Tag Archives: 1st

How to Heal a Broken Wing

Author: Bob Graham (illus.)
Rating:
Reading Level: toddler to 3rd grade

Publisher: Candlewick
Edition:Hardcover, 2008


How to Heal a Broken Wing Since I am not one who usually loves books with strong and obvious messages, I surprised myself for really liking this one. Why? First and foremost, I think it is because that there is a real plot and emotional arc in the telling of this gentle and simple story of hope. Hope in healing the wounds of the world (a page with the TV screen showing the current War in contrast with the family’s loving care of the bird); hope in having our next generations to have compassion for the world around them; and hope for the inter-generational “collaboration” in finding ways to heal.

Graham’s cartoon illustrations do not reduce the emotional impact of the story — the varied composition, perspectives, page layouts, all contribute beautifully to accentuate the events and the interior motions of the characters. That one spread where you only see Will and the bird with broken wing (as an extreme close-up from the spot on the cover) is superb! The more and more closely I examine this work, the more I appreciate it. (So, just changed from 4 to 5 stars!)

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Wanda Gag: The Girl Who Lived to Draw

Author: Deboarh Kogan Ray (illus.)
Rating:
Reading Level: K to 3rd Grade

Publisher: Viking
Edition: Hardcover, 2008

Wanda Gag: The Girl Who Lived to Draw I am profoundly moved by this picture book biography of an amazing artist. It’s partially because of my own belief in the power and importance of art in our world, but mostly, it’s because Deborah Kogan Ray’s candid text, capturing Wanda Gag’s spirit, and her oil paintings capturing Gag’s world and time. My eyes and heart were drawn to those little lighter/brighter outlines around some of the objects and figures in each painting. I don’t really know why, but they seem to be metaphorically significant: flashes of light (hope? human spirit?) peeking through even the darkest times. This is an outstanding biography, even for slightly older readers.

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The Black Book of Colors

Author: Menena Cotton, illus. by Rosana Faria
Rating:
Reading Level:pre-k – 2nd (and all ages)

Publisher: Groundwood
Edition: 2008, Hardcover

The Black Book of ColorsWhat a unique and amazing book!!!! I am speechless and wish everyone could read/touch/experience it!

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LRBC01-A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever


written and illustrated by Marla Frazee
published by Harcourt, 2008
40 pages/picture book

This book has already been recognized by the Horn Book/Boston Globe Book Awards as an excellent title in the picture book category. (It’s an honor book.)

The two people chatting about this book are Roxanne and Lily Feldman.

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Bear’s Picture

Author: Daniel Pinkwater; illustrated by D.B. Johnson
Rating:
Reading Level: pre-k, k, 1, 2

Pages: np
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Edition: Hardcover, 2008

Bear's PictureAbsolutely fabulous! The text is matter-of-fact; straightforward; and it conveys a great sentiment — the artist’s own interpretation is enough to make any artwork worthwhile. A bear can be a painter and he can paint whatever he feels like and see whatever there is in the picture without being told by others that he can’t paint or what his artwork means.

And the ART in this book is unusual, for sure. The contrast between the gray-scale color scheme of the three characters and the vibrant multi-colored painting keeps the readers’ focus on the “real” protagonist of the story: the painting, in progress and in its final state. I love how the bear’s scarf gets progressively messier, with more colors until it’s completely covered. And of course, the page where you must turn the book around to see the final picture from bear’s point of view of a bear that is embedded within the autumn honey tree, cool stream, hollow log, field of flowers, and the two gentlemen’s hats is such a beautiful and breathtaking moment! The color scheme reminds of of Kandinsky and Klee in their modern, abstract style. The final image of bear sleeping in the hollow log (his own creation) engulfed by the snow is the perfect and calm end note to a rigorous story.

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Garmann’s Summer

Author: Stian Hole
Rating:
Reading Level: K to 3rd

Pages: n.p.
Publisher: Eerdmans
Edition: Hardcover, 2008

What an unusual book. At first glance, the images turned me off — from the cover to the first pages — with the weirdly proportioned heads/bodies done with photo-collages. Then.. I got sucked into this style and most importantly, I got mesmerized by the text and by the matter-of-fact tone of everyone’s answer to Garmann’s queries about death and fears. The illustrations eventually reminded me of Terry Gillian’s work for Monty Python’s Flying Circus with many pages featuring curving flower stems and vines and the unlikely pairings of objects: the ancient aunt on a skateboard above skyscrapers or the bus load of images of famous jazz and other musicians… So, this is a very strange experience: from “Ugh” to “Brilliant!!!”

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Grumpy Bird

Author:Jeremy Tankard (illustrator)
Rating:
Reading Level: Pre-k to 2nd

Pages:
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Edition: Hardcover, 2007

I LOVE the grumpiness of Bird and his host of 4-legged friends who totally are so clueless to his mood. The Wahaha-WOW ending is so unexpected and satisfying. There is a great momentum building through this seemingly simplistic picture book. Tankard‘s thick-black-outlined endearing group of animals and brush-painting trees, accompanied by bleached photo background is dexterously done. There is just so much to look at and such a joy to read aloud and to share!

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