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Mixed Up Book Suggestions – 03/07/13

Posted on: Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Since last Saturday was Read Across America Day, or Dr. Seuss Day, and one Dr. Seuss was known for his mixed up hats and characters, we thought we’d mix up our book recommendations for this week.  The only common thread is that we believe your kids will enjoy them all.

City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems is for kids aged 3 to 6.  “Spare, poignant, and ultimately upbeat, this tale depicts the natural cycle of friendship from an enthusiastic first encounter to contented companionship to the heartbreak of loss and eventual emotional renewal.  Presented with a comfortingly consistent narrative structure, the events are set against the backdrop of the changing seasons, reassuring readers that winter will turn again to spring, sadness to joy.  In “spring,” City Dog runs free in the countryside for the first time ever and discovers an unfamiliar creature perched on a rock. Asked, “What are you doing?”  Country Frog smiles and replies, “Waiting for a friend…but you’ll do.”  The two play Country Frog games (“jumping and splashing and croaking”) and when reunited in “summer,” they enjoy City Dog pastimes (“sniffing and fetching and barking”).  In “fall,” Country Frog is tired, so the friends spend their time remembering. When City Dog arrives again in “winter,” Country Frog is nowhere to be found (a wordless spread shows the pooch sitting on the rock, looking small and forlorn against a stark winterscape).  In “spring again,” a sad-looking City Dog befriends another critter with a familiar line, and then beams “a froggy smile” (shown in close-up, this warmly illustrated grin guarantees that Country Frog will not be forgotten).  Making expert use of color and texture, Muth’s expressive paintings clearly convey the tale’s emotional nuances. This understated picture book allows plenty of room for young readers to interpret the animals’ feelings for themselves and perhaps discuss their own emotions.—Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal” c (c) Copyright 2010.  Library Journals LLC.”  Review from Amazon.

Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo  is for kids aged 6 to 9. “Winner of the 2011 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award!
In a brilliant collaboration, best-selling authors Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee, along with acclaimed illustrator Tony Fucile, introduce an outrageously funny pair of friends.
Meet Bink and Gollie, two precocious little girls — one tiny, one tall, and both utterly irrepressible.  Setting out from their super-deluxe tree house and powered by plenty of peanut butter (for Bink) and pancakes (for Gollie), they share three comical adventures involving painfully bright socks, an impromptu trek to the Andes, and a most unlikely marvelous companion. No matter where their roller skates take them, at the end of the day they will always be the very best of friends.  Full of quick-witted repartee, this brainchild of Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo and award-winning author Alison McGhee is a hilarious ode to exuberance and camaraderie, imagination and adventure, brought to life through the delightfully kinetic images of Tony Fucile.”  Review from Amazon.

Eliza’s Cherry Trees: Japan’s Gift to America by Andrea Zimmerman is for kids age 5 and up.  “Eliza Scidmore was a remarkable woman. Adventurous and talented, she traveled around the world visiting interesting places. She wrote about her travels for newspapers and magazines, including the National Geographic Society magazine, where she was the first female writer and photographer. She published seven books, including the first guide to Alaska. After seeing the parks and riverbanks in Japan, she fell in love with the cherry blossoms there. They formed pink clouds around everything and were so beautiful that she wanted to bring them back to America. Her hometown of Washington, D.C. would surely benefit from these lovely trees. However, not everyone shared Eliza’s vision-certainly not the parks supervisors. She met with every one of them, year after year, to explain her idea. When they didn’t listen, she asked Helen Taft, the president’s wife, for help. It took more than twenty years for Eliza’s cherry trees to become part of Washington, D.C.’s landscape. But thanks to her determination and love of Japan, residents and visitors to the nation’s capital can appreciate these beautiful trees. ”  Review from Amazon.

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