Friday, September 30, 2011
As the sun dips behind the mountains and the impending raucous crowd and the nightly fog approaches, we run into my brothers, my nephews, and a few of my sisters. We meet up for a few minutes before going off to see different booths, promising to see each other later. My father has come to hear the Blues Brothers copycat band, which sounds pretty good from the warm-up we heard when we arrrived but we don't stay at the fair after dark. It's a good rule of thumb for anyone under eighteen. This place is kind of like Vegas. During the day it tries desperately to be a family affair, even going so far as to keep most of the strange carnies operating rides that won't open till later, but once it gets dark it becomes a different beast. Bright neon lights buzz away, flashing signs twinkle, the smell of fried food and warm beer mix in the air, and any number of teenagers holler and giggle at each other as they find love under the sticky stars. By the time the rides are going full tilt and the fair is reaching maximum capacity, I'm at home with my feet up, happy that I won't have to visit the fair for another year but already somehow looking forward to the displays of vegetables and that quiet clucking barn full of chickens.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Name of Book: The Little Rabbit
Author / Illustrator: Story by Judy Dunn and Photographs by Phoebe Dunn
What's It All About: A little girl named Sarah finds a white baby bunny in her Easter basket one year. She names the rabbit Buttercup and they become good friends. Buttercup gets lost and is found. Buttercup grows up and has baby bunnies. The baby bunnies are named after the days of the week. Sarah's father says there are too many bunnies and other children take them home. Soon it is just Sarah and Buttercup again.
My Favorite Bit: This story is told in photographs rather obviously from the early eighties, but the photographer took some lovely pictures that made me want a baby rabbit so much! The pictures of Buttercup getting lost were just magical to me as a child. This book is from a series about animals and their owners told in photographs. Try them, you'll love 'em!
Suitable Age For Reading It To: These stories can capture younger children's eyes with the photographs and older children with the words. There is about a paragraph a page so small children may not sit through it to start. I'd say start around four and read on through till they move on.
Go Get It: The Little Rabbit paperback on Amazon US.
Friday, September 16, 2011
Author / Illustrator: Retold and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
What's It All About: A miller sees the king riding through the countryside and, wanting to impress the king, he tells him his daughter can spin straw into gold. The king has the miller's daughter brought to the castle, there to spin straw into gold or she'll be put to death (well done Dad, right?). The miller's daughter does not know what to do until a little man appears and offers to help her for a gift in return. Three times this happens. The first gift she gives him is her necklace, the second her ring, and the third the promise that she will give her first born son to the little man if she becomes queen. The beautiful miller's daughter agrees for she fears for her life and thinks nothing will come of the agreement. She completes the tasks the king has asked for and he marries her. A year later finds her with a baby boy prince and the little man appears to take him away. The queen is distraught and the little man relents. If she can find out his name before three days are up she can keep her son. As we all know from the title of this classic Brothers Grimm tale, a servant discovers the little man singing a poem about his name and the queen is able to keep her son. Rumplestiltskin (wouldn't you keep quiet about your name too?) rides off into the night on a wooden spoon.
My Favorite Bit: I really enjoy the painting of the scene where the queen guesses the little man's name. The queen's stance and face are perfect and the baby is icing on the cake. These are smooth, pretty illustrations, which add to this classic tale.
Go Get It: Rumpelstiltskin in paperback on Amazon US
A Little About The Author / Illustrator:
Paul O. Zelinsky was born in 1953 in Evanston, Illinois. He attended Yale and became interested in pursuing children's book illustration as a career after taking a class from Mercer Mayer. Zelinsky said in reference to memories of what he had read, "Feelings come to me as a sort of flavor. I know that when I call up my earliest memories, what I remember seeing and hearing is accompanied by a flavor-like sense of what it felt like to be there and see that.” His most popular book is the movable story of The Wheels On The Bus, which has sold millions of copies.
Visit his website HERE.
Friday, September 9, 2011
Story by Gertrude Crampton and Pictures by Tibor Gergely
The most important rule: you must stay on the tracks. This is a great book but a little lengthy for the small children.
Freight Train by Donald Crews
This simple story tells the names of the different kinds of train cars, lists colors, and has easy to grasp pictures that are great for toddlers who love trains.
There's A Train Going By My Window
By Wendy Kesselman and Pictures by Tony Chen
See my earlier review HERE about this fabulous rhyming book for all ages!.
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
This is a great story about a magic train and a story about Christmas! Van Allsburg delivers his usual beautiful illustrations and enchanting story. Read this story all times of the year.
The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
This is a great old story about the Little Engine we all know so well. The characters in this story are sweet and the pictures have charmed many children.