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LIBRARYHAUL1

  1. Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett 2. A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat by Emily Jenkins 3. Sidewalk Flowers by Jon Arno Lawson 4. The Skunk by Mac Barnett

 

Finally a library haul!  I had to get this one out before I return these gems to JPL tomorrow in exchange for another batch of beauties.

1. I cannot say enough wonderful things about Leo: A Ghost Story.  In fact, I have purchased this book three times (!) in the past month to give as a christmas present or birthday gift.  Mac Barnett writes the story of Leo, a ghost who after many years alone, is forced to find a new home and in the process makes a friend, Jane.  Jane believes Leo is an imaginary friend, and Leo, finally happy to have a play mate, is reluctant to reveal he is a ghost for fear of losing his friend.  I  readily admit I am guilty of over analyzing children’s books, but I love how subversive the illustrations by Christian Robinson are.  The understanding/creative/tour de force of a friend in this story, Jane, is  black.  As a woman of color and the aunt to beautiful little girls who look just like Jane, I can’t tell you how good that rare depiction made me feel.  Both cops depicted in the story are women.  And in contrast to what the media tells us criminals look like, the man who breaks into Jane’s house is a white man. Also, Mac Barnett dedicated this story to Jon Klassen, which made my cold heart grow three sizes. I love this illustrator/author bromance. It’s the little things, guys!

2. A Fine Dessert is one of those books Foos loved so much, we read it almost every night for two weeks.  Seth bought it for her for christmas, so I’ll be reading it every week for the rest of forever, hah.  A Fine Dessert, is, as the title describes, the story of the blackberry fool from England in the 1700’s to today.  A Fine Dessert is truly a sublime work of art.  If you look closely, you can see the story of the blackberry fool is not the only one being told.  This book is about changing gender roles, advancements in technology, changing racial relations, and changes in society. But most importantly, how through all of those (welcomed changes) the one constant is the love and bond of family and friendship.  The book includes a recipe for making a blackberry fool, which we made, and it was as delicious as the book itself.  Also, if you pay attention to the house scenes, the illustrator, Sophie Blackall, throws in an easter egg! Apparently, a little  black horse is a decor element that has, like the blackberry fool, been enjoyed centuries.

3. Sidewalk Flowers is a wordless book in which a little girl, on a walk with her father through the city, spots and collects sidewalk flowers.  I loved this book! I thought Sidewalk Flowers highlights the beauty that can be found in everyday life, if one looks closely and takes the time to stop and take it in.  The little girl not only spots and picks the flowers, but she also shares them with others.  True story, I read this book to my niece, nephew, and Foos during a sleepover.  The next day, on our walk home from the park, they picked up every flower they saw (weeds, really) and left one on the stoop or doorway of the homes we passed.  That alone is reason enough to share this book with your littles.

4.  The Skunk is the story a man who believes he is being followed by a skunk. Initially at least, it really does seem that way.  The man is so unsettled by the skunk’s presence that he moves away, only to find he misses the skunk.  Then roles are reversed, and he begins to stalk to skunk.  I think this story is good for both adults and kids.  Foos loved it because the shenanigans between the skunk and the man are silent movie funny. I think adults will love it because in a lot of ways the physical skunk in the story is representative of the metaphorical skunks in our lives. We try to ignore it, but its always there, lurking.

Read on!

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LIBRARYHAUL11.Sneezy Louise by Irene Breznak 2. Once A Mouse… by Marcia Brown 3. A Funny Think Happened On The Way To School by Davide Cali and Benjamin Chaud 4. The Awful Aardvarks Go To School by Reeve Lindbergh

In Sneezy Louise, Louise wakes up with a cold and like many of us, she knows, just knows, the day is going to end up being a shit storm.  So it is; Her mom gives her the wrong breakfast, school is a disaster, she ruins ballet class, she sneezes during dinner, and she fucks up story time.  We all have days like this, when we don’t feel well and nothing seems to go right.  What surprised me was how little empathy the other characters have for Louise. Until the very end of the book no one gives her a break.  This book was great to read out loud (Foos, wanting the title to rhyme kept saying “sneezy louisie”).  Sneezy Louise also drives the cover-your-mouth-when-you-are-sick-or-suffer-everyone’s-wrath point home nicely.

Once a Mouse… was okay.  It’s an adaptation of an Indian fable warning against boastfulness.  In this story a hermit transforms a mouse into a tiger to protect it from other creatures.  The mouse, now a tiger, lets it go to his head.  The woodcut illustrations by Marcia Brown are beautiful, but the way the book is laid out did not make it enjoyable to read out loud.  Sentences get broken up across several pages, not in a good way like Where The Wild Things Are, but in a way that makes the story sound clunky.

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To School… is a book about all the excuses a boy gives his teacher for why he is late to school.  Every excuse is stranger than the the one that came before it, and to me, really sound like something a kid with a super fertile imagination might say.  The story itself is witty, moves along quickly, and is great to read out loud, but what I really loved where the illustrations.  The art in this book is fun, super detailed, and reminded me a bit of Edward Gorey (my fave). This is a companion book to I didn’t Do My Homework Because…, which I haven’t read, but I enjoyed this one so much I will get it on my next library trip.

The Awful Aardvarks Go To School, is about a family of aardvarks who ruin the school experience for the other animals, get expelled, and end up at the zoo.  The story cleverly uses every letter of the alphabet to describe the awful things the aardvarks do to the school and to their fellow animal classmates.  This book also uses a lot of alliteration, which makes it kind of fun to read out loud.  More importantly now that Foos is in school, The Awful Aardvarks helped us discuss what is appropriate behavior, respecting the bodies and properties of others, and being kind to our classmates.  Fun fact: The author of this book, Reeve Lindbergh is the daughter of the famous aviator (and apparent philanderer/nazi enthusiast/etc) Charles Lindbergh. FUN.