Thursday, May 21, 2009

Blueberry Girl

Although Mother's Day has passed, and Father's Day is still a fair ways away, I couldn't resist blogging about Blueberry Girl, the newest book by the fabulous Neil Gaiman, beautifully illustrated by Charles Vess, which is ideal to share with a special daughter. It's a poem Gaiman wrote for his friend musician Tori Amos, when she was pregnant with her daughter. It's a prayer to the powers that be to bless a baby girl as she grows in the world. To save her from nightmares at three, bad husbands at thirty, from dull days at forty, false friends at fifteen. "Her joys must be high as her sorrows are deep," Gaiman writes -- a lovely sentiment for every "blueberry girl."

Hug Time

Hug Time is an adorable story by Patrick McDonnell, creator of the "Mutts" comic strip series. Jules is a kitten who is so filled with love, he wants to give the whole world a hug, so he makes a Hug To-Do List and sets off. He hugs his friends, and all the birds in the park. He gets on a boat to find a whale to hug. He travels to Africa to hug an elephant. He explores the rain forest and discovers a new species (which he promptly hugs). He hugs a tiger, a panda, even a wombat (hooray)! He even goes to the north pole to hug a polar bear. While we may not be able to hug the world, we can start spreading the love by hugging those closest to us.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Slugs in Love

I was beyond tickled to discover Slugs in Love by Susan Pearson, and illustrated by Kevin O' Malley, a veritable epistolary masterpiece for the Pre-K crowd! In the story we meet a particularly romantic pair of slugs--Marylou and Herbie. Marylou just loves everything about Herbie. Her heart is simply filled with poetry whenever she thinks of him! So one day she decides to leave him a love note, written in slug trail. Herbie is flattered of course, but doesn't know which slug is leaving him such soulful slime. He keeps trying to arrange a meet-up. "Marylou:" he responds, "You could make my life complete! I'd love to meet someone so sweet." but the rain washes his message away! Will these star-crossed lovers ever be united? Check out Slugs in Love to find out!

B is for Blue Crab

B is for Blue Crab by Shirley C. Menendez, illustrated by Laura Stutzman, is a fun way to familiarize your child with the letters of the alphabet, as well as Maryland state symbols and landmarks. Each page has a letter, a short blurb for your child, and a larger, more informative blurb for you! You might be surprised by how much you can learn about the Old Line State. For instance, I was bemused to find that J is for Jousting the state sport of Maryland, and interested to discover T is for Tubman--Harriet Tubman that is, who was born in Dorchester county!

The Pet Dragon

The Pet Dragon by Christoph Niemann is an adorable tale of a little girl and her mythical animal companion, that also teaches basic concepts about the written Chinese language. Niemann was inspired by a trip to Asia, and a his first lesson about Chinese characters. The most memorable characters for him were the ones that most appeared to be symbolic icons for the ideas they represented. Through the illustrations in this book, Niemann demonstrates how the Chinese characters for words such as "tree" "dog" and "mountain" are all understandably indicative of what they mean. It's also a really cute story, told like a folktale about a young woman who recieves a dragon, loses him, and then must find him again.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?

If bed time is a big struggle in your house, consider reading How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague. Yolen and Teague are the creators of the wonderful "How Do Dinosaurs" series of books, demonstrating appropriate versus inappropriate behavior in a variety of venues. In this installment, they treat us to possible answers to the titular question: Does a dinosaur pout when its time to go to bed? Do they stomp their feet and throw toys around the room? Do they moan and sulk and sigh and cry? They most certainly do not! Dinosaurs, as it turns out, have impeccable manners. When it's time to turn out the lights, dinosaurs give a hug and kiss to mom and dad and say "good night!"

Wombat Walkabout

I love wombats. What else can I say? If your child loves wombats too, Wombat Walkabout by Carol Diggory Shields, and illustrated by Sophie Blackall, is simply required reading. Six wombats go for a stroll through the outback. A handful get distracted by interesting Australian things like a wattle tree, a billabong, and a kookabura (all of which are defined in a handy intro). When only two are left, they discover they've been trailed by a hungry dingo, and must save their friends from his evil clutches. They capture him with the tried and true cover-a-hole-with-sticks trick, which may seem old hat to you, but fabulously innovative to your youngster!
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