Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Catfish Kate and Unite or Die!

















Catfish Kate and the Sweet Swamp Band by Sarah Weeks
illustrated by Elwood H. Smith
Picture Book - 2009
I knew I liked it from the first page . . .
"Catfish Kate made up a little tune.
She hummed it
and she strummed it
underneath the moon."

Full of wonderful rhythm and rhyme, my favorite, with full spread illustrations done in watercolor and ink, Catfish Kate is a story of loud music, quiet literacy, and a compromise between the two. Several different kinds of swamp animals make an appearance in Kate's story; a newt, a snake, a gator, a skeeter, a spider, a skink, and some skunks. A fun story and perfect read aloud.

Unite or Die - How the Thirteen States Became a Nation by Jacqueline Jules
illustrated by Jef Czekaj
J Nonfiction (picture book) - 973.3 JUL
2009

Jules gives us a perfect example of good nonfiction writing for children. It's not an easy thing to do. Unite or Die tells the story of the summer of 1787 when the thirteen colonies (actually twelve, Rhode Island didn't participate) met in Philadelphia to revise the Articles of Confederation. Sounds dry, but Jules writes it as a play that thirteen children are presenting to an audience. It's very well done, the book I mean, although I'm sure the play would be a big hit. There's an Afterword and Notes at the end by the author which are quite informative and interesting.

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