Thursday, December 1, 2016

friends, memories and some awkwardness

I had lots of luck with kid's books in November beginning with the pleasure of listening to a storytime genius read Beekle, which is an easy book to fall madly in love with.  I found First Day Jitters at a Little Free Library on a walk, and because it's short, I read it several times while standing there at the little library, and it came home with me.  I shared Everything is Awkward with all my coworkers and nearly cried when I read The Lines on Nana's Face the first time.  My favorite book this past month is hands down, Some Writer, which is the story of E.B. White, and it's just so perfectly and lovingly executed by one of my favorite illustrators, Melissa sweet.  Here are my tiny reviews!

Beekle by Dan Santat

This is for those of us who've always wondered about how we ended up with our imaginary friends from childhood and where they come from. My imaginary friend of long ago was nowhere as sweet or well thought out as Beekle though! The pages where Beekle and Alice meet each other offer endless delight. An added bonus is at the very end of the book where there are several pictures of kids and their imaginary friends. Ah, such a brilliant idea executed with utterly adorable illustrations.

Some Writer! by Melissa Sweet

The illustrations are captivating, diverse and plentiful. Sweet also does an excellent job mixing the illustrations with the story of E.B. White's life. It's a perfect blend of memorabilia, Sweet's art and beguiling text. The text is a tribute to E.B. White's work, as it is both succinct and vivid with detail. I loved all the details of E.B White's relationship with Katharine Sergeant, his writing tips and New Yorker jobs. It didn't surprise me that he wrote the poem, "Natural History" for Katharine or that it took 17 takes for him to record the chapter, Last Day, in Charlotte's Web because he couldn't stop crying, but I was delighted by these details and many more. I loved and studied each illustration intensely, but my favorite was the family branch on page 48. The imagination and thoughtfulness that went into each illustration is astounding. The page layouts are also incredibly inventive. This book is a feast for the heart and eyes, and I will read it again and again.

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg and Illustrated by Judy Love

90% of my love for this book is based entirely on the surprise ending, which I won't spoil. I read it several times through to see if there were any hints about the surprise ending and I couldn't find any. It is so wonderfully written, and kids will love it and probably laugh even louder and longer than I did.

Everything is Awkward by Mike Bender and Doug Chernack

This is sooo funny! I like this even better than the authors' previous books because of the wonderful message, which is all about embracing your awkward moments. They're what make us unique and adorable. They also give both ourselves and others a lot of joy.

The Lines on Nana's Face by Simona Ciraolo

What a beautiful way to talk about wrinkles with kids and let them know that they should be proud of the map that their memories make on their faces as they grow older. The illustrations are impactful, soft and colorful. And they evoke much emotion as the nana talks about her lines. An added bonus is the gorgeous red spine that nearly shouts at you to pull it from the shelf.

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