Monday, June 29, 2015

Squirting Rainbows (Monday Poem)

by Shirley Hughes

Bare legs,
Bare toes,
Wading pool,
Garden hose.
Daisies sprinkled
In the grass;
Bold as brass.
Squirting rainbows,
Sunbeam flashes,
Backyards full
Of shrieks and splashes!

from Out and About: A First Book of Poems by Shirley Hughes, 2015, Candlewick

Friday, June 26, 2015

Definitely Dads (FAMILY magazine reviews)

It’s summertime and the stories are easy and hard. Both Dads and Moms are important in reassuring your child(ren) that s/he/they are/is loved. Here are just a few of the many grand books available to satisfy a child’s curiosity and comfort her/his doubts. Make sure there is enough time to talk about celebrations, answer questions, and have a good time together.

My Dad 
by Anthony Browne
            Award winning author-illustrator Browne adapts his characteristic minimal language and tenderly imaginative colored pencil and wash painting style for this clever tribute to dads everywhere. Beginning with “He’s all right, my dad,” which repeats several times through the story for emphasis, the child narrator shows how brave, strong and wise is “my dad.”
            Also recurring is a tan/brown/yellow plaid, first shown as a bathrobe on an ordinary-looking man, drinking coffee. The humorous story includes dad balancing on a tightrope, winning a race, dancing, singing, and playing soccer. However, when he eats like a horse, or swims like a fish, he is recognizable as the animals because he’s wearing the plaid bathrobe.
            In a perfect ending, “he makes me laugh. A lot,” the child is wrapped in daddy’s arms, “HE LOVES ME! (And he always will.)” This merry, playful picture book is for families to enjoy together.

Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $17.99 
Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 2 
(This book may be purchased from local and online booksellers.)

Yard Sale 
by Eve Bunting 
illustrated by Lauren Castillo
            Nearly everything Callie’s family owns is spread across the front yard – furniture, potted flowers, even her bicycle. Her family is moving to a small apartment.            
Readers watch with Callie as people pick through her family’s belongings. Someone buys her bed for less money because of the crayon marks Callie made on the headboard – she made them to keep track of how many times she read Goodnight Moon.
She and her friend Sara try to understand why Callie’s family needs to leave – “something to do with money.” Callie’s anger is swift and strong when a man loads her bike into his truck and Dad hurries over.
But Callie’s fear is real when a smiling woman comments on how cute Callie is, and asks, “Are you for sale?” The ink and watercolor paintings show Callie’s distress, the friendship between her and Sara, the kind expression on the face of the man buying her bicycle. They gently accompany this tough, sometimes heartbreaking tale.
Callie’s parents circle her with their loving arms as they reassure her. Ultimately, as the three return to the almost empty house, she realizes, “we don’t really need anything we’ve sold. …. We will fit in our new place.” This is a graceful, vital storybook of a family in transition.

Candlewick, $15.99 
Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 2 
(This book may be purchased from local and online booksellers.)

and tango makes three 
by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
illustrated by Henry Cole
            New York City’s Central Park Zoo is known for hosting children and their families, who go there to visit the animal families. Also famous are the penguin families, especially Roy and Silo, two boy penguins who do everything together – bowing to each other, walking together, singing to each other, swimming together.           The two watched girl and boy penguin pairs build nests of stones for themselves. So, Roy and Silo did this too. Roy even found a rock that looked like what the other penguins are hatching into baby penguins. He and Silo took turns sitting on the “egg” (really a rock). “But nothing happened.”
The penguin keeper, who cares for the penguins and has been watching Roy and Silo, discovers a neglected egg. When he brings it to their nest, “Roy and Silo know just what to do.”
The watercolor illustrations highlight expressions and penguin body language. Using double page spreads and a range of smaller individual illustrations, the artist skillfully companions with the authors’ deceptively simple text to stir readers’ hearts with the warmth of family.
Roy and Silo’s commitment to keep the egg warm eventually joyfully produces Tango, the first penguin in the zoo to have two daddies. An Author’s Note at the end supplies background for this true story.

Simon & Schuster, $17.99 
Interest Level: Junior Kindergarten – Grade 3 
(This book is available purchase from local and online booksellers.)

More Books for Fun

Tad and Dad 
by David Ezra Stein
Penguin, $16.99 
Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 1  
(This book may be purchased from local and online booksellers.)

The Baby Tree 
by Sophie Blackall
Penguin, $17.99 
Interest Level: Junior Kindergarten - Grade 2 
(This book is available to purchase from local and online booksellers.)

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Summer Day (Monday Poem)

by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean --
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down --
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
No she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

from The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects, selected by Paul B. Janeczko, 2015, Candlewick

Monday, June 15, 2015

A Red, Red Rose (Monday Poem)

by Robert Burns

O my Luve is like a red, red rose
That's newly sprung in June;
O my Luve is like the melody
That's sweetly played in tune.

So fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' seas gang dry.

Till a' seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun;
I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only luve!
And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
Though it were ten thousand mile.

from The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects, selected by Paul B. Janeczko, 2015, Candlewick Press

Monday, June 8, 2015

Changing Everything (Monday Poem)

by Jane Hirshfield

I was walking again
in the woods,
a yellow light
was sifting all I saw.

with a cold heart,
I took a stick,
lifted it to the opposite side
of the path.

There, I said to myself,
that's done now.
Brushing one hand against the other,
to clean them
of the tiny fragments of bark.

from  The Lives of the Heart

Monday, June 1, 2015

A Lesson in Manners (Monday Poem)

by John Ciardi

Someone told me someone said
You should never be bad till you've been fed.
You may, you know, be sent to bed
Without your supper. ---And there you are,
With nothing to eat. Not even a jar
Of pickle juice, nor a candy bar.
No, nothing to eat and nothing to drink,
And all night long to lie there and think
About washing baby's ears with ink,
Or nailing the door shut, or sassing Dad,
Or about whatever you did that was bad,
And wishing you hadn't, and feeling sad.

Now then, if what I'm told is true,
What I want to say to you -- and you--
Is: MIND YOUR MANNERS. They just won't do.
If you have to be bad, you must learn to wait
Till after supper. Be good until eight.
If you let your badness come out late
It doesn't hurt to be sent ot bed.
Well, not so much. So use your head:
Don't be bad till you've been fed.

from Whisper and Shout: Poems to Memorize edited by Patrice Vecchione, 2002, Cricket Books