2/13 – 2/19/2012: How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?
by Jane Yolen
illustrated by Mark Teague
Dinosaurs have a lot of strategies for not going to bed at night. They can mope, hide, bargain – they can heft their great spiky tails, or shake their huge horned heads. They can jump, they can fly, they can thrash, they can pout – but they don’t. There’s as many ways to refuse to go to bed as there are kinds of dinosaurs, but even dinosaurs know when to call it a night.

A hilarious romp through kid’s postponement tactics, put to endearingly drawn dinosaurs. Great for ages 2 +. Great rhythm – excellent for reading aloud! Be sure to check out my review of another wonderful book by the award-winning Jane Yolen, “The Seeing Stick” .

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the author of the children’s picture book Too Many Visitors for One Little House and the founder of Booksicals, Encouraging Reading Through the Arts.  Too Many Visitors is now available  as an ibook for ipad and iphones with a fun read-aloud musical narration.  http://bit.ly/ibookVisitors ~

 

11/21 – 11/26 Children’s Book of the Week: The Seeing Stick

The Seeing Stick
by Jane Yolen 
illustrated by Daniela Terrazzini
Hwei Min is the only daughter of the emperor of China – and blind. The emperor, an inscrutable but devoted ruler and father, offers a reward to anyone in the kingdom who can lift the princess’ blindness. From all over, magicians, sages, and medicine men try their luck at making the princess see. But it is the unlikely figure of a poor old man, and his seemingly ordinary walking-stick, that the princess learns to see – though in a different way than her father expected.

A beautiful classic, from the award-winning author of Owl Moon and The Emperor and the Kite. Ages 3 +.

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the author of the children’s picture book Too Many Visitors for One Little House and the founder of Booksicals, Encouraging Reading Through the Arts.  Too Many Visitors is now available  as an ibook for ipad and iphones with a fun read-aloud musical narration.  http://bit.ly/ibookVisitors ~

11/7 – 11/13 Children’s Book of the Week: Yoshiko and the Foreigner

Yoshiko and the Foreigner
by Mimi Otey-Little
Though the main characters of this story are young adults, the story is very beautiful, and the heroism and fortitude in it make it something of a fairytale!

Yoshiko, a proper young Japanese woman, has been raised to never speak to foreigners – especially soldiers. But when a young American officer tries to communicate with a train conductor and can only say phrases like “You see, I’m a boiled cabbage!”, Yoshiko helps the young man in spite of herself in perfect English, and so their courtship begins. Yoshiko is worried what her family will think of the American, who has been dutifully studying Japanese ever since he met Yoshiko and wants Yoshiko’s family’s approval to marry her. Through the many gifts and acts of kindness the American shows Yoshiko’s family, he demonstrates his profound respect for their traditions and his love for Yoshiko.

The end page of the book is a black and white photograph of the couple’s actual wedding. A truly sweet, touching story about love, perseverance, and embracing other cultures and ideas. Best for kids ages 5 and up.

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the author of the children’s picture book Too Many Visitors for One Little House and the founder of Booksicals, Encouraging Reading Through the Arts.  Too Many Visitors is now available  as an ibook for ipad and iphones with a fun read-aloud musical narration.  http://bit.ly/ibookVisitors ~

6/27 – 7/3 Children’s Book of the Week: Elisabeth

Elisabeth
by Claire E. Nivola
Ruth and Elisabeth do everything together. They sleep in the same bed, eat from the same plate, and even share the same shadow – Elisabeth is a doll. They live in Germany with Ruth’s mother and father, at a time when life there is just beginning to get harder for Jews. Ruth can feel the change at home, at school, even at her father’s workplace. Suddenly, Ruth’s mother and father tell her they must leave at once, that they can bring nothing with them – not even Elisabeth. After having to migrate from Germany to Italy to France to America, and after many years, Elisabeth finds Ruth again. And this time, for good.

Based on the true story of the author’s mother, ‘Elisabeth’ is a story about change, courage, and hope, touching upon the situation for Jews in the early stages of Nazism in Germany. A great story, with more detail as to the real Ruth’s experience on the back flap.

 

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the author of the picture book Too Many Visitors for One Little House. She is the founder of Booksicals books and theatrical.  Booksicals currently performs the picture book Too Many Visitors at schools, libraries, book stores, and special literacy events ~
 

6/20 – 6/26: Children’s Book of the Week; A Promise is a Promise

A Promise is a Promise
by Robert Munsch and Michael Kusugak 
illustrated by Vladyana Krykorka
Allashua and her family live surrounded by cold, everything frozen and quiet. Allashua’s parents warn her not to take the harsh winter lightly: the Qallupilluit, witch-like trolls that live under the ice, steal away children who some too close to the cracked ice on their own. Allashua ignores this warning, going off the fish in the cracks in the ice by herself – but not without insulting the Qallupilluit, who probably don’t exist – first. The Qallupilluit drag Allashua down with them under the ice, allowing her to leave only when she promises to bring her brothers and sisters to the ice, too.

“A promise is a promise”

The Qallupilluit remind her, and her parents agree. But can Allashua, her parents and siblings, stay together without breaking the promise? They can, and Allashua learns both the power of a promise, and the importance of family.

 ~ Susan Chodakiewitz, Founder of Booksicals is also a composer and song writer.  Her company Booksicals is dedicated to encouraging a love of reading through the arts by taking picture books and bringing them to life ~

 

5/30: Children’s Book of the Week; Sheila Rae, the Brave

Sheila Rae, the Brave
by Kevin Henkes
Sheila Rae isn’t afraid of anything: the dark, big dogs, thunder or lightning. She’s fearless with tricks on her big-kid bicycle, scoffs at superstition, and will beat up any monster lurking in her rather less fearless sister Louise’s closet. Louise is in awe of her big sister and her fearless feats;

“You’re too brave for me”

But when Sheila Rae  takes a new, unknown way home from school, it’s the support and love of her little sister, and not her own fearlessness, that guide her home.

Another excellent and classic children’s book, from mouse-book author Kevin Henkes. Other wonderful children’s picture books include Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse (reviewed here), Chrysanthemum, and Chester’s Way.

~ Author Susan Chodakiewitz is  the founder of Booksicals. Her debut picture book: Too Many Visitors for One Little House is also a live musical and is now available as a musical DVD along with the SNOOZLE DANCE VIDEO for kids. Too Many Visitors for One Little House will soon be released as an e-book with READ to ME musical narration ~

5/16: Children’s Book of the Week; Knuffle Bunny, a Cautionary Tale

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale
by Mo Willems
Trixie is having a great day – she’s accompanying her Daddy on a journey down the block, through the park, past the school, to the Laundromat. She puts the coins in the machine, watches the clothes go round and round, and is on her way back home when she’s forgotten something. Where’s Knuffle Bunny?! Trixie tries to tell her Daddy but he doesn’t understand; she know real words yet! Mom brings him up to speed, and Daddy must save the day and rescue (the now very soggy) Knuffle Bunny.

A Caldecott honors book, this story is more than just another lost and found tale. It’s illustrations are very unique; cartoons drawn on top of sepia-tone photos. Great for Preschool-1st grade. Hurray again for Mo Willems!

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the author of the picture book Too Many Visitors for One Little House. She is the founder of Booksicals books and theatrical.  Booksicals currently performs the picture book Too Many Visitors at schools, libraries, book stores, and special literacy events ~

3/28: Children’s Book of the Week; Abuela’s Weave

Abuela’s Weave
by Omar Casteneda
illustrated by Enrique Sanchez
Esperanza is a young Guatamalan girl, and she’s learning how to weave the beautiful and complex tapestries her grandmother, Abuela, makes. Selling the tapestries is how Esperanza’s family can make money, but Esperanza faces a challenge: she is working against the many commercially produced weaves that may even rival her own. Esperanza must work very hard and rely on the guidance of her grandmother to outshine the machine-woven tapestries at the Fiesta de Pueblos. An award-winning story about family and a truly beautiful children’s book!

 ~ Susan Chodakiewitz, Founder of Booksicals is also a composer and song writer.  Her company Booksicals is dedicated to encouragin a love of reading through the arts by taking picture books and bringing them to life ~