Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays

I'm taking time off to celebrate this wonderful holiday season with family and friends.

I'm wishing you the best success yet in all your reading and writing endeavors.

See you in 2012.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted today by Book Aunt.

My selection is Winter lights : a season in poems & quilts by Anna Grossnickle Hines.

Hines gives voice and vision to the many celebrations of winter in this collection that includes Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Chinese New Year along with various winter scenes.  The quilts are brilliantly colored, beautifully detailed and in many instances intricately constructed.  The book concludes with notes about the construction of the quilts.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

Nonfiction Monday

Nonfiction Monday is hosted today by Geo Librarian.

My selection is "Barbarians!" written by Steven Kroll and illustrated by Robert Byrd.

Kroll begins his book with a pair of questions -- "Are you rude, crude and uncivilized?  Could you be -- a barbarian?"  He offers both the history of the word and an up-close look at four groups commonly referred to as barbarians: the Goths, the Huns, the Vikings, and the Mongols.  He acknowledges their war-like tendencies, but goes on to describe their history, culture, and beliefs.  Each chapter is enriched by sidebars offering facts on various topics.  Best of all, Kroll provides readers with a clear understanding of the ways in which these barbarians changed and enhanced their world through their many encounters with the civilizations of the time and left behind a legacy that has continued to the present day. 

Byrd's richly colored illustrations are intricate in their detail and powerfully depict the life of these barbarian societies from the battle-field through day-to-day life.  Maps, timelines and a bibliography complete the book.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted today by Read, Write, Howl.

Florian continues his winning ways with lively fun in this collection of poems about mammals ranging from the Aardvark to Zebra.  He makes playful use of both the names and appearances of his selected menagerie as in this short verse --
"Aardvarks aare odd.
Aardvars aare staark.
Aardvarks look better
By faar in the daark."

The art work, painted on brown paper bags, varies from verse to verse, but each is as inventive and clever as the words they accompany.  Some animals are rendered in broad strokes as with the tennis shoe wearing rhebok on the cover.  At other times, Florian uses detailed renderings to great advantage challenging readers to make an accurate count of the zebras from among their many stripes.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

Nonfiction Monday

Nonfiction Monday is hosted today by Gathering Books.

My selection is "Kubla Khan: the emperor of everything" by Kathleen Krull with illustrations by Robert Byrd.

Krull makes it clear that accurate information and primary sources are few, but despite that lack she creates an interesting look at Genghis Khan's grandson from his youth to his legendary rule as the first Emperor of China's Yuan Dynasty through his later years.  Precise details and dates might make this a less than great choice for report writing.  However Krull's rich portrait would certainly give older readers a clear feel for the man, his world, and the culture he influenced in countless ways.

Byrd's Chinese inspired art reflect the wealth and scope of Kubla Khan's life with glowing color and intricate detail.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Carol's Corner.

My selection is "Be Glad Your Nose Is On Your Face and Other Poems: some of the best of Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by Brandon Dorman.

Here is a collection of over one hundred poems, including fifteen new works created for this book, by the first U.S. Children's Poet Laureate.  Tongue-twisters and clever word-play abound in these thoughtful and silly verses.  Tigers eat spaghetti, at least that's what they say.  Elephants, cows, monkeys, cats, and dogs share pages with the Clocktopus, a Sleek Bananaconda and the Detested Radishark.

Dorman's vibrant illustrations provide another layer of whimsy and charm and meld perfectly with the lively language.

The book includes fifteen activities, games, and puzzles, performances by the author and an index of first lines.

The Gingerbread Cowboy Book Trailer