Today I have a few more books we’ve enjoyed as part of the Armchair Cybils challenge to share.
I like Chris Van Dusen a lot, as evidenced by my recent review of his book The Circus Ship. I’m also a huge fan of If I Built a Car. This new book of his is very similar in style with the same brightly colored outrageous illustrations, rhyming text and wacky storyline. It was a fun read but I didn’t like it as much as his others. The story is of a king who is so arrogant that he spends most of his time talking about himself and boring his subjects with speeches about his awesomeness. A peasant girl who is also a witch puts a spell on him that causes his head to swell in size each time he boasts. In the end, he realizes his foolishness and marries the girl (which annoyed me a bit). We enjoyed it but I don’t think I’d go out of my way to read it again.
I was looking forward to reading this one after reading Amy’s glowing review. (Although I can’t find her review now to link to it, I’m pretty sure I heard about it there first.) This sweet book didn’t disappoint. Ana loves stories but lives in a small village with very few books. One day a librarian comes to town with a traveling library on a burro. He not only brings new stories to Ana and the other children but encourages her to write her own stories. What’s not to love about a book that has at it’s heart the love of books and the thrill of waiting for and getting new ones? It’s based on the true story of a librarian living and working in rural Columbia which only makes it more endearing.
I believe I first heard about this book on NPR.Wherever it was, I remember being skeptical that this would be one of those kids’ books that adults think is really clever but that doesn’t really appeal to kids. Instead, it’s a book that both adults and kids will love. The author, Leslie McGuirk spent over a decade looking for these rocks on the beaches of Florida. The book is a complete alphabet book, with each letter formed by a rock. Even more amazing is that each accompanying object is also a rock (E is for elephant, P is for penguin…both rocks). It’s a simple book to read but both boys and I were enthralled by the photos and the thought of the author searching for the perfect rocks.
For some reason, the Cybils have this book by Allen Say listed under teen graphic novels. I’m not sure exactly how I would categorize it but I don’t think that’s the best category for it. It’s a biography of Say, a Caldecott Medal Winning illustrator and artist. It tells of his early life in Japan up to about age 15 when he moved to the United States. He focuses on the time he spent studying under Noro Shinpei, a leading Japanese cartoonist. It’s a longish book and the text is written at a level for older elementary or middle school age kids. However, the format is a combination of text, photos, cartoons, and drawings and I think would be appealing to a broad range of ages. One reason I wanted to get it is that my 5 yr old enjoys art and I thought it would be fun for him to hear about a real artist. Both he and my 8 yr old enjoyed the story and all the visual elements.
And as always, head over to Hope is the Word for more Read Aloud Thursday bookish fun!