Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Chicken Cheeks

Every once and a while I like to feature my son Nolan's pick of the month.  He's four and he is currently in love with Michael Ian Black's book, Chicken Cheeks .  Basically it's a book full of animal butts.  But --somehow-- it mysteriously transcends that fact.

Tagline:  "This is a story with a beginning, 
a middle, and a whole lot of ends."

I hate to admit, but even I, like this one.

With nothing but pairings like "Penguin Patootie" and "Polar Bear Derriere" (and funny illustrations), Chicken Cheeks amazingly manages to tell a humorous story.  I was impressed that seventeen slang terms for buttocks were capable of creating a plot.

You might have to see it to believe it.  I dare you to throw it into your library bag. And, while you're hovering in the B's, you might as well do yourself a favor and scoop up anything else by Michael Ian Black.  We've been on a kick lately.  Two other very worthy, giggle inducing reads: The Purple Kangaroo and A Pig Parade Is a Terrible Idea .  Sometimes a very non-serious book is just the thing to cap the day.

Book Launch

My friend Kortney and me.  
She is the amazing photographer that took my favorite head shots.  
She's one of the most amazing people I know. 

This past Friday night was the book launch for Don't Call Me a Tattletale! by Kimberly Koskos.  The evening could not have been nicer.  There was a great turn-out and tons of support for the book.  It was so wonderful to see friends that I haven't seen in years.  One of my favorite aspects of the event was seeing two of the kids that modeled the characters for me.  I don't always have the opportunity to celebrate with all the people who made a book possible, so it was a special evening.

Kimberly Koskos, the author; me; Emily and Tristan, my awesome models.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Happy Birthday

One of my birthday gifts from my friend Amy.  Like I always say, next to hugs and tie with iced cappucinos, books are the best gifts.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Don't Call Me a Tattletale Book Launch Tonight!

If you live in the metro Detroit area and are looking for something to do tonight, please join me and Kimberly Koskos, the author of Don't Call Me a Tattletale! , at our book launch event.  There will be crafts and a brief presentation/book reading at 6:30 p.m.  Books will be available for purchase and signing.  I would love to see you there!

{Here} is a link to the author's website for directions and more details! 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

20 Children's Books that Celebrate Spring!

I'm going to repost my Spring booklist from last year, because it's Spring again.  This way the list is handy and at your fingertips.  Also, I'm in the process of creating another Spring booklist with selections newly released or not previously included on this list.  Enjoy!

I love scouring the library for children's books that celebrate my favorite things about each season.  Books make my boys and me slow down and take notice of the little things.  Here are 20 of the books we like that help us see the beauty in things like rain and birds and flowers.  And, as a bonus, at least of half these crack us up...because funny doesn't need a season.  Here they are, in no particular order:

Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox by Susan Blackaby.  Illustrated by Carmen Segovia.
Witty and entertaining.  A story of enemies turned friends - united by the angst of waiting for Spring.  Perfect story to usher in the new season.

Groundhog Weather School by Joan Holub.  Illustrated by Kristin Sorra.
My boys love this book that highlights the irratic, unpredictable weather leading into Spring, and our humorous groundhog tradition.  I found its comic book layout style a bit difficult to read aloud, but I kept going because the kiddos literally begged me for more.

Carrot Soup! by John Segal.
I love books that bring out the giggles.  It's a great mix of simple gardening timeline and sweet, funny storyline.  

Because isn't this how we are all feeling about now?  And Mo Willems is always funny.  Love his hilarious Gerald and Piggie characters.  And I love when my kids crack up.

Another one that's laugh out loud funny.  And it's an easy reader too.

Yellow Umbrella  by Jae Soo Liu.
Disclaimer:  This is a picture book in the truest sense, with not a word of text.  Last year when I stumbled upon it, I was disgruntled that it didn't contain a story.  However, after The Yellow Umbrella and its accompanying music CD turned a dreary rainy afternoon into a magical memory, I changed my tune.  Seriously.  This is a fabulous experiential book.  The artwork, the music and your children will team together to tell a story of their own.

Stuck by Olivier Jeffers.
The funny story of a boy who gets his kite stuck in a tree, followed by a parade of other things as he attempts to free his kite.  I love Jeffers illustrations.  Also check out The Great Paper Caper.  Not a Spring book, but his illustrations are what children's book should be made of.

Birdsongs  by Betsy Franco.  Art by Steve Jenkins.
A favorite of ours, we check it out of our library again and again.  The language is poetic and filled with the sounds and imagery of Spring.  I recommend a bird-sighting nature walk after reading this one.  Or painting a birdhouse for your backyard.  Birdsongs even inspired my Kindergartener to create his own bird field guide to bring along on our walks.  Books that shape days and memories are priceless; this is one of those in our family.

Feathers for Lunch  by Lois Ehlert.
Another fabulous bird book.  I love Ehlert's colorful artwork and the way she tells a funny story with such minimal text.  A great companion to Birdsongs.

Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert.
I love every Ehlert book, and so do my kids.  This one is a great way to introduce gardening and plants to your kids.  Buy some seeds, plant them in a clear container and chart their growth.  My boys get so excited that you'd think it was a magic trick.  Unfortunately, last year our neighbor mistook our newly sprouting wildflowers and doused them with weedkiller.  If you have overzealous neighbors, I recommend making a "We Love our Sprouting Wildflowers" sign, just to be safe.  Wink, wink.

The Gardener  by Sarah Stewart.  Illustrated by David Small.
This book tells a depression era story of a little girl whose optimism and spring flowers brightened the world around her.   I adore the loose sketchy style of David Small's artwork.  If you like his style, also check out Elise Broach's hilarious book When Dinosaurs Came with Everything.

Bear Wants More  by Karma Wilson.
After Bear Snores On through the Winter, he inevitably wakes up...very, very hungry.  The lovable characters and illustrations from Bear Snores On are revisited.  The rhythm and alliteration of Wilson's text make it joyful read aloud.  While I'm still partial to the first book, this one is still worth a Springtime read.  It's like a reunion with old friends.

A Kite Day (Bear and Mole Story)  by Will Hillenbrand.
A sweet kite story.  You've got to have at least one kite story in a Spring book pile, right?  Have you ever made kites with your kids?  I haven't, but it has always sounded like fun.  Maybe this year we'll give it a go.

Roly-Poly Egg by Kali Stileman.
Fun, colorful and artistic.  An art project just waiting to happen.  My boys loved creating their own little  finger paint birds with google-y eyes.

Elsie's Bird  by Jane Yolen.  Illustrated by David Small.
If a story's not funny, it should be touching and hope-filled.  This one is not funny, and not for toddlers, but I love this story of loss and sorrow turned to hope and life rediscovered.  It ends with the triumphant symphony of Spring.  

H is for Home Run: A Baseball Alphabet by Brad Herzog.  Illustrated by Melanie Rose.
Any baseball book will do, but this is a cute one.  Our house is full of baseball lovers and Spring always signifies the beginning of a new hopeful season ahead.  We also have a local book The ABCs of Detroit Tiger Baseball that we like to pull out this time of year.  Brian Lies's Bats at the Ballgame is another baseball favorite.

Gossie by Olivier Dunrea.
With her yellow fuzz and bright red boots, it's impossible not to love the most adorable gosling ever illustrated.  My boys loved this book when they were toddlers, and still like to rehear it today, at three and six.

Flora's Very Windy Day  by Jeanne Birdsall.  Illustrated by Matt Phelan.
Not only is this a tale of the glory of the wind, it's also a tale of sibling resentment, love and protection.  A great conversation starter.  (Technically the scenery depicts some autumnal leaves, but I think Spring when I think of windy days.  And I'm in love with Phelan's illustrations.)

All Things Bright and Beautiful by Cecil Frances Alexander.  Illustrated by Bruce Whatley.
A beautifully watercolored book celebrating the words of an old Irish hymn.  I read this one with a peaceful smile and an amen.

Rain by Manya Stojic.
Okay, truth be told, I haven't read this book.  I just really want to.  It came highly recommended last year and though I constantly try to nab it from the library, I still haven't been able to get my hands on it.  It is endlessly checked out of all three libraries that I frequent.  Which has, of course, built it up my expectations even more.  If you find a copy, enjoy and feel free to taunt me.

I'm sure this list just begins to scratch the surface of Spring-related titles.  What are your family favorites?  Please share in the comments!