Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Mother's Day Books Help Create a Love for Reading (FAMILY magazine reviews)

In honor of Mother’s Day, think about sharing some of these terrific books with your family.  A love for books and reading often develops as moms (and dads too!) share cuddling times together. 

·      Family stories can help your child know about the people who are important in her/his life.  Stories about her/his own family and stories about other families can give her/him ideas of how one thing can lead to another in a story and in real life. 

·      Consider telling stories about your parents and grandparents or about others who are also important to your family.  This can become a book you and your child make together, adding old photographs, or even magazine pictures. When you have fun writing a book together, reading it together becomes another pleasure.

·      Reading stories about families can generate questions from your child. Offer her/him chances to choose books about family related subjects linked to these conversations.  A book about a subject your child is interested in becomes a book your child wants to read, or read with you.

·      Use the 5-Finger Rule to help your child choose a book s/he will be able to read: Open to any page in the chosen book.  As your child reads the page have her/him make a fist.  Beginning with the thumb, have her/him put down one finger for each word s/he has trouble reading. If the fist is a completely open hand by the end of the page, look for an easier book.

Reading is a time for playfulness.  Let fun be your guide to reading together. 

Three Bears in a Boat by David Soman  
Dial, $17.99 (hardcover) 
Interest Level:  Pre Kindergarten – Grade 1 
(This book is available to purchase from Books & Books online: http://www.booksandbooks.com)

            When Dash, Charlie and Theo break their mother bear’s favorite blue seashell, they decide not to tell her.  Adding another “shouldn’t have,” the three set sail in their boat to find a replacement. 
            On the way, they discover other sailors, new islands, huge sea animals, and wide seas.  They ask a “salty bear” where to find a blue seashell.  He tells them, “… if you look in the right place, I reckon you’ll find it.” 
            Looking but not finding, they begin blaming each other.  After they get back on their boat, a huge storm blows in, scaring them. 
            Watercolor paintings in blues and greens define the small bears’ world.  From sand & surf and through their adventures, the text ripples with the water illustrations.  Central double page spreads show a brightness of glinting sunshine, casting a small boat shadow on the wide sea.
The darkness of the storm pages reflects their argument. Additionally, the contrasting bright glassy smoothness of the calm sea could not be more dramatic as they see home.  They know what they have to do.
A satisfying ending brings them back to Mama.  Although, the forgiving hug in the welcoming doorway’s yellow light is not the final word.

A Mom for Umande by Maria Faulconer
illustrated by Susan Kathleen Hartung 
Dial, $16.99 (hardcover) 
Interest Level:  Junior Kindergarten – Grade 3 
(This book is available to purchase from Books & Books online: http://www.booksandbooks.com)

            This story is based on a newspaper article about Umande, a zoo-born gorilla whose mother is very young.  She doesn’t know how to take care of him.  She doesn’t even know what he needs.
But, Colorado zookeepers at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo do know.  They teach him what a gorilla needs to learn.  They act like his mother.
One of the zookeepers takes him across the country on an airplane to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio.  There, Umande meets an older gorilla named Lulu. 
Rubbing, blotting and scratching the oil glazes on sealed paper, makes possible the interesting textures in the illustrations.  Among the effects this process creates are the realistic details for hair, ropes and hay.  Especially notable are expressions on the faces of both people and gorillas.
Umande and Lulu’s faces are particularly loving as they learn to know each other, play, and sleep together. “At last, Umande has a mom.”  Careful research is seamlessly woven through this gentle story.  An Author’s Note is included at the end.  

I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love by Nancy Tillman.  
Feiwel and Friends, $17.99 (hardcover) 
Interest Level: Junior Kindergarten – Grade 2  
(This book is available to purchase from Books & Books online: http://www.booksandbooks.com)

            Author and illustrator Tillman once again creates a timeless picture book. This funny, loving conversation is between mother and child.  Rhyming language generates easy grins.  And recognition beyond physical characteristics (including a “magical smile,” “the gleam in your eye,” “the sound of your feet”) produces laughter.
            The digital artwork is created in layers. It is completed with mixed media – chalk, watercolor, and pencil.  Each illustration identifies the mother somehow with the color red: umbrellas, hats, a blanket, boots, jackets, and even a red sail on a boat.  Attention to this color keeps the action moving across the page.  This is an eye-catching choice, adding love to the power of connection.
All through the book, the mother acknowledges the child’s disguises.  Among these are a rhinoceros, a fox, and a “wild spotted pony.”  And still she says, “I’d know you anywhere.”

More great books to choose from:

Baby Penguins Love Their Mama by Melissa Guion 
Philomel, $16.99 (hardcover) 
Interest Level: Pre Kindergarten - Kindergarten 
(This book is available to purchase from Books & Books online: http://www.booksandbooks.com)

Will You Still Love Me If . . . ? by Catherine Leblanc
illustrated by Eve Tharlet  
Minedition, $16.99 (hardcover) 
Interest Level:  Pre Kindergarten – Grade 1  
(This book is available to purchase from Books & Books online: http://www.booksandbooks.com)

Mama’s Little Duckling by Marjorie Blain Parker
illustrations by Mike Wohnoutka  
Dutton, $15.99 (hardcover) $6.99 (paperback) 
Interest Level: Pre Kindergarten – Grade 1   
(This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library; Main Branch, Miami Lakes, North Dade Regional.  Also may be purchased from Books & Books online: http://www.booksandbooks.com)

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