Alphamaniacs: Builders of 26 Wonders of the Word by Paul Fleischman. Art by Melissa Sweet
This is a Junior Library Guild award winner, and I can see why! This collection of mini-biographies of daring linguists who saw language through shapes and sound and then dissected and reconstructed it into awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, wacky and wonderful verbal curiosities of the most marvelous kind. These creators took nothing at face value-instead they were able to see language on many planes.I am inspired by the sheer creativity and found each story so interesting. This is the perfect book for a budding linguist or coder! This is nonfiction for the junior and mid grade reader that is delivered in a very creative and engaging way.I so appreciate the great variety of words used-it was really run rolling them off my tongue, and I enjoyed the interesting illustrations and the diverse fonts.
Incredible Jobs You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of by Natalie Labarre
This book puts a capital C in creative careers. The fact that we can put a name to this plethora of the innumerable opportunities there are for you to find the one-two-three man many paths you might like to follow-or even forge a new one to add to the second edition! This book does a great job of disseminating facts by keeping them so interesting and interactive. There are questions posed of direction to ponder through each two-page spread. This book opens up the world of possibilities for finding fulfillment in life! Love it!
I’m sure the first thing noticed is the totally cool large size presentation of the book that will be a great addition to any coffee table; young and old will be immediately drawn to this book! The illustrations are a clever depiction of realistic items seasoned with a bit of fantasy and whimsy.
This Or That? What will you choose at the British Museum? By Pippa Goodhart
This book has created such a marketable concept for bringing art alive from all the museums in the world! This opens the doors of museums far and wide to everyone. I am enamored with this simple but thought provoking book that does a great job of creating texture, style and color ideas that just pop off the pages of the book. You might choose this or you might choose that but more importantly, your answers can lead to more curiosity and greater imagination. This is a book for all ages! Children and grown ups can enjoy it together and travel many roads to discovery.
Thank you to Candlewick Press for these books. All opinions expressed are my own.
This pop-up book is so creative and will inspire hours of play and learning. The book is full of fun and quirky rhymes that take the reader through the shops and to meet the people on Alphabet Street, all the while leaning the letters and sounds along the way. But that’s not all! This book also folds out and includes a beautifully illustrated play scene on the reverse of the shops and will inspire hours of imaginative play. I can see getting lost in the dreamy pastel artwork by the author and illustrator, Ingela P. Arrhenius. This is a wonderful ABC book and would make a great gift for a budding reader!
Jon Klassen’s Hat Box. Boxed set of Picture Books Ages 4-8
This is a beautiful boxed presentation of the wry and though invoking Hat stories by Jon Klassen. The books included are: I Want My Hat Back, This Is Not My Hat, and We Found a Hat, and a print of that scruffy bear, rabbit and the sought after hat. The engaging watercolor illustrations are enough to tell the story. It’s all in the subtle expressions and side-eyed glances. Each page builds up to the surprise, ending and the wry expressions of the characters add to the slightly racy humor. These are intricately crafted stories of cause and effect and fit in along side Aesop’s Fables. They each have something to teach. There is nothing wrong with a book that does not tie itself up with a pretty bow at the end. Some stories are sassy and these are some of the best! This would make a great gift for the holidays!
Inside Outside written and illustratedby Anne-Margot Ramstein & Matthias Arégui Ages 4-8
Wordlessly this beautiful picture book leads the reader into worlds large and small to bolster creative imagination. Within each two page spread, the reader is drawn narrowly into and widely out of scenarios where they might become a spelunker, a dog inside a doghouse or even a chick inside an egg. These unique perspectives will surely lead to interesting questions from curious kids and can offer great prompts for story telling, creative writing and afternoon day dreams. I love this concept and so appreciate the accessibility of a picture book that can expand to satisfy a larger audience: young, old, those who can read and those who cannot. Wonderful!
Mr. Scruff by Simon James Junior Library Guild Ages 3-7
This adorable book about people and their pets will grab attention with its fun rhymes and super charming ink & watercolor illustrations that will definitely elicit giggles. What is really special about this book is its compassionate story of diversity, acceptance and love. Kindness for animals, understanding that our choices have a resounding affect and that love is what makes the world go round. I highly recommend this heart-warming, heart-felt story.
Just Because by Mac Barnett Ages 4-8
This book is childlike satire at its best of the traditional bedtime avoidance rituals. Just before the lights can out, the fathomless quesions about life commencnse. Isabelle Arsenaults beautifully illustratoes each of the dad’s creative responses with gouche, pencil & watercolor illustrated 2-page spread of dream-scapes including flying fish, dinosaurs floating in space and mice blowing bubbles, all done with gorgeous muted tones that lend to the feel of nighttime and the slowly closing eyes of the sleepy child. This is a really cute bedtime book that will have you running to look up the real answers to these age old questions because curious minds will want to know! I highly recommend it! The expressions of the dog are priceless!
Paper World Planet Earth Illustrated by Bomboland Ages 8-12
Paper-cutting is the art of cutting paper and this book takes this laser-cut multi-dimensional art-form deep into the earth’s core. I just love the creative use of vivid colors to create dimension, texture, and shadow that literally jump off each 2-page spread. Along with its in-depth scientific teachings, this book creates a sense of wonder. On top of the already multi-layered aspect of the pages, there are flaps and die-cuts that offer more in-depth information about this big beautiful planet we call home. This truly one-of-a-kind book will appeal to readers of all ages and will bolster the curiosity of budding scientists, environmentalists and highly curious people!
Playlist: The Rebels & Revolutionaries of Sound by James Rhodes Ages 12+
Right off the bat, with the gorgeously colorful marbled paper-art end-pages, you know this book is going to be engaging. This book is a multi-sensory treat exciting not just the eyes and mind but also the ears and the whole body. By including a Spotify play-list, your senses get an extra jolt by adding the emotional quality that only music can bring. Through music, the whole being is able to experience these “original” rock stars of classical music, a genre often overlooked when considering the basis of current music. Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven are hip!
The back stories plus the ties to current day movies, and music offer just enough information to entice even the most stubborn “pop” fan into appreciating the inspiring stories of these great composers. I was motivated to find the full tracks of the songs and really listen to these amazing pieces that helped shaped every piece of music and ring tone we hear today.
This is a great gift book and would look especially awesome on a coffee table or for your favorite band teacher! The collage, silkscreen & digital illustrations by Martin O’Neill are really well done and are very exciting and add a lot to the text. Each one could become a framed piece of art!
Walk This Underground World by Kate Baker Ages 5-8
Wonderfully informative! This creative non-fiction picture book opens up the underground world by taking the reader from deep in the underground city of Montreal to the subways of Tokyo to burrows of prairie dog and mole rats. This book will inspire curiosity and a realization that what is on the surface is just that and that there are many hidden gems that go into life on this an amazing planet. Sam Brewster intricately details each 2-page spread page with pop-open doors, windows and crevices to give an ever deeper peek into the teeming underground life. I highly recommend this book. It will excite and instill the desire for the young reader to know about our planet helping to create budding scientists, archaeologists, architects and highly interested and engaged people.
I love pop up books especially ones that take a heavy topic and break it down into little bites, making so it is much easier to ingest. Here we have the complete works of Shakespeare laid out on five double-page spreads that include pop-ups and flaps with in the pages that also pop-up. This work of non-fiction gives a great overview of Shakespeare through carefully laid out sections about his life and his works: comedies, histories, romances and tragedies. This would be a perfect book for a living art museum project! I love the plethora of details and how each flap is full of fascinating information and often hilarious recaps. I enjoyed learning about Shakespeare-about the person he was and insight into his writing and his influences that are still felt to this day especially about things you might not have known such how much influence Shakespeare has had on current English language!
The pop-ups by illustrator Jennie Maizels are wonderfully detailed and charming. Each flap and pop-up is carefully laid out to give the reader a sense of wholeness, kind of like theater in the round (another tie in to Shakespeare!).
I somehow got through school without ever having to read Shakespeare and this was a totally fun catch up on all his greatness that I missed out on. Peaked my interest totally.
Thank you to Candlewick Press for sending me this book. All opinions expressed are my own.