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Book Title:  The Book With No Pictures

Author: B.J. Novak

Genre:  Picture Book (or is it?), Fiction

Illustrator:  NONE!

Publisher:  Dial - 1st Edition  (September 30, 2014)

  • ISBN-10: 0803741715
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803741713

Pages: 48

Ages: 4-8

Why Did I Choose It?  It was a book I had just read about on another blog, Julianna Lee - Crafting Stories and I spotted it on the shelf at Target during the Christmas season.  It was too tempting not to buy. The idea simply fascinated me.  My son adored it so I thought you might too!

A Bit From The Inside Cover:  A book with no pictures?  What could be fun about that? After all, if a book has no pictures, there's nothing to look at but the words on the page.  Words that might make you say silly sounds.... in ridiculous voices...  Hey, what kind of book is this, anyway?

My Review:  Well, it certainly passed the young child test!  My son laughed all the way through and made many funny faces which further delighted this reader.  It's a fun book to read;   you as the reader gets to use all sorts of voices as you read (or sing) nonsense words and imaginative sentences like "And now I am reading you this book with my monkey mouth in my monkey voice".  And it's really okay if you're not sure how to say, "Aiee!" or "Ba-Dooongy Face" because that's half the fun.  Just be sure that you're only friend in the world doesn't hear you read that "My only friend in the whole wide world is a hippo named Boo Boo Butt!" because, well.... oh, go ahead, it might make them laugh too!  This is a really fun book to read and a nice change in pace to the typical picture book!

Other Books By This Author: One More Thing:Stories and Other Stories (a book of short stories ;adult fiction)

For a wonderful read on Picture Books and Metafiction, take a look over at this blog post written by Patricia Toht on Group Blog!

Book Title:  Rosa                                       

Author:  Nikki Giovanni

Illustrator:  Bryan Collier

Publisher:  Square Fish; Reprint edition (December 26, 2007)

  • ISBN-10: 0312376022
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312376024

Pages:   40

Age:  4-8

Awards:  Caldecott Honor Book;  Child Magazine's Best Children's Book of the Year, Oct. 2005; Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration

Why Did I Choose It?  This book has been sitting on my shelf since purchasing it and getting it autographed at the SCBWI conference back in February of 2006!  Well - it hasn't just sat there- it has been read on quite a few occasions. I am often drawn to the illustrations and the tremendously well-written telling of the amazing Rosa Parks story....so I wanted to be sure you (and your child) haven't missed it!

A Bit From The Inside Cover:  Rosa Parks is one of the most famous figures in American history.  On December 1, 1955, she got on a Montgomery, Alabama, city bus after work and refused to give up her seat to a white man, an act that sparked a revolution.  Suddenly, Mrs. Parks became the center of one of the most important events in the battle for civil rights.  This is the story of that event, and of a woman whose quiet determination changed our history.

My Review:  My daughter was an avid fan of books about Black American History and the Civil Rights Movement.  We read a lot of books about Rosa Parks and this was and is by far my favorite.  The combination of Ms. Giovanni's writing style and Brian Collier's illustrations bring Rosa's story to life in a powerful, personal way. It is a picture book, so obviously there's not going to be a lot of detailed information here - but it's an outstanding starting block for pulling a child into an important person's personal life and the emotion of the event.  It's a Living Book that will deepen the desire of a young child to want to learn more about this great lady and the time period she was such an important part of.  This book is an absolute must read!

Other Books By The Author: Lincoln and Douglass: An American Friendship;   The Sun is So Quiet;   The Grasshopper's Song: An Aesop's Fable Revisited;  Numerous Poetry books - check them all out on Amazon!

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Title:  Help!  A Story of Friendship

Author:  Holly Keller

Genre:  Fiction, Picture Book

Pages: 40

Ages: 4-8

Publisher: Greenwillow Books (An imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)

Why Did I Choose It?  It was displayed prominently on the library shelf on our last visit.  The illustration on the front cover, also done by the author, caught my eye.  Reading the synopsis on the inside cover intrigued me.  I was not disappointed.

A Bit From The Inside Cover: Mouse, Hedgehog, Rabbit, Squirrel, and Snake are friends. But one day Mouse hears from Skunk (who heard it from Fox) that snakes are dangerous, especially to mice.  Oh Dear!

Review:  I found this to be a charming story.  Mouse becomes afraid based on what someone has told him about a friend (hearsay) and allows fear to override  his own experiences (friendship).  He learns, in a difficult situation, that not everyone behaves in the way others believe they will and to trust his own judgment with friends.  While we do need to teach our children to be wary of certain things in this world (the obvious dangers of snakes to mice or the dangers of strangers to children) , we must also strongly caution our children to not make harsh judgments on anyone based on assumptions. This story is a wonderful fun way of approaching this topic.

Let me know what YOU think of it!

Picture Book Review

As I was looking for samples of picture books about Saints in my church's basement  to use as a reference for  my own writing projects, I came upon the picture book Alyosha's Apple:  A Tale of Old Russia. 

"Old Russia comes to life in this tale of a poor orphan girl who braves the dangers of the deep forest to find healing for her crippled brother.  The poetic text and colorful illustrations draw on their roots in the classic Russian fairy-tale tradition to tell a story of the triumph of courage, faith and love."

Alyosha's Apple was a sweet tale of mystical events and miraculous healing.  The writer in me appreciated the efforts of the author, Alvin Alexsi Currier, to write the text in a poetic style yet wondered if it might be more pleasing to the ear of a child in told in prose with more dialogue?  Either way, it remains a wonderful telling of an amazing Russian tale and illustrated beautifully by Nadja Glazunova.

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Another book I picked up that day in the basement as The Old Man and The Vine by Jane G. Meyer and illustrated by Ned Gannon.   I've read a few of Jane's' books earlier (The Life of Saint Brigid: Abbess of Kildare, The Hidden Garden: A Story of Heart, and Sweet Song: A Story of Saint Romano the Melodist) and have always been pleased.  I even had the pleasure of meeting her at the  2013 St. Emmelia's Homeschool Conference.

"There was once man who planted a vine...  So begins Meyer's rhythmic tale of a farmer and his young daughter joyfully tending their vineyard and offering the fruit of the vine back to their Creator in Eucharistic celebration.  Meyer invites children to follow the journey of the grapes from field to wine press and from wine cellar to church, where they become the wine of Holy Communion."

I adored the tale and felt Jane did  a lovely job in skillfully describing the Eucharistic Mystery and intertwining it with the story of the farmer and his vine.  It would be a wonderful addition to any child's bookshelf.