This spring, I had the opportunity to work with the library’s technical services department, cataloging youth and young adult materials. The internship allowed me the chance to catalog books I might not otherwise notice during the course of my regular duties. One such book was Luke Pearson’s charming graphic novel Hildafolk.
The protagonist of this short, colorful graphic novel is a young girl named Hilda. One evening, while engrossed in a book about trolls, she overhears the weather report on the radio. Delighted to hear that the forecast calls for rain, she asks her mother if she can sleep outside in her tent. This is the start of a wondrous adventure for Hilda, who takes great delight in the natural world around her. As Hildafolk unfolds, the heroine encounters giants, trolls, and a very unusual figure made of wood.
I was initially drawn to Hildafolk because of the art. Pearson’s illustrations are whimsical and colorful, and Hilda’s eyes in particular are quite large and expressive. Although the story is fairly simple, Hilda’s sense of wonder and delight really brings Pearson’s narrative to life.
Hilda’s adventures continue in two sequels: Hilda and the Midnight Giant and Hilda and the Bird Parade.
Check the WRL catalog for Hildafolk.
Posted in 7 and Up, Fiction Book, Mandy's Picks, Summer Staff's Picks | Leave a Comment »
One of the most beautiful picture books I’ve come across recently is Ari Berk’s Nightsong. It is a sweet story with large, expressive illustrations by Loren Long that capture the beauty and wonder of the night and the unknown.
Nightsong is about a bat named Chiro who lives with his mother in a cave. One night, Chiro’s mother tells him it is time for him to fly out on his own into the world. She tells him to go no further than the pond and then come home after breakfast. Chiro is scared because it is dark and he cannot always see. He asks his mother how he will find his way. His mother says he should use his good sense, which is “the song you sing out into the world, and the song the world sings back to you.” Using his good sense, Chiro embarks on a wondrous adventure that leads him to the pond and beyond before returning to the safety of his mother.
At some point, every child will have to go out into the world on their own and Nightsong presents this in a manner that is relatable for both parents and children. Ari Berk’s confident storytelling is enhanced by Loren Long’s illustrations. Long uses just the right amount of light, shadow, and color to illustrate Chiro’s adventure, and the expressions on Chiro’s face as he gains the confidence to follow his good sense and explore his world are simply delightful.
Check the WRL catalog for Nightsong.
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Here’s a book full of movement and sound that is perfect for energetic preschoolers. Told in a rhyme, animals leave their footprints while they dance across the page. “Tippity! Tippity! Little black feet! Who is dancing that tippity beat?” Young children will enjoy interacting with the story and guessing which animal uses their feet to make these sounds when they dance. A turn of the page reveals the answer, “Ladybugs are dancing on tippity feet. Tippity! Tippity! Happy Feet!” Lindsey Craig has teamed up with Marc Brown, author of the award winning Arthur series, on her debut book. Marc Brown’s simple shapes, collage-style art, and textured patterns will appeal to readers. Dancing Feet! is an ideal choice for getting children moving and singing during story time.
Check the WRL catalog for Dancing Feet!
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Robin Hood and the Golden Arrow, written by Robert D. San Souci and illustrated by E.B. Lewis, is a re-telling of a traditional English ballad. In this story, Robin Hood and his Merry Men once again find a way to outsmart the evil Sheriff of Nottingham. The Sheriff thought it would be clever to catch them using an archery contest as a setup, as he knew the men greatly enjoyed archery and in fact had quite a knack for it. However, Robin Hood and his men knew the contest to be a trap, and so went to it disguised and arriving individually from different directions. When a stranger triumphs over the Sheriff’s best archer, but refuses to work for the Sheriff afterwards, the Sheriff becomes angry and leaves. Later, a poem informs the Sheriff that the very man he wanted to catch that day won the contest, further infuriating him. It was a victory for Robin and the Merry Men.
This awesome story is accompanied by fabulous illustrations. The colors bring the reader back to Medieval England, and the characters look so realistic. The forest is absolutely beautiful and the costumes look period accurate. For those who love adventure, this book is for you. With lots of page-filling pictures, this book is perfect for reading to a young one.
Check the WRL catalog for Robin Hood and the Golden Arrow.
Posted in 4 to 6, 7 and Up, Summer Staff's Picks | Leave a Comment »
Pandora, written by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Raul Colon, is an interesting rendition of the ancient Greek tale of Pandora. In this version, Pandora has a jar instead of a box, which is in fact more in keeping with the original Greek word used in the old tellings of the story. Day and night, Pandora stares at the sealed jug on the pedestal, wondering what could be inside. Despite warnings not to open it, her curiosity only grows. Eventually she opens the jar and empties it of all its contents. In a frightening display of artistic talent, the horrors released from the jar are materialized, and they are seen to be all the evils of the world. However, there was still one thing left in the jar that did not escape before it was closed again. No matter how many evils were released into the world, Pandora still had hope in her jar.
The art in this book is simply beautiful. The colors, the technique, everything is meant to bring the reader back to Ancient Greece. The details are amazing. Colon’s figures come to life on the page, especially on his two-page spread when Pandora has opened the jar, her emotions are captured with the lines and colors.
This book is highly recommended for lovers of mythology. It is most likely better for an older elementary school child to read this book for two reasons: There are a lot of words, some of which may be difficult to pronounce and some of the images and themes may be a bit frightening to younger children. Robert Burleigh’s mythological books are excellent, most of them staying as true to the original story as possible, and all of them with fantastic artwork.
Check the WRL catalog for Pandora.
Posted in 7 and Up, Summer Staff's Picks | Leave a Comment »
Part-Time Dog, written by Jane Thayer and illustrated by Lisa McCue, is about Brownie, a dog who just wants to find his place in the neighborhood. As he makes his rounds to the different houses on Maple Street, the women who live there all tell him to go home. However, Brownie does not have a home of his own. Eventually, the women begin to realize this and so they call the dogcatcher to take Brownie away to the pound. As soon as he is gone though, the women realize how much they miss Brownie and each of them wants to take Brownie home. They agree to pick Brownie up from the pound, sharing him, so he becomes everyone’s part-time dog.
Lisa McCue’s artwork is colorful and cute, creating the image of a light and playful book. This would make an excellent book for story time, as well as for individual reading. The pictures fill most of the pages and the sentences are fairly simple, making this book ideal for early elementary school children.
Check the WRL catalog for Part-Time Dog.
Posted in 2 to 4, 7 and Up, Summer Staff's Picks | Leave a Comment »
Misery Moo, written by Jeanne Willis and illustrated by Tony Ross, is the story of a cow that has trouble seeing the beauty in life and her friend, a lamb, who does all he can to cheer her up. After what seems to be several hopeless attempts, the lamb gives up and becomes very sad. Then, the cow comes back to check on the little lamb and, discovering his misery, uses the same techniques used on her to make the lamb happy once again. In the end, the cow and the lamb realize they love each other very much and it is their friendship that brings them happiness.
Tony Ross’ artwork truly captures the moods in this book. The colors in the beginning show the foul moods of the cow and, eventually, the lamb with gray and blue tones. Later on, when both animals find happiness, the colors become more vibrant as Ross uses yellows, greens, and other bright hues. This book is great for individual reading or reading together. With its large pictures, it would also be ideal for a story time feature!
Check the WRL catalog for Misery Moo.
Posted in 4 to 6, 7 and Up, Summer Staff's Picks | Leave a Comment »