Book 21: Princess Peepers, written by Pam Calvert and illustrated by Tuesday Mourning, Marshall Cavendish 2008

Ah, the perfect marriage. Not necessarily between a prince and a princess, but between the writing and the illustration. Tuesday Mourning's illustrations are light, bright and a little silly, and the perfect match for Pam Calvert's writing which is also light, bright and a little silly.

I bought this purple and pink princess book for my sixteen-month-old son for three reasons. First, Pam Calvert offered to send me bookplate signed for my son, and I'm a sucker for a signed book or bookplate. Second, I started wearing glasses when I was six -- I probably needed them when I was four, but that is another story -- and my husband wears glasses, so there is a good chance that our little boy's beautiful blue eyes will one day become nearsighted. And third, I don't believe in "gender" books. If we adhered to "gender" books, half of the population would never read "Huckleberry Finn", and the other half would never read "Alice in Wonderland", and since they both have been banned books, don't you want to read them now to see what all the fuss was about?

Anyway, don't shy away from this purple and pink princess book for a little boy. A good story is a good story, no matter who the protagonist.

* For other reviews, please see Books I Buy and Why

Poem du jour

There are days
When I don’t think
I’ll make
The baby’s
Terrible twos
I don’t think
I will survive him
Then he breaks
Into a grin
And a giggle
And all is

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Poem du jour

The boy’s daddy can hardly
Hug and kiss him
Without thinking of how much
He’ll really miss him

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Poem du jour

On a day both bright and airy
We went to the island to visit Aunt Teri
Aunt Teri received quite a shock
She never before saw the little boy walk
And walk he did, right into her arms
This kid knows how to use his charms

Book 20

Book 20: The Great Pizza Contest, written by Riley Roam and illustrated by Fyllis Nadler, Funny Story Media 2009

I am a visual person, so when it comes to choosing picture books, I tend to favor a well-illustrated book over a well-told story. Ideally, of course, I want both. I nearly did not purchase The Great Pizza Contest because the illustrations did not win me over. They are colorful and consistent, which, as someone who has tried book illustration, I do appreciate. However, they do not add to or propel the story.

Based on a friend's recommendation (Louise of Louise's Blog) I did purchase the book and loved the story. Riley Roam is one-half of Page Turner Adventures. The other half is Kenny Mikey, her husband. Together they write and perform skits for schools, libraries and other places where children gather. The Great Pizza Contest was one of those skits, and it translates very well into book form.

The other day, I reviewed a book illustrated by the very talented Nikki Shoemaker. Now if Nikki and Riley were to collaborate, that would be an effort worthy of every child's bookshelf.

*For other reviews, please see Books I Buy and Why

Friday, March 26, 2010

Poem du jour

Through grey morning clouds
We peered a bright sun
So we thought at day
At the beach might be fun

We grabbed some towels
And some suntan lotion
And drove in the car
To the nearest ocean

Out to the surf
The little boy toddled
Or maybe he waded
Or maybe he waddled

We thought he might fear
This oversized sea
Instead he greeted each wave
With a cheer of “Whee!”

After spending hours
In frothing ocean foam
We picked up our tired boy
And carried him home

I’m not sure how much
Sand on the beach remained
A good portion was washed
Down the bathtub drain

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Poem du jour

Blackberries are fun to wear
Especially in the baby’s hair
And the whipped cream
Makes the little boy scream
What were we thinking, for goodness sake –
Who gave Thomas his own pancake?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Book 19

Book 19: What's Wrong with Mud?, written by Gillian Colley, illustrated by Nikki Shoemaker, ABC Press 2009

What's Wrong with Mud? is a cute story, a fine story, a serviceable story, but what really makes this book stand out is the illustration.

From the first page, Nikki Shoemaker manages to infuse her barnyard animals with so much color, expression and vivaciousness that they nearly jump off the page and compel you to read their story. And she carries that standard through to the very last page. Her illustrations are perfect for a toddler or preschooler who loves to get caught up in the silliness of a book.

Later this week, I'll review a stand-out story with adequate illustrations. It would be wonderful if that author and this illustrator collaborated on their next projects.

*For other reviews, please see Books I Buy and Why

Poem du jour

All around the neighborhood
So much to see and hear
In the reservoir an otter
In those trees a deer
A grey squirrel hurtles
Sand hill cranes churtle
A bull gator croaks
A wild fire smokes
All around the neighborhood
So much to see and hear

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Poem du jour

Silly Sophie
You’ve had your fun
You’ve had your walk
And you’ve had your run
You’ve had all
Afternoon to roam
Now it’s time
That you came back home

Monday, March 22, 2010

Poem du jour

For a month
Sophie waited for a walk
With her daddy
But there was no daddy
And, so, no walk
Then daddy came home
But it was too cold
Too windy
Too rainy
To walk
And, so, no walk
Until today
Happy Sophie!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Book 18

Book 18: Old Bear, by Kevin Henkes, Greenwillow Books 2008

I'm not a big fan of all Kevin Henkes' books, but, lately, his picture books have been astonishingly lovely.

Old Bear, like Kitten's First Full Moon, is a sweet, gentle tale, but unlike Kitten, Old Bear is at the end of his life and he dreams about becoming a cub again. He first dreams that Winter has passed into Spring and that he is sleeping inside a giant crocus. Kevin Henkes takes us through the rest of the seasons with the same amount of imagination, humor and brilliant-hued illustrations. Even the fly-leafs boast outstanding artwork.

After Kitten and Old Bear, I can't wait to read (and probably buy) his next picture book.

*For other reviews, please see Books I Buy and Why

Poem du jour

The six-hour drive
Couldn’t end too soon
He had to get home
For “Good Night, Moon”

Saturday, March 20, 2010

poem du jour

Out back on the swing
Sat Thomas and me
Along came Sophie
And that made three
Sophie thought that
Thomas tasted so sweet
She kept on licking
His pink little feet

Friday, March 19, 2010

poem du jour

Take a walk
Or maybe two
Find something
Outside to do
When it’s gorgeous
All day long
To miss it
Would be wrong

Thursday, March 18, 2010

poem du jour

I told Buster we heard about cats
And he said, “Fancy that!
“Where did you hear about cats?”
So I told him. In the library
“Oh, I see,”
Said he
“Did you hear about me?”

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

poem du jour

Shoes, shoes, shoes
So many to choose:

Red shoes
Blue shoes
Really-just-won’t-do shoes

Fancy shoes
Lacey shoes
Just-not-quite-my-taste-y shoes

Fun shoes
Sweet shoes
Too-tight-for-his-feet shoes

Night shoes
Day shoes
Run-outside-and-play shoes

Black shoes
Brown shoes
How-look-what-I-found shoes!

Dull shoes
Bright shoes
We finally found the right shoes

Shoes, shoes, shoes
So many to choose

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Poem du jour

I haven’t written my poem today
I guess I don’t have much to say
I strung some words together anyway…
And I still haven’t written a poem today

Monday, March 15, 2010

Poem du jour

Old coat in the back closet
Seemed as clean as could be
Dead bug in the left pocket
Changed my mind for me

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Poem du jour

Who invented
The crazy time change?
Was it somebody mental
And slightly deranged?
I’m certain it was
Someone passably strange
Whoever invented
The crazy time change

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Book 17

Book 17: The Magical Garden of Claude Money, by Laurence Anholt, Barron's 2003

I've always had a special affinity for Monet. I am quite sure he suffered from myopia because his paintings look like my world without corrective lenses. Also, his water garden in Giverny is one of the most beautiful places in the world. So I saved this book for last (so far) and Laurence Anholt did not disappoint.

The illustrations are lush and gorgeous, especially the fold-out pages, and again, Anholt highlights an interaction that reveals so much about the personality of his subject. Another sweet, and this time almost magical, book.

*For other reviews, please see Books I Buy and Why

Poem du jour

Change in time
Means less sleep
But I still have
Appointments to keep
So I’ll be up
Before the sun
I probably won’t be
The only one

Friday, March 12, 2010

Poem du jour

I’m reducing now
I love Skinny Cow

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Poem du jour

We heard about dogs
In the library today
Not fish or frogs
Or cats at play
We have a dog
Who’s as thick as two logs
But we love her anyway

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Poem du jour

See the little boy
Stand behind the chair
I could just kiss
His head of blond hair

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Book 16

Book 16: Camille and the Sunflowers, by Laurence Anholt, Barron's 1994

Many people have made much money from Vincent Van Gogh's paintings -- sadly, he was not one of them. This sweet story from an incident in Van Gogh's life both delighted and saddened me. I was delighted to find out that the lonely painter had non-family benefactors and non-painter friends; and I was saddened to find out he was run out of town.

Unlike other of Laurence Anholt's artist series books, the pictures in this book have the feeling of Van Gogh's work, but are not illustrated in the style of Van Gogh's work. For a children's book, that is a good thing. Van Gogh's work is not especially pretty, but is incredibly powerful, evocative and complex. I think Laurence Anholt struck exactly the right tone in these illustrations.

Poem du jour

Hello, neighbors
I don’t mean to be braggin’
But look at my cute boy
In his red wagon

Monday, March 8, 2010

Poem du jour

We had practice this morning
So I packed up Thomas
Did we hit the right notes?
Don’t worry – he’ll tell us

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Book 15

Book 15: Degas and the Little Dancer, by Laurence Anholt, Barron's 1996

This was the first book about an artist by Laurence Anholt that I read -- many years ago, long before I had a child for whom to build a library. I loved this book the first time I read it, and when I re-read it recently, I still love it, so I bought it.

Now that I have a collection of Anholt's artist books, I can appreciate how the pictures are illustrated in the style of his subject. Since he has written many books about artist, Laurence Anholt must be a gifted and versatile artist himself. It is worth buying his books for the artwork alone. However, that is not necessary. His handling of an incident in the artist's life, in this book Degas' meeting of the little ballerina whose image would become his most famous sculpture, humanizes the artist in a way my college art history classes never did.

*For other reviews, please see Books I Buy and Why

Poem du jour

Two weeks down, but not
Close to halfway through
Because his one month away
Will stretch into two

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Book 14

Book 14: Herbert the Lion, by Clare Turlay Newberry, Smithmark Books 1998 (story originally published in 1931)

This book is an example of one that I bought for myself, before I was a mommy and before I was a children's librarian. About ten years ago I was intrigued by the wave of retro-looking illustrations that began to hit the bookstores, so I picked up this book that has older-looking illustrations, because it is an older story.

Having said that, this book should not be dismissed as only have reference value for those wanting to create retro-looking illustrations. The illustrations do propel the story, and improve it, but standing alone, the story is charming. And this book passes the toddler test.

*For other reviews, please see Books I Buy and Why

poem du jour

This afternoon
We loaded the car
We brought the snare drum
We brought the guitar
Thomas has his
First music lesson
Then he joined his
Uncle’s jam session

Friday, March 5, 2010

Poem du jour

Mims Library had quite a crowd
Mims Library was rather loud
I wouldn’t believe it
If I didn’t see
But Mims Library
Was the place to be

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Poem du jour

We gathered for practice
And we sang
And when we were bad
Joseph cried
And when we were good
Thomas clapped

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Poem du jour

Visit the Kirchels
Something is weird –
Grandpa Kirchel
Has grown a full beard

Poem du jour

Visit the Kirchels
Something is weird –
Grandpa Kirchel
Has grown a full beard

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Poem du jour

In the mail today at our home
We received a book from Riley Roam
I read the story; it’s quite great
The drawings I don’t (exactly) hate

Monday, March 1, 2010

Thirteen Books

According to Parenting magazine, "a child growing up in a middle-class neighborhood will own an average of 13 books at any given time..." How sad. For lower income communities, that number is much lower.

I have tried to not be a mommy who has to compare her child to other children at every milestone, but this is one instance where I'm very happy to have my child come out above average. And this is one instance where I can control that outcome. I've long been a proponent of early childhood literacy (hence my decision to work as a children's librarian), but as a new mommy, I'm an even stronger advocate. Already I've reviewed 13 books from my son's collection and I've scarcely made a dent. Let's grow the personal (and public) libraries of the children we know.

*For other reviews, please see Books I Buy and Why


One week down
Three more to go
I’m afraid
They’ll drag on so


One week down
Three more to go
I’m afraid
They’ll drag on so