Saturday, July 13, 2019

From Story Time: Summer Reading Week 6

Read at Monday Cuentos

El león que no sabía escribir
Escrito por Martin Baltscheit
Traduccion por Felipe Martín
Lóguez, 2006.  Spanish Picture Book.

El león no sabe escribir, pero eso no le importa ya que él puede rugir y enseñar sus colmillos y no necesita más. Pero un día conoce a una leona muy guapa leyendo un libro. A una dama así no se le puede besar sin más. Hay que escribirle una carta de amor. Así, pues, el león va pidiendo que escriban por él al mono, al hipopótamo, al escarabajo pelotero, al buitre… Pero el resultado no es lo que espera. Pierde la paciencia y ruge en la selva cómo escribiría él si supiera hacerlo. Una historia tierna, llena de humor, para lectores  jóvenes.  --Publisher

Read at Stories in the Park

Written by Jeanne Willis
Illustrated by Briony May Smith
Nosy Crow, 2019.  Picture Book.

One little girl dreams of being a star. But whether it's finding Mom's lost wedding ring or winning the costume prize, her big sister always shines brighter. In her grandfather’s eyes, though, she is a star. As he dries her tears and they both gaze up at the night sky, he tells a story about how everything and everyone is made of stardust and we all shine in different ways.  

Read at Stories in the Park

Written by Deborah Underwood
Illustrated by Meg Hunt
Chronicle Books, 2015.  Picture Book.

Once upon a planetoid, amid her tools and sprockets, a girl named Cinderella dreamed of fixing fancy rockets.  With a little help from her fairy godrobot, Cinderella is going to the ball.  But when the prince's ship has mechanical trouble, someone will have to zoom to the rescue!  Readers will thank their lucky stars for this irrepressible fairy tale retelling, its independent heroine, and its stellar happy ending.  --Publisher

Read at Canopy Capers

Written by Leah Wilcox
Illustrated by Lydia Monks
G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2003.  Picture Book.

When the prince spies Rapunzel high in her tower, he's convinced she is the girl of his dreams.  Of course he thinks he can save her the traditional way, but this is no traditional Rapunzel.  She throws down everything but what the prince asks for--including a surprise that makes all his dreams come true.  A hilarious tale of how misunderstandings can lead to "happily ever after."  

Read at Canopy Capers

Written by Corey Rosen Schwartz
Illustrated by Dan Santat
G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2012.  Picture Book.

Why does wolves think they can come to town and blow all the houses down? These three little pigs just aren't going to take it from that bully anymore! The first starts aikido lessons---he'll make mincemeat out of that wolf! His brother learns a little jujitsu--he'll chop that guy to pieces! But when the wolf actually appears, it turns out these two pigs aren't quite ready after all. Good thing their sister has been training every day to master some serious karate moves that save the day. KIYA!  --Publisher

Friday, July 12, 2019

STELLAR STORIES: When Sadness is at Your Door

By Eva Eland
Random House, 2019. Picture Book.

Have you ever felt sad? Sometimes sadness shows up unannounced and we don't know what to do. One child learns how to accept the heavy emotion and care for it. This beautifully illustrated story promotes emotional intelligence and reminds us that feeling sad is OK.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

STELLAR STORIES: Other Words for Home

Other Words for Home
By Jasmine Warga
Balzer + Bray, 2019. Fiction.

Jude first begins to realize that things in her home nation of Syria are really changing when her older brother leaves home and begins to protest for a democratic Syria free from the rules of President Assad. Meanwhile, her father wants stability even if that means swearing allegiance to an oppressive leader. When the violence comes close to Jude's hometown, she and her mother know it is time to leave and they flee to America where Jude's uncle lives with his wife and daughter. Jude's life in America isn't immediately easy -- her English (the best in her school back home) is rusty, her cousin thinks she's weird, and her brother is now missing in a war zone. But through her strength and the support of her family, Jude begins to feel comfortable having two homes.

Jude's experience, told in verse, is a thoughtful and realistic view of the experience many immigrants (Syrian or otherwise) face when they come to America. Jude, like other refugee children, faces a hard adjustment in a school where she struggles to speak the language and fit in with kids who look nothing like her and in a community that is threatened by ugly Islamophobia. Ultimately though, Jude's story is filled with determination and hope.

STELLAR STORIES: How to Be on the Moon

Written and Illustrated by Viviane Schwarz
Candlewick Press, 2019. Picture Book.

       "Let's go to the moon!" said Anna.
       "But that's out in space," said Crocodile. "Space is dark, and there's nobody there, and the moon is really very far away. It will be almost impossible."
       "I like that," said Anna. "Let's go!"

In anticipation of the fiftieth anniversary of Apollo 11's moon landing, here's a dynamic little picture book about two friends embarking on their own outer space journey. What special skills do they need? (Math and patience.) How should they prepare? (Make sandwiches, build a rocket, and pack the travel games.) And what will the moon be like when they get there? I enjoyed the text of this picture book as much as any I've read this year. The charming banter between bold Anna and cautious Crocodile reminds me of A. A. Milne's dialogue between Christopher Robin and his animal friends. A delight!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019


The Night Flower
By Lara Hawthorne
Big Picture Press, 2019. Informational, pp. 32

The flower of the saguaro cactus is a little more interesting than other flowers. It blooms only once a year, and when it does, the animals take notice. The event is so exciting and unique that even the more unusual pollinators come out to celebrate the feast—bats and mice, for example. Because the cactus only blooms once, the animals are careful not to miss it.

Hawthorne’s beautifully rendered illustrations of the saguaro cactus and the desert night life accompany enjoyable rhyming text, all of which is there to inform young readers about the unique ecosystems of deserts. The rhyming couplets add a level of fun to the basic info given about the saguaro cactus flowers that makes the information easy to digest and remember. And the pictures breathe life into the dark world of the desert at night, which might surprise people who aren’t familiar with that climate. The story of the saguaro cactus flower is an exciting one, and will interest readers who love learning about our planet.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Display: LeUyen Pham

LeUyen Pham was born in Vietnam. When she was two years old, her family fled the country in the final days of the Vietnam War and came to the United States. She grew up in Southern California and always loved to draw, but studied political science at UCLA for two years in order to follow her mother's wishes that she become a lawyer. When the head of the art department recognized LeUyen's artistic abilities she was able to change her course. After earning her degree in illustration at the Art Center College of Design, LeUyen worked for DreamWorks Feature Animation as a layout artist until she was able to leave that job and become involved in children's books, which was her true passion. Today LeUyen Pham has illustrated over fifty children's books and written several. She lives in California with her family.

The Princess in Black and the Science Fair Scare
Written by Shannon Hale
Illustrated by LeUyen Pham
When a goo monster crashes the science fair, the Princess in Black is on the job, and with the help of the Princess in Blankets, sets out to save the science fair.

Bear Came Along
Written by Richard T. Morris
Illustrated by LeUyen Pham
An assortment of animals living separate lives discover they need each other when they have a chance encounter on a river.

Vampirina in the Snow
Written by Anne Marie Pace
Illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Vampirina and all her monster friends and family celebrate a snow day

Best Friends in the Universe
Written by Stephanie Watson
Illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Hector and Louie are writing a book to explain the many reasons that they are the best friends in the universe--but will their friendship, and their book, survive when they start to reveal each others secrets?

Stop That Yawn!
Written by Caron Levis
Illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Gabby convinces Granny to leave Sleepytown and stay up all night in a new place, but before long, a contagious yawn takes control.

Sheep 101
Written by Richard T. Morris
Illustrated by LeUyen Pham
100 sheep have leapt over a fence to help a child fall asleep, but when the 101st sheep gets stuck, chaos ensues.

The Itchy Book
Written and Illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Triceratops, Pterodactyl, Brontosaurus, and T-Rex each have an itch, but Dino-Mo reminds them of the sign with a very important rule: Dinosaurs do not scratch.

Best Friends
Written by Shannon Hale
Illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Best Friends is the vividly honest follow-up to the runaway bestselling graphic memoir Real Friends. Sixth grade is supposed to be perfect. Shannon's got a sure spot in the in-crowd called The Group, and her best friend is their leader, Jen, the most popular girl in school. But the rules are always changing, and Shannon has to scramble to keep up. She never knows which TV shows are cool, what songs to listen to, and which boys she's allowed to talk to. Who makes these rules anyway? And does Shannon have to follow them? Or should she follow her heart? Bestselling creators of Real Friends Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham are back with a true story about popularity, first boyfriends, and finding your own path. To be published on August 27, 2019!

The Becket List
Written by Adele Griffin
Illustrated by LeUyen Pham
When New York City native Becket Branch moves to the country with her family to help run her grandmother's farm and store, she finds that new friends, hostile chickens, sour lemonade and mischief are only the beginnings of her new life.

STELLER STORIES: Gargantua (JR.!): Defender of Earth

Gargantua (JR!): Defender of Earth
By Kevin Sylvester
Groundwood Books, 2019. Picture Books.

This is a STELLER STORY about a son of a superhero named Gargantua (though she used to be a bad guy who torn down villages—but now she is good and helps save the world). Gargantua Jr. really wants to help save the world, but his mom thinks he is too little. One night while everyone thinks he is sleeping Gargantua Jr. goes to help tear down a building that needs to be destroyed…only it wasn’t as easy as he thought and he needed a little help—from his mom. This is a sweet story about a wannabe superhero that can’t wait to go and help the world (he just wants to be big right now!). Any little ones that love the idea of being a big helper will enjoy this superhero’s story.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

From Story Time: Summer Reading Week 5

Read at Monday Cuentos

Cómo esconder un león a la abuela
De Helen Stephens
Beascoa, 2018.  Spanish Picture Book.

Cuando la abuela viene a quedarse, Iris tiene que esconder su león, debido a que las abuelas se llenan de ansiedad si encuentran un león en casa. Pero la abuela está actuando sospechosamente, asegurándole a Iris que también tiene su propio secreto. Para gran sorpresa de Iris, resulta que la abuela esconde un oso en su dormitorio! Este cálido y divertido relato es la continuación al ilustrado libro premiado por sus superventas, Como esconder un león, que seguro, será otro ganador con los niños en todas partes.  --Publisher

Read at Stories in the Park

Ready, Set, Sail!
Written by Meg Fleming
Illustrated by Luke Flowers
Little Bee Books, 2018.  Picture Book.

Shout your orders loud and fast. "Hoist the mainsail up the mast!"  Grab your life vest, hold on to your compass, and get ready for a day full of sailing fun with a playful tiger and turtle! Follow these salty sailors as they raise their anchor, cast off, and explore the sea in their little sloop. And after a long day of sailing, they gather and tell tales of all the things they've seen!  --Publisher

Read at Stories in the Park

By Frank Viva
Little Brown and Company, 2013.  Picture Book.

In the first reading experience of its kind, blast off on a journey through twenty-six feet of continuous vertical art, which reads beautifully no matter which cover you start from. Begin at one end, and you're on the ocean floor; follow a creature along a bright yellow trail up into deep space to his alien family's embrace. Or, start from the other end and follow an alien floating down into the depths of the ocean to rest. Whether journeying home or heading to bed, enjoy a satisfying and surprising trip from rising star Frank Viva.  --Publisher

Read at Canopy Capers

Written by Aaron Reynolds
Illustrated by David Barneda
Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2013.  Picture Book.

It is a sad and sorry day when Burnt Beard the Pirate and his scurvy crew swagger into Old Cheyenne looking to bury their treasure. Black Bob McKraw—terror of the Wild West—and his posse don't take too kindly to pirates invading their town. And to add insult to injury, the pirates and cowboys can't understand a lick of what the others are saying. None of them cowboys speak Pirate, and none of them pirates speak Cowboy. Who will save the day before these sorry—and stinky!—bilge rats and yellow-bellied varmints draw their cutlasses and six-shooters?

From the creator of the hilarious Creepy Carrots, comes the story of a simple misunderstanding that almost meant the end of Old Cheyenne.  --Publisher

Read at Canopy Capers

By Gilad Soffer
Feiwel & Friends, 2015.  Picture Book.

Duck is finally going on vacation. He has a beach chair, a book, and peace and quiet. Well, almost.
When you - yes, YOU - turn the pages of this book, Duck's vacation gets really interesting! 

Read at Book Babies

Written by Don and Audrey Wood
Illustrated by Don Wood
Child's Play (International) Ltd., 1984.  Picture Book.

The little mouse will do anything to save his strawberry from the big, hungry bear.  The bear holds all the cards, but who is playing the fox's role?  --Publisher

Read in Friday Cuentos

Donde viven los monstruos
De Maruice Sendak
Traducción de Teresa Mlawer
Rayo, 1996.  Spanish Picture Book.

Cuando Max hace unas travesuras y su mamá le manda castigado a la cama, hay una extraña transformación en su cuarto y empieza a aparecer un bosque y luego un océano que navega hasta llegar a la Tierra de los Monstruos.  --Publisher

Friday, July 5, 2019

STELLAR STORIES: The Emperor's Riddle

The Emperor’s Riddle 
By Kat Zhang
Simon & Schuster, 2017. Fiction. 240 p.

Spending the summer away from all her friends in a foreign country seemed like the worst vacation that Mia could imagine. But when her aunt suddenly disappears – leaving clues to a hidden treasure in her wake – Mia finds herself on the adventure of a lifetime. Together with her brother, Mia must rush to solve riddles that will lead them to their missing aunt and an ancient emperor’s missing treasure before it’s too late.

If you’re looking for a fast-paced adventure this summer then you will love this book. This wonderful story is full of tricky riddles and unique cultural facts about China that help you to feel as if you are solving the riddle right alongside Mia and her brother.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

STELLAR STORIES: Apocalypse Taco

Apocalypse Taco
By Nathan Hale
Amulet Books, 2019. Graphic novel.

While helping their mother prepare for the next day's dress rehearsal of Brigadoon, Axl and Ivan are sent on a middle of the night food run to get fast food for the high school students hard at work. The twins are forced to settle for Taco Bear since it's the only drive-thru open, and from there things begin to get weird. Suddenly, the food they pick up from the suspicious Taco Bear comes to life and morphs into multi-tentacled creatures that seem keen on destruction. With the help of their driver Sid and a grad student named Wendy, Axl and Ivan set out to avoid being turned into gooey taco monsters and *possibly* save the world.

This is a graphic novel with so much going on it's hard to not be instantly engaged. The orange and grey illustrations are unsettling, the taco monsters are all slimy arms and goopy claws, and a clock that appears on several pages quickens the pace. This Stellar Story is a horror comic for fans of horror comics with a balance of sci-fi, action and terror (plus Hale's signature humor) ideal to keep readers entertained.