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Children’s lit class starts this week

wwtwa_mirror

The first day of my children’s lit class at Harvard Ed School will be this Thursday, March 24. Once again, we are hoping you will all help us discuss our readings here on the blog. The students will be required to post comments (short ones, I hope!) and the more comments we can get from […]

Where the Wild Things Are | Class #1 2016

where the wild things are

For our first class this year, we are again reading Where the Wild Things Are, a picture book that is now a classic, but was controversial in its day. Every year there are a handful of students who have never read this book. For those who know it well, I’m interested in hearing whether you […]

Field Notes: Escaping Series Mania

building our house

Last spring I worked, temporarily, as a school librarian, a position I hadn’t held since Reagan was president. There were lots of adjustments, some easier than others. But the biggest surprise of all was that in this elementary school in an affluent suburb in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, almost every child was really reading, with […]

Review of Surf’s Up

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Surf’s Up by Kwame Alexander; 
illus. by Daniel Miyares Primary    North-South    32 pp. 2/16    978-0-7358-4220-5    $17.95    g Alexander follows up his poignant 2015 Newbery-winning middle-grade verse novel The Crossover (rev. 5/14) with…a picture book starring two frogs, one a surfer dude, the other a bookworm. “SURF’S UP, BRO!” calls the first frog to his bud. […]

Five questions for Laura Dronzek

DronzekLaura credit Kevin Henkes

Laura Dronzek’s color-drenched illustrations for When Spring Comes (Greenwillow, 2–4 years) bring husband Kevin Henkes’s poetic text into full bloom. Looking at her lively renderings of rain-soaked earth, flowering trees, baby animals, and other springtime delights, it’s easy to see Dronzek’s fine-arts background; her saturated acrylic paintings feature many similar subjects. In fact, her paintings […]

Let’s hear it for spring

spring_karas_on the farm

Winter is almost over! Time to head outdoors. Four very different picture books take readers outside, whether it’s on a working farm, in an imaginary tree fort, for a day out with two best friends (one is a bulldog), or going up on a mountaintop in search of a lost kite. On the Farm, at […]

Review of When Spring Comes

henkes_when spring comes

When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes; 
illus. by Laura Dronzek Preschool   Greenwillow   40 pp. 2/16   978-0-06-233139-7   $17.99 Library ed. 978-0-06-233140-3   $18.89 “Before Spring comes, / the trees look like / black sticks against the sky. // But if you wait, / Spring will bring / leaves and blossoms.” In a gently rhythmic text and lush, […]

Review of Oops Pounce Quick Run!: An Alphabet Caper

twohy_oops pounce quick run

Oops Pounce Quick Run!: An Alphabet Caper by Mike Twohy; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary   Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins 32 pp.   2/16   978-0-06-237700-5   $17.99   g Shelves may groan under the weight of abecedaries, but this one stands out with its use of alphabetic structure to tell a spare, fast-paced story through cartoon illustrations that excel […]

Two picture books | Class #5, 2016

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     The Arrival by Shaun Tan (Scholastic, 2007) The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by Peter Sís  (Farrar, 2007) Though not the typical purview of adolescents, sophisticated picture books such as these offer rich rewards for readers/viewers with an experienced eye. Consider prior knowledge older students can bring to these works and connections […]

Review of Snappsy the Alligator: Did Not Ask to Be in This Book!

falatko_snappsy the alligator

Snappsy the Alligator: Did Not Ask to Be in This Book! by Julie Falatko; illus. by Tim Miller Primary   Viking   40 pp. 2/16   978-0-451-46945-8   $16.99   g The omniscient narration begins normally enough: “Snappsy the alligator wasn’t feeling like himself.” After a bit more in this vein, Snappsy turns to the reader: “This is terrible!…Why is […]