2014 Reviews by Library: Manawa

Author: Susan Roth

This picture book for older readers tells the story of the Puerto Rico Parrots and the fight to save them from going extinct. The illustrations in this book are incredible - artfully arranged collages that spread vertically over two page spreads with the text well placed for reading the story. People of all ages will be drawn in by the art and the story of how scientists saved the parrots from extinction will grab the attention of elementary aged youth.

Author: Lois Ehlert

Wow! If you love reading Lois Ehlert's picture books you will love this autobiographical book for kids that Ehlert wrote about her life and art. She follows the same techniques she uses to illustrate her picture books to tell her story in The Scraps Book. She explains where she gets her ideas for her stories, the process she follows to create her illustrations (collage) and also provides glimpses into her life now and when she was growing up. This book is colorful and alive. Any elementary aged child who is familiar with Ehlert's work would enjoy this book as would any adult. If you know a young aspiring artist, get this book into his or her hands.

Author: Ashley Wolff

Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashely Wolff tells the story of Baby Bear seeing seeing the world for the first time and learning about what he sees by posing questions to Mama Bear. This is a great book to learn about colors and would be a great read-aloud for children because of its "predictability". Wolff illustrations (water tinted linocuts) are beautiful and children will love all the small details in the illustrations.


Author: Mo Willems

Mo Willems does it again. Pigeon is back in another adventure, this time about taking a bath. I imagined reading this book to a group of preschoolers and thinking of all the fun we could have. The questions Pigeon asks will certainly be answered by enthusiastic listeners as they share their own stories about bathtime. The expressions on Pigeon's face are classic Willems. Pigeon is dirty throughout most of this book too which gives him a whole new look.

Author: Greg Pizzoli

Have you ever swallowed a seed and worried what might happen inside your stomach? Well so does Crocodile in this hilarious picture book. Crocodile loves his watermelon and he tries so hard not to eat any seeds but one day his appetite for melon overcomes his watchful eye. What happens next is hilarious. This would be a great read-aloud for familes and caregivers who work with children. This book won the 2014 Theodor Geisel Award.

Author: Jean Pendziwol

This lyrical picture book celebrates the beauty of a northern night with snowflakes, owls, foxes, mice and snowshoe hares. A child is shown the "picture" right outside his window and in the process learns about the animals, the trees, the sky and the dark and how they are at night. This would be a great going to bed story.

Dusk as Light

Title: Dusk
Author: Uri Shulevitz

This cleverly written and illustrated book by Uri Shulevitz celebrates that transition time from day to night...dusk. "Boy with dog and Grandfather with beard" go for a walk on a winter's day and not long into the walk the light begins to change. The reader finds out that this particular winter day is special indeed and with the diminishing natural light comes a world of wonder created by all the inhabitants of the city that is the setting for this story. This beautiful book for young people makes me want to be outside at dusk on all days of the year. A bonus in this book is that the author celebrates books and reading by making libraries and bookstores prominent in the illustrations.

Author: Christie Matheson

This book would be a great interactive activity for parents and children and/or caregivers. It would also make a great storytime read for libraries offering preschool programs. "Tap the tree" the readers are instructed and see what happens when you turn the page. What happens is that the tree goes through the seasons of a year and at the end of the book, begins again. Children will love the instructions - "blow the tree a tiny kiss", "brush away the petals (swish)" and will learn how trees survive all the days of the year.

Author: Daniel Beaty

Knock Knock: My Dad's Dream for Me is the story of a young boy who suddenly faces the loss of his father's prescence in his everyday life. The boy and his father always played the "Knock Knock" game each morning as a way to greet each other and the new day and when the day comes when the boy doesn't hear the "knock knock" on his bedroom door it breaks his heart and leaves him wondering how he will get through the rest of his life. The reader eventually learns what happens to the father and is provided a glimpse of the boy's life through adulthood so the story ends with hope. The art of illustrator Bryan Collier portrays the layers of grief, disappointment and yearning that consume the young boy, but the art also portrays the hope that the father inspired in his boy and allowed him to thrive. This book would be a helpful read-aloud with any young people dealing with loss.

Author: Peter Brown

Poor Mr. Tiger. He is a tiger cooped up in a world of "acting proper". One day he gets tired of it all and decides "I gotta be me". The consequences of his actions and the outcome of the story are predictable (for adult readers) but the illustrations portraying Mr. Tiger's journey to self-fulfillment are what make this book impressive. You can't help but root for Mr. Tiger and you are so happy to see the influence he has on others. The world Brown creates in his illustrations is humorous but alo provides a good commentary on our everyday lives and how we choose to live them. Definitely a book that will appeal to young readers in one way and to adults in a completely different way.

Author: Benjamin Chaud

This oversized picture book is a kind of "look and find" with a story. Bear and Cub are set to hibernate for the winter when Cub hears a honeybee and cannot resist chasing it down. When Bear realizes Cub is gone he is off to find him and the journey takes him through a forest to a far-away metropolis. Eventually Bear finds Cub but not before traversing busy streets, the underbelly of the opera house and the opera stage itself. The illustrations to this story are what make this book stand out. Readers and listeners of a certain age will want to spend lots of time looking for Cub and the honeybee he is chasing as well as tune in to all the action going on in the streets, basements, stores and apartments of the metropolis. This is a book cleverly done.

Trickster Tale

Author: Gita Wolf

This book is a treasure trove of art, text, paper, type - no detail is left undone. While the author did a good job of adapting text from the oral Rajasthani trickster tale, it is Sunita's art that makes this book sing sing sing. Sunita is young artist from the Meena tribe and the art is also an adaptation of the traditional finger style painting that is called Mandna. Gobble You Up! is the story of Jackal and his penchant for gobbling up everything in his path. The book is handmade with thick brown paper on which the beautifully rendered drawings are printed. This book would be a very good read aloud for all elementary grades and the artistic elements would appeal to high school students too. A truly fantastic book.