Books that jumped out of my friend’s hands
The North Star, by Peter H. Reynolds, is a quiet book about following your dreams. The young boy follows a star but gets lost on his path. He discovers that he needs to find his own path and follow his star. I loved this book for its simplicity and quiet beauty.
Kobi Yamada has written and illustrated What Do You Do with an Idea? The young boy begins in a pencil drawn, black and white world. He gets a golden nugget of an idea. The idea follows him around. Yet, as the boy and his idea grow, the images become more colorful. I loved how the illustrations became more colorful as the boy embraced his idea. This was a an excellent book.
The biographical tale of Florence Mills is gorgeously illustrated and told through Harlem’s Little Blackbird, by Renee Watson and Christian Robinson. Florence was a singer and actress during the Harlem Renaissance. Her story, including how she helped other artists, is beautiful and inspiring.
Louise Loves Art, by Kelly Light, tells the story of a young artist named Louise. She has a “gallery” of her artwork in her house, but she is plagued by her little brother. He continues to try to “help” his sister, but seems to be getting in the way. Moral of the story: Art is the little brother and Louise shares her gallery with one of his works. I am an older sister and I have to say that I never included my brother the way Louise does. Great illustrations made for a cute story.
The hilarious Bad Kitty, by Nick Bruel, tells about a Kitty who has run out of food. His people say they are going to buy food, but Kitty doesn’t know this. Instead, he becomes Bad Kitty and destroys an entire alphabet’s worth of things in the house. When his people return with food, Kitty becomes Good Kitty and fixes the alphabet’s worth of things. This is a wonderful ABC book that tells a hilarious story! Even though I am a dog lover, I liked Bad Kitty!
The final friend suggestion is a children’s novel based on historical events. I Survived! #2: the Shark Attacks of 1916, by Lauren Tarshis, tells the story of a young boy in New Jersey who is attacked by a shark in the freshwater river near where he lives. I enjoyed this story and liked learning about the real shark attacks of 1916! I am excited to tell my young friend that I liked it.
Picture books that jumped off the shelves
This is a Moose, by Richard T. Morris, is the story of a filmmaker who is creating a film about a moose. However, the moose likes to editorialize the shot and do things that are very un-moose-like. I loved the colorful illustrations and the humor. This book’s cover appealed to me with its bright colors and cartoon-like illustrations.
How to be a Superhero, by Rachel Yu, is narrated by Superior Guy. He tells us how to be a superhero, while bragging about his own superhero status. The illustrations remind me of a cross between a comic book and manga. I was astonished that Rachel Yu is a 15 year old girl who is an accomplished author! After reading it, I immediately recommended it to a mom of 4 boys, who told me she thinks the librarians ordered this book specifically because of them!
Jack and the Beanstalk, by Gavin Scott, retells the familiar story with a few changes. It certainly fits into my “twisted or flipped fairy tale” category! I picked up this book because the cover is squishy – similar to a infant’s picture book. It is hard to describe, but the bright colors and the interesting cover made this book land in my arms.
Another biographical tale jumped into my arms because of its title! Tomas and the Library Lady, by Pat Mora, tells the story of young Tomas. He is the son of migrant farmers, who discovers a library over the summer. He is helped along his reading journey by a wonderful librarian, and they become reading friends. I really, really loved the story!
Chapter Books that jumped off the shelves
I then took a trip to the Early Reader section and sat among the shelves.
It’s Me, Hippo!, by Mike Thaler, tells a few short stories about Hippo. Hippo gets into trouble and has blunders with his friends while he makes a house, paints a picture, feels wonderful and has a birthday. I honestly thought that Hippo was a bit dense and one-dimensional. However, my niece and I both love hippos, so a book called It’s Me, Hippo! had to be one of the books I read this week.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick, is a Caldecott winner that I didn’t have time to read last week. It could be the fact that it is 500+ pages, but I really did not want to return it quite yet. However, I am so glad I spent the time with this illustrated novel. Hugo, an orphan who is living concealed within the walls of a train station, is working to rebuild a mechanical man he and his father had began to refurbish. Hugo gets in trouble with an old toy seller, and is “helped” by the man’s goddaughter. They make the man work, and then….an entire other story begins.
It turns out the man is Georges Melies, one of the innovators of film. The friends work to help Georges remember who he is and help the world re-discover him. Filled with pencil drawings, stills from early films, and a wonderful story, made me very glad I read this!
My final “jumped off the shelf” book actually jumped through the internet! I saw an image of the book cover for The Day My Butt Went Psycho!, by Andy Griffiths, called my library, rushed over there in the last 2 minutes before they closed for the holiday weekend, and came home with this gem! It certainly falls in the “borderline book” category that Donalyn Miller discusses. (See my blog post about this amazing woman here.) Bathroom humor abounds in this quick, fast paced story!
Those are my “Window Shopping” books. Looking back on my reading this week, I have realized a few things about what appeals to me as a reader. For picture books beautiful, colorful pictures draw me to a book. For chapter books, an excellent cover, along with an interesting title, make me want to read a book.
However, personal recommendations trump everything!
What do you like to read? What makes a book appealing to you? How do you window shop for books? Let’s talk below!