Posted in PB, So Many Good Books

Escape Goat

Often celebrity books irritate me. Many are published because of WHO the author is–not the quality of the writing. Some break basic rules that would normally get a picture book rejected. But celebrity names sell, so editors often don’t get much editorial control. That said, I recently enjoyed a book published by a celebrity. Probably helps she’s a writer. *smiles*

Escape Goat (Harper, 2020) by Ann Patchett and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser is definitely more than a book with a punny title.

A little goat decide to escape to the see the great world. He samples a cabbage from the garden, and then starts getting blamed for all kinds of mishaps on the farm. Mr. Farmer raises the fence on the goat pen. Goat still escapes and is blamed again. Mr. Farmer raises the fence more so goat can’t jump over. But he can scoot under. Again, he’s blamed. Until the farmer’s daughter speaks up.

At first, I was taken aback by all the lying in this book, but then I realized how it could create such great discussions between adults and children reading the book. Probably most of us have at one point tried to blame our actions on someone else–this story takes it to the ridiculous. That makes it easy to talk about the subject.

Ann Patchett is a well-published author of many adult books. This is her second children’s book. Read more about her here.

Robin Glasser may be a familiar name as she illustrated the Fancy Nancy books. Before she was an illustrator she was a ballet dancer and you can see influence from dance in some of the illustrations in this story. Read more about her here.

Posted in PB, So Many Good Books

In a Jar

Perfect Picture Book Friday

In a Jar (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2020) by Deborah Marcero is a delightful book of magical remembrances and friendship. And it’s about collecting, which kids love to do. I love the feel of the illustrations, too.

Llewellyn collects things in jars. These jars remind him of “all the wonderful things” he has seen and done. One evening he collects “cherry light into his jars.” (I so want to be able to do this.) And gives one jar of light to Evelyn. The two become friends and collect together. Then she moves away. “With Evelyn gone, Llewellyn’s heart felt like an empty jar.” See how he solves this.

This book reminds me a lot of Button and Bundle by Gretchen McLellan. See an interview with the author here. The two books make good companion stories.

Author/illustrator Deborah Marcero has written and/or illustrated other books. Read about them here.

Posted in PB, So Many Good Books

Let’s Dance!

Perfect Picture Book Friday

Let’s Dance! (Boyds Mill & Kane, 2020) by Valerie Bolling and illustrated by Maine Diaz has recently danced out into the market. I love the simplicity of the rhythmic language contrasting with the beautiful details in the illustrations that together highlight different types of dances. It’s very difficult to pick a favorite spread.

There’s breakdance, West Africa’s kuku, line dance, Cuba’s cha-cha, ballet, Irish step dance, and more. This book will introduce children (and perhaps their parents) to dancers from around the world in such a fun way.

Even Valerie Bolling’s bio starts with rhythm–read it here. This is the author’s first picture book.

Illustrator Maine Diaz shares an online portfolio here (two pages, so click another icon on her page as well) and her bio here.

Posted in PB, Read-aloud, So Many Good Books

Mrs. McBee Leaves Room 3

Perfect Picture Book Friday
Mrs. McBeeMrs. McBee Leaves Room 3 (Peachtree Publishers, 2017) by Gretchen Brandenburg McLellan and Illustrated by Grace Zong is coming out in April and you won’t want to miss it. (I’m holding a borrowed ARC* in my hands.)
It’s the end of the year and Mrs. McBee has just told her class she won’t be returning after summer vacation. The kids are disappointed, but Mrs. McBee wisely prepares the students for their “time together to end.” You’ll enjoy bossy Jamaika, William who’s “not helping,” and all the teams preparing the room for the last day.
This sweet book is one teacher’s and parents can use to help children with change and good-byes, but I think kids will enjoy the book simply for the enjoyable story of a fun classroom. And the illustrations are absolutely adorable!
Here’s Gretchen’s author spotlight on her publisher’s site. In it, you can read why Gretchen wrote the book. Also visit her website where you can find out about other books Gretchen has coming and about all the school good-byes she’s had to make.
See more of Grace’s illustrations here. There’s also a link to see her other books.
*Advanced Reader Copy

Posted in Award Winners, PB, So Many Good Books

Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku

WontonWon Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku (Henry Holt and Co, 2011) by Lee Wardlaw, illustrated by Eugene Yelchin has won the 2012 Lee Bennett Hopkins/Penn State University Poetry Award. Not a surprise really. Lee Wardlaw is quite the award-winning author, and Won Ton is so darn cute!
It’s a sweet story of a kitty at an animal shelter. We learn what he thinks and feels about it and follow him as he is adopted and adjusts to his new house, where he finally reveals his true name. I love the illustrations. This is a definite book choice for cat lovers and one easy to read over and over.
I also like how the author gave a bonus in her note where she explains senryu and haiku.
Writers should go check out Lee’s “101 Ways to Bug Children’s Book Author Lee Wardlaw” on her About Me page. Take a look at how many other books she has published, too–you’ll find others you want to read.
Illustrators should check out the beautiful art on Eugene Yelchin’s site. Wow!