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Two Illustrated Books: “Armstrong” and “The Only Child”

I picked up these two illustrated children’s books the same day I grabbed J.K. Rowling’s Very Good Lives from the library. They were on display and since it’s been a while since I’ve read I picture book, I decided to give them a try. Armstrong looked familiar, but I couldn’t recall where I’d first seen it; and I’ve often seen the cover of The Only Child so I wanted to know why a stag was hanging out with a kid.


armstrong-the-adventurous-journey-of-a-mouse-to-the-moonArmstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon by Torben Kuhlmann (illus.)

Goodreads summary:

A long time ago a mouse learned to fly . . . and crossed the Atlantic. But what happened next? Torben Kuhlmann’s stunning new book transports readers to the moon and beyond! On the heels of Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse comes Armstrong: A Mouse on the Moon where dreams are determined only by the size of your imagination and the biggest innovators are the smallest of all. The book ends with a brief non-fiction history of human space travel from Galileo s observations concerning the nature of the universe to man’s first steps on the moon. (Goodreads)

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Two Illustrated Books: “Lucy” and “The Sound of All Things”

I go overboard whenever I visit the library. It’s like stepping into a bookstore where everything you see is free. While checking out a few books one day, my eyes landed on these two illustrated children’s books. Lucy I’d heard of before so I quickly grabbed it before any kid could think to take it. Then I saw the cover of The Sound of All Things and grabbed it too because I liked the illustration on the cover and the title sounded intriguing. What could it be about, I wondered.

Lucy

Lucy by Randy Cecil (illus.)

Goodreads overview:

A tiny dog, a kindhearted girl, and a nervous juggler converge in a cinematic book in four acts.

Lucy is a small dog without a home. She had one once, but she remembers it only in her dreams. Eleanor is a little girl who looks forward to feeding the stray dog that appears faithfully beneath her window each day. Eleanor’s father is a juggler with stage fright.

My thoughts:

This was a sweet story about friendship and family. Eleanor lives with her father and tries to help him overcome his stage fright. She also sometimes feed the quirky little dog, Lucy, that visits her every day. Lucy is a homeless dog that embarks on a new adventure every day though some parts of the day are routine. Since the story is told in four acts, each act is about a different adventure. The things Lucy gets up to are funny and are sure to entertain kids.

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Picture This: Reflecting Diversity in Children’s Book Publishing

While on Facebook, I found a link to this great blog post that features an updated illustration of diversity in children’s books. It uses recent statistics from 2015.

sarahpark.com

At the 2016 ALA Annual Conference, author Tameka Fryer Brown presented the Cooperative Children’s Book Center’s (CCBC) multicultural publishing statistics during the panel “Celebrating Diversity: The Brown Bookshelf Salutes Great Books for Kids.” She displayed Tina Kügler’s oft-cited 2012 infographic, with the comment that even though the numbers are now 4 years old, the image communicated inequity in publishing so well that she would use it at every opportunity.

Just before ALA Annual, St. Catherine University MLIS Program assistant professor Sarah Park Dahlen had posted to Facebook asking if anyone knew of an updated illustration, but Kügler’s was the only one anyone knew about. Friends said they would be happy to support an illustrator to create an update. Author/teacher Molly Beth Griffin saw Sarah’s post and queried her Twin Cities Picture Book Salon to see if anyone would be interested; David Huyck (pronounced “hike”) responded, and a…

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Two Illustrated Books: “The Arrival” and “Jane, the Fox, and Me”

I guess these mini reviews will become more frequent as I read more short books. This time I read two illustrated books that I borrowed from the library. Both were quick reads, but the story in both were quite touching. I’ll start with my favorite of two. (Click the images below for a larger version.)

The Arrival

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

Quick summary:

The Arrival is a graphic novel in which the story is told using only pictures. The story is about a man who must leave his family behind as he travels to find a safer place for them to live because something large threatens his country. He travels overseas to an immigration agency elsewhere and gets a pass to settle in a new land that is very different to where he’s from.

People are close to the creatures in the new land, which they keep as pets, and the man has to adjust to this as well as the different language and food and surroundings. He makes new friends and learns their history, but his mind is always with his family. After working enough, he is able to send for them.

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Book Haul #15: Last of the Year. For Real.

We’re almost at the end of the year, so here I am, again, with a book haul. I’ve tried many times to stop myself buying books but it’s something that can’t be helped, I’ve learned this year. All I can do is slow down my book-buying pace a bit, which I hope I will be successful in doing next year. This year goes down in my life’s record as the year I bought the most books….unless I surpass the amount later in life. Anyways, the books.

Book Outlet

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“The Phantom Tollbooth” by Norton Juster

The Phantom Tollbooth

Some people liked the illustrations but I didn’t. 😦

Totally wacky but adorable read. The Phantom Tollbooth took me on a wild ride that I, unfortunately, could not appreciate at the time I read it.

A quick summary:

The Phantom Tollbooth is a middle-grade novel about a boy named Milo who is bored by his everyday life. Nothing appeals to him or surprises him. One day he comes home to find a phantom tollbooth in his room with instructions for getting to the Lands Beyond, a perfect place for Milo to pass the time. He sets off and meets strange people and creatures — a dog with a clock for a body, a boy who grows down instead of up and whose feet doesn’t touch the ground until he’s an adult — and visits even stranger lands — the Doldrums that makes people there listless; the kingdom Dictionopolis, where one can buy words and letters on market day; the island called Conclusions, where people appear on if they’ve jumped to a conclusion.

“This is Dictionopolis, a happy kingdom, advantageously located in the Foothills of Confusion and caressed by the gentle breezes from the Sea of Knowledge.”

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“The Spiderwick Chronicles” by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi

This series was fun to read. I started it last year but stopped when I realized that it’s broken up over several books. It was annoying to finish one book and have to wait until I purchased the other to continue. Of course, I could have read the e-books but since I began with a physical book, I wanted to continue with that trend.

Quick summary (some spoilers):

The Field Guide

The Field Guide

Book 1: The Field Guide

When the Grace children move to their great aunt Lucinda’s abandoned Victorian house shortly after their parents’ divorce, they are introduced to a world of strange creatures. In this book they meet the house brownie Thimbletack, who seems to have gone slightly mad from living alone in the old house for so long. When they arrive at the Spiderwick estate, their Mom orders them to begin cleaning to make the house livable. While doing so the children discover Thimbletack’s home in the wall. However, they didn’t know it was someone’s, or rather something’s, home so Simon and Mallory destroy it throwing most of the contents in the garbage. Thimbletack takes offense to this and assaults Simon and Mallory. Since Jared always got into trouble at the old house, his Mom automatically assumes that he is abusing his siblings. After discovering Arthur Spiderwick’s field guide of extraordinary creatures, Jared becomes convinced that they had upset a brownie. With advice from the field guide, the Grace children are able to appease Thimbletack.

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