Saturday, November 21, 2015


Kevin Henkes, Caldecott Medalist, Newbery honorary and Theodor Seuss Geisel honorary, has written a new picture book, Waiting. Asked in a Horn Book interview about writing a book about waiting he said, " Children spend a lot of their time waiting. They wait in line. They have to wait their turn. They wait for their birthdays, holidays, weekends, the end of the school day. They seem to be waiting quite a lot, so I thought it would be a good idea for a book."

Five figurines are sitting on a windowsill, looking out the window waiting for something amazing to happen. The pig is waiting for the rain, the bear for the wind to fly his kite, the puppy on his sled waiting for the snow, the owl waiting for the moon and the rabbit was happy just looking out the window. One day an elephant joined them, he stayed awhile but then left forever. A cat with patches joined the animals on the windowsill. What was she waiting for? One day. like a Matryoshka doll, she popped open and four increasingly smaller  kittens popped out. Then there were ten friends looking out the window waiting for something amazing to happen.

The artwork is beautifully spare, we see the window but not the room, even when the elephant falls to the floor and breaks. The figurines move by an unseen hand. The view from the window changes. The text is also spare and the sentences short. The AR is 1.9. The Sonoma County Library has twenty-two copies

Saturday, November 14, 2015

In! Over! And On (The Farm)

Ethan Long, the 2013 Theodor Seuss Geisel  award winner for Up, Tall and High, has a new book aimed at beginning readers: In! Over! And On (The Farm). Using fewer than fifty words, Mr. Long tells three humorous stories illustrating the words in, over and on.

Since this book was recently published, the Sonoma County Library does not yet have the book. But the author has published many other books aimed at Kindergarten, first and second-graders. You can find them here

Monday, November 9, 2015

I Really Like Slop!

Mo Willems' latest Elephant and Piggie book, I Really Like Slop, cracks me up. I have known my fair share of Geralds! Piggie has made her favorite dish: slop. Slop is part of pig culture and Piggie really, really, really likes it. Gerald questions her about the smell and the flies (flies are how you know that the slop is ripe) before Piggie asks him if he wants to try some. Gerald's first reaction is NO WAY! He sees that he has hurt Piggie's feelings so he agrees to try a small taste. Gerald takes a pea sized morsel. It takes him four pages to get it to the tip of his tongue, then we have six pages of Gerald's reaction to the taste while Piggie explains the flavors. Does he  really like slop? Not, but he's glad he tried it because he really likes Piggie.

Mo Willems uses lots of color and pattern to show Gerald's reaction to the slop. It is his most colorful Elephant and Piggie book yet. 

The Sonoma County Library has twenty-eight copies. After being on the market only three weeks, I Really Like Slop, is number one on the New York Times Children's Best Seller List. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

That's (Not) Mine

Our furry friends from You Are (Not) Small are back in That's (Not) Mine by Anna Kang and illustrated by Christopher Weyant. This time their dispute is about who has possession of a comfy chair. There is more action because of the tactics each uses to get the other one out of the comfy chair.

It takes a little over forty different  words to tell this story about (not) sharing and (not) being a good friend. Eventually, they apologize and go out to play. Like the first book, the font is easy to read and there are just a few words on each page. There are plenty of action words that are easy to sound out, too. The slapstick humor will attract young readers and keep them reading.

The Sonoma County Library currently has two copies

Sunday, November 1, 2015

November is Picture Book Month

 Picture Book Month is an annual celebration of the importance of picture books. They are not just for toddlers. Two of the Caldecott Medal winners in the past decade were for books aimed at a much older audience: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick and Locomotive By Brian Floca.

 Of course, many picture book subjects are aimed at younger children but the content of many is aimed at grade school kids who want to jump to chapter books as quickly as possible. There is a wide array of subjects, both fiction and non-fiction that can enhance grade school kids'  appreciation and understanding of the world around them. Check out The Picture Book Month website to hear from picture book champions why they think picture books are important.
Over the next few weeks, we will be looking at picture books for beginning readers and a few with a more advanced vocabulary and story. 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

A Pumpkin Library carved by children and decorated by Truro Public Library (Massachusetts) librarians has gone viral on social media this week. Looks like a cozy place to read, if you ask me.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Stick and Stone

When we first meet Stick and Stone, each is alone and lonely. When both are playing by themselves at the park, Pinecone makes fun of Stone. Stick comes to his rescue, banishing Pinecone. The two become fast friends and have fun together until a hurricane separates them. After the storm, Stone sets out to find Stick, searching day and night until he finds him stuck upside down in a mud puddle. Now it is Stone's turn to save his friend.

This simple story is written by first time author, Beth Ferry, and illustrated byTom Lichtenheld. It is a perfect book for  beginning readers. The text is minimal and the illustrations advance the story without unnecessary visual clutter. The font is large and bold and the words are well-spaced. Most of the words can be sounded out by a first grader, It is a funny story about kindness and friendship and in the case of Pinecone, redemption.

Stick and Stone is available at the Yulupa Library and Sonoma County Library. The AR is 1.2.