Saturday, December 16, 2006

Gone fishing !

Gone fishing; or at least figuratively. Actually, when I'm not learning to surf, snorkeling, touring Australian vineyards and nature reserves, checking out the night life in Sydney and Melbourne, I'll be reading. I have a pile of books that I'll be posting about once I'm back from Australia. Until then, happy reading. In the meantime, check out the sidebar to see if I've reviewed a book by one of your favourite authors. Sheryl

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

CBC Children's Book Panel

CBC Radio has a panel that recommends kids books a couple of times a year. Here are the December panels and their picks. Check them out, including my most recent review of Alphabetter by Dan Bar-el, one of Ken Setterinton's picks. Also check out my earlier review of The Thief and other Attolia books by Megan Whalen Turner which you can find by author's I have reviewed on the sidebar to your right.

Suggestions for Young Adults

Phyllis Simon's picks
* "Ziggy and the Plugfish", Jonathan Harlen, Allen & Unwin
* "Alone on a Wide Wide Sea", Michael Morpurgo, HarperCollins
* "The Talent Thief", Alex Williams, MacMillan
* "Gatty's Tale", Kevin Crossley-Holland, Orion
* "The Story of Salt", Mark Kurlansky, Putnam

Michele Landsberg's picks
* "The Book Thief", Markus Zusak, Knopf
* "The Thief", "The King of Attolia", "The Queen of Attolia", Megan
Whalen Turner, Greenwillow
* "Kids Cook 1-2-3", Rozanne Gold, Bloomsbury
* "Clementine"
, Sara Pennypacker, Hyperion

Ken Setterington's picks
* "A Very Fine Line", Julie Johnston, Tundra
* "Skinnybones and the Wrinkle Queen", Glen Huser, Groundwood
* "Hello, Groin", Beth Goobie, Orca
* "The Little Black Book for Girlz" by youth for youth, Annick Press
* "I Found a Deadbird: The Kids' Guide to the Cycle of Life and Death",
Jan Thornhill, Maple Tree Press

Pre-Teen Book Panel

Emmy Chahal's Picks:
1. My Sister's Keeper, Jodi Picoult (Atria Books)
2. Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Alborn (Random House)
3. A Great and Terrible Beauty, Libba Bray (Random House)

Maddie Porter's Picks:
1. Who is Bugs Potter?, Gordon Korman (Scholastic)
2. Where the Red Fern Grows, Wilson Rawls (Scholastic)
3. Turnabout, Margaret Peterson Haddix (Aladdin)

Patrick Jeffery's Picks:
1. A Series of Unfortunate Events, (series) Lemony Snicket (a.k.a. Daniel
Handler) (Harper Collins)
2. Angels and Demons, The DaVinci Code, Dan Brown (Random House)
3. Uglies, Scott Westerfield (Simon Pulse)
4. Falling Up, Shel Silverstein (Harper Collins)

CHILDREN'S BOOK PANEL - Children's Picture Books

Ken Setterington's Picks
1. "Alphabetter", Dan Bar-el/Graham Ross, Orca
2. "Jousting with Jesters", Martin Springett, Orca
3. "Snow", Joan Clark/Kady MacDonald Denton, Groundwood
4. "Jurassic Poop", Jacob Berkowitz/Steve Mack, Kids Can Press
5. "Listen Said the Donkey", Jean Little/Werner Zimmerman, North Winds Press
6. "Fox Walked Alone", Barbara Reid, North Winds Press
7. "Mommy?", Maurice Sendak, Scholastic

Michele Landsberg's Picks
1. "When Owen's Mom Breathed Fire", Pija Linderbaum, R&S Books
2. "So Sleepy Story", Uri Shulevitz, Farrar Straus Giroux
3. "Ancient Thunder", Leo Yerxa, Groundwood
4. "Flotsam", David Wiesner, Clarion Books
5. "Blue 2", David A. Carter, Little Simon
6. "Walter Was Worried", Laura Vaccaro Seeger, Roaring Brook Press

Phyllis Simon's Picks
1. "Pirate Bob" by Kathryn Lasky, Charlesbridge
2. "While You Are Sleeping", by Alexis Deacon, Hutchinson
3. "The Scallywags", by David Melling, Barron's
4. "The Fairy Doll", Rumer Godden, Macmillan (2006 edition)
5. "The Story of Holly & Ivy", Rumer Godden, Viking (2006 edition)
6. "Lucy Willow", by Sally Gardner, Orion

Monday, December 11, 2006

Alphabetter by Dan Bar-el

I have always loved both counting and alphabet books. A few years ago I wrote A Pod of Orcas: A Seaside Counting Book, but I never did manage a decent alphabet book. If you are a fan of these books, you will be as delighted to crack the cover of Alphabetter by Bar-el and Graham Ross as I was. Bar-el, puts twenty-six girls and boys in various predicaments with the solution to their dilemmas a mere letter away. Each of the characters is named after one of Bar-el’s students which adds a multicultural flavour to this quirky story.Vladamir, Umar, Mateo and Joo Pyo are a few of the kids who will be thrilled to see their names in print.

“Frieda had a football, but she didn’t have a goldfish. Gwendolyn had a goldfish, but she didn’t have a hammer.”

Bar-el’s words are brought to riotous life by Ross who has Frieda feeding her football fish food in a fish bowl while Gwendolyn has a goldfish hanging from her tool belt where a hammer ought to be. Of course the solutions are obvious―all except for one. The final letter of the alphabet has no one to give her what she really wants, or does she?

Ross’ illustrations are hilariously accumulative, but there is more. Each page has a hidden letter, making this alphabet a bit of a mystery. Some of the letters are tough to find, but the answers can be found at Orca Books if you have trouble.

In my estimation, it is most unfortunate that there are only twenty-six letters in the alphabet!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

technologically challenged

To any of you who have posted comments, please accept my apologies. I thought I accidently made them disappear before I realized I had them. I'm not sure I quite have the hang of it, but feel free to post and I'll try and do better at keeping on top of things. Sigh...I wish my daughter were here although I know there would be groans and serious eye-rolling behaviour over my ineptitude, but she's so much better at this sort of thing than I. Thanks for bearing with me...Sheryl

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

My Mom Loves Me More Than Sushi by Filomena Gomes

My Mom Loves Me More Than Sushi is a delightfully delicious picture book put out this year by Second Story Press. It's simple familial message of parental love is paired with culinary dishes from around the globe made by a mother daugher team. Combining affection and food is hardly new, but Filomena Gomes' mix of a reperetitive refrain with and a kid who lines chutney up like trafic lights "green, yellow and red," to bake a perfect picture book. Gomes is aided by Ashley Spires quirky illustrations which include a menagerie of pets, precariously piled dishes, and best of all, lots of yummy food like sushi, louska, couscous, jambalaya, samosas and more. Eat it--oops, I mean, read it today.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Mr. Hiroshi's Garden by Maxine Trottier

The last while our Children's Literautre Roundtable has been collecting books for our local Single Parent Association. Sorting through boxes of books, I have come across several old favourites, one of which is Mr. Hiroshi's Garden by Maxine Trottier with illustrations by Paul Morin.

As a child, Mary comes to stay with her grandmother on the west coast. Mary discovers that Mr. Hiroshi, her grandmother's neighbour, has a most unusual garden; a garden of gravel paths and stepping stones, clipped evergreens, and blue irises surrounding a koi pond. "I began this garden before you were born...I started with one flower and a few perfect stones. Such things take time. But a garden must begin somewhere." Mr. Hiroshi explains to Mary. Then, one day Mr. Hiroshi who was born in this country and lived in the same house his whole life, was taken away to an internment camp. Mr. Hiroshi and his garden became casualties of a WWII even though they were far removed from the crack of gunfire or the explosion of cannons. Before the new neighbours move in though, Mary and her grandmother rescue the koi and dig up a few of the precious irises. Mary also pockets a single stone. Later when she goes back to her prairie home, she begins a new garden for Mr. Hiroshi. "It was a small thing. But then, a garden must begin somewhere."

I love Mr. Hiroshi's Garden. I love the rich but spare language. I love the illustrations which are equally rich in tone, content and perspective. I love it that a book about a garden can bridge cultural gaps. I love it that a book about a garden can bridge generational gaps. I love it that a quiet book about a garden can teach so much about tolerance and in so few words. If you've never read it, today would be a good time to pick up Mr. Hiroshi's Garden.