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Friday, September 13, 2013

Picture Book Reviews: four mini reviews

I have four mini reviews of four awesome picture books to share...

Papa is a Poet: a story about Robert Frost
By Natalie S. Bober
Illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon
When Robert Frost was a child, his family thought he would grow up to be a baseball player. Instead, he became a poet. His life on a farm in New Hampshire inspired him to write “poetry that talked,” and today he is famous for his vivid descriptions of the rural life he loved so much. There was a time, though, when Frost had to struggle to get his poetry published. Told from the point of view of Lesley, Robert Frost’s oldest daughter, this is the story of how a lover of language found his voice.
Natalie S. Bober’s Papa Is a Poet is a lovely picture book about poet Robert Frost, told from the perspective of his eldest daughter. Young readers just being introduced to Robert Frost will enjoy learning about the man, husband, and father he was. Told in a simple, honest voice, this book explores tidbits of Frost’s childhood and his children’s childhood.

Lesley Frost, the narrator, tell readers all about their free-spirited childhood driven by their parents’ love of books and words, and her father’s difficulties with earning money as a poet. Depicting Robert Frost in this way will help him seem more accessible and relatable to young readers. And Rebecca Gibbon’s bright, childlike illustrations beautifully bring Bober’s words and Frost’s words to life.

Also included in the back of this picture book, are many of Robert Frost’s lovely poems. This is the perfect book to read aloud to a classroom full of kids.

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purchase: amazon / b&n / indiebound
Natalie S. Bober

Rebecca Gibbon

Elephant’s Story
By Tracey Campbell Pearson
The day Gracie loses her favorite book, Elephant finds it. He sniffs the words ONCE UPON A TIME THERE WAS and--oops--they go up his trunk, where they wiggle and jiggle and make him sneeze. The letters fly through the air helter skelter, and when Elephant tries to put them back together, he can't figure out how to make the right words that fit. He asks his friends for help, but they just choose some of the letters to make up their own words--Alligator wants to CHEW them, Seal SPINs them, Monkeys THROW them, and Bear just SNOREs. Lucky for elephant, Gracie comes looking for her book. She makes the letters into the right words and then adds some of her own: a girl went to the zoo and made a new friend.

Tracey Campbell Pearson’s Elephant’s Story is a sweet, charming tale about one little girl’s lost book and an elephant’s fascination with words. Gracie loses her book and Elephant finds it. Elephant accidentally snuffs up all the words in his trunk then sneezes them out. He asks various animals for help putting the words together and eventually Gracie finds him, and they enjoy their love of words together.

Elephant’s Story is a quick, fantastic tale that celebrates the joy and power of words. Elephant’s quest to put the words back together and back into the book is a heartwarming and sweet one. Young readers will find the various animals’ reactions to the words funny and silly and will even learn about how awesome words can be. The watercolor illustrations are simple, but bright and eye-catching.

This is a great book to share with those readers learning how to read.

purchase: amazon / b&n / indiebound
Tracey Campbell Pearson

How to Hide a Lion
By Helen Stephens
How does a very small girl hide a very large lion? It’s not easy, but Iris has to do her best, because moms and dads can be funny about having a lion in the house. Luckily, there are lots of good places to hide a lion—behind the shower curtain, in your bed, and even up a tree. But can Iris hide her lion forever?With Helen Stephens’s timeless art and elegant text, readers will fall in love with Iris and her lion.

Helen Stephens’ How to Hide a Lion is a sweet, funny story about one lion’s need for a hiding place and one little girl who sees the kindness in him. A lion, on the hunt for a new hat, strolls into town and is chased away by the scared townsfolk. He runs away and befriends, Iris, who keeps him at her house. But a big, often sleepy and loud lion, is not easy to hide.

Stephens has spun a heartwarming and enchanting story about friendship and looking past a person’s appearance. Young readers will be amused by Iris’ silly attempts to hide the lion and love the friendship between the two.  The illustrations are simple and lovely, with a lot texture and movement, and are the perfect companion to the fun story.

This is a lovely and amusing story that young readers will enjoy again and again.

purchase: amazon / b&n / indiebound
Helen Stephens

Frosty the Snowman
Illustrated by Wade Zahares
Performed by Kenny Loggins
Music and Lyrics by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins
Charlesbridge Pub
One of the most magical of all wintertime songs gets an enchanting interpretation—including a special recording by the incomparable Kenny Loggins—in this charming new picture book.First recorded over sixty years ago, "Frosty the Snowman" became an instant holiday classic, winning children’s hearts and inspiring both an animated film and a long-running television special. Singers such as Gene Autry (the first), the Ronettes, Willie Nelson, and even the Chipmunks have recorded this simple-but-joyful tale of a snowman—with a corncob pipe and a button nose—who comes to life when a magical top hat is put on his head. To everyone’s delight, Frosty laughs, runs, and plays. And even though he melts away once the sun comes out, the song still ends happily, with Frosty waving good-bye and assuring his young friends not to cry because "I’ll be back again some day."Featuring spectacular art by Wade Zahares, whose Window Music was a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year, and a CD, with the title song and two others—"Cyndi" and "Fishin Blues"—from Kenny Loggins, this sparkling picture book will captivate young readers. It’s the perfect gift for under the tree or in a stocking—and wonderful for parents and children to share on a chilly winter’s night. Just pop in the CD, curl up under a blanket, look at the pictures with their bright holiday colors, and the story will work its wonder.
The beloved song Frosty the Snowman is brought to life in this adorable and enchanting picture book. The original and well known lyrics set the stage for Wade Zahares gorgeous and bright pictures. Wade’s illustrations are absolutely captivating and simply sparkle and shine with life. The book includes a CD of Kenny Loggins singing this fun song (plus two more songs) and is the perfect companion to the illustrations.

Frosty the Snowman, with its beautiful pictures and companion CD, is such a great book to curl up with and share with all the young readers in your life.

purchase: amazon / b&n / indiebound

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