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The 2016 ALA Youth Media Awards–What happened??

As we were saying last Saturday . . . you just can’t predict what the Newbery committee is going to do. Trends have been toward diversity, disability, and difficulty; books that show children in adverse, even desperate circumstances often get Newbery nods. (That’s why I was so sure The Thing about Jellyfish would be on […]

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Caldecott Buzz and Possible Picks

Book award committees have such a delightfully difficult task. The ALA Caldecott awards will be announced, among others, on Monday, January 11, and there is always much discussion in the book world leading up to the event. This year there seem to be a lot of books that are nice but don’t contain much of […]

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The Nutcracker: This is That Time of Year

The Nutcracker ballet is part of many Americans’ yearly cultural celebration of Christmas. The music plays everywhere, and even young children often recognize the strains of the “Waltz of the Flowers” or the “Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy.” If this rings true for your household, check out one of the books below to further your […]

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*Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss

*Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss. Random House, 1949. 56 pages. Reading Level: Picture Books, Ages 4-8 Recommended For: Ages 4-8 Bartholomew and the Oobleck is a brilliant example of Theodore Seuss Geisel’s delightful use of language with a clear moral that is not heavy handed. Bartholomew (first introduced in The 500 Hats of […]

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Have an Awesome Thanksgiving

In honor of this week’s holiday, a book review post from a few years back: Sarah Gives Thanks: How Thanksgiving Became a National Holiday, by Mike Allegra, illustrated by David Gardner.  Whitman, 2012, 32 pages. Age-interest level: 4-up As our story opens, Sarah Hale is gathered with her five children around the Thanksgiving table.  No […]

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Flying Ponies and Dump Trucks

Do little kids love fantasy? NPR recently reported on a study done by three academic psychologists on the subject of children and fiction. They asked a group of 4-to-7-year-olds what choose between two stories they might like to read or listen to: one story about a child who found a treasure, and another about a […]

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Happy 100th Birthday, Jean Fritz!

Prolific author Jean Fritz turns 100 today! During her long life, she has written numerous books–mostly biographies–for children. Before picture book biographies were so prevalent, elementary school children had few solid sources for biographies…except for Fritz’s works. Even with the advent of such young reader-friendly series as the “Who Was…?” series by Scholastic, Fritz’s works […]

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Tempest in a Mixing Bowl

As a book reviewer, I have stars in my eyes. That is, I watch for stars when scanning book review journals, because they are an indicator of what someone finds excellent. Often, what others value is not what I would value, but if a book collects a lot of stars (six is the absolute gold […]

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Is Petunia Ready for Social Security? Picture Books and Retirement

Do Picture Books Retire? Petunia, that silly goose, is turning the ripe old age of 65 this year, the same age as my father-in-law who is retiring this fall from his long-standing position as nurse anesthetist. The Carrot Seed at 70 is the same age as my father who semi-retired this summer. And Harold and his trusty […]

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A Chocolate Moose for Dinner by Fred Gwynne

A Chocolate Moose for Dinner by Fred Gwynne. Scholastic, 1976. 32 pages. Reading Level: Ages 4-8, Picture book Recommended For: Ages 4-8 When a child hears her parents using idioms, she imagines literal interpretations with humorous results. How do you hang shoes on a tree? Would a new wing on the house have feathers? Would […]

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The 2015 PBOTY Committee Reflects….

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the closed doors of a book award committee’s deliberations? How a group of people can, with confidence, pronounce a particular book the “best” of the year? An earnest committee, regardless of their makeup, will go through a similar process in their deliberations. The PBOTY Committee… Our Picture […]

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