Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Picture Book Review: Castle Gesundheit by Mark Fearing (2021)

Quick Booktalk 

The residents of the village of Handkerchief have done their best to ignore the constant sneezing that comes from Castle Gesundheit, but a young girl named Fiona finally decides it's time to get to the bottom of it and see if it can be stopped.


About the Illustrations 

The pictures in this book have a style that is typically found in graphic novels, with cartoonish figures  and many speech bubbles. There is also accompanying prose on each page. The illustrator uses facial expressions and action scenes to keep the reader's attention and to further the humorous plot in a visually amusing way. The backdrops of the castle and the village are also rendered in appealing vibrant colors, with fun details that bring to life both settings.


Story Time Possibilities

I struggle to read books aloud when they have a lot of speech bubbles, mostly because it is hard to signal to the audience which character is speaking. If I were to attempt it, it would be with an elementary school audience, both because they are more likely to understand the format, and because I think the humor is targeted toward that age. This is a great book around which to build a themed story time because it works with so many good ones: colds and sneezing, sleep disturbances, castles, cats, royalty, etc. 


Readers Advisory

There are a lot of good read-alikes for this book: Bob, Not Bob by Audrey Vernick and Liz Garton Scanlon, There's a Dinosaur on the Thirteenth Floor by Wade Bradford, Maple and Willow's Christmas Tree by Lori Nichols, Over at the Castle by Boni Ashburn, Princess Hyacinth by Florence Parry Heide, and many more. It's a fun story about a topic many kids can relate to (allergies) and the problem is solved by the child character, which always feels satisfying to kids. 


Disclosure 

I received a physical copy of Castle Gesundheit from Candlewick Press in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Picture Book Review: Trees by Tony Johnston, illustrated by Tiffany Bozic (2021)

Quick Booktalk 

Colorful, naturalistic illustrations and concise lines of poetic text celebrate trees and all they provide to our world.


About the Illustrations 

The pictures, which show trees from a variety of vantage points, are really well done. They fill each two-page spread, and they really capture the details of bark, leaves, branches, and flowers. There are some people in some of the images, and I don't like those illustrations as well as I like the ones involving just nature. Somehow the mood of the text seems to be disturbed when there are people on the page. I do love the endpapers, which, at the beginning, show a series of shoots growing from seeds, and which, at the end, show a decaying tree on the forest floor. I also love the pictures showing the view looking up into a tree. 


Story Time Possibilities

Because of its visual appeal, I might try this book in story time with certain audiences. It's a quiet one, so I'd definitely want to pair it with some books or songs that promote movement and participation, but with preschoolers I think a quiet book like this can be used to spark good discussions, especially since most kids will have had some experience with a tree no matter where they live. 


Readers Advisory 

Trees is an attractive picture book that celebrates the natural world. It would be a great addition to a preschool or early elementary program or curriculum focused on trees, plants, nature, etc. Though the text is more poetic than scientific, there are still some good jumping-off points for discussion and exploration of roots, leaves, animal habitats, and other connected topics. 


Disclosure

I received a finished copy of Trees from Paula Wiseman Books in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Picture Book Review: Bei Bei Goes Home by Cheryl Bardoe (2021)


Quick Booktalk 

This informational picture book covers the gestation, birth, and life of Bei Bei the panda, who began life at the National Zoo in 2015 and four years later moved to his permanent home in China.


About the Illustrations

This book is filled with wonderful photographs of Bei Bei from every phase of his life. Also included are images of people visiting Bei Bei at the zoo and Bei Bei's first birthday cake. 


Story Time Possibilities

This book is too long to read aloud in a typical story time, but it could certainly be read aloud to an elementary school audience over a couple of sessions. My oldest daughter watched the panda cam with me when Bei Bei was a baby, so she loves the fact that we now have his whole story. My second daughter, who was born around the same time as Bei Bei is also getting a kick out of it. They are probably more motivated to listen to this book than a kid who doesn't have a personal connection to the panda.


Readers Advisory 

This book does a nice job of introducing facts about Bei Bei as well as general facts about pandas and endangered species. For families who visited Bei Bei when he was here, this will be a wonderful walk down memory lane. For kids who have an affinity for pandas, this is also the perfect book, as there is a picture of Bei Bei on nearly every page and lots of details about his life. 


Disclosure 

I received a physical copy of Bei Bei Goes Home from Smithsonian Kids/Candlewick Entertainment in exchange for an honest review.  

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Picture Book Review: Baby, Sleep, Baby by Atinuke, illustrated by Angela Brooksbank


Quick Booktalk 

A mother, a father, a grandmother, and a big sister rock a baby to sleep and call down the soothing assistance of wind, clouds, stars, and moon. 


About the Illustrations

The pictures in this book have an ethereal quality, making the reading experience feel very gentle and dreamlike. The affectionate faces of the family members and the sweetness of their interactions with the baby make it an ideal story to read with children under 2. 


Story Time Possibilities

This book is really perfect for a baby story time, as it has spare, beautiful text and lots of faces to look at. It would work well with a plethora of themes: night, bedtime, babies, family, stars, moon, etc.  


Readers Advisory

This book targets a slightly younger audience than this duo's other recent books, B is for Baby and Catch that Chicken. It's still a lovely story, but it definitely has less of a plot than those earlier titles. My toddler twins who like babies really enjoyed the book, and it is primarily here for them, but my older kids were also happy to listen to it. There are a ton of bedtime books out there, and a ton in our home library, but I still feel attached enough to this one that I plan to keep it.


Disclosure 

I received a physical copy of Baby, Sleep, Baby from Candlewick Press in exchange for an honest review.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...