Saturday, August 31, 2019

Oceanly, an "I Love You" Book

It’s here! Oceanly by Lynn Parrish Sutton, illustrated by the very generous Hazel Mitchell, from whom I won the book and who included the swimming seals artwork as a bonus.

It's been awhile since I've written here. Now that fall is near, I'm back to business. I'd like to introduce you to a "love"ly new book. Here's my review from Goodreads:

OceanlyOceanly by Lynn Parrish Sutton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Here's a beautiful addition to the canon of "I love you" children's picture books, which make for great gift-giving, lap-reading, and bedtime reading. Author Lynn Parris Sutton's creative, rhyming text begins each sentence with "I love you" followed by an adverb followed by something ocean-related. For example, "I love you splashily like the spout of a whale./I love you flexibly like a seahorse's tail." Illustrator Hazel Mitchell's illustrations complete the story, depicting diverse people and accurate drawings of all things oceanly. I especially like the "joyful" seals whirling in the water, and the boy sitting by the ocean, holding a book while he leans on his golden retriever. This "I love you" book extends beyond the very young child, as it offers opportunities for learning about the ocean environment and fun with language.

I'm thankful to Hazel Mitchell, from whom I won a complimentary copy.

View all my reviews

I Love You Oceanly is available from online bookstores and from your local Usborne Books and More representative.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Hooray for the Bookmobile and its Creator--Mary Lemist Titcomb!

National Library Week officially ended yesterday, but let's keep celebrating, shall we? A friend recommended this marvelous book, an excellent read any time. A step back in history, a tribute to the woman who started the first bookmobile in the U.S., and a reminder of how far we've come, this picture book biography of Mary Lemist Titcomb is great for all ages. 

The theme throughout is stated clearly on the first page--"Mary never gave up." One of Mary's sayings was "The happy person is the person who does something." And so, she did! In a time when women had little power or influence, she faced obstacles galore, but made her dream a reality that became a beloved institution. 

The book's finely focused details are enhanced by historic photos and images of documents. The book concludes with photos of "Washington County Bookmobiles Through the Years." 

The Author's Note adds more layers to this interesting story. Sharlee Glenn found Titcomb's unmarked grave and raised money for a marker for Titcomb and her sister, Lydia.

I have to think that Mary would be happy that Sharlee "did something" about the something that Mary did. 

Our library still runs a robust bookmobile route. If you have bookmobile memories, please leave them in the comments.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Shakespeare Pops Up for National Poetry Month!

"Lord, what fools these mortals be!"
~A Midsummer Night's Dream, William Shakespeare

Even though it's April Fool's Day, I'm not fooling that Pop-up Shakespeare: Every Play and Poem in Pop-up 3D is an amazing feat of literature and paper engineering!

I won my copy on the Teacher Dance blog, courtesy of Candlewick Press. It lives up to its title and subtitle, truly including every. single. play. and. poem! And takes so much less shelf space than my old Riverside Shakespeare!

Reed Martin & Austin Tickenor of The Reduced Shakespeare Company help us understand the whole of Shakespeare with lift-the-flap features and pop-up pages for  Shakespeare's background, the Histories, Tragedies, Comedies, and Poetry. It includes play synopses, quotations, explanations, and humor. The book design itself was engineered by Jennie Maizels.

When you are done reading this side, turn it around and read the back! 

This book makes Shakespeare fun for those who are afraid of him. For those who already love him, this book enriches that love. 

If it's been awhile since you've read any Shakespeare, maybe you should "Brush Up."

And for a more serious look, try this site from The Poetry Foundation

Happy National Poetry Month!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Love, Light, Life, and Hope

View of Bethlehem
patrick brennan [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Tonight we'll sing "O Little Town of Bethlehem." These words from that song have always stood out to me, "The hopes and fears of all the years/ Are met in thee tonight."

We all have hopes, and most of us have fears. Things don't go the way we want them to, and more things are out of our control than not.

But tonight, Christians around the world celebrate Love, Light, Life, and Hope being born into the world for everyone. Every one.

Whether or not you are a Jesus follower, who couldn't use some Love, Light, Life, and Hope?

Another song about Bethlehem touches me with these words:
"The heart is tired at Bethlehem,
No human dream unbroken stands;
Yet here God comes..."

Listen and take hope!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Merry Bookmas!

I love giving Christmas gifts, especially books--even to myself! If you need some holiday cheer, look no further than these two treats, one for kids and one for adults.

First, for the kids (or kids at heart), Elise Parsley brings us another funny Magnolia adventure in If You Ever Want to Bring a Pirate to Meet Santa, DON'T!. Yes, despite her dad's insistence that pirates are on the Naughty List, Magnolia brings the pirate. Kids and grownups alike will delight at pirate talk and behavior (the illustrations are hilarious, both in their action and characters' expressions) as the pirate and Magnolia wait in line to see Santa. The stand-off between pirate and Santa lead to an unexpected ending, with an unexpected transformation of Santa. And does the pirate remain on the Naughty List? Read the book to find out. (But my recommendation--if you want to avoid making a scene at the mall--is to follow the advice in the title.)

Elise held the attention of her large audience of kids and adults with a drawing demonstration at the book launch at our local Barnes & Noble. She also read the book and provided swag (including a pirate tattoo!) that kids loved.

For adults, I recommend A Very Merry Murder, the third in the Professor Prather cozy mystery series by Mary Angela. Set on a campus in a small Midwest town, Emmaline Prather again finds herself delaying semester grading; getting to know her neighbor, Mrs. Gunderson; attempting Christmas baking, and looking forward to a university-sponsored concert that includes her friend and fellow faculty member, Lennie. (Or is he more than a friend? Hmm....) Everything is holly jolly at the B&B where the musicians are staying until one of them is found dead. As in the previous two books, Emmaline's imagination runs wild at motives and suspects. (Or is she onto something?) She finds herself in mortal danger as her hunches lead closer to the truth. (There! Now you have to read it to find out the rest!)

Mary Angela gave a reading and presentation at our local Barnes & Noble recently. I enjoyed hearing the basis for the novel, learning more about the characters, and getting a clue about book number 4. 

What new Christmas books are you reading?

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

We Are Grateful

This week in the United States, we emphasize giving thanks. Many of us realize that we should give thanks year 'round, not for only one day. That is the premise behind Traci Sorrell's new award-winning picture book, We Are Grateful. This book was just named a National Council of Teachers of English Orbis Pictus Honor Book (non-fiction award) for 2019!

Sorrell and illustrator Frané Lessac take us through a year with Cherokee people, showing us the things for which they are grateful, teaching Cherokee words along the way. This focus gives us non-Cherokees a peek into a different culture, leading to conversations about similarities and differences. The colorful artwork shows modern Cherokee people, not caricatures or stereotypes of long-ago Native Americans.  I am grateful for We Are Grateful!

This book makes me think of my own  heritage. My great-grandparents came from Denmark, and my grandma spoke Danish with her women friends throughout her life. When I was a little girl, I asked Grandma to teach me something in Danish. "Tak," she said. "That means 'Thanks.'"  There's no better word she could have taught me. Since then, I have learned "thanks" in several languages, an important word to know and an important emotion to express.

Enjoy the book trailer:

Have a happy Thanksgiving Day, and remember to say "thanks," "tak," or "otsaliheliga" throughout the year!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Scarlet's Magic Paintbrush

In the fall, trees look as if they have been painted with a magic paintbrush.  Just a couple of weeks ago, the leaves on our deciduous trees blazed gold and red. 

Which brings me to Melissa Stoller's debut picture book, Scarlet's Magic Paintbrush. Who wouldn't want a paintbrush that painted perfect pictures of whatever you commanded? Masterpieces made easy! That's what Scarlet had until she lost her paintbrush. Other paint brushes didn't contain the magic. Scarlet even tried improvising with cotton balls and sticks. What happens in the end is better than a magic paintbrush--Scarlet finds and embraces her own talent and style. Are the pictures as perfect as the magic paintbrush's? Yes, but in a different way. 

This book would be a confidence builder for any budding artist. The illustrations by Sandie Sonke show an eager Scarlet finding her own way with kid-desired paintings of unicorns, castles, and princes. See a sample of plot and pictures in this book trailer:

I blogged about Melissa's Enchanted Snow Globe chapter book series in January.  Watch for more in this series and more picture books to come! Meanwhile, apply your metaphorical paintbrush to life with your own special style and see what happens!