Monday, August 13, 2007

Fresh Fodder

Every week or two, a library receives a box of new materials. It will be a mix, containing books, DVDs, books on tape, CDs for children, teens, and adults. It's often taken a while to wind its way through the paths of pubisher to distributor to library, through processing, and out to the branch. But it is always a little thrill to see what's in there. Today, to atone for my scant blogging while on holiday recently, I share a few new finds with you, ones that have just hit the shelves and are still all fresh and shiny.

17 Things I'm Not Allowed to Do any More, by Jenny Offill and Nancy Carpenter

This hilarious gem stars a kid full of creativity and bright ideas. Too bad they all get her into trouble. Was stapling her brother's hair to his pillow so wrong that she shouldn't be allowed to use a stapler anymore? In the course of one school day, she is disallowed from doing reports on beaver, dedicating reports to beavers, telling everyone she owns 100 beavers, setting Joey Whipple on fire and showing him her underpants, and walking backwards, either to or from school. Sheesh. This kid is totally being stifled by grownups lacking in imagination! (Probably for kids about 5-8 years old.)

My Book Box, by Will Hillenbrand

This simple, toddler-friendly book is great fun, and a terrific starting point for discussing possibilities and engaging in creative play. It asks, quite simply, "What can I do with a box?" A few fun possibilities are illustrated by an elephant and frog playing together, until they hit upon the idea of a book box, which they can take everywhere so they always have something to read.

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road? by various artists

The time-worn joke is answered by a stellar lineup of 14 children's authors/illustrators, each afforded their own two-page spread. Many answers are entirely visual, setting up a scene that makes one side clearly preferable for one reason or another, while a few have added a verbal answer as well (Because the light was green!). The whole colection is funny, and great to share with a child just getting into the age of jokes or one firmly in command of his comedy routine (say 4-8 years).

Belinda and the Glass Slipper, by Amy Young

Belinda, the ballerina with enormous feet, was introduced to us in Belinda the Ballerina, in which she overcame them to become a star. When Belinda wins the part of Cinderella from an ambitious new dancer, the younger, smaller-footed Lola is not amused. Lola, in fact, locks Belinda in a closet and takes to the stage in her role! A fellow dancer finds her, helps her get ready, and she comes on in time to steal the show at the ball. A fun book for fans of ballet, and a talking point for jealousy, if it happens to be rearing its ugly head.

Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People To Freedom, by Carole Boston Weatherford, ill. Kadir Nelson

I am a sucker for tales of people with strong convictions and the courage to back them up, and Harriet Tubman is no exception, getting me right in the heart. In this version of events, Harriet converses with god, who guides her and lends her strength as she runs away, and helps others escape along the Underground Railroad. The language is poetic, the paintings stunning, and Harriet's faith deeply expressed. Absolutely lovely, and a powerful tale of courage for an older child (I'd say 7 or over).

Who Am I? Yoga for Children of All Ages, by Jane Lee Wiesner, ill. Annie White

I am someone who is skeptical of yoga for children, in general. Perhaps because yoga is a bit too crunchy for me, perhaps because it seems like putting an adult thing on children. Yet, for all my cynical nature, when I opened this book, I was delighted. Simple illustrations show a child in many basic yoga poses set against the object that inspires them. I reach like a giraffe. I point like a triangle. I grow like a tree. All of the poses and ideas are chosen to be accessible for children, and the book could be used as a game of imagining to make the forms fun for children. Further information is given in the endnotes for parents who want to explain in more depth, as well. I am in fact, to my surprise, liking this so much, I am going to take it home to Pumpkinpie this week!

Here's a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry, coll. Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters, ill. Polly Dunbar

This fantastic collection of first poems is 100 pages of fun for the very young. Poems are short and bouncy, and authors range from more classic (A.A. Milne, Hilaire Belloc) to more modern and silly (Colin McNaughton). The topics are pitch perfect for young kids - family, pets, seasons, nature, bedtime, eating, and more - and divided in the index into headings. The illustrations hit a fun, light note - sweet without being saccharine. This one I love so much I am planning to get my own copy.

These and other delightful new books are available through your local library!

Originally posted on MommyBlogsToronto/Better Than a Playdate.

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