Friday, October 9, 2009

Two New Picture Books - Both Quite Good!

Zero is the Leaves on the Tree
by Betsy Franco, illustrated by Shino Arihara

The concept of "zero" is beautifully demonstrated both in text and picture in this 2009 picture book. Zero can be seen. Zero can be felt and heard. Franco and Arihara show us that zero, a very important math basic, can be found all around us. Masterfully written for and to children without ever being condescending, Franco gives examples of zero that are straight from a child's world; "Zero is . . . no balls in the bin at recess time"; "Zero is . . . no bikes in the bike rack on the last day of school". Arihara's full spread illustrations in gouache of children from various cultures help make this a winner!

Whoo Goes There? by Jennifer A. Ericsson illustrated by Bert Kitchen

Written in a wonderfully patterned, cumulative text, Whoo Goes There is the story of Owl who is patiently waiting and watching for something to come his way that could be dinner. He hears various sounds, rustle, thump, shuffle, and tries to guess what it might be. He always guesses something that he wants for dinner, but it turns out to be an animal not so appetizing.

This is a great read aloud with lots of opportunities to predict and guess. Some wonderful discussions can be had about why certain animals would be a good meal for Owl (a fat little opossom) and why some would not (a porcupine - there's a no brainer). Large, beautiful illustrations set against the night always center on the animal in question - good text to picture match. Also a definite winner!

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