The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse

maclachlan_iridescence of birds

Waaay back in January 2014, I saw this book. Hadley Hooper’s art blew me away. It still does. (And here Joanna Rudge Long reviews it for The Horn Book.) Henri Matisse is presented as a youngster, growing up in a dreary gray town. His mother introduces color to his life as she paints plates, arranges […]

Mock Caldecott results? Share right here

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It’s less than a month before the Awards Announcements, but it’s not too soon to hear results of mock Caldecott deliberations. Many libraries host meetings where readers discuss books and vote on their winners. It’s impossible for us to keep up with all of the results, but we do want to know all about your […]

I see London! I see France! I see broccoli in underpants!

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What’s with the books about vegetables in underwear? As a pro-underpants vegetarian, I feel compelled to comment on this mushrooming trend. Okay, maybe it’s less a trend and more…well…three books on the topic, a veritable cornucopia of corn cobs in tightie-whities. Last spring’s Veggies with Wedgies by Todd H. Doodler (Little Simon, May 2014) started […]

“Rabid Rabbit Readers” —- try saying that five times fast

country bunny golden

I’ve often heard the expression “teaching is a marathon, not a sprint,” an indication that teachers must allow time to pace themselves throughout the school year. But based on my experiences, that’s a whole lot easier said then done. First-year teachers are often thrown into a developed, engrained curriculum plan for a school’s reading program […]

My Grandfather’s Coat

aylesworth_my grandfather's coat

Heart-on-sleeve confession about My Grandfather’s Coat: I cannot read this book without crying. Some days even thinking about it makes me weepy. It’s not like anything bad happens (the grandfather doesn’t die!), and the tone is neither wistful nor melancholy. It’s such a joyful book, and then oy vey! The emotion sneaks up. The first […]

Philip Pullman’s “The Collectors”

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It’s been quite some time since fans of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series have had any new… well, material… to sate us. After the trilogy — The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass — concluded in 2000, Pullman briefly returned to the universe in Lyra’s Oxford (2003) and Once Upon a […]

Neighborhood Sharks

roy_neigborhood sharks

I didn’t look very carefully at Neighborhood Sharks when it first came in to the office, mostly because I’ve got such a soft spot for harbor seals (close relatives to elephant seals, the preferred prey for the great white sharks in this book). Also, I was kind of turned off by the limp dead seal and […]

Bellydance Evolution: Alice in Wonderland

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You may be wondering, “What the heck does bellydancing have to do with children’s books?” Having seen Bellydance Evolution’s production of Alice in Wonderland on Wednesday night, I can assure you that the two do play together nicely when brought together in a thoughtful way. According to the mission statement on their site, dance company […]

Boston-area events for January 2015

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Happy New Year! Here is a (very long) list of events to look forward to in the first weeks of 2015. Tonight, January 8th, at 5:00 pm, join the Odyssey Bookshop for a mermaid party to celebrate the release of Jennifer Donnelly’s Rogue Wave, the second entry in her Waterfire fantasy saga. The Writers’ Loft […]

Sushi Monster app review

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Blobby, colorful monsters with insatiable appetites for sushi are the stars of entertaining — and challenging! — math-centric game-app Sushi Monster (Scholastic, 2012). Begin by selecting either Addition or Multiplication and a level (Addition has seven, Multiplication five). A gong sounds to move you on to the next screen and into the game. A hungry […]