Wednesday, December 21, 2011

B is for Bethlehem

B is for Bethlehem
Isabel Wilner, author
Elisa Kleven, illustrator
2004--board book

It's a little late to let everyone know about this charming Christmas book, but I'm afraid I'll forget next year! I've had this book for years, and my children have grown to love it as well. The illustrations are sparkly collage style and provide a wonderful twist near the end--you realize a group of children has been acting out the Christmas story. The text is simple couplets that walk the reader/listener through the Christmas story--including a wonderful reminder at the end that Jesus came for everyone! Amazingly, the author created this in ABC order and still keeps the order of the Christmas story. She begins with Augustus and ends with Zanzibar.

I like that this book is different from the usual Christmas story fare; it's a nice counterpoint both in illustrative style and in text format while still reinforcing the biblical story of Christmas. The board book edition makes a wonderful gift for toddlers.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Museum ABC

Museum ABC
Metropolitan Museum of Art

"Which one do you like?" is the inevitable question as we turn the pages for each letter. A is for Apple of course, and on the opposite page are details of four paintings in a variety of artistic styles with depictions of apples. B is for Boat, C is for Cat, and so on, a wonderful introduction to art and its appreciation from ancient to modern (honestly, I haven't checked to see how recent, but quite a range is represented), art from all over the globe. Every time we share this book I want to go to an art museum for our own treasure hunt to find Dancing, Eggs, Feet, Games, Hair, Insects, Jewelry, and Kisses (our favorite). Highly recommended for all ages.

Museum 123 and Museum Shapes are also available, and I believe they will go on our Christmas lists this year!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Gift Ideas!

Of course we Literaritea types are going to champion books as the ideal Christmas gifts! But, what if you already want to give a young friend or relative a good book and don't know what to get? I am a "heavy user" of the library, and there are lots of books out there that are good "library checkouts" but not necessarily books I'd like to own. On the other hand, there are some books well worth buying. In addition, never under estimate a young person's delight when he or she gets a book for his or her very own--even if it's not "classic" material. (The "classics" are certainly worth investigating, too, particularly if you find truly beautiful editions.) Here are some possible ideas from amongst recently published books or reissued books; consider them "good reads" and books that delight children as well as books that will interest multiple ages. They are easy to find as well, and you should have time to get them here by Christmas if you order them online.

*These books have been reviewed on our blog, but I can't get their links to work today! So, feel free to check our indices or do a search. So sorry!!

Wordless and/or books for the very young
  • The Lion and the  Mouse by Jerry Pinkney  (amazon)*
  • Where's Walrus by Stephen Savage  (amazon)*
Books for Preschoolers
  • Press Here by Herve Tullet (amazon)
  • Cars Galore by Peter Stein and Bob Saake  (amazon)*
  • The Gingerbread Boy by Paul Galdone  (amazon)*
  • The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Paul Galdone  (amazon)*
  • Jonathan and the Big Blue Boat by Philip Stead (amazon)
  • A Pocketful of Posies by Sally Mavor  (amazon)*
    Museum ABC from the Metropolitan Museum of Art  (amazon)*
***Early Readers (these also make great gifts for preschoolers who aren't reading yet)
  • Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems (review) (amazon)
  • Amanda and her Alligator by Mo Willems (amazon)
  • The Mercy Watson series by Kate DiCamillo (review) (amazon)
  • Classics such as Frog and Toad, George and Martha, Cat in the Hat, Henry and Mudge, Annie and Snowball, Mr. Putter and Tabby, Little Bear, Frances,... never go out of style; when you are first able to read a book all by yourself, it is magic. These are some of the BEST books to buy for kids!!! And some of the ones they will remember the most!!!
Mid-Upper Elementary School/Independent Readers (children's novels)
Middle School and Up
  • Queen's Thief Series by Megan Whalen Turner (review) (amazon)
  • The 100 Cupboards Series by N. D. Wilson (review and review) (amazon)
  • An American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (graphic novel) (review) (amazon)

    Movie Tie-in's (a great way to encourage reluctant readers)
    • The Adventures of Tintin (one of the first graphic novels) (amazon)
    • The Adventures of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznik--especially for young artists and/or inventors (review) (amazon)