Friday, March 23, 2012

Something New: Miss Jennifer's Favorite New Picture Books

Can you think of anything more wonderful then opening up a sparkling new picture book which contains a precious story complete with cherubic-faced characters and magical text?

I certainly can't! Be sure to take a peek at our "New Picture Books section" next to the concept books (books which contain stories that teach a lesson such as the alphabet, colors or numbers) in the Youth Services area.

Here you will find all of the library's newly acquired picture books.

While browsing these shelves you will find a large variety of topics ranging from princesses to dinosaurs that will suit all your little ones literary needs.

On your next trip to the library be sure to peruse this section, where you will find my personal new favorites and maybe even your child's or your own too!

Miss Jennifer's Picture Book Gems 

Dancing With the Dinosaurs by Jane Clarke
Juvenile Picture Book
JE Clarke
Publication Date: 2012

Get ready to put on your dancing shoes and do a boogie-woogie-doo-wop with a dinosaur while reading Dancing with the Dinosaurs by Jane Clarke.

Children will be cheering on their favorite dino dancers in this creative story which takes a spin on the popular Dancing with the Stars t.v. show.

The prehistoric judges will delight children as they suddenly disappear during the show as they view the disco dancing Duckbills to tapping Raptors.

By the end of the tale, readers will learn of the mystery surrounding the disappearing judges in a fit of giggly glee!

Lee Wildish's illustrations lend a glitzy background to this star-studded competition with their rich crimson shades, lime greens, and watery blues.

Author Jane Clarke's prose brings the story to life with its jazzy wordplay and spicy language which is perfectly suitable for preschoolers and up.

So dance on down to the library and check out this stomping good read!

Limelight Larry by Leigh Hodgkinson
Juvenile Picture Book
JE Hodgkinson
Publication Date: 2010

Limelight Larry loves the limelight!

Enter Larry's world in this foil-enhanced story about a plucky pompous peacock with an overinflated ego and a hankering for the spotlight.

Those that enjoy Mo Willem's Elephant and Piggie series will equally enjoy the witty dialogue and fast-paced bantering of its characters.

Larry is in his very own book!  He is the number one, numero uno, star of this show, well he thinks so until some very unwelcome guests show up to steal his thunder.

Along comes mouse, bird, elephant, and a number of assorted characters which really ruffle Larry's feathers.

It's not until Limelight Larry loses his cool and learns a lesson that being in the limelight isn't all it's cracked up to be. A must-read!

All Kinds of Kisses by Nancy Tafuri
Juvenile Picture Book
JE Tafuri
Publication Date: 2012

Nancy Tafuri truly understands the simplicity of childhood and the heartfelt contentment between a parent and child.

She instills the beauty of parental love in her newest book which touches on kisses.

All the barnyard animals in the book have a homespun quality which harkens back to a less harried time of simplicity such as lazy afternoons spent playing outdoors in the sunshine.

This sweet story centers on all the forms of kisses the barnyard mamas and papas give their young such as cheep kisses from mama hen and meow kisses from a furry calico cat to her kitten.

Tafuri's classic watercolor style is reminiscent of 1940's children's illustrations with their lovable , tender appearance which is captured in each carefully placed brushstroke. This book is perfect for a baby or bedtime storytime. 

*Best Bets*
My favorite is Reaching for babies to preschoolers and Strega Nona's Gift for 2nd to 4th Graders. 

Reaching by Judy Ann Sadler
Juvenile Picture Book
JE Sadler
Publication Date: 2011

A bright and airy afternoon spent with the family exhibits all kinds of loving reaching.

Baby tickles, family huddles, and grandma dances, elicit a swell of sentimentality in any parent who reads this fanciful book which tugs at the heart strings.

Just looking at the exquisite images produced by Canadian artist, Susan Mitchell, makes one ponder of the love felt within each of the lovingly-detailed watercolor renderings.

Each picture is spirited, yet touching in it's soft, inviting, and natural delicacy.

Miss Sadler's words are immensely enjoyable to read and develop a deep connection between the reader and the story which many picture books of the same caliber lack.

The most touching scenes in the book appear on the very last pages which show how a parent's love is monumental in shaping a child's future.

The following words create a stunning ending to this flawless picture book:
"Soon Baby will reach for the moon and the stars...But not quite yet, Baby, for now you're still ours!" 
(Source: Reaching by Judy Ann Sadler) 

Strega Nona's Gift by Tomie DePaola
Juvenile Picture Book
JE DePaola
Publication Date: 2011

I have many fond memories of Tomie DePaola's stories. My mother would always read me one of his lovely books the minute they were published.

I would anxiously await each one of his tales as I would cuddle up next to mama and to listen to his glorious word's come to life through her animated reading and his beautiful use of imagery and illustration.

As a recipient of many awards, DePaola has mastered the craft of fine storytelling.

His speciality will always remain in his poetic use of his beloved Strega Nona (Grandma Witch) character which he has reincarnated through numerous books.

He takes such pride in creating this memorable lady who honors his Italian heritage beautifully.

Strega Nona is a grizzled and kindly old woman in a small Calabria village in a time long past.

Her love of cooking and thick-skulled, clumsy, and good-hearted Big Anthony make every story a masterpiece.

This story, which centers around the many holidays and feast days of the Christmas season, hits the mark for its attention to cultural detail and respect for Italian traditions.

The story focuses specifically around Strega Nona who is busily preparing food during each of the feast days of the holiday season such as the Feast of San Nicola on December 6th to the Feast of Santa Lucia on December 13th.

Her apprentice, Big Anthony, just wants to be helpful, but Strega Nona knows this sweet-natured oaf will only cause more headaches that she will have to clean up later on.

Strega Nona does decide to give Big Anthony one very important task: bring food to her goat on the Eve of Epiphany (January 5th).

A well-known legend states that when the clock strikes midnight all the animals talk to each other. If they don't receive a tasty treat they may tell the other animals that they are not being taken care of. So in order to quell these concerns, people create delicious delicacies for them to eat.

Unfortunately, the delicious smells are too much for Big Anthony to bear.

Will Big Anthony be able to give the goat her delicious food or will he once again muddle things up?

Read this charming tale which includes a well-researched chronology of the various special days in the Italian holiday season to find out.