I wanted to share a few of the books I’ve been reading.
WHAT THE SEA SAW by Stephanie St. Pierre. Peachtree, 2006. This poetic look at the sea, sky, and creatures is a visual treat. Beverly Doyle’s dramatic illustrations take the reader to the scene. Her lush blues and greens intensify the author’s lilting text. Truly, this picture book is a feast for both the eyes and ears. One that will be read over and over again.
ZIGGY’S BLUE-RIBBON DAY by Claudia Mills. Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2005.Ziggy dreads the school track-and-field day because he is not athletic. He is a good artist, however. When Ziggy decorates his ribbon folder—which is filled with last place ribbons—he is soon receiving blue ribbons in trade to decorate other’s ribbon folders. Mills simple story shows how each one of us has a unique talent—coming first in the race isn’t always important. But learning to use one’s own special gifts is important.
THE APPLE DOLL by Elisa Kleven. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2007. A young girl who “loved her apple tree” decides to keep it close by making a doll from one of the apples. With some help from her mother, Lizzy transforms the apple into a grandma doll. All the other children in her class want to learn how to make apple dolls. Lizzy feels welcomed. End papers with step-by-step instructions on making an apple doll.
EMMA DILEMMA AND THE NEW NANNY by Patricia Hermes. Marshall Cavendish, 2006. Emma’s beloved ferret, Marmaduke, causes trouble for her when he escapes his cage. Threatened with losing him, Emma defies authority and with the help of the new nanny sneaks him into school for show and tell. When Marmaduke bites a student, Emma’s cover is blown. Her busy mom is more frustrated than ever with Emma and her ferret, but the new nanny, Annie, intercedes. Annie calms the household, but she has a number of potentially dangerous mishaps around the children. Will the new nanny be forced to leave like so many of the earlier ones? The children, twins Lizzie & Ira, Tim, and precocious McClain, are deeply concerned. But Annie generous offers to help with Emma’s weekend soccer and finds a place in the family.
ROUGH, TOUGH CHARLEY by Verla Kay. Tricycle Press, 2007. The fascinating story of 19th century Charley Darkey Parkhurst is told in cryptic rhyme in this beautifully illustrated picture book. Excerpts of Charley’s adventurous life are highlighted from his runaway beginnings to his stagecoach daredevil feats and his encounters with gun-toting outlaws. But the most surprising event in the true story occurs when Charley dies, and all discover that Charley is really a woman—the first woman to vote in the United States.
THE ROAD TO PARIS by Nikki Grimes. G.P. Putnam’s, 2006. Young Paris faces a tough world with her older brother Malcolm the only person she can count on for sure. Her father is long gone, and her mother is an alcoholic who has a tendency to choose abusive boyfriends. When Paris and Malcolm run away from an awful foster home, they are separated—to Paris’ great regret. But Paris finally finds herself in a loving foster family with friends and a welcoming church choir where she praises God with her gifted voice. When Paris’ reformed mother calls nine months later wanting Paris and Malcolm to come back, Paris is faced with the tough decision to reunite her dysfunctional family or stay in the safety and love she has found. A heart-warming story of hope and resurrection and of the children in our modern society who have to face a difficult world at much too young an age. Nikki Grimes’ poetic voice sings true in this middle grade novel.