Thursday, May 5, 2011
Considering the Nominations
This week (May 2-May 8) is Children’s Book Week. Originally an effort in 1919 by the librarian for the Boy Scouts of America to improve the quality of children’s books, Children’s Book Week has since been overseen by the Children’s Book Council and the Every Child a Reader Program, a philanthropic effort on behalf of the children’s publishing industry. Prior to Children’s Book Week, children can participate in voting on-line or through classroom and library events for the books nominated for the Children’s Choice Book Awards. Books are nominated in five categories: 3 age ranges plus author and illustrator of the year categories. We requested the 5 titles in B’s age range and the 5 illustration nominations from our library so we could submit an educated vote (and share our thoughts with you). I’m curious – are you familiar with these? Did you vote? Even if you didn’t, what would your choice have been?
Book of the Year K-2
Shark Vs Train by Chris Barton
Very clever comparison story based on the premise of two boys playing with toys (a shark and a train) and discussing who would win. What is both entertaining and educational is the discovery that the nature of the contest has a very significant role in the outcome. A shark might eat more pies but a train would be a more popular carnival ride, for example.
Little Pink Pup by Johanna Kerby
This is the true story of a runt piglet adopted by the family dog and raised in an unusual way. The book is illustrated with photographs, which accents its non-fiction appeal. The story is cute on a literal level yet just below the surface is a powerful message on accepting differences in others.
Even Monsters Need Haircuts by Matthew McElligott
While the imagination and humor involved in this story are entertaining, I have to say it may be a little more than some younger children are ready for. The story itself is not the least bit menacing or threatening. A little boy takes over his father’s barber shop at night and provides haircuts to a parade of monsters and other fantastic creatures. While neither the text or the illustrations intend to make the monsters scary, the prospect of explaining each type of monster (Frankenstein, medusa, werewolf) to my preschooler who is yet unfamiliar with these specific characters was enough to make me think twice about sharing this one with B.
How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills
In this endearing story, Rocket the puppy unwittingly finds himself the student of an eager to teach bird who is enamored with reading and the alphabet. Rocket is initially disinterested in her lessons, but she lures him in by reading aloud from an enticing story. He is soon practicing letters, spelling, and reading, even though the bird must fly south for winter. He eagerly anticipates her return and resuming his studies. Appealing to book lovers and reluctant readers alike, Rocket really demonstrates the power and joy of reading.
Hot Rod Hamster by Cynthia Lord
This book is an interesting combination of text styles. As the hamster goes about assembling a hot rod, there are bouncy, almost Suess-like rhymes posing choices in the decision making process. Children can use the rhymes as well as the illustrations to interact with the story. Between choices, the story progresses through the use of cartoon call-out style dialogue between the hamster and other animals. The many facets of this book allow it to appeal to a wide audience.
Illustrator of the Year
Robin Preiss Glasser for Fancy Nancy and the Fabulous Fashion Boutique
Detailed drawings and lots of action make these illustrations study-worthy.
Nancy Tillman for Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You
At once surreally-magical and disarmingly realistic, the illustrations are truly works of art.
Mo Willems for Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion
The combination of cartoonish drawings superimposed on realistic photographs is intriguing and entertaining. Willems also has a brilliant talent for using cartoon characters’ faces to express a huge range of emotions.
Loren Long for Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters
The illustrations of this ode to patriotism and childhood are just the right combination of peaceful and invigorating and whimsical.
David Wiesner for Art & Max
The creativity and imagination present in these illustrations is undeniable. The story is completely intertwined with the unfolding of the artwork, and each page’s illustration is part of the progress of the experience.
How Rocket Learned to Read appealed to both B and I because of his current anticipation of kindergarten and my soft-spot for any one (or any bird) that can teach another to love reading.
David Wiesner is truly a genius illustrator and we couldn’t help buy enjoy and appreciate the thought, creativity, and talent evident in Art & Max. It’s the kind of art that while I might not aspire to duplicate, I am inspired to attempt a creative outlet of my own.
So – have you read these? Share your thoughts, your vote, or which you’re most intrigued to go find.
I have a request – each year for mother’s day I try to find a book that captures something special about the experience of being a mother or the relationship between mother and child. Last year I picked, Mother, Mother I Want Another. Haven’t decided for this year… suggestions?