Saturday, August 27, 2011
Picture books galore!
I love picture books. With access to so many different authors, themes, depths, and styles, I feel complete license to search for new loves each time I go to the library. Recently I found a few new ones that I love I love picture books. With access to so many different authors, themes, depths, and styles, I feel complete license to search for new loves each time I go to the library. Recently I found a few new ones that I love, and I thought I would share here!
A Book for Black-Eyed Susan by Judy Young: the setting for this book is the Oregon Trail. My students (one group I teach are folks who are becoming elementary teachers) often ask about great texts on the Oregon Trail. Yep, we live in Oregon and elementary students study the Oregon Trail in third and fourth grade. This book frames the trials of a girl whose mother dies while giving birth to another child while in route to Oregon. The father decides he is only able to care for the older girl and allows his relatives to take the newborn. The story chronicles the young teen's growing up years and ends with her becoming a teacher. Read this book to find out the surprising ending (oh, I might have just given it away).
Running with the Horses by Alison Lester surprised me. The illustrations are striking enough, with black on white on color standing out for me. But the storyline offers a rich window into the views of life for a young girl growing up in WW II Vienna. Let's just say the pull of horses wins over the female in this story, a familiar yet powerful (often true) story time and again. Here, Nina and her father must flee Vienna with the horses from his stable. She chooses her favorite, which happens to not be her father's fav. Tension mounts, the rush of the impending war adds worry, but eventually, Nina takes her choice horse Zelda. The trip to Nina's grandparents is definitely filled with the awful mystery and unknown situations like this one carry. Lester's story carries heartbreak in a rich and life-giving way.
Finally a little humor! The King's Taster by Kenneth Oppel offers the dog lovers in most of us a little realistic laugh. Max, the king's cook's dog, tastes everything for the king. He has a terrific little taster-- much better than my dogs'--but for some unknown reason, the king hates everything the cook makes. After dozens of cast- away dishes, the cook is dismissed. But not before Max learns the real reason for the king's hatred of what is cooked. Oppel creates a terrific ending in this book, one that will set readers up for a re-read many times of this story. The illustrations are funny on their own and add great realism to a funny storyline. Enjoy this one!